SBD/Issue 145/Sponsorships, Advertising & Marketing

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  • PepsiCo, Maria Sharapova End Partnership After Deal Expires

    Sharapova Was First Tennis
    Player To Endorse Gatorade
    PepsiCo and tennis player Maria Sharapova "have ended their two-year endorsement deal," which expired at the end of '08, according to Danielle Rossingh of BLOOMBERG NEWS. PepsiCo spokesperson Huw Gilbert said there is "no particular reason other than the contract has ended, with both parties mutually deciding to go their own way." The deal, in which Sharapova endorsed the Gatorade and Tropicana brands, was reportedly worth close to $1M annually. Gatorade late last year inked an endorsement deal with Serena Williams (BLOOMBERG NEWS, 4/15). When Sharapova signed the deal with PepsiCo in January '07, she was the "first tennis player to represent PepsiCo's Gatorade and Tropicana brands" (London TELEGRAPH, 4/16). Sharapova earns about $26-30M a year, mostly from endorsements that include Nike, Canon, Sony Ericsson and Tag Heuer, among others (THE DAILY).

    HEROES AMONG US: The Sony Ericsson WTA Tour yesterday concluded production of "Making of a Hero," a series of online documentary films and viral videos featuring Tour players. The series, set to launch in the coming weeks, marks the third stage of the Tour's global marketing campaign, "Looking for a Hero?" The films, a series of vignettes based on players' lives, will be featured on the Tour's soon-to-be-relaunched Web site, as well as distributed on social networking sites including MySpace, Facebook and YouTube. The Tour's campaign also includes a virtual trading card game, an online competition where fans can compete by selecting interactive trading cards of current players (WTA Tour).

  • Ravens' Cass Says NFL Should Let Teams Sell More Liquor Ads

    Cass Says Public Has Grown
    More Tolerant To Liquor Ads
    Ravens President Dick Cass said that the NFL "should allow teams to sell more liquor advertising and put their logos on state lottery tickets," according to Curtis Eichelberger of BLOOMBERG NEWS. Even though the NFL "has been buffeted by the worst recession in a generation," Cass said that the "major reason the ads should be allowed is because the public has grown more tolerant." Cass: "It's more acceptable now. It's not a desperate need for money, that's not what is driving it." Cass said the Ravens "would be pleased to have our marks and logos associated with the Maryland state lottery. We serve liquor at the stadium, so I don't know why we can't advertise that. I think it makes sense to permit some sort of advertising arrangement with liquor." Eichelberger noted the NFL "only allows teams to sell ad space to distillers in the upper level of stadiums and in publications such as game programs," while sponsorships "involving a team logo, in-stadium video displays or television advertisements" are not allowed. NFL VP/Communications Brian McCarthy said that NFL owners "will likely discuss the issue at their spring meeting" in Ft. Lauderdale on May 18-20 (BLOOMBERG NEWS, 4/14).

  • Natalie Gulbis And Sponsors Team Up For "The Price Is Right"

    "The Price Is Right" Contestants Could Win
    Round Of Golf With Gulbis
    Golfer Natalie Gulbis and three of her sponsors teamed up on a prize package that will be part of a Showcase Showdown in the April 28th episode of “The Price Is Right.” The showcase included his and hers TaylorMade clubs sets and adidas apparel, as well as Canon cameras and printers, MasterCard debit cards and a TaylorMade-funded trip to attend this year’s Women’s British Open in England. The package also included a round of golf with Gulbis and a three-night stay at a Las Vegas hotel. Gulbis, represented by IMG, also appeared on the show to demonstrate a putting game. She currently is appearing on NBC’s “The Apprentice” and has other non-endemic deals with RSM McGladrey, SemGroup, Michelob Ultra and Payment Data Systems. Gulbis first revealed her appearance on Twitter.

  • Wheels & Deals: Two Nationwide Races Secure Title Sponsorship

    In Des Moines, Rob Gray reported U.S. Cellular has signed a deal to title sponsor the August 1 NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Iowa Speedway. U.S. Cellular spokesperson Don Cochran "did not disclose financial terms regarding primary sponsorship" of the race, but said, "Certainly, there are financial contributions, but there are also communication goals we've worked out with them as well. It's really not about the money" (DES MOINES REGISTER, 4/14). Meanwhile, Stock Car Montreal has renewed its partnership with Napa Auto Parts. The three-year deal, which runs until '11, secures Napa as the title sponsor of the Montreal NASCAR Nationwide series race (Napa Auto Parts).

