SBD/Issue 234/Sponsorships, Advertising & Marketing

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  • CBS, NBC Experience Slow Ad Sales Market For Super Bowl, Olympics

    The advertising market is "moving at a glacial pace for two of the biggest ticket items of 2010 -- Super Bowl XLIV and the Winter Olympics," according to Ourand & Mickle of SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL. CBS and NBC still have "considerable inventory left to sell" with the events less than six months away, and ad buyers "seem content to wait until much closer to the events to make their buys." While NBC reportedly is "holding the line on its pricing for the Olympics," ad buyers said that CBS is "more flexible, with the average cost of an A-position 30-second spot during the Super Bowl dropping from the $3[M] that NBC pulled last year." Neither CBS nor NBC would say "how much inventory remains available," but several ad execs indicated that the marketplace is "slower than ever." NBC is "experiencing a tougher market with the Winter Olympics from Vancouver, which fall in the middle of the February sweeps," and the network's sales team "has been active over the summer, hitting the street and taking meetings." But NBC's efforts to "fill those slots have been hindered by a lack of participation from" USOC and IOC corporate partners. Meanwhile, CBS is "in a slightly better position with the Super Bowl than NBC is with the Olympics," as the net has Anheuser-Busch's "annual commitment for 10 in-game spots, and it has sold sponsorships for at least two hours of the game's pregame show" (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 8/24 issue).

    NFL PRICING DOWN SLIGHTLY: MEDIAPOST's Wayne Friedman reported the NFL's TV ad sales "continues to be a late-moving and fragile marketplace, with most of the bigger agencies yet to do deals with CBS, Fox and NBC." While NFL pricing "has not declined as much as many broadcast and cable prime-time shows," media execs said that CPM pricing is "down anywhere from 3% to 4% versus a year ago." Media execs estimated that NFL unit pricing "for top games on CBS and Fox" will be around $275,000-300,000 and more for a 30-second spot this year; "upwards of $400,000 and more for NBC; and about $300,000 and more on ESPN." One media agency exec said that ESPN "is well sold for 'Monday Night Football' this year -- it has either closed or is near closing virtually 90% of its inventory." However, Friedman noted ESPN "runs fewer commercials than the broadcasts networks' NFL games -- just 46 30-second commercial units." Meanwhile, one "thorny issue still surrounds this year's deal-making: That of commercial ratings, so-called C3 guarantees -- commercial ratings plus three days of DVR playback." TV advertisers "want them; NFL television networks have been largely opposed" (MEDIAPOST.com, 8/21).

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  • Usain Bolt's Performances In Berlin Have Boosted Sales For Puma

    Bolt's Limited Edition "Puma Street Yaam"
    Shoes Sold Out After Last Week's Wins
    Jamaica sprinter Usain Bolt's record-setting performances at the IAAF World Championships in Berlin last week "have boosted sales at Puma," according to Daniel Schafer of the FINANCIAL TIMES. Puma CEO Jochen Zeitz said that all of the products created for the World Championships, including the limited-edition version of the bright orange "Puma Street Yaam" shoes Bolt wore, "were sold out" after Bolt broke the world records in the 100M and 200M finals. Zeitz: "That he broke two records is gigantic. Bolt is worth gold for us." Zeitz noted an independent organization estimated Bolt's media value at US$358M (FINANCIAL TIMES, 8/22). In Manchester, Julia Kollewe writes Bolt is "turning out to be one of the best investments that Puma ... has ever made." Zeitz said that Puma's "whole Jamaican-themed product range has flown off the shelves, supported by a 'Who faster' viral campaign featuring Bolt." Zeitz added that Bolt's "casual style fits very well with the 'fun' image the company strives for." Zeitz: "His personal style, representing Jamaica as a country, perfectly personifies the Puma brand. His appeal goes beyond his sport. His personality, his lifestyle -- it's not just based on sport." Puma reportedly pays Bolt $1.5M a year in endorsement fees (Manchester GUARDIAN, 8/24).

    CAN'T TAKE MY EYES OFF OF YOU: REUTERS' Mitch Phillips writes when Bolt "blazed to glory at the Beijing Olympics, he was feted as the hero his tainted sport has been crying out for." Phillips: "Now, having repeated them in Berlin, he can consider himself the savior of the world championships." The event "lost much of its luster" when it went from being held yearly to biennially, and it became a "slightly more glamorous extension of the grand prix circuit" to some fans. However, the '09 World Championships "will be different," as "nobody will ever forget the place where a man first ran '9.5-something'" in the 100M (REUTERS, 8/24). Washington Post reporter Liz Clarke said, "In the States, we typically get excited about track and field every four years, and we just had an Olympic year." Clarke: "It's nice that it’s back in the news after one year. ... This just seems like a genuine, happy story of phenomenal performance and success, so it's wonderful for the sport” (“Washington Post Live," CSN Mid-Atlantic, 8/21). Detroit Free Press columnist Mitch Albom: “Usain Bolt is doing the truly impossible: He’s making people watch track in between the Olympics” (“The Sports Reporters,” ESPN, 8/23). SI.com's Brian Cazeneuve writes, "With his engaging personality and flair for fun, Bolt has made people appreciate how dynamic running can be" (SI.com, 8/24).

