SBD/Issue 221/Sponsorships, Advertising & Marketing

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  • Buick Pulls Backing Of PGA Tour Buick Open, Buick Invitational

    PGA Tour Set To Announce Replacement 
    For Buick Open's Late July Date
    The PGA Tour yesterday announced that Buick has withdrawn its backing of the Buick Open in Michigan and the Buick Invitational in San Diego. Buick was contracted through '10 as owner of the Buick Open and title sponsor of the Buick Invitational. Buick Golf Marketing Manager Larry Peck said the decision to end the 51-year PGA Tour relationship was made internally and not by the judge overseeing GM's bankruptcy restructuring. Buick also dropped its status as official car of the PGA Tour, a deal the Tour has quietly shopped this summer but has been unable to find a buyer for. Peck said Buick will look to reinvest some of the estimated low-eight-figure spend on golf or other properties with an emphasis on product exposure. "We're starting with a clean sheet of paper about where we'll go from here," he said. "Everything has a potential as long as it's innovative and cost efficient." The PGA Tour in a statement said it will announce today a replacement for the Buick Open's late July date for next season. Sources said The Greenbrier Resort in West Virginia has signed at least a one-year deal to fill that slot. The Tour also said it is still "exploring opportunities" to return to Michigan in the future (Jon Show, SportsBusiness Journal). Golf Channel's Todd Lewis said, "It wasn’t too long ago Buick sponsored four PGA Tour events in one year. Now, one of the oldest sponsors in golf, dating back five decades plus, no longer has its name on any Tour event" ("Golf Central," Golf Channel, 8/4).

    WARWICK HILLS MEETING WITH TOUR REPS: Warwick Hills Golf & Country Club GM Rich Fairman, whose club hosted the Buick Open, said that club officials "have met with PGA Tour representatives to discuss the process of securing a title sponsor" for a future Tour event. In Detroit, Carlos Monarrez notes a potential sponsor would have to commit "about $6[M] toward the expense of a tournament -- a daunting challenge in this economy." Meanwhile, Peck said that there is "precedent for the hiatus," as the tournament was not held from '70-71, but "he did not want to offer false hope for a return" for Buick. Peck: "We're starting out with a clean sheet of paper. We're not looking at that possibility at this point in time. So I'd hate to really offer any glimmer of hope with respect to that" (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 8/5).

    PLEASE, DON'T LEAVE ME: In Michigan, Laura Angus reports Genesse County leaders yesterday began a "positive letter writing campaign" asking GM CEO Fritz Henderson and PGA Tour Exec VP & Chief of Operations Rick George to "revisit this decision and give the community a chance to show its support of the event." Flint Area Conventions & Visitors Bureau President Jerry Preston said, "Give us this final year. Let's see what we can produce for Buick and the Buick Open." Meanwhile, Michigan state Rep. Paul Scott said that he will "introduce legislation to make Michigan the most competitive state for hosting golf tournaments" once the legislature re-convenes this fall. Angus notes that would "probably involve offering some form of tax breaks" (FLINT JOURNAL, 8/5). In Detroit, Angelique Chengelis notes the PGA Tour's departure from Michigan leaves the state "without a regular stop on any major tour -- the LPGA Tour had the Oldsmobile Classic in suburban Lansing but that partnership ended in the late 1990s, and the Champions Tour played the Senior Players Championship in Dearborn from 1990-2006" (DETROIT NEWS, 8/5).

    CALIFORNIA LOVE: In San Diego, Tod Leonard reports the PGA Tour event at Torrey Pines is "expected to live on into next year and beyond" despite Buick's departure. Buick had "one year left on its contract to sponsor" the '10 Buick Invitational at Torrey Pines, and with the company's departure, tournament organizer the Century Club of San Diego "will have to secure a new sponsor." Century Club President & General Chair Tom Wornham said that he is "'100[%] confident' a sponsor will be found to take over the 2010 event and stick with the tournament into the next PGA Tour television contract, which will run from 2011 through 2014." Wornham: "We're going to have success finding a new sponsor very quickly." Wornham said that the Century Club and the Tour "have had discussions with five or six serious sponsor candidates," and that he "hoped a deal would be in place by September." Leonard notes it has been "speculated that the Century Club and tour might be interested in a sponsorship pact with a large company that is locally or regionally based, such as Qualcomm or Sempra Energy." Another idea, which "may be nothing more than a dream, would have Tiger Woods hosting a West Coast tournament at Torrey Pines similar to the AT&T National" (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 8/5). Buick Invitational Exec Dir Tom Wilson said that "bringing on a new sponsor this late" for the '10 event "would provide enough ramp-up time to effectively promote the tournament, which is scheduled for the last week of January." Wilson: "We'll just have a big (marketing) splash out of the box" (NORTH COUNTY TIMES, 8/5).

