SBD/Issue 175/Sponsorships, Advertising & Marketing

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  • NFL Near Deal To Allow Barclays To Issue Branded Credit Cards

    Barclays Poised To Replace BofA
    As Issuer Of NFL Branded Cards

    The NFL is "close to an exclusive sponsorship deal that would see Barclays take over as issuer of credit cards bearing league and team marks," according to Lefton & Kaplan of SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL. The deal "will be voted on, and is expected to be approved, at Tuesday’s spring ownership meeting in Dallas." Those rights have been held since '95 by Bank of America and the former MBNA, which BofA acquired in '05. BofA "failed to renew when its NFL league sponsorship expired at the end of March." The mortgage and retail banking rights that BofA had as part of its deal with the league are "not covered in the Barclays deal." Sources said that Barclays is "expected to launch a rewards program similar to BofA’s NFL offering in time for the 2010 season." Debit cards "will not be included in the deal, which is one reason BofA did not renew" (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 5/24 issue).

  • Bud's South Africa World Cup Activation Pales Compared To Miller

    Budweiser "may dominate the U.S. market, but it has the lightest of footprints" in South Africa, where the FIFA World Cup will begin in less than three weeks, meaning the brand "has little choice but to cede the local field to its rivals," according to Robb Stewart of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. Budweiser has been the "official beer sponsor of the World Cup since 1986," and A-B InBev did not say how much it spends sponsoring the tournament. The brewer is planning several Budweiser promotions "tied to the World Cup, including an online reality show, 'Bud House,' in which a fan from each of the 32 qualifying countries will be brought to Cape Town to live together under one roof for as long as their home countries remain in the tournament." Budweiser also "will run ads to encourage soccer fans to vote online to pick the 'man of the match' after each game." But while Budweiser's official sponsorship deal "gives it exclusive sales rights at the nine stadiums" where World Cup matches will be played, the brand "has given up its right to sell in the 10 fan parks to be erected in host cities." A-B InBev officials said that the company "has its eyes on a bigger prize." The brewer's strategy for Budweiser is to "concentrate on courting the many millions of fans who will be watching the World Cup games on television in markets where Budweiser sells in volume." A-B InBev Global Dir of Sports & Entertainment Eelco van der Noll: "While South Africa is certainly important for beer sales, the focus is more on the global aspect of the World Cup."

    ESPN World Cup Posters Will
    Be Displayed Around Chicago

    COMPETITIVE EDGE: Stewart reports while A-B InBev "thinks globally," its biggest competitor, SABMiller, is "acting locally" in South Africa. SABMiller "has long held a near-stranglehold on the South African market," and when the World Cup kicks off June 11, the brewer "will have refrigerated vans on standby at key locations around the country to keep bars and restaurants from running dry." SABMiller also is "making sure tavern owners are well stocked with its brands, particularly its flagship Castle Lager," which sponsors the South African team. SABMiller Marketing Manager for South Africa Alastair Hewitt said that the brewer is "expected to sell the equivalent of 30 million additional regular-size bottles of its beers during the tournament, or 6% more than its usual sales for the period" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 5/24).

    CHANNEL GUIDE: In Chicago, Lewis Lazare reports ESPN and Wieden & Kennedy have "commissioned 33 original posters" promoting the network's World Cup coverage under the theme, "One Game Changes Everything." Beginning this week, a "number of these posters will be on display around Chicago in the form of commuter rail cards and displays on building walls and bus shelters." The 33 posters, created by South Africa-based artists collective AM I Studios, include "one for each participating country and one overarching World Cup-themed execution" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 5/24).