    THE WRITING'S ON THE WALL: Bolt yesterday was "honoured by the city of Berlin by receiving an original segment of the Berlin Wall." The 12-foot high section weighing nearly three tons is "decorated with a life-size painting of Bolt running on the blue track of the Olympic stadium and the words 'NEW WR.'" The wall slab will be "delivered to Bolt's training camp in Jamaica" (AP, 8/24).

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  • Danica Patrick Likely To Sign New Deals With AGR, Motorola

    Patrick Leaning Toward Staying In IndyCar
    Following Andretti Taking Full Control Of AGR
    IRL driver Danica Patrick is "leaning strongly toward staying in the IndyCar Series" now that Andretti Green Racing (AGR) co-Owner & Chair Michael Andretti is "in the process of taking full control of ownership" of the race team, according to Bruce Martin of SI.com. Patrick: "I think it's looking a bit like I'm returning. I'm not done. We are still working through some things, but it's looking like that. It is moving along very positively." Andretti confirmed that he is "positive he can keep Patrick and her sponsor, Motorola, on his team for next season." Martin noted a "key to that would be the return of Motorola, which could provide the necessary income to meet Patrick's contract wishes." It is believed Motorola's current three-year deal to be the primary sponsor of Patrick's No. 7 car is worth $17M. Patrick: "All of the sponsorship is taken care of and it is pending if I'm staying or not." Patrick added that with AGR co-Owner Kevin Savoree "removed from contract negotiations," there is a "tremendous comfort level and trust that exists between her and Andretti." Patrick: "I do think that some of the things that have happened and the dynamics of what is happening with the team, seeing some of this come along, is a good thing for me. I do think this plays into where I want to be in the future" (SI.com, 8/21).

    GIVING THE BRAND A BOOST: SI.com's Martin noted Motorola has been "happy with the attention" Patrick has given their products, as well as the "response to their commercials." Patrick: "I spent the last week with the folks at Boost Mobile and sat next to the president -- we've talked a lot about when we get this deal done to come up with some cool, new concepts for next year. Any time people are talking about the future it's implied that you're in it. Everybody seems pretty happy at Motorola and Boost Mobile. It has been a really good relationship" (SI.com, 8/23).

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  • Wrangler Poised To Benefit From Favre's Return To Playing Field

    Wrangler Believes Favre Will Help
    Generate Attention For Brand
    Wrangler thinks Vikings QB Brett Favre signing with the team right around the release of the company's "You Can Count on Wrangler" campaign "will likely generate more attention for its budget denim brand," according to Sarah Mahoney of MEDIAPOST. The campaign supports two different jeans lines and is scheduled to have ads, via Toth Brand Imaging, "run throughout the fall, generating an estimated 3.4 billion media impressions, especially in general news and sports media." Print ads are "slated for 'Sports Illustrated' and 'Popular Mechanics'", and online ads will run on SI.com and Yahoo(MEDIAPOST.com, 8/22). Meanwhile, SI.com's Peter King writes Favre is in a "great Sears commercial" about him being "unable to make up his mind about a big electronics buy." King: "The kid waiting on him tells him about the wafflers who come and can't decide whether to buy what they really want. 'Those guys drive me crazy,' he says. Art, or something, imitating reality" (SI.com, 8/24).

    CALL TO ATTENTION: In St. Paul, Sean Jensen reported the Favre signing has "meant a flurry of activity and a slew of possibilities on how to market the perfect drawing card for [the Vikings] at this time." MainGate Inc., the Vikings' exclusive retail and merchandising company, after the signing "immediately contacted partners to start producing everything from earrings to pennants to Brett Favre mini-footballs." MainGate President & CEO Dave Moroknek said that Favre jerseys are "going to be shipped to all 50 states" and DC. Meanwhile, execs at Reebok, the NFL's exclusive apparel maker, "immediately advised their two plants to prepare cranking out" Favre jerseys (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 8/22). But Jensen today notes Reebok "didn't mass-produce in advance a No. 4 Vikings jersey bearing Favre's name." MainGate received "advance approval for many graphics in anticipation of Favre possibly joining the Vikings and assigned a stock-keeping-unit for various items before" he signed last Tuesday (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 8/24).

