SBD/Issue 241/Sponsorships, Advertising & MarketingPrint All
Adidas, MLS Deal Will Go Through 2018
Season With Annual Value Of $25M
adidas and MLS today announced that the apparel company has agreed to new terms in a contract “that will see it remain the official athletic sponsor and licensed product supplier to MLS through 2018,” according to Tripp Mickle of SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL. Sources valued the deal at more than $200M, making it one of adidas’ “largest investments in the sport worldwide.” The new deal is worth $25M annually and “represents a 66 percent increase per year from Adidas’ 10-year, $150 million agreement signed in 2004.” In addition to “maintaining its position as the official supplier to all MLS clubs and youth academies, Adidas will continue to provide the league’s official ball and remain the only athletic brand with advertising rights for all MLS games.” The company also plans to “increase its marketing support of MLS teams and broadcast partners, and make a mutual commitment with the league to player development.” adidas execs met with MLS Commissioner Don Garber and SUM Exec VP Kathy Carter two weeks ago in a “renegotiation session that resulted in a new deal.” Mickle notes the “results from the first six years of the adidas-MLS partnership supported the company’s decision to extend it.” MLS merchandise sales since '05 “reportedly have increased more than” 600% annually to $300M (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 8/30 issue).
RBS Continues Paring Down Sponsorship Deals
With End Of British Open Partnership
RBS has "ended its sponsorship of The Open Championship after nine years supporting the U.K. golf event,” according to James Hall of the London TELEGRAPH. The move is the “latest in a series of changes to RBS’s sponsorship activities." The bank “already announced its withdrawal from Formula 1 sponsorship, which will take effect at the end of this season.” The bank last year ended sponsorships with golfers Luke Donald and Paula Creamer, and “ceased being an official partner of the PGA of America.” RBS reportedly “will continue to sponsor” the U.S. Open and tennis player Andy Murray, while Jack Nicklaus and former F1 driver Jackie Stewart will continue to serve as brand ambassadors. RBS said that it will "review its remaining sponsorship contracts as they expire." RBS reportedly had paid US$1.55M annually for its sponsorship of The Open Championship (TELEGRAPH.co.uk, 8/27). In Scotland, Martyn McLaughlin wrote the decision, "reached by mutual agreement with golf’s governing body, brings to an end the bank’s role as patron of The Open,” which began in ’02. RBS’ relationship with the R&A “goes back more than a century, and it will continue to be the group’s banker” (THE SCOTSMAN, 8/28). An R&A spokesperson said that no “replacement had been found yet,” but added that the R&A “is constantly in conversation with companies interested in joining The Open Patrons programme” (Scottish DAILY RECORD, 8/27).
Fox will be in the "unprecedented position of heading into the regular season with just a handful of Super Bowl spots left to sell," according to sources cited by John Ourand in this week's SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL. Sources said that "most of those remaining Super Bowl spots are in the fourth quarter." Fox is getting "around $3 million for a stand-alone 30-second spot, though most of the spots are sold as larger packages." Networks typically go into Super Bowl week with a "few open spots to fill," but this year's Super Bowl ad sales story is "mirroring a regular season that has seen the ad market move faster than ever before, with all of the TV networks reporting sellout levels of around" 95%. Fox would not comment on its Super Bowl sales, but the network said that its regular-season business is "more than 95 percent sold, which is 20 percent above last year’s pace, when networks were selling their NFL games in the middle of the worst recession in generations." Fox Exec VP/Sports Sales Neil Mulcahy: “Sales levels heading into this season, led by a resurgent auto category, have exceeded our best expectations. In addition to autos, we’ve seen year-to-year growth in almost every category we do business with." NBC indicated that its regular season is "more than 95 percent sold, with several of its September games sold out," while CBS noted that it is "more than 90 percent sold." ESPN indicated it has "very few units available for "MNF” and NFL Network's regular season is "more than 90 percent sold, and its live-game schedule doesn’t start until November" (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 8/30 issue).
