SBD/Issue 244/Sponsorships, Advertising & Marketing

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  • Phelps Signs Extension With Speedo That Includes London Games

    Phelps Will Continue To Consult Speedo On New
    Product Development Under New Contract
    Speedo today announced an extension with swimming superstar Michael Phelps through '13. Terms of the agreement were not available. As part of the deal, Speedo will donate $10,000 to the Michael Phelps Foundation for every World Record Phelps sets. Other Speedo swimmers include Olympians Natalie Coughlin (U.S.), Ryan Lochte (U.S.), Katie Hoff (U.S.), Libby Trickett (Australia), Eamon Sullivan (Australia), Park Tae Hwan (South Korea) and Rebecca Adlington (Great Britain). Phelps did not rule out Speedo launching a signature product line in the future, saying, "It's something hopefully we'll see. I can't say anything is definitely lined up for that." He added of the donations Speedo plans to make, "That's something that's pretty exciting and new and will make me work harder." Under terms of the agreement, Phelps will continue to serve as a consultant to Speedo as it develops new products. Speedo parent company Warnaco Group President Helen McCluskey: "That participation in terms of new product development is really important for us. In some ways, his signature and endorsement is on every product we make" (Tripp Mickle, SportsBusiness Journal). Phelps: "I've been with the brand since I was 16 and it's been the only suit that I've ever worn in my life. I always felt like it's the best and that's what I want to continue wearing. I'm glad to continue this partnership for the next couple years" ("Squawk Box," CNBC, 9/9). Phelps will "work with the company to develop its new version of older-generation swimwear" (Matthew Futterman, WALL STREET JOURNAL, 9/9).

    WORKING ON NEW SUITS: BLOOMBERG NEWS' Christopher Elser reports Speedo plans to "release new swim suits in the next few months that conform to the new regulations instituted by FINA" (BLOOMBERG NEWS, 9/9). Warnaco Group President & CEO Joe Gromek said the company stopped production on the suits that were part of the ban and added Speedo will "try and make the distributors whole in this situation." Gromek: "There's opportunity here because the lead swimmers will need new uniforms and we will be able to provide new uniforms. We're working on innovative technology today that will be launched over the next couple of months and it will be the most extensive line of Speedo that we've seen today." He added the swimsuits worn by Phelps and other endorsers are a "very small part of the business; it's probably a couple of percentage points." However, Gromek noted it creates a "halo effect for the brand and it's very important. That's why it's so important to have Michael as our lead spokesperson for the brand as well" ("Squawk Box," CNBC, 9/9).

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  • Melanie Oudin's U.S. Open Success Attracting Potential Sponsors

    Melanie Oudin's Agent Believes She Will Have
    No Trouble Endorsing Multiple Products
    The story of the U.S. Open to date has been 17-year-old American Melanie Oudin making the women’s quarterfinals, and her "guilelessness is a significant selling point in an age when so many people seem to be angling to be stars," according to Karen Crouse of the N.Y. TIMES. When Oudin speaks, "she uses words like cool and awesome," and she described her winning match against Maria Sharapova last week as "a blast." The exposure she is receiving "could not come at a better time," as her contracts with adidas and Wilson "are expiring soon." BEST VP/Tennis Sam Duvall, Oudin's agent, said he has been "getting calls" for potential endorsement deals. Duvall: "All the apparel manufacturers and racket manufacturers want the next best American" (N.Y. TIMES, 9/7). Duvall added, "I think Melanie will have no problem endorsing a lot of different products -- she's like the girl next door" (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 9/8). More Duvall: "We are being very selective with what we let her do" (MIAMI HERALD, 9/9). CNBC.com's Darren Rovell noted Oudin's "pink and yellow shoes she made, with the word 'BELIEVE' on it, have gotten plenty of airtime," but adidas spokesperson Lyn Famiglietti said that there are "currently no plans to do any type of limited release of the shoes." However, Famiglietti said that fans "could customize their shoes to look exactly like Oudin's" (CNBC.com, 9/8).

    NO RESERVATIONS: Oudin Sunday was booted from her Times Square hotel because her reservation was up. Oudin, who plays Caroline Wozniacki tonight in the quarterfinals, has become the talk of the tournament with her gutsy come-from-behind wins over three straight ranked opponents. The 70th ranked player had not expected to remain in N.Y. so long, as she was only booked at the Marriott through Sunday. BEST Tennis President John Tobias, through the company's travel agent, Sport Travel, quickly got her into the Intercontinental. Tobias: "Obviously, we will not be sending any of our players back to that hotel (the Marriott).” The Marriott could not confirm Oudin was staying there, spokesperson Kathleen Duffy said. She said it was possible Oudin was staying there registered under a different name. Hotels frequently vie to have tennis players stay with them, as it adds glamour and cache. In related news, Tobias said he expects to announce a new endorsement for Oudin before her match tonight. The logo of the company will be on her tennis bag (Daniel Kaplan, SportsBusiness Journal).

