SBD/Issue 222/Sponsorships, Advertising & Marketing

SI Promo The Latest Activation Around "Madden 10" Release

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Sports Illustrated is joining in with a large series of big-box and endemic retailers offering special promotions around the August 14 release of EA Sports' "Madden NFL 10." The magazine is marketing a free copy of the game on any gaming platform and an NFL Films DVD documentary on John Madden for a $49, 28-week subscription to the magazine. The price point is $10 less than the list retail prices for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions of the game. The co-promotional deal is a first for SI with EA Sports. The subscription deal carries an auto-renewal provision. A TV spot for the promotion is running on several male-oriented cable outlets, including ESPN and Comedy Central (Eric Fisher, SportsBusiness Journal). Fisher reports in this week’s SBJ that EA Sports has “abandoned the public, on-site event marketing approach for the launch of this year’s version of 'Madden NFL,' opting instead for a strategy that leans heavily on national cable TV and mass-market retail.” The company held two private events last month “that were filmed incorporating and celebrating” the videogame, and “different edits of those events will be shown on ESPN2, Spike, VH1 and the NFL Network at various points leading up to and following” the release. EA Sports Senior Product Manager Anthony Stevenson: “Those events we did in the past, like taking over Times Square in New York as we did (in 2007), were great, but the thought we had this time is how we can blow out this kind of celebration over the release of ‘Madden’ to all of our fans.” Fisher notes several large retailers like Wal-Mart, Target and Best Buy, which are opening at midnight on August 14, are “conducting an extensive pre-sale marketing program, or offering playable demos of the game.” Meanwhile, GameStop is offering a “free downloadable demo with a Super Bowl XLIII rematch of Pittsburgh and Arizona for pre-ordering consumers” (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 8/3 issue).

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