SBD/Issue 232/Sponsorships, Advertising & Marketing

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  • Obama Advocates American Carmakers' Participation In NASCAR

    Obama Says Participation In NASCAR A Good
    Advertising Campaign For Car Manufacturers
    President Obama yesterday promoted U.S. car manufacturers' participation in NASCAR as "about as good advertising as you can get." Obama appeared live on ESPN2's "NASCAR Now" yesterday after honoring several current and former NASCAR drivers at the White House and said, "NASCAR is a quintessential American sport. I think that its fan base is now worldwide ... and when you think about the fact that right now the U.S. auto industry is going through a tough time, we wanted to make sure we highlight the fact that this is a great sport, is a great brand for not just NASCAR itself but also for America." Obama said of the Big Three automakers remaining in the sport, "If somebody’s excited about NASCAR, that means they’re excited about cars. And we want to make sure that people know what great American cars are. Obviously it’s understandable at a time when GM has gone through some tough times that they may need to cut back sponsorships briefly. But over the long term, if we look 5-10 years out, I think they’re going to come back stronger than ever, and I think their association with NASCAR makes a great difference." ESPN's Marty Smith said, "It was extremely poignant that the president went on the record in front of the whole free world and said the Big Three belong in NASCAR, that there's no better way to leverage your brand than to be on the race track in NASCAR on Sunday. That's such an unbelievable endorsement" ("NASCAR Now," ESPN2, 8/19).

    MOVING FORWARD: In Daytona Beach, Godwin Kelly notes following Brian Vickers' win Sunday at the Sprint Cup Carfax 400, Toyota "now boasts wins with its three primary race teams" -- Joe Gibbs Racing, Michael Waltrip Racing and Red Bull Racing (RBR). RBR "may have the deepest pockets" of all three teams since it is owned by Red Bull CEO Dietrich Mateschitz. Kelly notes as "high-profile race teams, such as Hendrick Motorsports and Roush Fenway Racing, are scrambling to find corporate sponsors for the 2010 season, Mateschitz only needs to write a check from his company's account." Toyota Motorsports National Manager Les Unger said of RBR, "It's very gratifying to see that team and how far it's come since 2007." Meanwhile, Unger said that he "continues to talk with teams currently affiliated with other manufacturers about going into the Toyota camp next season." Unger said that Toyota "would like to increase the size of its footprint in the Cup garage, but hinted the company would not want to have more than a dozen full-time cars" (Daytona Beach NEWS-JOURNAL, 8/20).

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  • Modell's Sees Demand For Vick Jerseys; Dick's Waiting On Decision

    Modell's Says Vick Jerseys In High
    Demand, Especially In Philadelphia
    Modell's Sporting Goods CEO Mitch Modell said that he "initially had reservations about selling" Eagles QB Michael Vick jerseys, but that it "didn't take long to see there was 'pretty high demand' for No. 7's sports apparel -- especially at his Philadelphia-area stores," according to Wood & Cook of the PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER. Modell said, "We weren't planning on selling it until the customers started coming into the stores demanding it. As long as the customers are coming in, we'll sell it. We're in the business to serve our customers." NFL VP/Communications Brian McCarthy said he anticipates sales of Vick's No. 7 jersey will be "among the top-20-selling player jerseys for the month of August" on NFLShop.com. Meanwhile, Wood & Cook note NFLShop.com is "selling an Eagles jersey for dogs that could be customized with the No. 7 and VICK on the back for $39.99." NFL Senior VP/PR Greg Aiello: "Just as you could with any other player, you can buy a customizable jersey for a dog with anybody's name on it." Aiello: "Just to have Michael Vick's name on the back is not an issue. Vick is working with the Humane Society and speaking out for the proper treatment of animals, so we don't see a problem" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 8/20).

