SBD/Issue 161/Sponsorships, Advertising & Marketing

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  • A-B Replacing Coors As NFL's Beer Sponsor Beginning With '11 Season


    When InBev purchased Anheuser-Busch in November ‘08, there was angst across the industry that sports' biggest spender was going to pull the plug. It looks like those fears were unfounded, as Coors is out and A-B is back as the NFL’s league sponsor in the beer category, with rights that begin in the ‘11 season. Terms were not immediately available, but sources said A-B is paying twice what Coors paid. It is a six-year contract, which includes an extension of A-B’s Super Bowl advertising category exclusivity through the deal. Those rights were due to expire in 2012. Unlike the existing contract, spirits rights are not included, so the NFL is now free to sign a spirits sponsorship, which would have to begin after next season.  Coors has been an NFL league sponsor since ‘02. A-B was an NFL sponsor from ’88-‘01, sharing the category for some of those years with Miller. “The sponsorship did a lot for Coors as far as getting out front of competitors like Bud and Miller,’’ said a knowledgeable industry source, “but they just reached a point where the value wasn’t there for what the NFL wanted.’’ A-B’s domestic share of the beer market is around 50%, while MillerCoors combines for 31%. With 22 team sponsorships, including a huge Cowboys deal for another decade, MillerCoors will not walk away from the NFL, although a year as a lame duck will not be easy. And of course, its NFL coaches campaign could run with or without NFL IP.

  • FedEx To Focus On Other Sports Deals After Dropping Orange Bowl

    FedEx Dropping Title Sponsorship Of Orange
    Bowl To Focus On Other Sports Partnerships

    FedEx Dir of Sponsorship Marketing Kevin Demsky yesterday said that the company dropped its title sponsorship of the Orange Bowl because it "decided it was time to focus on its other sports marketing partnerships," according to Sarah Talalay of the South Florida SUN-SENTINEL. Demsky said, "Obviously it was a very difficult decision, one we labored over long and hard. We made the decision it was probably best for us to begin focusing on some of our other investments." The company currently title sponsors the PGA Tour's FedEx Cup and has relationships with the NFL, NBA and NASCAR's Joe Gibbs Racing. Demsky said that the decision to drop out as the bowl game's title sponsor "was made earlier this year and the company is not sure if it will continue as a more limited sponsor of the Orange Bowl." He said that it had "nothing to do with the matchups in recent Orange Bowl games, which have been criticized for their lack of luster, when the Orange Bowl isn't hosting the national championship." Demsky: "We don't really get too involved in game matchups, that's something that has to be worked out by the BCS and the bowl committees. Our focus has always been creating marketing programs around us that promote the Orange Bowl." Orange Bowl Committee VP/Communications & Community Relations Larry Wahl said, "We're confident [ESPN] will secure a name sponsor that's beneficial to all of us" (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 5/4). In Miami, Jackson & Degnan cite a source as saying that FedEx "valued its relationship with the Orange Bowl and the decision was 'all about money.'" ESPN has the rights to sell sponsorship and advertising for BCS games and the source said that ESPN "paid 'a very large amount of money' for those rights, and wanted a 'huge increase' from FedEx -- an increase FedEx could not justify" (MIAMI HERALD, 5/4).

  • Tebow Depending On His Inner Circle For Marketing Opportunities

    Tebow's Older Brother And Longtime Friend
    Are Coordinating His Endorsement Deals

    Broncos rookie QB Tim Tebow signed agent Jimmy Sexton for contract work, but his endorsement deals are "being coordinated by his older brother" Robby and Angel Gonzalez, a longtime friend of Tebow's, according to Jon Weinbach of Neither Robby Tebow nor Gonzalez "has any prior experience in the sports industry," yet they "have already formed a company, XV Enterprises LLC -- the name is a play on Tebow's No. 15 jersey -- to handle the quarterback's marketing portfolio." In addition to deals with Nike and EA Sports, which Sexton negotiated, Gonzalez indicated that Tebow "has a memorabilia deal with Palm Beach Autographs and has appeared at a couple events for Gatorade." Weinbach noted playing in Colorado "may have significant off-field benefits" for Tebow. The state is "home to several large conservative Christian organizations, including Promise Keepers and Focus on the Family," and Gonzalez said Tebow has already been invited to "every church in the Rockies." Tebow appeared in a Super Bowl ad along with his mother for Focus on the Family, but Gonzalez said that they "were not paid" for their participation. Marketing Evaluations Exec VP Henry Schafer, whose company computes Q scores, said, "I don't think there's been a football player who's come into the league like him in a long time." But Schafer added in the wake of the Tiger Woods scandal, advertisers "may still be wary of the controversy about (Tebow's) stance on abortion -- it could be a drawback or a benefit, depending on the company." Meanwhile, the "earning potential of Brand Tebow will be determined by the quarterback's NFL performance, not his NCAA legacy." 16W Marketing co-Founder & President Steve Rosner: "He'll always be able to earn dollars because of what he accomplished in college. But Denver has pretty fickle fans -- he'll have to play well" (, 4/30).