    PGA Tour Expected To Replace Buick Open
    With A Tournament At The Greenbrier
    SEEING GREEN: In West Virginia, Eric Eyre reports the PGA Tour is "expected to replace the Buick Open with a golf tournament" at The Greenbrier, which has scheduled a news conference for this afternoon, "presumably to announce the new tournament." The tournament would be held August 5-9, 2010, and is "expected to be called The Greenbrier Open." Eyre notes Greenbrier County (WV) "has 1,300 hotel rooms, with 712 of those at The Greenbrier," and "many of those attending the event will likely also stay in Beckley, Covington, Va., Lexington, Va., and possibly as far away as Charleston and Roanoke, Va." The Greenbrier "has never played host to a PGA tournament," but the '79 Ryder Cup and '94 Solheim Cup "were held at the resort" (CHARLESTON GAZETTE, 8/5). Greenbrier Owner Jim Justice said, "I want a multi-year event, but we're ready to accept anything they put on the table" (GOLF WORLD, 8/10 issue).

    MOVING UP THE LEADERBOARD? GOLFWEEK wrote officials for the PGA Tour Turning Stone Resort Championship in New York and Frys.com Open in Arizona, "two Fall Series events not part of the FedEx Cup's regular season slate, must feel as if they are on deck for FedEx Cup promotions, given the two-year commitments each has made to the Fall Series." But "neither camp had much to say when asked about Greenbrier possibly getting an event." One FedEx Cup tournament director said, "If Buick leaves an open date, who's to say it has to go to a new tournament, because some of us are looking to move into better slots in the schedule. ... We certainly understand the game that's being played by the Tour" (GOLFWEEK.com, 8/4). In Milwaukee, Gary D'Amato reported golfers Jerry Kelly and Steve Stricker, who are hoping to save the Tour's annual stop in Milwaukee, have "talked to Tour officials about a new date ... and presumably the Buick Open date was discussed." However, without a new title sponsor, it is "doubtful" the tourney would be moved from its current date opposite the British Open (JSONLINE.com, 8/4).

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  • NFL, Procter & Gamble To Announce Multi-Year Deal Today

    Procter & Gamble Says Deal Costliest In Its
    History, Reportedly Valued At $10M A Year
    Procter & Gamble (P&G) and the NFL today will formally announce a multi-year deal under which P&G will have the rights to use the NFL logo and place a "newly designed 'Official Locker Room Product of the NFL' label" on its products, according to Vranica & Futterman of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. P&G said that the deal is the "costliest in its history," and a source valued the deal at at least $10M a year. NFL Senior VP/Sales & Marketing Mark Waller, who said that the league "had been working on the deal with P&G for nearly three years," and other league officials "created a 'locker room products category' that could encompass numerous P&G brands." Vranica & Futterman note the category "has its limits, since the players probably won't be seen shaving with Gillette razors or applying Old Space, the way coaches use Motorola wireless headsets and players chug Gatorade." But league officials "convinced P&G that there was enough of a natural connection between 'tough players and tough products'" for the company top become one of the league's 21 major partners. The P&G deal for the NFL represents an "opportunity to go into business broadly with a company that spends over $8[B] a year on advertising around the globe but just a fraction of that on sports sponsorships." P&G Dir of Global Sports Marketing Jason Dial said the company upon its acquisition of Gillette in '05 "found out how much of a role sports marketing could play with our broader P&G portfolio" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 8/5). In Cincinnati, David Holthaus notes the deal is "not P&G's first sports marketing deal, but it may be its deepest, involving 13 brands in all." Old Spice will be part of the campaign, though P&G "would not release the other products involved"(CINCINNATI ENQUIRER, 8/5).

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  • The Island Life: Mets, Puerto Rico Tourism Announce Partnership

