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EA today will debut a new advertising effort showing Tiger Woods in "oddball sport situations" as part of the promotion for "Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11," according to Suzanne Vranica of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. The campaign, via Heat, S.F., includes TV spots and "online-video ads that will appear on sites such as Facebook featuring Mr. Woods and his 'teammates' in bizarre sports environments like soccer and hockey." EA is trying to depict Woods as "part of a team in an effort to promote the addition of the Ryder Cup to the videogame and the ability for gamers to team play." In one video, several golfers "use curling brushes to scrub down the green" as Woods tries to make a putt. In a TV spot, Woods and a "group of other U.S. golfers run onto the golf course pro-football style, greeted by screaming fans and exuberant cheerleaders" before huddling "with an unlikely team captain: former Chicago Bears coach Mike Ditka." After making a putt, Woods is "greeted by a jet flyover and loud cheers, rather than the usual polite clapping." The spot will be broadcast during the NBA Finals on ABC. Vranica notes the "lighthearted tone of EA's new campaign is a reversal" from Woods' last advertising appearance, when he starred in a Nike spot earlier this year "solemnly listening to the voice of his deceased father" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 6/3).
The BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has "leaked into the company's sponsorship of the BP Crosstown Cup, the six-game series between the Cubs and White Sox that kicks off next week," according to Wailin Wong of the CHICAGO TRIBUNE. BP still is sponsoring the series, but Cubs PR & Marketing Specialist Kevin Saghy said, "We've scaled back efforts a little bit." Saghy noted that BP already has started "some in-store promotions for the Cup, but has cut back on other planned events, as well as media buys and media outreach." He said that the Cubs and White Sox also are "considering a more sober presentation of the trophy." This year's series, the first in a multiyear sponsorship for BP, still will carry the BP Crosstown Cup name, and the company's logo will be "visible in signage for the event" (CHICAGOBREAKINGSPORTS.com, 6/2). Cubs Exec VP & CMO Wally Hayward said, "We are extremely loyal to our sponsors. ... We believe in the BP brand and we're going to be loyal to them during this difficult time." White Sox VP & CMO Brooks Boyer: "Just like we have tough seasons, our partners have tough times and we aren’t going to turn our back on our partners" (CNBC.com, 6/2).
Liberty The Fourth WNBA
Team To Ink Jersey Sponsor
Foxwoods Resort Casino Senior VP/Consumer Marketing Rob Victoria yesterday said the company's new jersey sponsorship deal with the WNBA N.Y. Liberty is designed largely as an attempt to boost market share and awareness in Connecticut. Women's basketball enjoys a strong following in the state, and Foxwoods is locked in a vigorous competitive battle against neighboring casino rival Mohegan Sun, owners of the WNBA Connecticut Sun. "This is a chance to compete in the same arena as Mohegan Sun and beat them," Victoria said. "We need to penetrate Connecticut better, and this is an important step in that direction. This was a perfect marriage of what we need and what MSG had to offer, and is certainly one of many moves we will make to go after market share." The deal is the league's fourth uniform branding deal following the Phoenix Mercury, L.A. Sparks and Seattle Storm, and also represents the first resort casino branding on a pro sports jersey. Financial terms were not disclosed, but the deal is a three-year pact with options. Industry sources said MSG came down on price at least twice during a nine-month negotiation period. Beyond the jersey rights, the package also includes exterior LED signage at Madison Square Garden and a community outreach component (Eric Fisher, SportsBusiness Journal). Victoria noted that the "proximity of the two casinos" helped him consider the deal "more seriously." He said, "It'll almost be like a Red Sox-Yankees rivalry. We're all for it." Victoria said that "discussions with MSG initially only involved the arena" and began in '09. The addition of the jersey deal "started around late March and was a turning point in negotiations" (AP, 6/2). Sources indicated that the deal could pay MSG $1M annually (N.Y. POST, 6/3). Foxwoods does not offer gambling on sporting events (BLOOMBERG NEWS, 6/2).
