SBD/Issue 121/Sponsorships, Advertising & Marketing

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  • Sony Ericsson Drops WTA Title Sponsorship, But Stays Onboard

    Average Annual Fee Of Sony Ericsson
    Deal Dropping Almost 40%

    The WTA Tour and Sony Ericsson have reached a two-year extension of their existing partnership that will see Sony Ericsson become the lead global sponsor for the tour through '12. Under the extension, Sony Ericsson will retain prime net signage at the tour's 53 tournaments, along with television and digital media rights. Sony Ericsson becomes the tour's lead global sponsor instead of continuing its title sponsorship, resulting in a reversion of the tour's name to WTA Tour starting later this year (WTA Tour). Sony Ericsson Corporate VP and Head of Global Communications & PR Aldo Liguori said that the company's strategy has "changed since signing the initial deal in 2004," as the company then was "only three years old and needed the global brand exposure a title deal offered." SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL's Daniel Kaplan reports the tour is "essentially ripping up the final 10 months of its existing six-year deal with the company and creating a nearly three-year, $27[M] sponsorship contract." The old deal averaged $14.7M annually. But while the new deal's average annual fee is "dropping by almost" 40%, the development is "likely to be viewed as a great win for the WTA because most observers had written off the chances the financially ailing cellular phone company would stay on." Also, while the tour is "losing some of the assets that Sony Ericsson sponsored, it is also picking up new inventory to sell." The company is "dropping its title sponsorship of the tour's season-ending championship, so the WTA could recoup some of the loss by selling naming rights to that tournament." It also could "sell licensed merchandise around the WTA brand." Meanwhile, players whose apparel contracts "do not forbid it will still be required to wear a patch that incorporates the Sony Ericsson name in some fashion" (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 3/8 issue). The FINANCIAL TIMES' Roger Blitz reports Sony Ericsson, which also sponsors Maria Sharapova and "will be involved in Sony's sponsorship of the FIFA World Cup," has "no plans for other sponsorship" (FINANCIAL TIMES, 3/8).

  • Kraft Signs As NCAA Corporate Partner; Capital One Close To Deal


    The NCAA is "adding Kraft as a corporate partner and is closing a deal with Capital One as a corporate champion, the highest level of sponsorship," according to Michael Smith of SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL. Both companies "plan significant activation around the NCAA tournament and Final Four, from ad buys on tournament broadcaster CBS to a presence in Bracket Town, the interactive fan event at the Final Four in Indianapolis." CBS, which owns and sells the NCAA's marketing and sponsorship rights as part of its broadcast agreement, "confirmed the addition of Kraft as a corporate partner, but had no comment on Capital One's entry as a corporate champion in the retail banking category." Financial terms of both multiyear deals "were not available, but corporate partners typically pay in the high seven figures annually, while the corporate champions go for the low eight figures a year." CBS Senior VP/Sports Sales & Marketing and CBS Sports Properties Group Dir Chris Simko: "In the last year or so, we really feel like the corporate program has gained a lot of momentum." Smith notes Capital One will join AT&T and Coca-Cola as a corporate champion, and the deal "will give the company a college basketball platform to go with its substantial marketing against college football." Sponsors at the partner level include LG, Lowe's, State Farm, Enterprise, The Hartford and Hershey's. Kraft's multiyear agreement to become a partner "begins immediately with in-store activation and a plan for extensive sampling at the Final Four." Kraft's deal also includes "official status, promotional and marketing rights for its Planters, Ritz, Oreo and Wheat Thins brands across the NCAA's 80 men's and women's championships." Kraft will have "exclusive status for the nut, cracker and cookie categories" (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 3/8 issue).

  • Marketplace Roundup

    The U.S. Census Bureau reached a deal with Roush Fenway Racing to serve as the primary sponsor of the No. 16 Sprint Cup Series Ford driven by Greg Biffle for three races this season: yesterday's Kobalt Tools 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway, the March 21 Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway and the March 28 Goody's Fast Pain Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway (U.S. Census Bureau). USA TODAY's Nate Ryan notes the deal is worth $1.2M. The Census aired an ad during CBS' broadcast of Super Bowl XLIV and it is "making a push in the NCAA tournament to promote the census forms, which will be mailed out this month" (USA TODAY, 3/8).

    DAT'S WHO: In Baton Rouge, Bill Lodge reported Who Dat? Inc. Thursday "filed suit in federal district court" alleging that NFL Properties, the Saints and the state of Louisiana "wrongly damaged the firm's right to profit in the weeks leading to the Saints' Super Bowl championship last month." Who Dat? Inc. co-Owner Steve Monistere said that "he obtained a trademark in October 1983 for Who Dat from the Louisiana Secretary of State's Office" (Baton Rouge ADVOCATE, 3/6).

    SUPER SPONSORS: In Ft. Worth, Shlachter, Nishimura & Baker reports the North Texas Super Bowl Host Committee has signed Ft. Worth-based companies Quicksilver Resources and Quicksilver Gas Services as "major sponsors." Quicksilver declined to reveal "how much it paid for its sponsorship," but it was less than $1M. Quicksilver VP Rick Buterbaugh said that the company "will receive 'some exposure' in the game programs, and it gets tickets it will use, in part, to reward employees" (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 3/8).

    Red Bull Featuring Vonn
    On Limited Edition Six Packs

    GOING GREEN: The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Nando Di Fino reports many MLB teams this season will feature "locker-room recycling bins, courtesy of Players for the Planet." Reds LF Chris Dickerson and Indians P Jack Cassel "formed the group to push recycling, and as part of it the Reds will get reusable aluminum bottles featuring the team's logo in order to cut down on plastic" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 3/8).

    NOTES: Red Bull Friday announced that it is featuring U.S. skier Lindsey Vonn on limited edition six packs of both regular and sugar-free Red Bull (Red Bull)....Speedo has extended its partnership with U.S. swimmer Natalie Coughlin through '13 (Speedo).

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