SBD/Issue 64/Sponsorships, Advertising & Marketing

Marketplace Roundup

Sony Ericsson Says Title Sponsorship Of WTA
Tour Remains Positive Despite Williams' Outburst
Sony Ericsson said that its title sponsorship of the WTA Tour "remained positive despite Serena Williams's foul-mouthed outburst at the U.S. Open in September." The company's six-year naming-rights deal with the Tour expires after next season, and Sony Ericsson Dir of Global Marketing Partnerships Calum MacDougall said, "I think if you have a relationship like we have with the WTA, over a long time elements like this will happen because of the nature of sport." He added, "Overall the players have been very supportive of our sponsorship and they have been very engaging. We haven't taken a view on whether we'll continue or not but it is something we need to be looking at in the coming months." MacDougall said that there was "no temptation to switch focus to the men's game" (REUTERS, 12/11).

PICK UP TRUCK: NASCAR driver Kyle Busch Friday formally announced plans to launch Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM), which will field two full-time Camping World Truck Series entries next year "with Tayler Malsam driving the No. 56 Toyota and Busch and Brian Ickler splitting the No. 18." KBM also "would like to field a Truck for former series champion Johnny Benson, but the organization hasn't been able to obtain sponsorship" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 12/12).

MAKING A COMEBACK: In L.A., Jean Yung profiles Chinese hurdler Liu Xiang, who is "back on his feet" after being unable to compete in the '08 Beijing Games due to an injury. After his injury, the estimated $2M fee "per endorsement Liu reportedly earned from sponsors such as Nike, Coca-Cola, Cadillac, China Mobile and Visa shrank to $200,000." But this October, Liu "sprinted to gold in the most-watched 13.34 seconds of China's National Games," and the "level of adoration is approaching pre-Beijing highs." Nike "ran a commercial celebrating Liu's recovery and return so many times that the same ad played every few minutes and sometimes back-to-back during the event" (L.A. TIMES, 12/14).

THIRST QUENCHER: Bills WR Terrell Owens has signed an exclusive deal with Blue Gem Enterprise to endorse its Title Sports Drink. The deal includes TV commercials, public appearances and product placement. Owens and the company agreed to delay active endorsement until after the NFL season (Blue Gem Enterprise).

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