SBD/Issue 222/Sponsorships, Advertising & Marketing

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  • Ad-Out: Indian Wells Tourney Drops Pacific Life As Title Sponsor

    Indian Wells Tennis Tourney Dropping
    Pacific Life As Title Sponsor
    The Indian Wells, California, tennis tournament has dropped Pacific Life as title sponsor after seven years. The former Pacific Life Open, the second largest by attendance in the U.S., and the fifth largest in the world, is seeking a replacement. "Pacific Life recently offered to extend its term, however, the tournament decided to pursue
    other potential title sponsors that will align with the tournament's strategic plans for continued growth," said Steve Simon, the tournament's COO (Daniel Kaplan, SportsBusiness Journal). Simon "hopes to have a new title sponsor lined up by the end of August" (, 8/7). Simon said that the tournament "has been in talks with several companies, but did not have a timetable as to when they would secure a title sponsor." Simon declined to discuss specifics, and said that tournament officials are "looking for at least seven figures per year over three to five years." Simon added that, if necessary, the tournament is "prepared to go without a title sponsor, even though the event is committed to increase prize money by $3.2[M]." In California, Leighton Ginn notes the event also "has 22 smaller sponsors." Simon said that the "lack of a title sponsor will be no factor" on the tournament's existence, as it is "on firm financial ground with strong investors, including the city of Indian Wells" (Palm Springs DESERT SUN, 8/7).

  • AirTran Signs Falcons QB Matt Ryan To Replace Suspended Vick

    AirTran Signs Ryan To Two-Year 
    Endorsement Deal

    AirTran VP/Marketing & Sales Tad Hutcheson said that Falcons rookie QB Matt Ryan has "signed a two-year contract with AirTran to essentially succeed" suspended Falcons QB Michael Vick in the company's endorsement lineup, according to Tim Tucker of the ATLANTA CONSTITUTION. Ryan will be featured in AirTran advertising --"primarily billboards and radio commercials in the Atlanta market -- beginning next week." Vick "had an endorsement deal with AirTran from 2003 until May 2007, when his contract expired and was not renewed." Hutcheson said of signing Ryan, "We wanted someone who had high character and was family-friendly and someone who was going to be an up-and-coming star for the ballclub." Hutcheson said that 11 AirTran billboards featuring Falcons players "will go up in Atlanta by next week," and he added that Ryan will be "on at least four of them." Hutcheson also said that Ryan has "recorded radio spots that will begin airing next week" (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 8/7). The following lists all of AirTran's current athlete endorsers.

    Falcons LB Keith Brooking
    Packers WR Donald Driver
    Falcons WR Brian Finneran
    Ravens TE Todd Heap
    Thrashers LW Ilya Kovalchuck
    Thrashers G Kari Lehtonen
    Colts QB Peyton Manning
    Eagles QB Donovan McNabb
    IRL driver Danica Patrick
    Falcons QB Matt Ryan

  • Favre In Packers Uniform On "Madden" Cover; Jets Selling Jerseys

    EA Sports President Peter Moore, in a blog posting filed early this morning before Brett Favre's trade to the Jets became official, reiterated the company's position that Favre will appear in a Packers uniform when "Madden NFL 09" goes on sale Tuesday. "I just want to set the record straight ­-- 'Madden NFL 09' will hit the stores with Brett wearing his Packers green and gold, as we celebrate his legacy as one of the great QBs ever to play the game and someone who's been with us from the early days of John Madden football," Moore said. "But what's most important is what's in the game -- and by the start of the season, we'll have a roster patch that will ensure that, in the game, Brett is on whatever team he's playing for this season." Never before has the current "Madden" cover athlete played for a different team than the one depicted on the box (Eric Fisher, SportsBusiness Journal).

    Jets Start Selling Favre Jersey 
    After Trade Is Completed
    MAKING GREEN:'s Darren Rovell reports, "Less than two hours after [the] Jets deal was forged, at about 2 am [ET], the team had an advertisement on its web site calling out the fact that Jets No. 4 replica jerseys with Favre's name on the back were available." A couple hours later, at 4:16am, the team sent an e-mail to its fans with the subject line: "Brett is a Jet! Get your Favre Jets Jersey Now!" (, 8/7). An NFL official said that, "at this pace, so many No. 4 Favre jerseys have been sold that he's expected to set the record for the most jerseys sold of a single player in a 24-hour period." The official added that "so many jerseys have been ordered that is also expected to set a single day revenue record as well" (, 8/7). 

    MEDIA WATCH:'s Jay Glazer was first to report that the Packers traded Favre to the Jets in exchange for "a conditional fourth-round pick" (, 8/7). AWFUL ANNOUNCING's Brian Powell wrote Glazer is the "media winner" in the Favre saga, while ESPN is the "media loser." Powell: "They're not necessarily a loser in all of this, but they threw everything at this and got scooped once again. I don't entirely blame them for their over-the-top coverage, but you could tell that they wanted to break the story live on a 'Sports Center Special' for the last two days. ... In the end I think the process gave ESPN a good look at how draining the 24-hour news cycle can be and they have to now be more prepared than ever to go live with Sports Center next week" (, 8/6).