Gold Medalist Ricker Has Some Smaller
Deals, But Major Endorsements Lacking
It has been a "mostly barren landscape in terms of endorsement deals" for the majority of Canadians who won Gold Medals at the Vancouver Games, according to Gary Kingston of the VANCOUVER SUN. Slider Jon Montgomery was found “chugging from a pitcher of beer” after his win, and agent Russell Reimer said he has had some "great discussions with beer companies.” But Reimer noted, “You can’t use a celebrity to endorse beer in Canada. It's not permitted under our liquor laws. ... We could have had him signed within a week after the Games, it was such a natural fit.” Kingston reported while there have been “some suggestions that athletes and corporations missed the boat by not immediately capitalizing on the awareness and patriotism that followed Canada’s 14 gold medals at Vancouver/Whistler, others say it’s just the reality of a slow-to-rebound economy and the Canadian marketplace.” Gold Medal-winning snowboarder Maelle Ricker: “I guess you sort of get caught up in what everybody is saying, people saying you’re going to make a million bucks. It’s completely not true.” K-Mac & Associates President Keith McIntyre said one big reason for the lack of deals is that companies "don’t like to negotiate when there’s a lot of euphoria and they’re dealing with (athletes) who are at their highest peak value.” Skier Ashleigh McIvor said that “she hasn’t spent a lot of time thinking about cashing in on her gold medal.” McIvor: “It’s not a big thing for me. I had a lot of great sponsors supporting me going into the season (Cold FX, Bell, iSign Media, Oakley) and I was just happy I hadn’t let them down.” Kingston noted McIvor did receive around C$50,000 "in gold medal bonuses from those companies." The athletes said that the most “immediate post-Olympic benefit, beyond the Canadian Olympic Committee’s $20,000 bonus for a gold medal, came in the form of corporate speaking engagements, with athletes commanding $7,500 to $15,000.” Montgomery has “done close to two dozen," while Ricker and McIvor have each done about eight to 10 (VANCOUVER SUN, 8/28).
Andretti Autosport Hopeful 7-Eleven Returns
As Tony Kanaan's Primary Sponsor
In Indianapolis, Curt Cavin reported Andretti Autosport co-Owner & Chair Michael Andretti “believes his team will re-sign 7-Eleven," which sponsors Tony Kannan’s No. 11 IndyCar entry, but it is "not a given based on meetings held during the past two race weekends.” 7-Eleven's contract with the team is “up, and it’s unclear how Kanaan would be affected if his longtime backer doesn’t return.” He has “two years left on his contract with Andretti Autosport worth about $3 million annually” (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 8/29).
SPECIAL DELIVERY: The SEC has landed UPS as a corporate partner to be the conference's official package delivery and logistics sponsor. The deal allows UPS category exclusive use of SEC logos, marketing rights, TV and Internet presence, signage at the league's championship events and merchandise. The three-year deal through June '13 was negotiated by IMG College, the SEC's multimedia rights holder (Michael Smith, SportsBusiness Journal).
TICKET TAKERS: The Raiders are teaming with the California Lottery for a new scratch ticket that gives players the opportunity to win up to $20,000, as well as several second-chance prizes. Through the lottery’s Replay Program website, players can enter to win season tickets, luxury suites, VIP road trips and tailgate parties. The scratch tickets feature the Raiders’ logo and a picture of Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum (California Lottery).
RECEIVING SOME ATTENTION: In Houston, John McClain reported Texans WR Andre Johnson “has been named as a national spokesperson for three companies.” He will “soon be seen promoting Verizon Wireless, Muscle Milk and Brand Joy in national ads on television, radio and the Internet as well as in print.” Johnson’s agent, Kennard McGuire, is “trying to boost Johnson’s national appeal through commercial endorsements” (CHRON.com, 8/27).
DUE TO POPULAR DEMAND: In Ft. Worth, Anthony Andro reported a “highly coveted” Nike T-shirt worn by MLB Rangers players is "being made available to the public." The shirt, which has a claw on the front and antlers on the back, “costs $26 and the club is talking pre-orders for them” (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 8/28).