SBD/Issue 204/Sponsorships, Advertising & Marketing

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  • Ray Of Light: Longoria's Popularity, Marketability On The Rise

    Longoria Beginning To Draw Marketing
    Interest From National Companies
    Rays 3B Evan Longoria tomorrow will play in his second All-Star Game in his second MLB season, and he is achieving a "level of popularity and celebrity no Tampa Bay player has ever reached," according to Marc Topkin of the ST. PETERSBURG TIMES. The Rays have "good young players, but Longoria's Q-rating has soared beyond anything any other" Rays player has reached. Longoria is "close to sealing a couple of big-time national marketing deals," and is "becoming the face not only of the Rays but one of Major League Baseball's youngest and brightest." Paul Cohen, Longoria's agent, said that he is working on a deal to put his client "in national campaigns in the winter for an entertainment company producing baseball videos and 'a household product.'" Longoria recently "turned down a big-money deal to launch a clothing line because he wasn't comfortable with the symbols, though it may be revisited after a redesign." Cohen said that Longoria has a contract with a N.Y. memorabilia/licensing company that is "among the 10 most lucrative in baseball." Cohen "predicts that by the end of 2010, Longoria will be in the top 10 of all major-leaguers in marketing appeal and performance." Cohen: "He has that Brett Favre quality. In a sense, it really doesn't matter what city he's in; he's just a guy America will love. ... The feedback we get from marketing companies is that people just like him." Rays President Matt Silverman added Longoria is the "type of player Major League Baseball wants to advertise and promote." Meanwhile, Topkin noted Longoria shares a "unique name" with actress Eva Longoria, which is a "boost, at least with casual fans." The two have "never met," but it is "not a stretch to think a savvy company will arrange some type of joint appearance or promotion" (ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 7/12).

    ALL-STAR SENDOFF: In St. Petersburg, Smith & Topkin noted the Rays' five All-Stars -- Longoria, 1B Carlos Pena, SS Jason Bartlett and OFs Carl Crawford and Ben Zobrist -- were "presented their jerseys by Majestic" on the field prior to Saturday's game at Tropicana Field against the A's. Majestic started the program last year and said the concept is "just like a high school pep rally." There will be a "'limited supply' of the jerseys available at the Trop gift shop" (ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 7/11).

  • All-Star Game Sponsors Increasing Charitable Contributions

    Pepsi Helped Pay For Free
    All-Star Concert Saturday
    State Farm, Bank of America, Pepsi and other sponsors “have increased the money they plan to give to charities” at this year’s MLB All-Star Game, according to Ken Belson of the N.Y. TIMES. BofA for each hit in tomorrow's game “will donate $5,000 to Feeding America, which runs a national network of food banks.” State Farm “expects to exceed the $370,000 it gave to the Boys and Girls Clubs at the Home Run Derby it sponsored last year.” Also, Pepsi “helped pay for a free concert by Sheryl Crow on Saturday that raised money for Stand Up to Cancer.” Belson writes the strategy is “keeping with the times,” as the last thing MLB or sponsors want is to "appear insensitive to the economic challenges that many fans face." The companies also “want to deflect criticism of corporate spending on sports.” The All-Star Game activities are “part of broader, year-round effort not just to help charities, but also improve” bottom lines. About 200,000 people “have visited the league’s Web site to take part in a program that gives fans tickets and merchandise based on how often they stay at Holiday Inn hotels” Meanwhile, GM said that for every dollar it spent on sponsorship of baseball games, it “generated about $5 in sales.” BofA said that for every dollar it spent at sporting events, it “generated $3 in net income.” BofA Senior VP & Sports Sponsorship Exec Ray Bednar: “I can completely understand the cynicism and understand the questions about philanthropy and investments in sports. But we make money at this, and that’s the most important message to get out”  (N.Y. TIMES, 7/13). New Era Saturday outside of Busch Stadium "gave away caps and T-shirts to 200 kids" who took part in a whiffle ball event sponsored by the company (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 7/12).

  • Apparel Companies Pick Clothes For Golfers Months In Advance

    Woods' Wardrobe For This Week's
    British Open Selected Last Summer
    Many top pro golfers have their wardrobe for major tournaments selected for them months in advance, as golf apparel manufacturers "leave no marketing opportunity to chance," according to a front-page piece by Bill Pennington of the N.Y. TIMES. Nike held its first meetings about Tiger Woods' wardrobe for this week's British Open 17 months ago, and it is the "same for almost all the top golfers." What Woods wears "each day at every major championship this year has been scripted for him by his sponsor Nike since last summer." Woods meets with Nike officials "three to four times a year," and at the last meeting he is "shown prototype garments for his approval or rejection." Nike Global Dir of Golf Apparel & Accessories Doug Reed said, "Tiger won’t wear white pants, for example. And he won’t wear green pants. One year, we proposed he wear a dark green shirt on a Saturday at the PGA Championship. Tiger took one look at it and said: ‘The PGA is in Oklahoma in August. There’s no way. I’m not wearing a dark shirt in that heat.’ So we took it out of the script.” adidas Golf Senior Dir of Global Apparel Tiss Dahan said a "single shirt worn by one of our athletes on a Sunday afternoon winning a tournament can raise sales 10[%]." Dahan: "We see the influx online, and our customer service phone line will get the calls from retailers who are reacting to requests from consumers. You get somebody playing well in clothes that look good, it really moves the needle for apparel." Pennington notes Phil Mickelson, who is not playing in the British Open, does not have a clothing contract this season, "making him one of the few elite golfers to dress himself" (N.Y. TIMES, 7/13).

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