    GIVE ME SOMETHING TO BELIEVE IN: In Denver, Woody Paige writes Tebow's outspoken Christian beliefs have caused a "multitude of diverse opinions and reactions" locally since he was drafted by the Broncos. QB Brady Quinn "wasn't criticized for his religious principles after joining the Broncos," and QBs Kurt Warner and Drew Brees "weren't made fun of during championship seasons" for talking about their faith. Paige: "I've never experienced anything so analogous in sports since former Nuggets guard Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf refused to stand for the national anthem in 1996 because, he said, U.S. policies conflicted with his Islamic beliefs." Paige adds, "Neither side should turn this into the cause celebre. Freedom of religion and speech are preciously protected in this country. ... Tebow should be judged as a man and as a player, just as Brandon Marshall was" (DENVER POST, 5/4).

  • Univ. Of Oregon Discloses Nike Contract Under Order From State

    Univ. Of Oregon Releases Copy Of New
    Eight-Year Contract Extension With Nike

    The Univ. of Oregon yesterday "complied with an order from the state attorney and released" a copy of its eight-year, $22.7M contract extension with Nike, a deal that "appears to be standard for a school of Oregon's size and with an athletic department of considerable stature," according to Rachel Bachman of the Portland OREGONIAN. The financial details of the longterm partnership "had been public in the past until the university refused to release them this spring." UO athletics more than a year ago "quietly extended their all-sports outfitting agreement with Nike through 2018." Terms of the new agreement are level with the Univ. of Nebraska's pact with adidas and exceed Indiana Univ.'s eight-year, $21M contract with adidas. The contract shows that Oregon athletics during the '09-10 academic year received more than $2M in "gear and $500,000 in cash from Nike -- increases over the previous agreement's" $1.5M in gear and $250,000 in cash. The university's athletics budget is $66M this year (Portland OREGONIAN, 5/4).

    MAKING A LIST, CHECKING IT TWICE: CNBC's Jim Cramer last night analyzed Nike's stock during an episode of his "Mad Money" show. Wearing a Nike headband, T-shirt, shorts and sneakers, Cramer said despite being the "best footwear company on earth," Nike has "lagged" behind other shoe stocks. He recommended his viewers to buy Nike shares before tomorrow, as there is a "big analyst meeting at its investor day on Wednesday." Cramer: "I got to tell you, if history is any guide -- I mean, any guide at all -- this stock is a huge buy ahead of the meeting. ... I think this analyst day is going to be even more positive than past ones that have produced really fabulous profits." He pointed out the company's international business is "really driving growth" and will "be the focus" at the meeting. Cramer: "I think we're going to hear some incredibly bullish things … and we might hear about the huge catalyst that's coming from the World Cup" ("Mad Money," CNBC, 5/3).

  • Ferrari President Slams Reports Linking Barcode Logo To Marlboro

    Ferrari President Luca di Montezemolo "has slammed claims his team's cars carry subliminal tobacco advertising," according to Ian Parkes of the PA. Several U.K. doctors are demanding an inquiry into the matter, suggesting that the "use of the barcode displayed on the Ferraris driven this year by Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa was a link to long-time sponsor Philip Morris" and its Marlboro brand. But Di Montezemolo said, "It is verging on the ridiculous to claim that the colour red or a graphic design which shows a barcode could induce people to smoke. At a time when, on the other side of the Atlantic they are fighting to provide a more equal health service, in the old continent of Europe, so-called experts are racking their brains to come up with theories that have no scientific basis. I think there are more important matters to think about than a barcode" (PA, 5/4). Ferrari in a statement said, "These reports are based on two suppositions: that part of the graphics featured on the Formula 1 cars are reminiscent of the Marlboro logo and even that the red colour which is a traditional feature of our cars is a form of tobacco publicity. Neither of these arguments have any scientific basis, as they rely on some alleged studies which have never been published in academic journals. But more importantly, they do not correspond to the truth." notes Marlboro "has a long association with the team and has retained its involvement until 2011 despite the advertising of tobacco products being banned from many countries F1 currently visits" (, 5/4).

    Ferrari President Says Claims That F1 Cars Carry
    Subliminal Tobacco Advertising Are Ridiculous

  • Marketplace Roundup

    The PGA Tour and A-B announced a three-year extension of their marketing partnership, which has been in place since '94. Per the deal, Michelob Ultra will be the official beer of the PGA Tour and O'Doul's its official non-alcoholic brew through '13. Michelob Ultra will continue to advertise during PGA Tour broadcasts and utilize the TPC clubs for hospitality. Consumers in some states can get a free sleeve of Bridgestone golf balls through May 24 with the purchase of an 18-pack of Michelob Ultra (A-B).

    Yum! Brands Already Has Begun
    Talks To Extend Derby Sponsorship

    HUNGRY FOR MORE RACING: Saturday's Kentucky Derby was the final race "under the existing contract for Yum! Brands as the presenting sponsor of the race." Yum! Brands Senior VP & Chief Public Affairs Officer Jonathan Blum said, "We hope we can continue the sponsorship of the Kentucky Derby well into the future and already have begun discussions about renewing our agreement." Churchill Downs President Kevin Flanery said that the track will "review sponsorships now that the Derby is completed" (Louisville COURIER-JOURNAL, 5/4).

    JUNIOR ACHIEVEMENT: EA Sports "plans to include Canadian Hockey League teams" in its "NHL 11" videogame. The league's inclusion in the game "hasn't been made official yet, but all Quebec Major Junior Hockey League teams have been asked to send in pictures of their rinks and jerseys." CHL Saint John Sea Dogs Marketing & Communications Manager Rick Bowness Jr. said, "People are going to recognize the Sea Dogs logo in Dusseldorf and so it's kind of cool and we look forward to playing it next year" (, 5/3).

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