Under Armour Logos To Be
Displayed In Boxing Ring
Under Armour has "agreed to sign a sponsorship deal" with Top Rank for Saturday's Yuri Foreman-Miguel Cotto bout at Yankee Stadium, according to Darren Rovell of CNBC.com. The deal, negotiated by N.Y-based Leverage Agency, includes the center-ring logo for the bout on HBO, as well as "in ring mentions" by fight announcer Michael Buffer and "signage in the boxers' corners." Under Armour also plans to run a commercial on the ballpark Jumbotron featuring athlete endorsers Brandon Jennings, Michael Phelps, Georges St-Pierre and Lindsey Vonn. The brand's logo is "not expected to be on the boxers themselves." Cotto has an endorsement deal with Ecko, which is "producing a T-shirt for the fight that it is selling online." Rovell noted Under Armour's "exposure in boxing has been limited" to date. But Under Armour Senior VP/Brand Steve Battista said, "We liked the opportunity of being part of the first fight in new Yankee Stadium and being live on HBO" (CNBC.com, 6/2).
New Line From MLBPA
Features Designs From Yanks
The MLBPA yesterday at Yankee Stadium unveiled new designs in its emerging Players Choice Signature Series from six Yankees players. Expanding on a test effort last year with six Mets players, new hats, jerseys and T-shirts designed by CF Curtis Granderson, RF Nick Swisher, 1B Mark Teixeira and Ps Joba Chamberlain, Andy Pettitte and CC Sabathia were modeled by the players themselves, hours before they went on sale at stadium stores. While much more personalized than standard licensed team merchandise, the Yankee players' contributions to the Players Choice Signature Series remained generally more conservative in their styling than last year's debut Mets merchandise, or forthcoming gear from players from the Phillies, Twins and this year's Mets squad. General trends among the Yankees' contributors were to incorporate the N.Y. skyline, the World Series trophy and event logos, and reproductions of personal tattoos. "We were so impressed with the designs," said MLBPA Dir of Retail Development and Category Dir for Apparel Nancy Willis. "They all stayed true to the heritage of New York and the Yankees. The other teams are a bit more out there." Design sessions were held during spring training with the players, with follow-up refinements conducted via e-mail. "This is so cool. It's a reflection of everyone's personalities and it definitely shows up in the results," Swisher said. Beyond availability in stadium stores and on MLB.com, the union also is expanding the program this year to include an exclusive partnership with Modell's in the N.Y. and Philadelphia areas. Yankees SS Derek Jeter and 3B Alex Rodriguez were not included in the program, as the union and its licensee partners in the effort, VF/Majestic and Twins/Banner 47, have veered more toward other players that do not necessarily sell vast amounts of merchandise with their name, number or likeness. Similarly, Mets 3B David Wright, Phillies 1B Ryan Howard, 2B Chase Utley and P Roy Halladay and Twins C Joe Mauer are also not involved. The Phillies gear in the line will be unveiled tomorrow, the new Mets merchandise Wednesday, and the Twins the following day.
Manchester United Commercial Dir Richard Arnold said that the club's "huge profile means they can still afford to be selective about potential sponsorship deals despite the global economic downturn." ManU yesterday launched their new jersey sponsorship deal with Chicago-based Aon, and speaking at the event, Arnold said, "We try and make sure we are associated with businesses that do have strong brands and who support the vision of the club" (GOAL.com, 6/2).
Marshall's Jersey Ranked 16th
In NFL Sales From April 1-May 31
SHOP 'TIL YOU DROP: The Univ. of Kansas and Kansas State Univ. Tuesday announced a new annual series of games, titled the Sunflower Showdown, which "will be sponsored" by Kansas-based grocery store chain Dillons. The company acquires naming rights to KU-KSU meetings in football, men's and women's basketball, baseball and volleyball "for the next two years." This year's football game will move from Saturday to Thursday and be televised by FSN (K.C. STAR, 6/2).
THE MAGIC NUMBER? In Ft. Lauderdale, Sarah Talalay notes WR Brandon Marshall's No. 19 Dolphins jersey ranked 16th in NFL sales between April 1-May 31, based on sales at NFLShop.com, and that is before Marshall has finalized his number for next season. The No. 19 is official "for the time being." The NFL noted that is the "number Reebok is printing and NFLShop.com is shipping." Dolphins Senior VP/Media Relations Harvey Greene said, "As of this point, he's wearing No. 19" (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 6/3).
GET YOUR MOTOR RUNNING: SPEED's Adam Cooper reported a deal for Pirelli to become the official tire provider of F1 starting next season "appears to be a formality." Michelin made a "last ditch bid" to win the contract, but the "biggest weakness in Michelin's case was its insistence on making a significant cut in the number of sets of tires available per driver per race weekend, whereas Pirelli has agreed to honor the numbers as supplied by Bridgestone in the current FIA Sporting Regulations" (SPEEDTV.com, 6/2).