SBD/Issue 124/Sponsorships, Advertising & Marketing

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  • Electronic Arts Planning To Take All Ad Sales In-House This Year

    EA Sports Will End Its Relationships With
    In-Game Ad Companies Sometime This Year

    Electronic Arts is “planning to take all of its ad sales in house, meaning that it will end its relationships with in-game ad companies Massive Inc. and IGA Worldwide sometime this year,” according to Mike Shields of MEDIAWEEK. Both IGA and Microsoft-owned Massive had used games like "Madden NFL," "NBA Live" and "Need For Speed" as "centerpieces of their ad sales strategies.” But EA Senior VP/Global Media Sales Elizabeth Harz said that "starting this summer with the release of Madden NFL 11, EA will be handling its own dynamic ad sales." Shields noted EA “has long worked with advertisers to incorporate product placements into games as they are published." But until recently it has "worked with outside vendors for placing ads into games as they are being played via a Web connection -- such as virtual in-stadium billboards within sports games.” Harz said that “combining such efforts would allow the company’s sales teams to offer more elaborate, integrated packages to advertisers.” The integration “should make it easier for buyers.” Wieden + Kennedy Digital Group Dir Greg March said of the move, “I love the idea of being able to talk to only one guy. That’s a logistical, procedural improvement, which should help” (, 3/9).

  • Agent 002: Lewis Hamilton, Reebok Unveil Alternate Reality Game

    Watch This "Lewis Hamilton: Secret Life" Spot
    F1 driver Lewis Hamilton and Reebok have unveiled an alternate reality game (ARG) titled "Lewis Hamilton: Secret Life." In the game, players will be able to help Hamilton train and prepare to recover artworks, sculptures and manuscripts from thieves. The game centers on five core missions and will run until October. Players will work together to solve puzzles and complete tests online. The game will feature online heist simulator games, a network of fictional Web sites, mobile games, Twitter feeds and video footage of Hamilton carrying out his heists. Players will be able to attend live events in different cities involving game characters and make their own creative contributions as the story unfolds. The game was developed over the past year by Reebok and ARG specialists nDreams (Reebok). REUTERS' Alan Baldwin noted the game has an "evolving storyline" as Hamilton "playing a secret agent, with Bond-like running and jumping stunts" (REUTERS, 3/10).

  • Rahal To Drive Sarah Fisher's Dollar General IndyCar Entry

    Rahal Will Be First Driver Other Than Fisher
    To Drive Dollar General Car In IndyCar Series

    Sarah Fisher Racing announced that Graham Rahal will drive the No. 67 Izod IndyCar Series car sponsored by Dollar General for the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on March 28 and the Indy Grand Prix of Alabama on April 11. The races will mark the the first time a driver other than Fisher has driven the Dollar General car in the IndyCar Series (SFR). Fisher said that she "persuaded sponsor Dollar General to buy into replacing her" in the two races with Rahal because he "matches her clean-cut, all-American reputation." Fisher: "It was the only reason we were able to do it." Fisher now will run seven races instead of the original nine, returning to the track for the Road Runner Turbo Indy 300 at Kansas Speedway on May 1 (USA TODAY, 3/11). Rahal, who finished seventh in last year's IndyCar standings, "had been searching for a new drive since the loss of sponsor McDonald's brought his Newman/Haas/Lanigan stint to an end last winter" (, 3/11).

    SCOUTS HONOR: Dale Coyne Racing yesterday announced Alex Lloyd will drive the Boy Scouts of America No. 19 IndyCar Series entry at the season-opening Sao Paulo Indy 300 in Brazil on Sunday. The team will make a formal announcement of the partnership at the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, the first race in the U.S. this season (Dale Coyne Racing).

  • Marketplace Roundup

    Kraft and sports marketer Branded Tray have signed a six-figure deal to produce a co-branded concession tray during NCAA March Madness. Up to 1 million of the cardboard pop-up trays used to carry food and drink will be distributed at 18 host venues for the men’s and women’s tournaments, including Lucas Oil Stadium and the Alamodome, the two Final Four sites. The promotion is an extension of Kraft’s new deal as an NCAA corporate partner. Each tray, co-branded with the Final Four and Wheat Thins logos, will contain a sample pack of Wheat Thins’ new tomato and basil brand and information tied to a discount coupon on Facebook. Branded Tray provides the trays at no cost to the concessionaires and pays the NCAA a fee as part of the deal, said Branded Trays Senior VP/Sales Tom Flynn (Don Muret, SportsBusiness Journal).

    Caroline Wozniacki Is Face Of The
    Stella McCartney Tennis Line

    THE TIME IS RIGHT: In L.A., Diane Pucin wrote tennis player Caroline Wozniacki's "fresh-faced good looks" have made "sponsors take notice." Wozniacki said that she had "recently done a photo shoot with designer Stella McCartney for a collaborative collection of tennis clothing with adidas." But she was "most enthusiastic about her new contract with Rolex." Wozniacki: "I actually had my own watch collection with a Danish company. So now I wear the Rolex instead" (, 3/10).

    STAY AWAY: Univ. of Texas-San Antonio Associate AD Brad Parrott and Bexar County (TX) Judge Nelson Wolff yesterday said that they are "fearful a United Football League franchise in San Antonio would hamper the school's efforts to attract sponsors for its fledgling football program." Parrott: "The Spurs totally dominate this area as far as sponsorships go, so there are few crumbs left for us and the other universities to pick up. To have another crumb feeder here would make it even more difficult" (SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS, 3/11).

    ROUNDUP: BackOffice Associates has reached multi-year promotional partnerships with tennis players Sam Querrey, Mardy Fish and Bob and Mike Bryan. The partnerships will see the players wear the BackOffice Associates logo on the court, in addition to making promotional appearances and endorsement opportunities (BackOffice Associates)....Bacardi will sponsor the Churchill Downs infield hospitality area for this year's Kentucky Oaks on April 30 and the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum Brands on May 1. The Infield Club debuted in '09 and "quickly sold out" (, 3/10).

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