SBD/Issue 94/Sponsorships, Advertising & Marketing

Marketplace Roundup

Royal Bank of Canada will announce this afternoon that it has signed endorsement deals with three golfers. Luke Donald and Morgan Pressel both will wear the RBC logo on their bag and left sleeve. IMG represents the two golfers. Fred Couples will also now put the RBC logo on his bag. Couples is represented by Players Group. RBC last week announced new endorsement deals with Mike Weir and Stephen Ames to join existing endorser Anthony Kim. RBC works with IMG on golf marketing (Jon Show, SportsBusiness Journal).

Emirates Airlines Has Become Premier Sponsor,
Official Airline Of BNP Paribas Open
FLYING HIGH: BNP Paribas Open Tournament Dir Steve Simon yesterday announced that Emirates Airlines "has become a premier sponsor and the official airline" of the tournament. In California, Debra Gruszecki reports the deal "will run from 2010-2012 and includes a renewal option," and includes "prominent on-court signage, broadcast spots and advertising." Emirates also will run a "series of exciting promotions, including on the first Saturday of the competition," which has been designated "Emirates Day." The deal marks the airline's "third major sports sponsorship" in the U.S. It is "already the official airline of the USA Rugby National Sevens Teams and a premier partner of the Emirates Airline Breeders' Cup," and it also "sponsors the Rogers Cup in Toronto and the Dubai Tennis Championships in its home city" (Palm Springs DESERT SUN, 1/28).

EASTERN PROMISES: In a front-page piece for the WALL STREET JOURNAL, Loretta Chao reports former NBAer Stephon Marbury, who has signed to play with the Taiyuan Shanxi Zhongyu Professional Basketball Club, "isn't playing in China for the money," rather he is there to "promote his shoe and apparel brand" Starbury. The market for Marbury's shoes and apparel is "potentially huge," as the NBA "estimates that 300 million people play basketball in China." Marbury is the "biggest [NBA] star ever to have played professional basketball in China," and his "reputation as a top-notch point guard is still relatively untarnished" in the country. But his team is "one of the worst teams in the league," and Taiyuan is "markedly less tourist-friendly, internationalized and cosmopolitan than" Beijing and Shanghai. U.S. Basketball Academy President Bruce O'Neil: "If he lasts 10 days, I'll be amazed" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 1/28).

STAR TURN? In Boston, Gary Washburn notes reserve players for the NBA All-Star Game will be announced tonight, and a selection to the Eastern Conference team for Celtics G Rajon Rondo "would increase the visibility and perhaps marketability of one of the NBA's top young point guards." Rondo is a "smooth, well-spoken player who has picked up Ray Allen's dapper dressing style." Rondo's "reluctance to pursue marketing opportunities" is the "biggest obstacle faced" by his agent, BDA Sports CEO Bill Duffy. Rondo has deals with Red Bull and Dunkin' Donuts, but he "has resisted delving into other deals." Duffy: "A lot of stuff we present to him, he's not interested in" (BOSTON GLOBE, 1/28).

BLAST FROM THE PAST: In Minneapolis, Jerry Zgoda reported T'Wolves G Jonny Flynn during Tuesday's game against the Knicks "unveiled a pair of blue suede basketball shoes." Flynn, who has a deal with Nike, "called them 'throwback' sneakers that follow the theme of the 1989-90 jersey the Wolves wore once again" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 1/27).

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