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  • Under Armour To Sponsor Five N.Y. High School Basketball Teams

    Under Armour (UA) is "set to sponsor five New York high school basketball teams during the 2009-10 season, including Lincoln High, which has won seven of the last eight PSAL championships," according to Mark Lelinwalla of the N.Y. DAILY NEWS. UA also is "sponsoring Boys & Girls and Thomas Jefferson's boys' teams, as well as the reigning city and state girls champion, St. Michael Academy, and perennial girls powerhouse St. John the Baptist on Long Island." The five teams are part of the 27 high school basketball squads -- 20 boys and seven girls -- that UA is "currently sponsoring in a nationwide strategy to market its brand." The company believes that Lincoln High School -- where free agent G Stephon Marbury and Clippers G Sebastian Telfair attended -- gives it "instant authenticity on the high school scene, perhaps even sending a subliminal shot to Nike, which still outfits a handful of top-tier teams in the city." UA Friday sponsored the Elite 24 high school showcase at Rucker Park in N.Y., "in which all 24 players involved were outfitted in Under Armour." UA Dir of Basketball Kris Stone said Lincoln is "going to be the centerpiece of East Coast and New York City basketball" for UA. Stone: "What it does for us it says we're going to be committed to basketball. That was just the statement we're trying to make. What we're trying to do is create a presence for the brand." UA VP/Brand Steve Battista said that UA does not release the terms of the contracts, but "each deal varies" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 8/23).

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  • Names & Faces: Hamilton Remains Part Of Evangelical Campaign

    Christian Campaign
    Sticking With Hamilton
    In Dallas, Sam Hodges reported Rangers CF Josh Hamilton will be "among those featured in a new round" of Dallas-area billboards this week from evangelical Christian campaign I Am Second, despite Hamilton "having recently acknowledged the authenticity of photos ... that show him drunkenly cavorting with young women in January." Texas-based e3 Partners Ministry VP Nathan Sheets, whose group is behind the campaign, said that officials were "impressed by how he owned up, and made a 'pretty easy' decision to stick with him." Meanwhile, Sheets said that the I Am Second campaign "plans to expand its advertising ... later this year" to Charlotte, Orlando and Miami (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 8/22).

    NEXT BIG THING? In N.Y., Richard Sandomir writes Jets rookie QB Mark Sanchez "may be the closest thing the Jets have to a quarterback with [Pro Football HOFer Joe Namath] potential." Sanchez has "curly hair, an electric smile, a Mexican-American heritage and an easy manner with the news media." He also is "arguably even better looking than the young Joe Namath, who glamorized the quarterback species in the 1960s and '70s." Sanchez is "polished, bright and articulate, and understands big-market media after being a star" at USC in L.A. (N.Y. TIMES, 8/23).

    FLEET FEET: In N.Y., Anahita Moussavian reports tennis player Maria Sharapova, who is sponsored by Nike and Prince, has partnered with Cole Haan to "present her first capsule collection," Maria Sharapova by Cole Haan. Sharapova said one of her best fashion moments was at a Cole Haan dinner in April, the "first time I had a chance to wear a pair of stilettos from the collection I designed" (N.Y. POST, 8/24).

    FITTING TRIBUTE: IndyCar driver Sarah Fisher for the October 10 Firestone Indy 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway will change all branding on her No. 67 Honda to pink in honor of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (Sarah Fisher Racing).

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  • Marketplace Roundup

    USA TODAY's Theresa Howard writes fantasy football creates a "hardcore audience for advertisers and ad revenue for big online hosting sites, such as the NFL and CBS," which is why Best Buy, Snickers, Ford and Coors Light "are betting on fantasy." Best Buy is offering a 17-week promotion that "lets people pick a new team each week and play against a featured celebrity to win chances in a sweepstakes." The promo features weekly prizes, with the grand prize being a $5,700 package "including a high-def TV, Ibanez guitar and Microsoft Xbox 360." Snickers will "sponsor an iPhone app with score updates in its second season with CBS fantasy football," and Ford will "tout its F-150 pickup, Mustang and new Taurus in its first foray into fantasy, also with CBS" (USA TODAY, 8/24).

    Writer Says Money From Vick Jerseys
    Should Go To Humane Society
    DOUBLE STANDARD: In Nashville, Joe Biddle wrote with NFLShop.com selling jerseys of Eagles QB Michael Vick, it is "hypocritical" of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to "discipline Vick and prohibit him from playing as part of his punishment." If Goodell "wants to make it right, he would donate all the money derived from the sale of Vick jerseys to the Humane Society chapter in Philadelphia" (Nashville TENNESSEAN, 8/23). ESPN's John Saunders said, “This simply says Vick committed a terrible crime, is still being punished for it, but even though he can’t wear the Eagles green he can still make green for the league” (“The Sports Reporters,” ESPN, 8/23).

    WRONG APPROACH: Washington Post reporter Liz Clarke said she was “appalled” by Anheuser-Busch’s new campaign putting the colors of local college teams on cans of Bud Light. Clarke: “The drinking age is not 18 these days, it’s 21. Am I not right? And college students, most of them, are 17, 18, 19, 20.” Washington Post reporter Barry Svrluga added, “Aside from that, are they really having a tough time breaking into that market?" ("Washington Post Live," CSN Mid-Atlantic, 8/21).

    CATCHY TUNE: In Tulsa, Bill Haisten reported John Martin, the son of Oklahoma State Univ. Senior Associate AD Dave Martin, has composed and recorded "Cowboys Forever," an anthem to be featured "during the Cowboys' pregame video for home football games." Nike officials "did the editing on the video," which the company's production team "put the finishing touches on ... last week." Nike also is "about to launch a line of 'Cowboys 4Ever' apparel" (TULSA WORLD, 8/23).

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