    BEER FEST: SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL's Kaplan reports Heineken "expects to begin renewal talks with the U.S. Open soon," even though there is one year remaining on its current deal. Heineken has "kept its 17-year sponsorship of the Open even as it has moved away from other sports efforts and into music." Heineken USA CMO Christian McMahan said that the brewer is "closely associated with the Open and has spent as much money activating the sponsorship this year as it has in past years despite the down economy" (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 9/7 issue).

    BROKEN RECORDS: The U.S. Open set an all-time first week attendance record of 423,427, while total attendance on six of the first seven days exceeded 60,000 fans. That includes three consecutive days of more than 61,000 -- the first time the event has ever had multiple crowds of more than 61,000 in a given year. USOpen.org had a record 23,373,675 visits in the first week of the tournament, a 71% increase from '08, and 5,352,085 unique users, up 60% from last year. USOpen.org's live streaming drew 6.4 million activated streams and had an average viewing length of three hours and ten minutes. The new USOpen.org iPhone application was downloaded 175,361 times (USTA).

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  • Nets Partner With PNY Tech For NBA's First Practice Jersey Deal

    Nets' Deal With PNY Technologies For Jersey
    Sponsorship Includes Practice Arena Entitlement
    The Nets and New Jersey-based PNY Technologies Inc. have signed a two-year partnership that will put the company's logo on the team's practice jerseys, starting with the '09-10 season. The Nets are the first team to take advantage of the NBA's new policy allowing such sponsorships. In addition, PNY has obtained the naming rights for the Nets' practice facility, to be called the PNY Center (Nets). PNY officials did not disclose the specific value, but said that they are paying in the "low six figures for the overall team deal." SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL's John Lombardo reports as part of the deal, the Nets' coaching staff also will wear "PNY-branded gear during post-practice interviews," and the company's logo will be "seen on the media backdrop used for interviews at all practices." The team additionally will give PNY four tickets to all Nets away games. Lombardo notes the NBA is allowing practice jersey sponsorships as it "continues to mine for additional revenue streams for its clubs." With the Nets planning to move to Brooklyn, the key for the team in this deal was to "create a separate sponsorship package around the team's practices" (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 9/7 issue). Nets CEO Brett Yormark said all NBA teams are "looking to monetize their inventory as best they can," and practice jersey sponsorships are the "newest and greatest piece of inventory that the teams have." Yormark appeared on Fox Business yesterday, where anchor Alexis Glick held up a practice jersey featuring the PNY patch ("Money For Breakfast," Fox Business, 9/8).

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  • Chevrolet Exec Dewar Says Company Remains Committed To NASCAR

    Dewar Says Chevrolet Committed To NASCAR
    For Long Haul, But Has No Plans To Add Teams
    Chevrolet VP/Global Operations Brent Dewar Saturday said that "despite having to renegotiate all of its NASCAR team and track contracts, his company will remain in NASCAR as long as there is an even enough playing field for Chevrolet to win races and, in turn, sell cars," according to Bob Pockrass of NASCAR SCENE. Dewar: "The Chevrolet brand is still committed to our racing series. ... We've been in it from the beginning, and we're in it for the long haul." He added NASCAR has tried "to not allow costs to creep into the sport that we've seen in other racing series that we've participated in where sometimes it gets too far ahead of you and the (return of investment) goes away." Dewar said that GM's "decrease in support impacted all the teams ... but wasn't the same for each team." Pockrass noted Chevy does not "plan on adding any more teams, although Dewar did say he likely would have some talks with non-Chevrolet people as part of the course of business in racing." Dewar: "We're probably going to be staying at the levels we currently are now." Dewar also discussed why Chevrolet did not want to bring the Camaro into the Nationwide Series, saying, "We have got some iconic designs in Corvettes and Camaros. We're really proud of that, and the more it gets away from that is the reason we're not going to race the Camaro. … We just think it's an important distinction. It's not a Camaro. It's a Chevrolet that we're racing in the series" (SCENEDAILY.com, 9/6).

    INTERESTED IN DANICA: With IndyCar driver Danica Patrick reportedly planning to race in some Nationwide and Camping Truck series races beginning next year, ESPN's Ed Hinton noted sponsorship "is not going to be an issue" for Patrick. Hinton: "She is going to be an exception to the bad economy. ... Chevrolet is very interested in Danica. Whatever manufacturer in NASCAR signs Danica, that's going to be a huge branding boost for them" ("NASCAR Now," ESPN2, 9/6).