    Delgado May Help Puerto Rico Tourism Co.
    Promote Travel To The Island As Part Of Deal
    The Mets and the Puerto Rico Tourism Co. yesterday unveiled their new sponsorship deal, and officials for the tourism agency said they are also nearing a pact with Mets 1B and Puerto Rico native Carlos Delgado to a companion deal in which he would also help promote travel to the island. The Mets sponsorship is part of a quickly-heightening involvement by the agency in sports-related efforts, including recent alignments with the World Baseball Classic and Legg Mason Tennis Classic in DC. “Part of the vision here is to promote Puerto Rico as the premier sports destination in the Caribbean, and the place in the region where there’s so much more than just surf and sun,” said Puerto Rico Tourism Co. Deputy Dir Mario Gonzalez De Lafuente, citing events there such as the upcoming FIBA Americas Championship and the PGA Tour Puerto Rico Open. “We’re, of course, promoting more than sports, and that’s there’s so much more to do and see in Puerto Rico, but we see sports as a core part of our message.” On top of traditional assets such as outfield wall and home plate rotational signage and tabling rights, the deal also involves a companion effort in which sister promotional company Rums of Puerto Rico will get access into many Citi Field hospitality spaces to serve products such as Bacardi and Don Q. The rum involvement brought out Bethenny Frankel, seen on “The Real Housewives of New York City” and “The Apprentice,” to yesterday’s announcement as she is an official spokesperson for Rums of Puerto Rico. The agreement is for the rest of this year, with an option held by the tourism company for '10. Mets Exec VP/Business Operations Dave Howard said the pact was a "natural" given the club's extensive popularity in Puerto Rico and presence of several Puerto Rican players on the club's roster. "We're big down there, thanks in part to the two Carloses [Delgado and OF Carlos Beltran], and New York is a very important market for them. So it's a great fit."

    MORE BUSINESS TO COME: Howard said the deal is one of several the club is negotiating for the balance of the '09 season and for '10, despite a checkered, injury-plagued season that has seen the Mets' on-field fortunes dim and the recent controversies involving GM Omar Minaya, former VP/Player Development Tony Bernazard, and N.Y. Daily News reporter Adam Rubin. "We still have a quality product and a great stadium and remain aggressive in pursuing new business," Howard said. "There's been a bit of a rough patch, but you simply have to remember to never get too high or too low in this business. You just can't overreact either way. Unfortunately, the local media does lend itself to some wild swings, both positive and negative. But that doesn't change the character of who we are as an organization and as a business partner." Attendance at Citi Field, meanwhile, remains in excess of 39,000 per game and 94% of capacity. Asked if he was concerned about a September dropoff at the turnstiles, Howard said, "We'll have to see how it plays out. We're not done playing baseball. But we still have great energy in the building."

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  • ESPN Next Month To Debut Contextual Pop-Up Ads On Web Site

    ESPN.com College Football Videos Will Feature
    New Contextual Advertising System
    ESPN is planning to debut a “contextual advertising system next month within college football videos on ESPN.com,” according to David Goetzl of MEDIAPOST. ESPN’s ad team is “starting to seek out advertisers” for the program developed by Australia-based Demand Sport, which features brief ads that “surface while a video continues to roll.” For example, a Denny’s ad for its “signature breakfast immediately pops up when a player is shown hitting a grand slam.” The pop-up ads can be a “banner across the bottom of the screen, or a larger ‘flyout’ that appears to the left of the video.” ESPN is “likely to avoid a third execution -- where text is overlaid on the screen -- since research shows it could prompt a negative reaction from viewers.” Producers who assemble the highlight packages “tag where the pop-up ads should be placed.” The video is then “sped electronically to Demand Sport’s nerve center in Australia,” and the ads are “inserted there and the finished package is returned to ESPN and posted on its site.” Demand Sport has been “developing the costly ad-serving system for four years,” and ESPN is the “first customer to license it, offering a high-profile launching pad.” ESPN sales execs are “considering packages where advertisers can control the full inventory on a particular day.” ESPN/ABC Sports Customer Marketing & Sales President Ed Erhardt: “We’re trying to say that the best way to use this is to take advantage of the context.” Pilson Communications President Neal Pilson said the system gives ESPN “another way of maximizing value in a very competitive marketplace” (MEDIAPOST.com, 8/4).  

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  • Ohio Lottery Unveiling Instant-Win Games For Browns, Bengals

    Browns, Bengals Unveil
    Instant-Win Lotto Games
    The Ohio Lottery Commission is "rolling out a Browns-branded instant-win game in time" for the upcoming NFL season, according to Jim Nichols of the Cleveland PLAIN DEALER. The $5 scratch-off tickets offer a "top instant prize of $100,000," and players who "don't score an instant prize can mail in their lottery tickets for entry into four drawings for losers' prizes, such as tickets to upcoming Browns games, game-worn jerseys and other memorabilia" (Cleveland PLAIN DEALER, 8/5). Meanwhile, the Ohio Lottery also will debut a $5 Bengals instant game later this month, also carrying a $100,000 top prize. The game also offers team merchandise, game-worn jerseys, autographed footballs, pre-game sideline access, football road trips, dinner on the field at Paul Brown Stadium and '10 season tickets, among other items (Bengals).

    CLARIFICATION: An item in yesterday's issue of THE DAILY should have stated the Giants' deal with the Connecticut Lottery came after the team earlier this year expressed it was in talks with the lotteries in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. THE DAILY regrets the mistake.

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