    STAYING ON TRACK: NEMCO Motorsports Owner Joe Nemechek said of his first season in a driver/owner role, "Whenever you have to start paying the bills, that really makes you take note of what's going on. We've got five people working on our Sprint Cup car and two people full time working on the Nationwide car. ... There's a lot of things that go into it and you're trying to make all of the ends meet. If we can get someone on board (sponsor-wise), they're going to get their share of publicity out of this deal." Nemechek said he is "really close to some stuff" regarding sponsorship of his No. 87 Nationwide Chevy. Nemechek: "Hopefully we'll have something to announce real quick about Talladega coming up here in a couple of weeks. We've got so many deals out there and so many sponsors that we've talked to, hopefully one of these things is going to land pretty soon" ("NASCAR Now," ESPN2, 4/14).

    NOTES: Wheel Pros has reached an exclusive agreement with NASCAR to manufacture and distribute a line of NASCAR officially-licensed wheels. Wheel Pros will use NASCAR marks and marketing programs in-store and in related media. The deal includes exclusive marketing rights, the ability to co-brand products and product packaging as well as involvement in integrated media and marketing programs (Wheel Pros)....This year's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Southern 500 on May 9 will be presented by, and in Orlando, Tania Ganguli wrote, "There isn't a stranger combination of race to sponsor than old-school Darlington and new-school irreverent" (, 4/13).

  • Marketplace Roundup

    Several MLBers Yesterday Wore Special-
    Edition Nike Shoes Honoring Jackie Robinson
    FIRSTCUTS' Chris Littmann reported several MLBers yesterday wore a special-edition Nike clear honoring Jackie Robinson on the 62nd anniversary of him breaking the league's color barrier. The players included Mariners LF Ken Griffey Jr., Angels CF Torii Hunter, Rays LF Carl Crawford, Brewers LF Ryan Braun, Tigers CF Curtis Granderson, Cubs 1B Derrek Lee and Mets 3B David Wright. Littmann noted a "non-cleated, turf version of the shoe will be available at selected retail outlets beginning May 1" (, 4/15). In Philadelphia, David Murphy reported the shoes feature Robinson's No. 42 and a "metal replica of his silhouette." Phillies SS Jimmy Rollins, who planned to wear the shoe but did not play due to a rain out, said, "I was trying to get a pair for President Obama, but I didn't know his shoe size" (PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 4/16).

    WITNESS THIS: In Lexington, Jerry Tipton reports Univ. of Kentucky G Jodie Meeks and his teammates "received commemorative T-shirts" from Nike in honor of Meeks scoring 54 points against the Univ. of Tennessee on January 13. Nike College Basketball Sports Marketing Manager Martin Newton said the company made the shirts for the team and the athletic department days after the game. Tipton notes the shirts, which will not be for sale, feature the word "Witness" on the front, referring to a campaign for Cavaliers F LeBron James. The back of the shirt "shows the progression of Meeks' scoring with a '1' for a free throw, a '2' for a basket and a '3' for a three-pointer" (LEXINGTON HERALD-LEADER, 4/16).

    CHIPS & PUTTS: GOLFWEEK's Schupak & Soderstrom cite sources saying that IMG "already has secured agreements" for golfer Danny Lee to endorse Callaway Golf and Elord clothing, and that the agency is "close to a deal with MasterCard." But Callaway officials said that as of Monday a deal "had not been signed with Lee" (GOLFWEEK, 4/18 issue)....One of the "more popular items" at a merchandise tent near the 18th tee at this week's PGA Tour Verizon Heritage tournament is a camouflage cap with the word "Boo" on the front, referring to golfer Boo Weekley (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 4/16).

    THE GREAT BEYOND: Esurance on April 27 at AT&T Park will present Star Trek Movie Night during the Dodgers-Giants game. The event celebrates the May 8 release of "Star Trek" and includes a special ticket offer for fans to participate in Star Trek-themed activities, including a pre-game Ultimate Trekkie costume contest (Esurance).

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