SBD/Issue 195/Sponsorships, Advertising & Marketing

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  • RCR Struggling On, Off Track As GM Misses $2.5M Payment

    Childress (r) Hopes To Be Able To Re-Sign
    Shell As Sponsor For Harvick Next Season
    Richard Childress Racing (RCR) reportedly was "denied a quarterly payment" of $2.5M from GM after the automaker declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy, which is a "lot of cash that suddenly has disappeared from the RCR budget," according to Godwin Kelly of the Daytona Beach NEWS-JOURNAL. RCR Owner Richard Childress said of the report, "I don't go around asking people what they're paying y'all. So that's kind of our deal here." Childress added of the economy, "Everybody is seeing times that we never dreamed we would see." Meanwhile, Kelly noted none of RCR's four Sprint Cup Series drivers are "listed among the top 12 in points, which means the organization could find itself outside looking in when the Chase for the Sprint Cup begins in September" (NEWS-JOURNALONLINE.com, 6/26). SI.com's Mark Beech wrote the "day of reckoning is fast approaching" for RCR. Sponsorship deals with Shell and Jack Daniel's for drivers Kevin Harvick and Casey Mears, respectively, are "up this season," and while it "seems unlikely that Shell would refuse to renew with a star as (usually) bankable as Harvick, Mears is another story." Childress is "one of the most venerable figures in the sport, but that may not help him make it through this crisis unscathed" (SI.com, 6/26). In Indianapolis, Steve Ballard noted impending GM cuts combined with the Shell and Jack Daniel's expirations add up to "one of the most challenging times" of Childress' career. Childress: "I don't know really what all is going to happen. We're going to have to make cuts like everybody in the sport or in the business" (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 6/28). Ballard noted the GM cuts "have hit hard, but while that will hinder the team's efforts to catch up, it didn't cause the problem." Ballard: "They'll eventually get it figured out, but probably not in time to get any of their drivers into this year's Chase" (INDYSTAR.com, 6/28).

    EGR ALSO DEALING WITH GM: Earnhardt Ganassi Racing President Steve Lauletta said that team officials have met with GM "to go over what GM will be able to provide the team." Lauletta: "We haven't gone into having conversations about 2010 yet, so as of right now we've got to sit down and talk to them and look at our options and kind of determine the best course of action." Lauletta added that the team "continues to search for sponsorship to get Aric Almirola back in some Cup races this season." Driver Martin Truex Jr. is a free agent after this season, but Lauletta said that it "is 'the plan' for Truex's sponsor, Bass Pro Shops, to be with the team next year." Meanwhile, in Norfolk, Dustin Long reports Michael Waltrip Racing has scheduled a July 7 press conference in which it is expected Truex will be "announced as Michael Waltrip's replacement beginning next season" (Norfolk VIRGINIAN-PILOT, 6/29). Lauletta: "If something happened where we didn't re-sign Martin, then we would be having dialogue with Bass Pro on who takes the seat. When, if that time comes, we'll be doing that as quick as we have to" (SCENEDAILY.com, 6/28).

    Early Season Success Has Stewart (l) 
    Contemplating Expanding Team To Three Cars
    ADDING ON: The INDIANAPOLIS STAR's Ballard notes Stewart-Haas Racing co-Owner & driver Tony Stewart is "entertaining the idea of adding a third car next season." Stewart: "The biggest thing is you've got to make sure you can fund it first. You can build a team, but if you don't have the money to run it, it's not going to work. We haven't talked to anybody at this point. (We're) just letting everybody know we're open to discussing it" (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 6/29). ESPN’s Angelique Chengelis said of Stewart, “He said that he intentionally put that out on the table last week at Sonoma because he wants people to know that he is interested in listening. He said it doesn’t cost anything to listen to potential sponsors, to drivers who might be interested. He wants to look at all options.” Chengelis said Stewart felt “that six weeks ago this would not be an option for him but because the team has had terrific success” they could look into adding a third team (“NASCAR Now,” ESPN2, 6/28).

    CUTTING BACK: In Boston, Fluto Shinzawa notes the five-car stable of Roush Fenway Racing (RFR) "must be trimmed to four vehicles for the 2010 season," and Fenway Sports Group Exec VP/Business Development & Motorsports Brian Corcoran said that a "decision should take place by August because of sponsorship obligations." One alternative is for "one of the drivers to switch to Yates Racing," as RFR has an "existing partnership with Yates" (BOSTON GLOBE, 6/29). Meanwhile, JTG/Daugherty Racing co-Owner Tad Geschickter said that the team "will not be able to field a fulltime entry" in the Nationwide Series beyond Friday's Subway Jalapeno 250 at Daytona Int'l Speedway "unless additional sponsorship is found." Geschickter: "We had money to run half the races and we had to make a choice whether to spread those races out or frontload them and hope to get enough money to run the second half." In Charlotte, Jim Utter noted so far "no additional money has been found to sustain driver Michael McDowell's fulltime effort." McDowell currently ranks 11th in the Nationwide Series standings. Geschickter said that his Nationwide team "will still occasionally compete in the second half of the season" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 6/28).

