SBD/Issue 192/Sponsorships, Advertising & Marketing

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  • Richard Petty Motorsports Committed To Dodge Through '09

    RPM Denies Report They Will Put Kahne
    In Cars With Toyota Engines By Mid-August
    Richard Petty Motorsports (RPM) "remains committed to Dodge for the remainder" of the '09 NASCAR Sprint Cup season, despite reports to the contrary, according to David Newton of ESPN.com. Sirius XM Radio's "Sirius Speedway" Monday reported that RPM would put driver Kasey Kahne in "cars with Toyota engines by mid-August, the first step in a move to the foreign manufacturer in 2010, and leave the rest of its drivers in Dodges." But RPM officials "denied any such move." Additionally, Toyota Racing Development President & GM Lee White said that he has had "no conversations about an in-season switch." RPM's contract with Dodge expires after this season, and the team recently signed a five-race partnership with Toyota-backed Braun Racing in the Nationwide Series (ESPN.com, 6/23). Meanwhile, ESPN.com's Terry Blount noted George Gillett is the "man holding the purse strings" at RPM, and his impending sale of the Canadiens "could have an impact on the NASCAR team." Whether the Canadiens sale is "good or bad for RPM is hard to say." If "some of that money is put into the NASCAR team, it's a good thing," but the deal also will "lead some people to wonder whether the Gillett family may be interested in selling its interest in RPM" (ESPN.com, 6/23).

    KAHNE & ABLE: Kahne said his victory at Sunday's Toyota/SaveMart 350 "meant a lot" after so many "ups and downs" for RPM. Kahne: "It's a momentum builder, and sometimes you need that kind of stuff to keep growing your company." Kahne added, "I'm happy with Dodge as long as our Dodge engines are getting better and we're making gains with them, and I feel like we have been. I don't know where it will go. I know that Dodge has done a ton for us over the years." ESPN's Newton said of RPM, "Right now, they can go to sponsors and say, 'Look, we're not just an organization out here riding around. We're an organization that can compete for wins.'" ESPN's Dale Jarrett said RPM has "some good sponsorships there with their race cars," and having a driver qualify for the Chase for the Sprint Cup "could help take them to another level." Jarrett: "It could really help them on the momentum side and bring in some more dollars and help them keep the sponsors that are there" ("NASCAR Now," ESPN2, 6/23).

    SUPPORT SYSTEM: Richard Childress Racing (RCR) Owner Richard Childress said GM's bankruptcy is "not going to affect our performance." Childress: "We talked about a lot of different things with GM and are very supportive of them on the track and off the track. I just see some great things for General Motors in the future." He added the bankruptcy is "not going to affect our technology." Childress: "We may have to do other things a little differently, but when it comes to our performance and giving our sponsors their return on investment, it's not going to affect any of our sponsors, either." However, when asked if GM made a scheduled June 15 payment to the team, Childress said, "That's personal. I didn't ask you if you got your paycheck this week" (SI.com, 6/23).

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  • Sharapova Thinks Wimbledon Should Allow Non-White Clothing

    Sharapova Says Non-White Clothing Would
    Add Spark Of Fun To Wimbledon Tradition
    Tennis player Maria Sharapova in a special cover story for ESPN THE MAGAZINE writes Wimbledon every two or three years "should let us wear something besides white." Sharapova: "It would add a spark of fun to a very traditional place. Of course, style has its limits." Sharapova also proposes the creation of a committee to "approve all outfits before players could wear them on the court." Sharapova: "There are some tacky outfits out there!" (ESPN THE MAGAZINE, 6/29 issue). Sharapova said she has her "own design team at Nike that works" with her to design on-court outfits. Sharapova: "I have six pinnacle outfits a year with four of them showcased at the grand slams. I love the process; last year we had about 30 design meetings and fittings." She added that the U.S. Open, not Wimbledon, has the "highest fashion stakes." Sharapova: "Under the floodlights, the centre court becomes my own catwalk. Plus, New York fashion week runs at the same time as the Open, so Anna Wintour is often there too" (LONDON TIMES, 6/24).

    FASHION WEEK: REUTERS' Sonia Oxley noted there has been "much discussion about the merits of women's tennis," and treating Wimbledon like "London Fashion Week simply adds weight to the view that the ladies' game is a fluffy waste of space." But it is "not just the women who have caught the bug and perhaps we should be grateful that the players even bother about their appearance." There are "few men who could sling a gold and white bag casually over their shoulder and not look daft," and Roger Federer, who unveiled the bag Monday, is "not one of them." Oxley: "What is he thinking? The blazer a few years ago just about passed for dapper, the RF logo is a good marketing tool but this year's military-style jacket and the bizarre waistcoat are the kind of items better suited to the fancy dress box" (REUTERS, 6/23). SI.com's Jon Wertheim wrote of Federer, "The man can play tennis, but he could stand to work on his accessorizing" (SI.com, 6/23). N.Y. MAGAZINE's Amy Odell wrote the outfit is "strange," but Federer has "merely figured out what many a diva before him has known for years: Nothing says 'Look at me!' quite like an all-white suit with shiny gold accents." Odell: "What Federer's outfit may lack in game, it makes up for in soul" (NYMAG.com, 6/23).

    Djokovic Brings Serbia Open
    Candy Bar To ESPN Interview
    WE LOVE SHORT SHORTS: Andy Murray at Wimbledon debuted a new retro outfit from Fred Perry, and ESPN's Pam Shriver yesterday during Murray's first-round match against Robert Kendrick said, "I like the short shorts." ESPN's Darren Cahill responded, "You like that? He's actually showing a little bit of thigh." Shriver: "It's the first time in years we've seen any leg" ("Wimbledon," ESPN2, 6/23).

