SBD/Issue 156/Sponsorships, Advertising & Marketing

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  • Wells Fargo Keeps Sponsorship Of Charlotte PGA Tour Event Quiet

    Wells Fargo's Contract With The PGA Tour Calls
    For Bank To Maintain Sponsorship Through '14

    Wells Fargo for the second straight year is spending about $7M as the top sponsor of Charlotte's PGA Tour stop and "working hard to minimize that fact" at this week's tournament, according to Erik Spanberg of the CHARLOTTE BUSINESS JOURNAL. Wells Fargo is "writing the biggest check as the lead sponsor, but fans and TV viewers instead will hear announcers trumpet only the host club’s name at the Quail Hollow Championship." The bank inherited the title sponsorship when it acquired Wachovia in '08, and terms of the PGA Tour agreement "call for the bank to maintain the same financial commitment through 2014." Wells Fargo last year elected to remove its name from the tournament after receiving TARP money, and Wells Fargo Chair, President & CEO John Stumpf said that "any decision on whether to put the bank’s name on the tournament, as a presenting sponsor or otherwise, lies with the company’s East Coast leadership." Quail Hollow Club President Johnny Harris indicated that tournament organizers are "open to discussing potential name changes with bank executives." Spanberg notes the bank has offered "few details of how it will use the tournament this year." Wells Fargo Enterprise Marketing Communications Manager Matthew Wadley said, "There won't be any large-scale off-course events. It's pretty conservative" (CHARLOTTE BUSINESS JOURNAL, 4/23 issue). Meanwhile, Harris said corporate sponsorship for this week's tournament is "down slightly." Harris: "We were scared we would be down 25% or 30% or 40% or something of that nature. We’re going to be down just slightly." He added the tournament is down "probably more like 5%" on the corporate hospitality side (CHARLOTTE BUSINESS JOURNAL, 4/23 issue).

    FIT FOR A QUEEN: In Charlotte, Ron Green Jr. noted at a "time when professional golf has occasionally struggled to keep sponsors, maintain television ratings and sustain its momentum, the Quail Hollow Championship has retained its place among the top events on the PGA Tour." The venue and the date "have been critical to the success." PGA Tour Exec VP/Communications & Int'l Affairs Ty Votaw: "From day one, they've had a focus on making sure everything they did and were associated with was quality driven" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 4/26). Meanwhile, author John Feinstein said he believes Quail Hollow Club "can be a major championship venue. " Feinstein: "The players love the place, that is why they get the field they get every year" ("Golf Central," Golf Channel, 4/26).

  • Smith & Nephew Presenting Sponsor For PGA Tour St. Jude Classic

    Event Will Be Called The St. Jude Classic
    Presented By Smith & Nephew This Year

    London-based medical device company Smith & Nephew "will become the presenting sponsor" for this year's PGA Tour St. Jude Classic, according to Phil Stukenborg of the Memphis COMMERCIAL APPEAL. Smith & Nephew's deal "will be for one year," and the June 10-13 event "will be called the St. Jude Classic Presented by Smith & Nephew." Financial terms "were not disclosed, but it's generally regarded on the PGA Tour that presenting sponsorships bring in about 25 percent of a title sponsorship." The tournament "has been searching to find a title sponsor to replace Stanford Financial, which exited after being accused of massive fraud" by the SEC in '09. Stanford Financial's title sponsorship was reportedly in the $8M range (Memphis COMMERCIAL APPEAL, 4/27).

    SPRING FEVER: In Las Vegas, Ron Kantowski notes "at last count there were nine tournaments" on the PGA Tour, that do not have title sponsorship deals in place for '11. Thirteen additional title sponsorships "will expire after 2012." Each time a sponsor "bails out, the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open gets a wee bit closer to attaining the spring date it might need to survive in the long run." The Las Vegas event is currently "part of the PGA's Fall Series, which means it is played during football season and the baseball playoffs by guys not named Tiger or Phil." Tournament Dir Adam Sperling said that the tournament "already has notified the Tour, in writing, that it wants to move to spring." He said that it "could happen as early as next year ... or the year after that although 2013, after all these current title sponsorships expire, is the most likely scenario." Sperling estimated that the '09 event "attracted between 15,000 and 20,000 spectators over its five-day run." The goal this year is to "double attendance, to 40,000." He said that the event is offering $15 vouchers, the "cheapest ticket on Tour," to "local businesses and organizations, who get to keep 50[%] from every voucher sold" (LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL, 4/27).