    FOUR GONE CONCLUSION: One of the points in the Jets’ pitch to Favre was that Jets Owner Woody Johnson “owns about 1,000 acres of land within 5 minutes of the team’s training facility, and Favre could hunt there whenever he wants” (GREEN BAY PRESS-GAZETTE, 8/7). ESPN’s Mike Ditka said the Favre saga was a "public relations disaster" for the Packers. ESPN’s Mike Golic added, “What a debacle how the Green Bay Packers handled this and Brett Favre as well. … It just blows my mind that now (GM) Ted Thompson and (coach) Mike McCarthy hitched their cart to (QB) Aaron Rodgers" (“Mike & Mike in the Morning,” ESPN2, 8/7). ESPN's Skip Bayless said Thompson "just went down in infamy. Remember that.” However, Detroit News columnist Rob Parker said Thompson "is the big winner here. … He got exactly what he wanted which was to get Brett out of the NFC and send him to the worst team in the AFC that he possibly could."  (“First Take,” ESPN2, 8/7).

  • Wheels & Deals: Martin Truex Jr. To Continue Driving For DEI

    Truex Jr. Inks Deal To Continue Driving For DEI
    Sources yesterday said that NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Martin Truex Jr. has "re-signed with [DEI] for next season." DEI "picked up the option on Truex, who has spent his entire Cup career with the team, but both sides had to agree to terms of the extension" (SPORTING NEWS TODAY, 8/7).'s David Newton noted Truex "had been linked most strongly with the No. 12 car at Penske Racing, No. 4 at Stewart-Haas Racing and No. 33 at Richard Childress Racing." The move "strenghtens DEI's position in the sport following more than a year of gloom-and-doom predicitons after" Dale Earnhardt Jr. announced he was leaving for Hendrick Motorsports (, 8/6).

    DRIVER CHANGE: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver J.J. Yeley has been released by Hall of Fame Racing. P.J. Jones will drive the No. 96 Toyota at Sunday's Centurion Boats at The Glen at Watkins Glen Int'l, and Nationwide Series driver Brad Coleman will take over August 17 at the 3M Performance 400 at Michigan Int'l Speedway (, 8/6).

    PIT STOP: The pit crew of the No. 19 Gillett Evernham Motorsports car will appear in full firesuits at a Sunoco in Rochester, New York, today to clean windshields and tires as part of Allstate’s “Safety Patrol” program, which promotes safe driving and its “Bonus Check” offer for its customers. The Sprint Cup event this weekend is at Watkins Glen. Allstate had a similar outing prior to the June 8 NASCAR race at Pocono and will do another before the November 9 race at Phoenix (Michael Smith, SportsBusiness Journal).

  • Marketplace Roundup

    In a style section front-page piece, the N.Y. TIMES' David Colman writes Under Armour (UA) "has not only redefined gym-pumped machismo for a new generation, it has put it on steroids." UA, in campaigns such as its "Protect This House" TV ad campaign, "has been as cunning as a chess pro in cultivating its image and fan base." UA sends "a message of authenticity and aggression to a select audience, unlike ads from sporting goods giants like Nike and Reebok aimed at more general audiences." UA also "has carefully controlled distribution," as "for years it has largely restricted sales to sporting goods stores, military-base exchanges and sports- and military-oriented outlets" (N.Y. TIMES, 8/7).

    LOSE THE BOOZE: AD AGE's Ira Teinowitz reported in advance of the NCAA Division I Exec Committee's meeting today in Indianapolis, "more than 100 college coaches are making a new appeal to NCAA President Myles Brand to eliminate alcohol advertising in telecasts of college sports." In a letter dated August 4, the coaches, who include Ohio State Univ. football coach Jim Tressel and Mississippi State Univ. football coach Sylvester Croom, said that they are "'troubled by the prominence of alcohol advertising in televised college sports' and offer a new proposal to phase out the alcohol ads over three years." The action was supported by 59 college presidents and 239 ADs. The Exec Committee last reviewed its alcohol-advertising standards in '05 (, 8/5).

    Edwards Inks Deal To Be Spokesperson
    For Yahoo's Fantasy Football Offering
    FANTASY JOB: Yahoo Sports has signed Browns WR Braylon Edwards as its '08 fantasy football spokesperson. Edwards will represent Yahoo in a variety of ad placements and personal appearances. The site last year used Bengals WR Chad Johnson in the role. "We decided to go with a guy who is young and passionate and also knowledgeable when it comes to fantasy," said Yahoo Sports & Entertainment VP & GM Jimmy Pitaro (Eric Fisher, SportsBusiness Journal).

    NOTES: Massachusetts-based ad firm Allen & Gerritsen (A&G) is "creating the brand identity" for the NLL Boston Blazers. A&G also "plans to create a video game for the team's Web site" (BOSTON HERALD, 8/7)....New York-based equipment maker Maverik Lacrosse has signed MLL Boston Cannons MF Paul Rabil as a spokesperson. Rabil, a collegiate star at Johns Hopkins Univ. and the No. 1 pick in this year's MLL Draft, also will represent Under Armour for apparel (Eric Fisher, SportsBusiness Journal).

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