    WAIT AND SEE APPROACH: Dick's Sporting Goods Exec VP & CMO Jeff Hennion, whose company earlier this week decided not to sell Vick jerseys, said that the chain is "tallying customer service calls, search queries on its Web site and inquiries at Philadelphia-area stores to gauge consumer interest in Vick's jersey." Hennion said that Dick's "may decide later to begin stocking the Vick jersey." Dick's has "about 400 stores in 40 states" (BLOOMBERG NEWS, 8/19). A Philly.com poll asks readers, "Will you buy a Michael Vick jersey?" At presstime, 58.0% of respondents selected "Never!" while 33.1% chose "Absolutely!" (PHILLY.com, 8/20).

    QUICK RESPONSE: In Minneapolis, Chao Xiong reports the Vikings "scrambled" to have No. 4 Brett Favre jerseys "printed and rushed to their three retail stores, the Vikings Locker Rooms." Meanwhile, Goldy's Locker Room at the Mall of America "expects to have them by Friday or Saturday," and Dave's Sport Shop in Maple Grove, Minnesota "received a shipment of jerseys Wednesday afternoon, and quickly sold about 15" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 8/20). In St. Paul, Sean Jensen reports the Vikings Locker Room store at the Mall of America by yesterday morning was "selling Favre jerseys with a line wrapping throughout the store." Reebok Sports License division VP & GM Blake Lundberg said of producing jerseys for Favre's return, "We're almost treating it Super Bowl-like, working 24 hours a day, seven days a week" (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 8/20). The AP reported sporting goods stores in Sioux Falls, South Dakota "report phones ringing off the hook with people seeking" Favre's jersey, and the "situation is the same" in Fargo, North Dakota. Fargo-based Sports City Owner Ron Gordy said that the Favre jersey "might be his best-selling jersey ever," and that the phone "has been ringing steadily" (AP, 8/19). Meanwhile, Reebok is "actually printing and selling Favre's red practice jersey" (TWINCITIES.com, 8/19).

    PUTTING PLAN IN ACTION: Indianapolis-based MainGate President & CEO Dave Moroknek, whose company is the "official vendor" for Vikings souvenirs, said that MainGate "has been preparing a merchandise line and a marketing plan for months" in anticipation of Favre joining the team. MainGate has been "stocking a mass quantity of jerseys, tees, hats and other merchandise to carry for all store locations and to cover online sales through Vikingslockerroom.com." MainGate will launch a "fully integrated sales and marketing program in conjunction with the announcement of Favre joining the Vikings" (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 8/19).

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  • Earnhardt Marks To Be Featured On Two New Roller Coasters

    Kings Dominion, Carowinds To Debut
    Earnhardt-Themed Coasters Next Year
    New roller coasters at two amusement parks -- Kings Dominion in Doswell, Virginia, and Carowinds in Charlotte -- will debut next year with Dale Earnhardt marks as part of a unique licensing agreement with Dale Earnhardt Inc (DEI). The new 305-foot-tall, $25M coaster at Kings Dominion, being announced today, will be called Intimidator 305 and will measure 5,100 feet in length. The cars, which will carry "Intimidator" and "3" marks -- after Earnhardt's nickname and car number during his NASCAR days -- will reach speeds of 90 mph. The Carowinds coaster is expected to be announced next week. Both properties are owned by Cedar Fair Entertainment, which struck the licensing deal with DEI. "We see this as part of the reactivation of the Dale Earnhardt brand," DEI Exec VP & GM Jeff Steiner said this morning as he drove with Earnhardt's daughter, Taylor, to Kings Dominion for the announcement. "We've been working to restore the Dale Earnhardt legacy through unique things that resonate with the fanbase and this fits in with our strategy." DEI merged its Sprint Cup racing operations with Chip Ganassi Racing last year to form Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing, but DEI still exists as the rights holder of the Earnhardt legacy, with his widow Teresa Earnhardt at the helm. "We've been reaching out to the consumers to see if there is still an interest in the Earnhardt legacy and the answer has been a resounding yes," Steiner said. "Theme parks want marquee rides that can be their hallmark and they see this as something that will resonate with the fans, especially in the Southeast." DEI owns the likeness rights to Earnhardt, while Richard Childress Racing owns the rights to the No. 3. Steiner described the licensing agreement with Cedar Fair as a collaborative effort with RCR so that both marks -- Earnhardt's likeness and the No. 3 -- could be included in the deal. Additionally, Steiner said there will be a strong merchandise play around the Intimidator coaster, both at the park and through the DEI retail outlets.