  • Experts: Roethlisberger's Statement Not Likely To Help Image

    Crisis Management Experts Do Not Expect
    Roethlisberger's Statement To Help His Image

    Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger yesterday in a 119-word statement "took accountability for the 'consequences' of his actions" that led to his six-game suspension, but crisis management experts said that the statement "will likely do little to restore the two-time Super Bowl winner's tarnished image," according to Bob Cohn of the Pittsburgh TRIBUNE-REVIEW. Bernstein Crisis Management President Jonathan Bernstein said the statement will be "minimally positive." MGP & Associates President Mike Paul: "It really means nothing." Ross Crisis Management President Dennis Ross III said Roethlisberger's statement "did not do any harm, which in his case and what he's been dealing with, is actually a plus." Ross said that celebrities "typically do not pen their apologies, instead offering input to a team effort." Paul said, "He definitely didn't write it. No question about that. It was definitely written by a committee of PR people and got reviewed by attorneys." Meanwhile, Ross added, "Well-written statements have lost their effectiveness. For a person to be able to look at you ... it goes further than the written word" (Pittsburgh TRIBUNE-REVIEW, 4/27). Pittsburgh-based NFL player agent Ralph Cindrich said of Roethlisberger's statement, "Hopefully, it didn't come from a PR person and comes from his heart." Strategic Vision co-Founder & CEO David Johnson "hailed Mr. Roethlisberger's handling of the crisis so far and said that he should be able to bounce back." Johnson said that "as far as his public image, Mr. Roethlisberger has some advantages" over Tiger Woods. Johnson: "Roethlisberger doesn't have the same nationwide connotation. To a lot of people, Tiger Woods meant golf. When you thought golf, you thought Tiger Woods. When you think football, you don't necessarily think of Ben." Johnson added, "The NFL has had so many scandals recently, that he's getting lost in the shuffle" (PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 4/27).

    COURT OF PUBLIC OPINION: A Pittsburgh Tribune-Review poll shows that 61% of respondents said that Roethlisberger "should have been suspended or fined," while 23% said that the Steelers "should trade Roethlisberger" (Pittsburgh TRIBUNE-REVIEW, 4/27).

  • Back In Black: DEI Launches New Fan Club For Dale Earnhardt

    Club E, The Name Of Earnhardt's First Fan Club,
    Had Been Dormant Since Soon After His Death

    Dale Earnhardt Inc. launched a new fan club last weekend at Talladega dedicated to the legacy of their favorite driver. Club E, which was the name of Earnhardt's first fan club in '79, had essentially been dormant since '03, two years after the driver's death. DEI fan clubs subsequently had focused on current DEI drivers, most notably Dale Earnhardt Jr. until his departure in '07. But Earnhardt Sr.'s widow, Teresa, revived the idea of a fan club last year during discussions about ways to connect the driver's legacy with his still-diehard fans. "It's been Teresa's vision to reconnect Dale with his fans and to do it in a meaningful way," said DEI Exec VP & GM Jeff Steiner. "There is an interest in opening more of Dale's artifacts and estate so that we can give the fans more of an experience." To launch the new Club E, Steiner and other DEI executives spent the weekend at Talladega in a camper in the speedway's infield, which is notorious for its parties and outlandish campers. Steiner said he connected with Earnhardt fans and awarded the first Club E membership to a hearty soul from Beaumont, Texas, who was attending his 87th race with his son. The man's camper was actually an old school bus painted like Earnhardt's old No. 3 Chevrolet with the blue and yellow Wrangler colors.

    DIFFERENT LEVELS OF MEMBERSHIP: Club E memberships come in three levels -- a free newsletter, a red level at $24.99 a year and the silver level at $49.99 annually. Benefits include discounts at a number of DEI marketing partners, including Carowinds, Kings Dominion, NASCAR HOF and others, and special access to experiential dinners and tours at DEI headquarters. "We sent out surveys to 80,000 people last year and got a 30% response rate, which was amazing," Steiner said. "What Dale fans said is that they want to get to know him in a more personal way. They know about his accomplishments on the track, but what about him off the track? We've got areas that have never before been opened to the fans, but we're going to take these members behind the scenes and open that up to them so they can understand more about Dale's life."

  • Marketplace Roundup

    Killebrew Lending
    Name To Root Beer

    In San Diego, Brent Schrotenboer reports the Holiday Bowl on Thursday will announce that it has a "new title sponsor and a new name -- the Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl." The game last changed its name in '02, when Pacific Life became title sponsor. But that partnership "expired with last year's game and will be replaced by a multiyear deal with Bridgepoint, a for-profit higher-education company." Terms of the deal "likely will not be disclosed." After 11 years of matching the Pac-10 runner-up against a third pick from the Big 12, the game now "will host the No. 3 team from the Pac-10 and a fifth pick from the Big 12 through 2013" (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 4/27).

    SODA POP: In Minnesota, John Vomhof Jr. reported Baseball HOFer Harmon Killebrew "has reached a deal with RJM Distributing Inc. to endorse soft drinks that already bear his name." RJM in March "signed a deal to become the exclusive licensee, manufacturer and distributor of Killebrew Root Beer and Cream Soda." The company now has reached a deal for Killebrew to "make personal appearances at marketing events and lend his name and image to advertising, point-of-purchase materials and packaging." Killebrew Root Beer has been manufactured in Minnesota since '96 and is served during Twins games at Target Field (, 4/26).

    ROUNDUP: U.S. Gold Medal-winning skier Lindsey Vonn on Friday was at the Denver Police Academy gym "training for an Under Armour commercial." The spot is part of the company's "Protect This House. I Will" campaign. Vonn's commercial "should start airing in July" (DENVER POST, 4/26)....The MLS Fire are "beefing up" their marketing efforts. The team is "working with three marketing agencies -- Schafer Condon Carter, All-Terrain and PACO Communications -- to spread the word about the team and energize the core fan base" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 4/26).

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