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  • Early Success: Babyfans.com Sales Up 81% From Year-Ago Period

    Babyfans Rare In Its Deep Stocking
    Of Infant, Toddler Merchandise
    Georgia-based Babyfans.com, an online retailer for licensed infant and toddler team gear, has boosted its sales by 81% compared to summer '08 as it continues to build traction in a quickly emerging category of licensed sports merchandise. Todd Wilson, a former staffer with CBS College Sports, ISP Sports and the Collegiate Licensing Company, founded the company in '05, though the operation has been a full-time business only since '07. The outlet is rare in its deep stocking of infant and toddler merchandise for most pro and major college teams, as most others are sport, team or program specific for that market segment. "We're trying to forge a niche, particularly as it relates to getting multiple teams in one location, and think we've really struck on something," Wilson said. "We've been sort of under the radar, and then more regional, but are now really going national."

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  • Names & Faces: Stewart Makes Appearances In Burger King Spots

    Stewart Takes Polygraph To Confirm His Love
    Of The Whopper In New Burger King Spot
    AD WEEK's Alex Palmer reported Burger King has launched a "new ad campaign featuring NASCAR driver Tony Stewart." The first commercial features Stewart "as a teacher instructing other celebrities," including comedian Carrot Top and actor Erik Estrada, "how to properly endorse products." Three additional spots also will feature Stewart, including one in which he "takes a polygraph test to confirm his sincere endorsement of the Whopper." Stewart also will take part in a live polygraph test on www.truthabouttony.com on October 20 (ADWEEK.com, 9/8). Burger King restaurants will offer Stewart-Haas Racing "themed-packaging and merchandise" (MEDIAPOST.com, 9/8).

    GET YOUR HEAD STRAIGHT: CTVOLYMPICS.ca's Dean Campbell reported U.S. alpine skier Lindsey Vonn has officially signed a contract with equipment supplier Head through the '14 Sochi Games. Vonn will use Head skis, boots and bindings, and the company now has "secured the top three female skiers in the world," also sponsoring Sweden's Anja Paerson and Germany's Maria Riesch. Vonn's switch from longtime partner Rossignol comes following the company's move to "cut the salaries of all skiers by 50% effective immediately" (CTVOLYMPICS.ca, 9/7).

    ROUNDUP: U.S. Olympic bobsledder Steve Mesler this summer sent letters to 50 Buffalo-area companies "asking for some support," and as of mid-August, he "had only one reply -- and that was in the negative." Mesler, currently "living off his credit cards and family support," said that he "isn't asking for tons of money." Mesler: "A thousand dollars here or there would help" (BUSINESS FIRST OF BUFFALO, 9/4 issue)....The Univ. of Florida has sent a cease-and-desist letter to Crocs for displaying a photo on a corporate blog of Gators QB Tim Tebow "wearing orange-and-blue Crocs" (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 9/8).

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  • Marketplace Roundup

    Carlsberg's Deal With FA Could Spell
    End To Long-Running Liverpool Sponsorship
    In London, Kevin Eason reports England's FA has secured a US$82.6M sponsorship deal with Carlsberg, though the decision "almost certainly means the end of the company's long association" with EPL club Liverpool. The FA's new deal with Carlsberg, which begins August '10, is said to be worth about US$19.8M annually, and "will be one of the final acts at the FA" by Commercial Dir Jonathan Hill, who is leaving the organization "after reports of internal disagreements and friction over the loss of the Setanta deals." It is "thought that Carlsberg was unwilling to double" its US$11.8M annual sponsorship with Liverpool, which includes the team's shirt sponsorship. Liverpool is now "thought to have secured a new sponsor" with insurance agency Standard Chartered in a deal reportedly "worth as much as" US$24.7M a year (LONDON TIMES, 9/9).

    WINGS & WHEELS: The NASCAR HOF will announce today that it has struck a 10-year deal for Buffalo Wild Wings to be its exclusive restaurant partner. The sports-themed restaurant will occupy the 8,400-square-foot restaurant space inside the Hall of Fame in Charlotte beginning in the spring of '10. Buffalo Wild Wings, headquartered in Minneapolis, operates more than 600 restaurants across the country, and its location will include entry ways from outside the Hall so that the restaurant can keep its own hours. The Hall, which will open May 11, 2010, expects to name a retail partner in the coming weeks (Michael Smith, SportsBusiness Journal).

    FOURTH-YEAR SENIOR: MEDIA POST's Karl Greenberg reported Cars.com this season is "launching its fourth consecutive annual sponsorship of 'Saturday Afternoon College Football' on ESPN." The sponsorship will feature spots from Cars.com's current campaign and "Sponsored by Cars.com" on-air mentions during games. The company is "running a sweepstakes for its dealer/advertisers in which dealers can enter for the chance to win one of several prizes, including a grand-prize trip for two" to the BCS National Championship in January (MEDIAPOST.com, 9/4).

    ENTERING A NEW ARENA: Go Daddy has signed a sponsorship deal with the PBR for the PBR Invitational. Go Daddy branding will be throughout Portland's Rose Garden Arena during the October 2-3 GoDaddy.com Invitational, including on venue banners and chute gates. The company has also signed a deal with country singer Erin Kalin, who will sing the national anthem during the event, as its newest Go Daddy Girl (Go Daddy).

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