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  • Fashion Forward: Golfers Going With Scripted On-Course Apparel

    Nike Golfers Meeting Next Week To
    Decide Attire For Next Year
    Many PGA Tour players following a scripting process with the clothes they wear while playing, meaning the apparel providers are "mapping out from head to toe what [they] will wear for the season, especially during the year's four majors," according to Robert Bell of the Greensboro NEWS & RECORD. Golf is the "biggest sport in which the participants don't have to wear a uniform," so a "Sunday on the leaderboard at Augusta National is tantamount to a 7,445-yard runway walk for Nike, adidas, Ashworth and the other half-dozen major apparel manufacturers." adidas Golf Senior Dir of Global Apparel Tiss Dahan: "It's proven we see an increase in sales on a shirt worn by one of our golfers. We see it online, from our customer service phone calls and from retailers who get calls from customers saying they want that specific shirt or article of clothing." Bell reported golfers under contract with Nike will "gather in a hotel room next week at The Barclays to determine what clothes will be worn for next year's Masters and U.S. Open." Nike Global Dir of Golf Apparel & Accessories Doug Reed: "We're mixing and matching things and getting feedback on what they like and don't like in terms of style and color." Meanwhile, when it "comes to fashion, tour players are as varied as their swings," and the "key is giving each golfer his individuality on the course." Reed said golfer Anthony Kim "needs to look different from K.J. Choi who needs to look different from Lucas Glover and right on down the line" (Greensboro NEWS & RECORD, 8/19).

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  • Marketplace Roundup

    Kevin Garnett, Adidas Partner To Create Limited
    Edition Chelsea-Themed Sneaker
    In Providence, Robert Lee reported Celtics F Kevin Garnett, who is a fan of EPL club Chelsea, has "partnered with adidas to create a limited edition, blue and yellow basketball sneaker that combines his name with Chelsea's colors and logos." Chelsea "hopes that the sneaker with Garnett's backing of the club will help the sport grow." The shoe, named the TS Commander LT, "comes with an exclusive scarf and Chelsea jersey." It "will be available on Aug. 29 exclusively at the Boston-based retailer Bodega," and the package retails for $275 (PROJO.com, 8/19).

    EASTERN PROMISES: In N.Y., Mitch Abramson reports New Jersey-based boxing promoter Dino Duva and investor Richard Davimos, in partnership with the Chinese Sports Industry, have "ventured into an exclusive agreement with the Chinese Boxing Federation to market, sponsor and promote the Chinese national boxing team in amateur and professional competition." Heavyweight boxer Zhang Zhilei is the "centerpiece of the deal." Duva said that he is "in the process of finalizing a television deal to broadcast amateur fights in China, and he says sponsors are lining up." adidas is the chief sponsor of China's national boxing team, and Duva said that he is "currently in talks with Reebok, Nike, Visa and Mastercard" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 8/20).

    CHICAGO STYLE: In Chicago, Lewis Lazare reported the Chicago 2016 bid committee "hopes to rev up some last-minute excitement for the city's ... Olympic bid when a new music video-style TV commercial debuts next month featuring an array of local celebrities." Walter E. Smithe Furniture co-Owner Tim Smithe is "producing the video, which will be shot Aug. 26 in Millennium Park." Celebs expected to participate include White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen, Cubs manager Lou Piniella and Bears coach Lovie Smith, while Bears QB Jay Cutler is "being courted." The video will include a "montage of celebrities using sign language to spell out the numbers '2016' and declaring that they back the bid" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 8/19).

    ROUNDUP: In Indianapolis, Curt Cavin noted Bombardier is "no longer a sponsor" of Indianapolis Motor Speedway's Pagoda. Cavin: "I don't know all the details of the business transaction, but the logo has been gone for some time" (INDYSTAR.com, 8/19)....WWE is "researching an apparel line, new toy lines and other branded products targeted at females" (N.Y. POST, 8/20).

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