  • Peek-A-Boo: Venus Wears "See-Through" Dress During French Open

    Venus Williams' Outfit During Yesterday's
    French Open Causing A Stir 

    Venus Williams wore a "lacy, black dress with bright red trim" during her opening-round French Open match against Patty Schnyder yesterday, and the "black overlay material made the dress appear as if it was see through," according to Chris Chase of YAHOO SPORTS. The outfit made it appear as if Williams "was auditioning for a spot at a 19th century cabaret." She "didn't state whether she'd wear it again during the tournament" (, 5/23). The AP's Howard Fendrich wrote the "corset-like get-up made her look as if she were ready to perform in a 19th century Parisian cancan chorus line." Williams said her look was "about illusion," which she said is "a lot of my motif this year" for her EleVen clothing line (AP, 5/23). In N.Y., John Branch wrote Williams garnered "sartorial attention with a self-designed black, lacy see-through outfit that might fit in at Moulin Rouge" (N.Y. TIMES, 5/24). ESPN's Mary Carillo said Williams "made a splash when she came on this court earlier today and she took off her sweater after the warm-up." Carillo: "What is that, a can-can situation?" ESPN's Mary Joe Fernandez: "I thought it looked like a Spanish flamenco dancer" ("French Open," ESPN2, 5/23).'s Greg Couch wrote, "This is going to cause a stir for tennis, which has broken free of its long-term stuffy image. Still, some corners of the game still aren't going to be comfortable with Venus trying to create the illusion of baring all. It will be interesting to see if the French Open attempts to fine her, or force her to cover up" (, 5/23).

    THE TIME IS NOW: Rafael Nadal is wearing a watch from designer Richard Mille during the French Open valued at $425,000, and Washington Post reporter Barry Svrluga said, “I like the Kia-image of this guy. I like the image of him throwing his body all over, kind of blue collar. I mean, he has got style but it is kind of a blue-collar style." Washington Post reporter Gene Wang: "What is going to happen if he is diving for a ball and the watch gets scratched on the court?" Comcast SportsNet’s Russ Thaler: "It is a strange repackaging of Nadal. They've been putting him in strange clothes with sleeves again" ("Washington Post Live," Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic, 5/21).

  • Marketplace Roundup

    NASCAR driver Kevin Harvick Saturday said that he has "decided to sign" a multiyear extension with Richard Childress Racing. Terms of the deal were not announced, nor was a sponsor for Harvick's No. 29 Sprint Cup Series Chevy with current partner Shell "leaving at the end of the season for Penske Racing." Team Owner Richard Childress said, "We have three or four companies that we are dealing with now. I hope in the very near future we will have that to announce." He noted that the "key to getting a new sponsor was keeping Harvick" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 5/23).

    EXTRA SKATERS: EA Sports and the CHL on Friday announced a four-year partnership under which "NHL 11" will feature "all 60 of the league's teams and players when it hits the market in September." CHL VP and WHL Commissioner Ron Robison said, "We view this purely as a promotional exercise. There is really no financial benefit to the Canadian Hockey League or our teams or players. We were just delighted to be asked to be part of it. ... It’s not a commercial venture; it’s really a promotional venture from our standpoint to elevate the awareness of our program" (, 5/21).

    Only 60 Copies Of Ferrari One
    Watch Will Be Made

    ENTERING A THIRD DIMENSION: The GUARDIAN's Mark Sweney reports Sony is "launching a marketing campaign using a 'fake' 3D TV ad in which all the images are blurred as part of a push to convince consumers to trade up to 3D sets." The Europe-wide campaign, via Anomaly, "features a bizarre montage that includes the footballer Kaka, a sports car doing a burnout, an exploding goalmouth and a strongman tensing his muscles." The payoff line is, "Maybe it's time to get a 3-D TV." Sweney notes the campaign will break in the U.K. on June 11 -- the first day of the FIFA World Cup and the "day after Sony 3D TVs will first go on sale"  (GUARDIAN, 5/24).

    TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE: Cabestan Watches has created the Cabestan Scuderia Ferrari One watch, which costs US$374,000 and is exclusive to Ferrari owners. Only 60 copies will be manufactured of the watch, which is "being sold to commemorate 60 years of the Italian car maker’s involvement in Formula One" (LONDON TIMES, 5/23).

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