SBD/Issue 204/Sponsorships, Advertising & Marketing

Marketplace Roundup

Kobalt Tools Emerging As Leading Candidate
To Title Sponsor Truck Series In '09
SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL’s Michael Smith cites sources as saying that Kobalt Tools, a Lowe’s brand, “has emerged as the leading candidate to sponsor” NASCAR’s truck series. Sears previously announced that its Craftsman brand would end its title sponsorship of the series after the ’08 season, and NASCAR is “believed to be selling the truck title rights in the mid-to-high seven-figure range annually, with an advertising commitment on Speed, the broadcast home of the series, at close to seven figures.” Meanwhile, sources indicated that the IRL, which has been without a title sponsor for the IndyCar Series since ’02, has had discussions “with at least two prospective sponsors, Kodak and Subway.” A third candidate “has emerged in the last month” (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 7/14 issue).

GLOBAL AFFAIRS: In Portland, Richard Read reported Wieden & Kennedy (W&K), has "reached a tipping point after venturing abroad in cautious steps for 16 years," as now "almost half its annual revenue of about $165[M] comes from outside the United States." W&K Global COO David Luhr on the necessity of being global, "It's important for our clients, because everything is becoming global. It allows us to export the [W&K] culture and import the ideas." Luhr added that W&K "expects to open two or three more foreign offices to round out the firm's network." Luhr: "We would love to have an office eventually in Central or South America somewhere." Russia "is another location that comes up." However, Read noted as W&K's foreign share grows, "managers face a challenge in an already turbulent industry: Can W+K export its edgy, irreverent Oregon approach to India, South America and beyond while beating back conglomerates to retain accounts back home?" (Portland OREGONIAN, 7/13).

BREAKING AWAY: The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Christine Mattheis noted the list of sponsors leaving the sport of cycling "over the last two years ... continues to grow." Deutsch Inc. Senior VP & Creative Group Dir Morgan Carroll on sponsorship in the sport, "It will be very hard to find sponsors of the same caliber who will contribute the same amount of money to replace the ones going away. I think with everything that happened with [cyclist Floyd Landis and the '07 Tour de France], it would not be high on my list of recommendations right now for a client to sponsor a cycling team." However, several "new corporations have bucked the trend and offered sponsorships to cycling teams" this year, including Saxo Bank, Garmin and Columbia Sportswear (WSJ.com, 7/13).

LIMITED ENGAGEMENTS: In Seattle, Jayda Evans reported companies "still hesitate seeing women's basketball players as marketable for products related to clothing, eyewear or even hair." WNBA Sparks F Candace Parker's agent Eric Goodwin: "It's a little tougher because they see the WNBA as a fad." Goodwin has "nabbed smaller deals with Skullcandy (headphones) and Bodygrab (sports equipment)" for Parker, along with $4M deals with adidas and Gatorade. Parker said, "In the future, I envision makeup and doing different things outside of the line and hopefully appealing to to other people besides just basketball fans" (SEATTLE TIMES, 7/12).

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