SBD/Issue 14/Sponsorships, Advertising & Marketing

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  • Carter Admits LeBron's "Decision" Could Have Been Handled Better

    Carter Claims Race Playing Part
    In LeBron's "Decision" Backlash

    LRMR Marketing CEO Maverick Carter yesterday on CNN’s “Rick’s List” admitted the execution of “The Decision,” the primetime show on ESPN where LeBron James announced he was signing with the Heat, “could have been a little better,” but he claims race “definitely played a role” in some of the negative media coverage that followed. CNN’s Soledad O’Brien reported James’ avenue of announcing his free agency decision was “widely panned as a PR disaster, an ego trip of historic proportions. And seemingly overnight, the perception of James turned from golden boy to megalomaniac. New questions were raised about James' closest adviser, 28-year-old Maverick Carter.” Carter said, “The execution could have been a little better and I take some of the blame for that.” O’Brien noted James has known Carter “since he was a toddler,” and they both “starred on the same high school basketball team.” Since becoming business partners in LRMR Marketing in '06, James and Carter have signed “multimillion-dollar deals with State Farm, Nike and McDonald's,” but those deals “were overshadowed by this summer's decision and negative headlines, which seemed to tarnish LeBron James, the athlete and the brand.” Carter said, “It's just about control and not doing it the way it's always been done or not looking the way that it always looks.” When asked if race played a factor, James said, “I think so at times. It's always, you know, a race factor.” Carter: "It definitely played a role in some of the stuff coming out of the media, things that were written for sure." James and Carter indicated that what “does bother them is that lost amid the controversy is the fact that ‘The Decision’ TV program raised $3M for Boys & Girls Club of America.” Carter: “We own the advertising time. We went out and sold it to brands, and we took every dime and donated it to charity.” James: “For me to have an opportunity to give back to the Boys & Girls Club of America, I would never change that. And if I have to take heat to give back to kids, I would do it the same way every single time” (, 9/29).

  • Reds Playoffs Merch Selling Fast For First Appearance Since '95

    Reds' First Trip To Playoffs Since
    '95 Creating Demand For Apparel

    The Reds "started selling official postseason merchandise" as soon as the team clinched the NL Central with RF Jay Bruce's walk-off home run Tuesday, and the sales "haven't slowed since as fans spent Wednesday buying commemorative merchandise, and area businesses began capitalizing on the team's success," according to Laura Baverman of the CINCINNATI ENQUIRER. Reds PR Manager Michael Anderson said that "division champion apparel, commemorative baseballs and pennants have been in high demand." Anderson added that volume at stores throughout Great American Ball Park Tuesday was "seven times higher than on a normal Tuesday night, prompting the team to keep its Team Shop open overnight." Fans "made 430 purchases" between midnight and 6:00am ET yesterday, and the ballpark shops "ran out of championship merchandise by 3 p.m. Wednesday afternoon." MLB Business PR Manager Jeff Heckelman said that the "last two days of online traffic to the Reds Shop on was more than 200 percent higher than an average day in September." Meanwhile, Cincinnati Enquirer Dir of Sales & Marketing Denette Pfaffenberger said that Reds fans also "celebrated the win by buying 5,000 'Extra' editions of The Enquirer late Tuesday night." She added that "another 10,000 copies of the extra edition were made available Wednesday at locations throughout Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky, and a souvenir special edition went on sale Wednesday afternoon" at 2:30pm (CINCINNATI ENQUIRER, 9/30).

    Rays Wear New BRayser Cap
    For First Time During Game

    REAL MEN WEAR PLAID: The Rays last night wore new caps with a plaid brim that were inspired by the team’s “BRayser” they occasionally wear on road trips. MLB Network's Matt Yallof noted the caps “were approved for batting practice and pregame activities, and the league gave them approval to wear them for the game." MLB Net’s Tom Verducci: "It's hard to be intimidating with a plaid brim on your hat." MLB Net's Sean Casey: "I kind of like it. I bet they're selling big at the team store" ("MLB Tonight Live," MLB Network, 9/29). Rays manager Joe Maddon said, "All this stuff has been done in different ways before. When something new comes out, people, some enjoy it, some frown upon it, some don't get it and that's OK" (AP, 9/29).

  • County Council Rules Ryder Cup Paddy Power Sign Must Come Down

    Irish Betting Website Ordered To Take "Paddy
    Power" Sign Down Before Ryder Cup Starts

    Ireland-based betting website attempted to create a 250-foot-long, 50-foot-high sign "about 500 yards from the Celtic Manor Twenty Ten Course, site of this week's 2010 Ryder Cup," but a company spokesperson said it was ordered to "take the sign down by noon" today, according to Alex Miceli of GOLFWEEK. Work on the sign began early Tuesday morning, and "some mistook the sign as support for Padraig Harrington as they arrived" at the course. However, the sign, which is "almost as large as the famous 'Hollywood' sign," was an advertisement for the website. The Monmouthshire County Council "sought an injunction to force removal," and by 7:00pm local time Tuesday, the company was "summoned to appear in a Cardiff County Court about the sign" (, 9/29). MARKETING magazine's Katherine Levy reports "has come under scrutiny for adopting guerrilla marketing tactics." Paddy Power, the Head of Communications for the website of the same name, "agrees that is what they are doing." He said, "I guess it kind of is (guerrilla marketing). There's nothing bad about that though, if it's on private land outside the boundary." Power added that he "did not agree he was infringing on official sponsors' rights." Power: "Where's the boundary? If there's a sign in a hotel 10 miles away, what's the difference?" But he acknowledged that sponsors "might feel hard done by." Power: "If you were an official sponsor with those miniscule little logos around the course, then maybe that’s an issue, if you've paid all that money" (, 9/30).

