SBD/Issue 43/Sponsorships, Advertising & Marketing

"Colbert Nation" Sponsorship Paying Off For U.S. Speedskating

"Colbert Nation" Has Raised $202,000 For U.S.
Speedskating During First Week Of Partnership
"The Colbert Report" sponsoring the U.S. Speedskating team has "quickly made the sport's athletes feel more confident they won't be lapped by the competition in this Olympic year for financial reasons," according to Philip Hersh of the CHICAGO TRIBUNE. Comedy Central's Stephen Colbert on his show Monday announced the "Colbert Nation" had raised $202,000 during the first week of the partnership. U.S. Speedskating Exec Dir Robert Crowley said that the link "to Colbert has prompted interest from several other potential sponsors." Crowley: "Most of them want something we don't own -- mentions on the show. But we have some other leads as well because of our partnership with the Colbert Nation." Crowley noted he "first heard from the Colbert people Oct. 27," and the next day he "was on a teleconference with Colbert." Several days later, Crowley "got a call saying the 'Colbert Report' wanted him on the Nov. 2 show." He said, "We signed the deal that night." Hersh reported almost all the athletes "began wearing skin suits with the Colbert Nation logo at last weekend's short and long track World Cup meets." Others are "wearing a mix of warmup gear" with the logo of former sponsor DSB Bank NV and "new racing gear with the Colbert Racing logo." But U.S. Gold Medal-winning skaters Shani Davis and Apolo Anton Ohno, "the leading U.S. long and short track skaters, respectively, so far have chosen not to wear the logo." Crowley: "It's not an issue for us. Anyone who has not signed our athlete agreement is under no obligation. We are talking to Shani and Apolo about it, but our main focus is supporting their efforts to do the best they can this season" (CHICAGOTRIBUNE.com, 11/10).

WINNER OF A DEAL: UNIVERSAL SPORTS' Alan Abrahamson wrote the sponsorship is a "win-win all around," as "all will benefit because of the attention and the audience -- that elusive younger demographic -- that Colbert brings." Abrahamson: "Prediction: We all will be hearing the funny new Colbert riff -- 'U-Ice-A!' -- many times between now and the Feb. 28 end of the Vancouver Games. Or if that doesn't stick, some other clever shtick" (UNIVERSALSPORTS.com, 11/10).

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