SBD/Issue 76/Sponsorships, Advertising & Marketing

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  • AT&T Latest To End Endorsement Contract With Tiger Woods

    Woods No Longer Featured
    On AT&T National Web Site
    AT&T "has had enough of the Tiger Woods scandal," as the company Thursday ended its endorsement contract with the golfer, according to Eric Torbenson of the DALLAS MORNING NEWS. The move "adds another big name to a roster of companies that have distanced themselves from Woods following his admission of marital infidelity." Woods had "put an AT&T logo on his golf bag" as part of an agreement reached in February (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 1/1). AT&T spokesperson Michael Coe said the company is "ending our sponsorship agreement with Tiger Woods and wish him well in the future." IMG Global Managing Dir of Golf Mark Steinberg, who reps Woods, and Woods' publicist Glenn Greenspan declined comment (BLOOMBERG NEWS, 12/31). In N.Y., Ken Belson reported AT&T said that it will "continue to sponsor" the AT&T National, which benefits the Tiger Woods Foundation. PGA Tour Exec VP/Communications & Int'l Affairs Ty Votaw said that Woods' indefinite absence from pro golf "means that he will not host the event this year." Meanwhile, AT&T's sponsorship of Tiger Jam, an "annual charity event held in Las Vegas to raise money for the Tiger Woods Foundation, has expired" (N.Y. TIMES, 1/1). Woods is no longer featured on the AT&T National Web site (THE DAILY). 

    BRAND AWARENESS: The N.Y. TIMES' Belson noted AT&T, which had "earlier said it was evaluating its relationship with Woods," was "focused on using him to boost its brand." Marketing experts said that using Woods in this way "made it easier to justify cutting ties when his reputation took a hit." Univ. of Oregon Warsaw Sports Marketing Center Managing Dir Paul Swangard: "These are companies affiliated with him for things not having to do with his core ability." Swangard said sponsors like AT&T "rely on the larger brand equity, the attributes beyond Tiger's phenomenal athletic talent" (N.Y. TIMES, 1/1). UCF DeVos Sport Business Management Program Associate Dir Bill Sutton said that the Woods scandal has "made him an unattractive pitchman for companies ... using him to promote 'a product related to his lifestyle.'" But Sutton added that he "expects sports companies will remain with Woods." Sutton: "Nike's got warehouses full of golf clubs. Upper Deck has tons of autographed items from him. They're not going to give up on him" (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 1/1).

    Chevron Could Be Next Sponsor 
    To Cut Ties With Woods
    NOT AS VISIBLE: CNBC.com's Darren Rovell wrote while AT&T's sponsorship was "not as visible as most -- Woods wasn't even on AT&T's Web site -- it was quite comprehensive." It is "not likely" Woods' golf bag will be left blank, and Golf.com's David Dusek has already predicted that Nike will be "willing to slap its logo there." Meanwhile, if there is a "natural next sponsor to go, it's likely Chevron, which is in a similar situation in terms of having a less visible role with Woods, but a more active role" with his foundation (CNBC.com, 12/31). Engage Marketing President Kevin Adler: "There is less fallout for AT&T because there is less public awareness of Tiger's relationship with AT&T. You couldn't walk through an airport without seeing a Tag or Accenture ad with Tiger." The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Suzanne Vranica cited sources as saying that AT&T's contract with Woods gave the company the "right to use [Woods] in its ads," though AT&T "hasn't done so." The sources added that the contract gave AT&T the right to have Woods "conduct golf clinics for its customers" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 1/2).

    TOURNEY TALK: Sports business writer Tim Lemke wrote AT&T retaining its sponsorship of the AT&T National "makes perfect sense." By sponsoring a tournament, AT&T "gets to do a lot of corporate hospitality and its name and logo are emblazoned everywhere, regardless of whether Woods is even present." AT&T's contract with Woods "may have had included a morality clause, giving AT&T the right to get out," but it is "unclear on what grounds AT&T could back out of the tournament deal" (TIMLEMKESPORTS.com, 12/31). Brandywine Conference & Visitors Bureau Exec Dir Tore Fiore said of the announcement Woods will not host this year's AT&T National at the Aronimink Golf Club in Pennsylvania, "The hotels in the area ... have already had bookings, not only on the domestic level but on the international level. Does it put a damper on it? Yeah." Fiore added that tourism officials "plan to meet for a second time" this week with the Tiger Woods Foundation to "discuss how to market the event 'sans' Tiger" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 1/1).

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  • CBS Has Sold 95% Of Available Ad Slots For Super Bowl XLIV

     
    CBS President of Network Sales Jo Ann Ross said that CBS "has sold 95% of its 62 ad slots" for the February 7 broadcast of Super Bowl XLIV, according to Bruce Horovitz of USA TODAY. CBS Sports Exec VP/Sales & Marketing John Bogusz said that the first half of the game is "sold out." The news comes "despite the fact that the nation still is climbing out of the economic downturn and that two of the longest-running Super Bowl advertisers -- Pepsi-Cola and General Motors -- have said they'll pass on this year's game." Advertisers said that prices "have ranged from a few 30-second slots as low as" $2M to some at up to $3M. The first quarter "costs most, the fourth quarter, least." Most Super Bowl ad "veterans are back, including Anheuser-Busch and Coca-Cola, along with four foreign automakers and a to-be-announced Detroit brand." Also, Doritos and CareerBuilder are "sponsoring consumer-made ad contests" for the game. Doritos Dir of Marketing Rudy Wilson said that entries for the company's contest "doubled from last year to 4,000." And there are entries "from two celebrities: former football star Ed 'Too Tall' Jones and rapper Flavor Flav" (USA TODAY, 1/4). In L.A., Meg James notes "given the huge reach, many advertisers are confident that the game will reign supreme." Sources indicated that CBS has been charging $2.5-3M per spot, "roughly the same rates as last year's" game. American Honda Senior Manager for National Advertising Tom Peyton, whose company bought a 30-second spot, said, "There is nothing else like it in the world of television. If you have the right product, and the right message, the Super Bowl is a terrific environment to be in." Bogusz noted the network's pregame show is "well sold, but we do have inventory that is still available." Meanwhile, James writes PepsiCo's "decision to sit out the Super Bowl, once deemed a can't-miss showcase for major advertisers, underscores how the Internet is reshaping marketing by providing companies less expensive ways to convey their messages to consumers who might be likely to buy their products" (L.A. TIMES, 1/4).

