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Tebow's Off-Field Qualities
Former Univ. of Florida QB Tim Tebow heading into the NFL Draft "has attracted plenty of attention," but it remains to be seen if he can "continue to cash in on his popularity as a celebrity endorser and pitchman," according to Sarah Talalay of the South Florida SUN-SENTINEL. There are "mixed expectations he will succeed at the next level," and sports marketing experts "struggle to recall any previous college athlete with such star power, but low draft expectations." Millsport Account Dir Darin David said Tebow is "certainly unprecedented in that he's not one of the top five picks." David said that it is Tebow's "'aura' -- a combination of leadership on the field and winning personality and loving family off the field -- that makes him attractive to marketers." David: "You have a good feeling he's a guy who's going to stay out of trouble and be looking to make a positive impact on people and the world." Talalay noted Tebow's "star power convinced EA Sports to place him on the cover of all three of its NCAA Football 11 platforms, rather than reserving each for a different player and to announce the selection earlier than the draft." But Tebow's draft and NFL success "isn't the company's concern right now." Meanwhile, Tebow is "not a Gatorade athlete," but he "participated in the company's performance lab at the Super Bowl media center in Fort Lauderdale in February." Nike this month announced it signed Tebow to a deal, reportedly worth "less than $300,000, which could rise if Tebow performs" (SUN-SENTINEL.com, 4/19).
MAIN ATTRACTION: The AP's Antonio Gonzalez reported Tebow is "easily the most marketable player in his draft class," as companies are "lining up for Tebow to be their pitchman." Religious and advocacy groups want Tebow "for commercials and speeches," while some NFL owners "believe he would increase ticket sales." The Davie-Brown Index "found Tebow to be more appealing and more of a trendsetter than" Patriots QB Tom Brady, Vikings QB Brett Favre and Cowboys QB Tony Romo. EA Sports VP/Marketing Tom Goedde said, "Tim was an obvious choice this year, and the selection process is not usually an obvious choice. Frankly, that's why we switched to a one-athlete cover across all the game systems. There was nobody else who could do what he could do for us." Gonzalez noted although Tebow now has "ventured into the marketplace," he said that he "won't shy away from his beliefs" (AP, 4/19).
NEW YORK STATE OF MIND: PRO FOOTBALL TALK's Mike Florio noted Tebow "still has yet to decide whether he'll attend" Thursday's NFL Draft in N.Y. Tebow will be in N.Y. "for media events hosted Tuesday by two of his primary sponsors, Nike and EA Sports." The NFL reportedly has "provided him with no hard deadline for finalizing his plans." He has been told that he can "show up as late as an hour before the draft, if he chooses to go" (PROFOOTBALLTALK.com, 4/19).
Woods Memorabilia Still
Tiger Woods merchandise both in stores and online has been "selling pretty much in line with previous prices," according to Darren Rovell of CNBC.com. Woods this week is "autographing new product for Upper Deck." The company is selling "autographed range balls hit by Tiger for $499, autograph[ed] black Nike hats for $999 and autographed golf cleats for $1,399." Sports memorabilia firm Tri-Star Productions President Jeff Rosenberg said, "I was really surprised that prices have held up. We charted it. I had buyers out there looking to capitalize on a drop and get some good deals. But there was nothing to capitalize on. From retail to eBay to other dealers, there just wasn’t any discounting." Rosenberg said that "one of the reasons why the price hasn’t dropped is that there is a belief that Woods would bounce back on the course" (CNBC.com, 4/19).
YOU RAISE ME UP? ADWEEK's Mark Dolliver reports for "all the attention lavished on sports stars, athletes have limited powers when it comes to influencing consumers' purchase decisions." A majority of respondents to an AdweekMedia/Harris Poll claimed to be "unmotivated by various sorts of athlete-endorsers." Ten percent said that a football player would "most motivate them to buy a brand," followed by baseball players (7%), basketball players (6%) and golfers (4%). Respondents in the 18-34 demo were "more likely than their elders to say they would be most moved by a basketball player's brand endorsement" at 9%, compared to 4% for 35-44, 6% for 45-54 and 3% for 55-plus. Baseball players "rose into double digits only among the 45-54s," with 10% saying that "they'd be most swayed by such an athlete's endorsement" (ADWEEK, 4/19 issue).
Tseng Is Second In Women's World Rankings
After Winning Kraft Nabisco Championship
China-based Huabin Group has "offered to sign a long-term sponsorship contract" with Taiwanese golfer Yani Tseng, who "vaulted into second place in the women's world golf rankings after she won the Kraft Nabisco Championship earlier this month," according to Wu & Wu of FOCUS TAIWAN. The China Times on Sunday reported that the Huabin Group "intends to sign a five-year, US$25[M] sponsorship contract" with Tseng. However, Mao-hsin Tseng, Tseng's father, said that the Huabin Group's offer is "far from attractive because the contract will not cover ... travel costs to participate in LPGA tournaments." Mao-hsin Tseng also said that "another aspect that has to be considered is Huabin's demand that Yani Tseng terminate all other contracts with her existing sponsors of golf clubs, sunglasses, sportswear and relevant sports gear once she signs a deal with Huabin." He said that as a Taiwanese citizen, Yani "would prefer to collaborate with Taiwanese business groups, but regrettably none of them have stepped forward so far" (FOCUS TAIWAN, 4/19). YAHOO SPORTS' Jay Busbee wrote of the offer, "By American standards it certainly seems excessively restrictive. And if indeed this is the way that Chinese sponsors do business, they may well be surprised to see how Tseng fares on the open market. It's likely she won't snare a contract in the $25[M] range elsewhere, but the freedom that non-Chinese contracts afford could be worth the tradeoff in income" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 4/19).
MLB, Disney Unveil MLB-
Themed Mickey Mouse Statuettes
Ad Age's Brian Steinberg in a special to the BOSTON GLOBE notes tactics that "transformed Coke, Pepsi, and their rivals into advertising icons have been replaced with a more muted tone." As beverage companies "push to reach young audiences who have developed hard-to-track media habits, they are rearranging their marketing plans." Pepsi has taken to the Internet and social media for its "Pepsi Refresh Project," asking consumers to "come up with ideas to make their communities better places." And while Coca-Cola "ran ads for Diet Coke in the Oscars featuring stories meant to inspire women," the company also is "linking that popular drink to a program aimed at developing heart health" (BOSTON GLOBE, 4/20).
HEY MICKEY, YOU'RE SO FINE: MLB Properties and Disney Consumer Products yesterday unveiled a series of 36 different MLB-themed Mickey Mouse collectible statuettes and related apparel/merchandise as part of their newly signed partnership. The statuettes are replicas of seven-and-a-half-foot tall life-size statues to be placed at key Southern California landmarks leading up to the All-Star Game on July 13 at Angel Stadium. The line of collectibles will feature logos of all 30 teams as well as an AL and NL designs (MLB Properties).
ROUNDUP: The Scottish Premier League has reached an agreement with Clydesdale Bank to extend its sponsorship through '13. Clydesdale has sponsored the SPL since '07, and the new agreement will "supersede the final year of the existing deal, with an option to extend it for an additional year" through the '13-14 season (BBC.co.uk, 4/19)....Hawks F Josh Smith Saturday debuted a self-designed pair of adidas TS Supernatural Commander shoes for the team's NBA Playoff series against the Bucks. Smith will unveil a new pair each time the Hawks advance into the next round (adidas).