    DJOKERS WILD: Novak Djokovic following his second-round match today was interviewed by ESPN, and the net's Patrick McEnroe held up a candy bar from the Serbia Open, which Djokovic's family "helped put that together." McEnroe began eating the candy bar and Djokovic said, "You've never tried anything similar to that." McEnroe said the bar was "pretty tasty." Djokovic: "I'm going to supply you each day with that. My uncle, which is the Tournament Director of the Serbia Open, brought from Serbia a bunch of those candies." McEnroe noted that Djokovic also had his own branded water at the Serbia Open. Djokovic: "I was feeling for the players who were playing at the event because everything was 'Novak, Novak'" ("Wimbledon," ESPN2, 6/24).

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  • It Takes Five: Panini Signs Top Draft Picks To Endorsement Deals

    When the NBA signed Panini to a four-year deal as its exclusive trading-card licensee early this year, the question around the industry was how the Italian company was going to support its investment with player signings, since most renowned NBA players are already affiliated with card/memorabilia companies like former NBA licensees Upper Deck and Topps. Panini will answer that question today by introducing five rookie endorsers; all of whom will be selected in tomorrow's NBA Draft: Blake Griffin (Oklahoma), Tyler Hansbrough (North Carolina), Jordan Hill (Arizona), Brandon Jennings (Lottomatica Virtus Roma, Italy) and Hasheem Thabeet (UConn). All will be featured in '09-10 Panini NBA card products, and in packaging and advertisements. The signings will be unveiled this afternoon at the NBA Store in N.Y. Autograph cards from these five players will be featured in Panini's first line of NBA products.

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  • Univ. Of Oregon Football Team Unveils Redesigned Nike Uniforms

    Univ. Of Oregon Unveils Next Generation
    Of Football Uniforms Introduced By Nike
    The Univ. of Oregon (UO) yesterday unveiled its "next generation of football uniforms introduced by Nike," according to Rob Moseley of the Eugene REGISTER-GUARD. The team will still have "green, yellow, black and white jerseys, plus pants and helmets in green, black and white," but the "yellow pants and helmets have been replaced by 'steel' models." The "diamond plating and two-toned shoulders of the jerseys" are also gone, replaced by a "monotone look that incorporates the feathered look of the black uniforms Oregon wore against Arizona last season." UO's uniforms "no longer will ... include the yellow-green helmets ... or the yellow pants that offered the option of an intensely bright all-yellow look." The new look is the "fourth major redesign of the last decade for the UO uniforms." Nike Global Creative Dir of Sports Apparel Todd Van Horne: "It is the tradition of uniform change for Oregon. It's what puts it on the map. It's what people continue to talk about." UO TE Ed Dickson said that what the team wanted to retain was the "feathered look on the shoulder pads, which have the dual function of reducing abrasion of the fabric while also ... looking cool." The "wings on the green, yellow and white jerseys replace the diamond-plating look from the 2005 redesign." The new helmets and pants are referred to as "steel, chrome, carbon and silver," and the color is "another departure away from Oregon's traditional green and yellow" (Eugene REGISTER-GUARD, 6/24). In Portland, John Hunt noted the team now has "80 uniform combinations they can wear on any given game day." The "most notable addition has to be the 'carbon fiber-dipped texture' helmet that consists of hundreds of tiny, lightning-bolt shaped elements that create an almost 3-D gray appearance." The color of the "O" decal on the helmet "can change to better match the pants" (OREGONLIVE.com, 6/23).

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  • Marketplace Roundup

    Glover Adorned With Nine Nike Logos,
    Plus Clubs, Balls, During U.S. Open Win
    CNBC.com's Darren Rovell noted U.S. Open champion Lucas Glover during the tournament was adorned with nine Nike logos, in addition to his Nike clubs and balls, and Glover said of his endorsement deal, "Two and [a] half years ago, Nike and I got together and decided that's what I wanted to do and that's the equipment I wanted to play and they've been great. Their marketing and everything is top notch. They are [a] huge company. They do a great job helping us out and we help them out by getting their product out there." When asked if Nike has told him he will be featured in marketing following his U.S. Open win, Glover said, "I hope they'll use me." He added the Open win "probably helped" in that regard. Meanwhile, Glover said of the prototype Nike putter he used, "It's a great putter. I think they're getting ready to start the big release and it should be a popular item" (CNBC.com, 6/23).

    DRIVING FOR SHOW: Golf Channel’s Adam Barr reported Lexus, a USGA corporate sponsor, is “not carrying the same burdens as other big car companies … judging by its presentation” at the U.S. Open. Lexus Division VP/Marketing David Nordstrom: “It’s been a great partnership with us with the USGA. We really want to find things that are really aligned with our customers and potential customers with Lexus. USGA and golf is that something our owners are very passionate about, and so it’s a quality organization and it really fits with our pursuit of perfection” (“Golf Central,” Golf Channel, 6/23).

    PITCHING NEW DESIGNS: Nike yesterday released "teaser images" of its new home jerseys for EPL club Manchester United for the '09-10 season, which Nike will officially launch on July 1. The images are "in semi-darkness, and reveal little about the new design," but a "black 'v-shape' stripe features on the shirt's chest, which also features a black round-neck collar." The stripe is "reminiscent of shirts worn by Manchester United during the 1908-09 season." The socks are "black but appear to have a red V stretching around the back, similar to the V on the front of the shirt," while the white shorts "have a thick red stripe running down the outside" (TELEGRAPH.co.uk, 6/23). Meanwhile, Newcastle United has unveiled their away jerseys for their first season in the English Football League Championship, and fans "might be wishing the club had retained their unobtrusive plain blue second kit." The two-tone yellow shirts from adidas have "already received criticism" from fans (TELEGRAPH.co.uk, 6/23).

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