    VIVA LAS VEGAS: In Las Vegas, Richard Velotta reported the Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority (LVCVA) will meet later this month with its ad agency, R&R Partners, to determine if the city's "What happens here, stays here" ads "can be aired during the Super Bowl." Other tourism companies said that they are "working to capitalize" on the NFL’s "modified ad policy that would lift a ban that prevented cities with legalized gambling to run TV spots during" the postseason. The new rule "allows Las Vegas to advertise, but it still prohibits ads featuring specific hotels and casinos or any gambling references or imagery." Although some of the Las Vegas ads are "set in resorts, others don't have any gambling or individual property reference." Meanwhile, travel Web site Vegas.com "plans to advertise during the playoffs and possibly the Super Bowl." The Vegas.com ads "don't show casinos or gambling images" (LAS VEGAS SUN, 1/1).

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  • Northern Trust To Reduce Entertainment Budget At PGA Event

    Northern Trust Plans To Cut Entertainment
    Budget This Year After Controversy In '09
    Northern Trust, the U.S. bank that "sparked outrage by throwing lavish parties at a professional golf tournament shortly after receiving government bail-out funds, plans to cut its entertainment budget drastically" at its '10 event, according to Hal Weitzman of the FINANCIAL TIMES. The Chicago-based bank "came under fire in February when it laid on a series of soirees for guests" at the PGA Tour Northern Trust Open in L.A. -- "featuring performances by musical guests such as Sheryl Crow and Earth, Wind & Fire -- five months after accepting" $1.6B in TARP funds. Northern Trust President & CEO Rick Waddell said that the bank "will continue to fulfill its sponsorship obligations" this year, but in a "more humble manner." Waddell: "We're not having any live entertainment. It's going to be more of a traditional hospitality event. We've pared our budget back" (FINANCIAL TIMES, 12/31). A Northern Trust spokesperson "characterized the cuts in the event's entertainment budget as 'significant' but said the tournament itself 'continues to be an important part of Northern Trust's branding'" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 1/1).

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  • Sonic Youth: Sportslink Changes Name To All American Games

     
    Sportslink, the company that organizes and produces the U.S. Army All-American Game, has changed its name to All American Games. The company will continue to operate the U.S. Army All-American Game, youth football camps known as Football University, Five Star Basketball camps, and a football reality TV show called "The Ride." It will use allamericangames.com as a Web site. All American Games Chair Doug Berman said, "There will be more events and more training opportunities with what we're undertaking here. We're incredibly focused on high school and youth sports and believe there are chances to build some national brands and national moments." The 10th annual U.S. Army All-American game will be broadcast on NBC Saturday. Sponsors include the U.S. Army, Degree, Russell, Razor Collectibles, Schutt Sports, Athletic Republic, Deloitte, EAS and the San Antonio Visitor's Center.

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  • Marketplace Roundup

    SBS' Contract To Title Sponsor This Week's
    PGA Tour Event Has Yet To Be Finalized
    In Maui, Robert Collias noted the 10-year deal SBS agreed to in May to title sponsor this week's PGA Tour event at Kapalua Resort is "not yet finalized." Tournament Chair and Kapalua Senior VP/Resort Operations Gary Planos: "We are not finished with everything yet. We are still working on this year and next year and we will see where we go, but we are excited that SBS is looking long-term. We just have to kind of take this one on and hopefully exceed their expectations, that is our goal" (MAUI NEWS, 1/2).

    THIRST QUENCHER: In Las Vegas, John Edwards reported energy-drink company Xyience Inc. liquidating trustee David Herzog is suing Zyen LLC, an affiliate that is managed by Fertitta Enterprises, and "wants the court to seize the energy-drink company on behalf of the Xyience estate." Herzog is accusing Fertitta Enterprises, whose family members own the UFC, and others of "pursuing a 'lend-to-own' strategy to gain control of Xyience, rather than buying out company shareholders." Gordon Silver Managing Partner Greg Garman, who repped Fertitta Enterprises in the Xyience bankruptcy, in an e-mail said, "We have reviewed the complaint. The (trustee) is new to the case and his factual conclusions are incorrect. These claims were previously brought by other parties and dismissed by the court" (LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL, 12/31).

    SOUVENIR SHOP: The Collegiate Licensing Co. and Disney Consumer Products have partnered on a line of souvenir T-shirts that bear the logos of the teams participating in the BCS National Championship -- Alabama and Texas -- as well as Rose Bowl winner Ohio State, alongside Disney characters. The T-shirts are available today and will be sold at www.DisneyStore.com and Disney Store locations in the markets of the participating colleges. Proceeds will help support the participating schools, the BCS and the Rose Bowl (CLC).

    A RUNNING START: Mizuno has signed an extension with the ING Georgia Marathon and Half Marathon to remain as the Official Footwear and Apparel Supplier for the March 21 race (Mizuno).

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