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  • USATF Inks Multi-Year Extension With Longtime Partner Nike

    Nike Extends Sponsorship
    Of USATF Through '13
    USA Track & Field (USATF) Friday announced a new, multi-year agreement with longtime partner Nike. The deal extends through '13 and is valued at more than $10M annually. Nike has been a USATF sponsor since '91. USATF CEO Doug Logan announced the deal at the Track & Field Writers of America breakfast in Eugene, Oregon. Logan said the apparel company has the option to renew the partnership through '17. He added if Chicago wins the right to host the '16 Olympics and Nike exercises that option, a "substantial premium" will be added to the existing deal. Under the deal, Nike maintains its status as the exclusive sponsor and supplier of USATF in the footwear, apparel and retail categories. Meanwhile, Logan said the USATF is pushing ahead with plans for dual meets with the Jamaican national team in April or May of '10. The first competition will take place in Kingston and the second will take place in the U.S. Nike has pledged its support of the event through participation of Nike athletes and additional resources (Tripp Mickle, SportsBusiness Journal). Sources said that the deal is "valued at more than" $10M a year -- a 30-40% "increase over the last sponsorship." The AP's Eddie Pells noted other parts of the Nike-USATF deal "establish a 'Project 30 Fund' to aid up-and-coming athletes as part of the sport's attempt to overhaul its structure and win 30 medals at the London Olympics." Logan said that Nike was "getting on board in trying to reshape the sometimes toxic relationship between athletes, agents and sponsors that many critics think prevents the sport from moving forward" (AP, 6/26).

    BEST CASE SCENARIO: In Chicago, Philip Hersh noted IOC ethics rules "forbid its global sponsors from trying to influence host city elections," but Nike increasing its financial commitment to the USATF should Chicago win the '16 Games is different because it is not a global IOC sponsor. Logan said, "The partnership simply recognizes added value in the event of a domestic (Olympic) competition. You cannot avoid reality. We are certainly not going to attempt to unduly influence anyone." Hersh notes all four bid cities -- Chicago, Madrid, Rio de Janeiro and Tokyo -- have corporate sponsors and wrote, "Is anyone naive enough to think those bid sponsors won't be inclined to increase their support for a domestic Olympics?" (CHICAGOTRIBUNE.com, 6/26).

    TRACK MEET: Logan said of the Univ. of Oregon's Hayward Field hosting the '11 U.S. Championships and '12 Olympic Trials, "I am not necessarily sold on the proposition that we have to take our championships to every nook and cranny in this country. ... What we need is an environment like this. I think we need a combination of excellent venue, a knowing audience, a locality that loves having us back again and again." Meanwhile, Logan said of the sport's drug issue, "If you were to ask me, am I running a clean sport, I would have to answer, I don't know but I suspect not" (Portland OREGONIAN, 6/29).

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  • IHOP Inks Three-Month Promotional Partnership With NFL

    The International House of Pancakes (IHOP) has signed a "three-month promotional partnership, from August through October," with the NFL, according to Terry Lefton in this week's SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL. IHOP "will use its NFL rights to push two forthcoming football-themed menu items: NFL Stuffed French Toast and the QB Scramble." Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but the NFL is IHOP's "biggest sports sponsorship." The 1,400-location chain "has been a sponsor of the Harlem Globetrotters since early this year and also has sponsored the WNBA since last season." Sources said that because the NFL deal is for "only three months, it is not exclusive, nor does the deal include a designation beyond official sponsor." The deal makes IHOP the "first NFL sponsor in the restaurant category since KFC's brief run during the playoffs early this year." IHOP creative agency VitroRobertson "shot two separate ads last week" in L.A. using Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald and Eagles QB Donovan McNabb (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 6/29 issue).

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  • Marketplace Roundup

    Wimbledon Win Would Give Murray's
    Endorsement Portfolio Significant Boost
    In London, Charlene Sweeney noted U.K.-based publicist Max Clifford believes tennis player Andy Murray could make $165M (all figures U.S.) "if he wins at Wimbledon this year." Murray is "one of the highest earners in British sport," with annual sponsorship income around $25M. Murray's sponsorships include a $1.6M-plus deal with Highland Spring mineral water, a deal with RBS worth $1.6M per year and a four-year contract with Fred Perry, "believed to be worth about" $6.6M (LONDON TIMES, 6/28).

    PICTURE THIS: In Louisville, Eric Crawford reported Univ. of Kentucky (UK) men's basketball F Darius Miller's picture was featured on a "flyer and in an advertisement" for a local basketball camp. Miller and UK "didn't know his picture was being used," but Miller "might have to sit out a game because of this secondary violation, which UK dutifully reported." Crawford wrote of the NCAA, "The height of hypocrisy from an organization that has turned its athletes into walking billboards and its tournaments into a series of TV timeouts with a little sports action wedged in." Crawford: "Change will not come until players decide they've had enough. The schools will not stand up for them" (Louisville COURIER-JOURNAL, 6/28).

    CHARITY CASE: CNBC's Maria Bartiromo reported Lakers G Kobe Bryant will announce a new charitable effort in China with the help of CITIC Securities Int'l Partners CEO Donald Tang, whose "specialty is making grassroots connections between investors in the U.S. and their Chinese counterparts." Tang said Bryant is being honored tomorrow night by the Asia Society Southern California "for his exceptional philanthropic endeavors." Tang: "Both Kobe and I believe this U.S.-China relationship is too important of a relationship to leave it just to the elites and the politicians alone" ("Closing Bell," CNBC, 6/26).

    ROUNDUP: Cavaliers Senior VP/Communications Tad Carper said that the team is "hard at work in bringing to market jerseys and T-shirts" featuring Cavaliers C Shaquille O'Neal's name and jersey number, which will be No. 33. The team's Web site Friday began an option to pre-order the items, "which will be available in early July" (CRAINSCLEVELAND.com, 6/26)....Sources said that T'Wolves G Ricky Rubio was dressed by Armani for Thursday's NBA Draft in N.Y. (N.Y. POST, 6/28).

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