  • Adidas' Herbert Hainer Discusses Sports Licensing, Sponsorships

    Hainer Expects Adidas To
    Grow In Non-World Cup Year's Darren Rovell recently sat down with adidas Chair & CEO Herbert Hainer to discuss the "re-energizing of the Reebok brand, the licensing business and the state of the sports and shoe apparel business." Below are excerpts from the Q&A.

    Q: You’ve spent a good deal of money on the NBA license. Reebok bought the NFL license before you bought them. What do you think about the licensing business in general?

    Hainer: Our NBA license is good because it connects our passion for basketball with fans of teams and the league. We just extended our deal with the MLS because we do believe that soccer in the country is gaining. Twenty five million people watched the World Cup final. Reebok hasn’t done as much as it could have done with the NFL before we came along.

    Q: The NFL license is up at the end of next year, but we’re supposed to find out before the end of this year who the apparel partner will be. Are you bidding as Adidas or Reebok?

    Hainer: I can’t say which brand, but I can say that we have participated in the NFL’s open bidding process. We decided how much we were willing to pay. We think it’s reasonable and our intention is to try to keep the NFL as a property. But if somebody bids higher than us then we’ll accept that. We expect to hear by the end of October.

    Q: You recently said that you believe that you will grow in the next year. Is that possible in a non-World Cup/Olympics year?

    Hainer: Yes it is possible and we’ll do it first and foremost by continuing to bring product concepts to life. Our business is sold six months in advance, so I know how we’re doing and it’s quite encouraging. If you look back in our history, 2003, 2005, 2007 -- the in-between years when there isn’t a World Cup or Olympics -- we’ve focused on product concepts and technologies more in those years and it has driven market share.

    Q: You obviously have the Reebok and TaylorMade brands. Are there any smaller companies that you have your eyes on acquiring?

    Hainer: Not at the moment. We think Reebok has huge potential and adidas is obviously all over the world, so we think our best strategy right now is to focus on our existing brands (, 9/29).

  • MainGate Testing Vending Machine That Sells Team Merchandise

    Vikings First Team
    With Merch Machine

    Indianapolis-based Main Gate Inc. is testing a vending machine at Mall of America that sells Vikings merchandise, including everything from "jerseys to bobble heads," according to Anthony Schoettle of the INDIANAPOLIS BUSINESS JOURNAL. Minneapolis is the "first test market" for the machines, and MainGate President & CEO Dave Moroknek said that the machine placed in the mall last Friday was the "first to distribute sporting goods." Moroknek: "We think this has a lot of potential and is an innovative, cost-effective way, and a new way to get product in front of a team's customers." Moroknek added that the vending machine "costs less than $5,000 and takes minimal manpower to stock and service." Payment for the merchandise is "made by credit card only." Moroknek noted Vikings President Mark Wilf "has a big interest" in the machines. Moroknek: "We're going to evaluate the Minneapolis test market through the holidays and probably through the rest of this season. We think it has a lot of potential and by early next year -- and certainly by training camp in August -- we think you could start seeing this in other markets." Schoettle noted the Colts are one of MainGate's seven NFL clients, and Moroknek "thinks places like Indianapolis International Airport, Circle Centre mall and The Fashion Mall at Keystone could be ideal locations for vending machines." MainGate "is no stranger to alternative retail sales operations," as the company "handles production and management of clients' licensed retail operations, including mall stores and kiosks, mobile units and online sales" (, 9/28).

  • Marketplace Roundup

    Boxer Evander Holyfield is launching a chain of high-performance designer gyms in India, along with boxing academies, health cafes and fitness mobile phone apps. Sanghvi Brands, which has the exclusive partnership to develop Holyfield Gyms, Fitness & Sports products and concepts in India, expects to launch at least three flagship Evander Holyfield Gyms, six Holyfield Corners and four Holyfield Boxing Academies across India in the next three years. Leverage Agency negotiated the deal (Sanghvi Brands). In India, Amit Sharma reports Sanghvi Brands "plans to invest close to" US$11M in the first three years to open 20,000-square-foot flagship gyms in Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore. In the second phase, the company "plans to roll out a range of health drinks, shakes, supplements and mineral water under the Holyfield brand" (India ECONOMIC TIMES, 9/30).

    Chevron Is The Hornets'
    First Practice Jersey Sponsor
    GAS & GO: The Hornets yesterday announced that Chevron will be the first presenting sponsor of the team's practice jerseys. The deal includes logo placement on the upper right side of the jerseys, which will be worn during team practices and shootarounds throughout the season. Chevron also is partnering with the team for the Hornets Believe in Blue Gulf Coast restoration initiative, and it is the presenting partner for the Hornets MVP program, and for the team's Opening Night game against the Bucks (Hornets).

    I’M A SURVIVOR: The No. 56 NAPA Auto Parts NASCAR Sprint Cup Toyota driven by Martin Truex Jr. will have a “different look” for the Nov. 7 AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. The team “hopes to cover the car with more than 56,000 names of breast cancer survivors and victims while raising funds for the Susan G. Komen Foundation.” From now until Oct. 11, fans can “submit names to appear on the car by making a minimum donation of $5.60 via the NAPA Know How Facebook page” (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 9/30).

    SPINNING IN LUXURY: VELO NEWS reports cyclists Frank and Andy Schleck have announced that Mercedes-Benz Luxembourg “will provide the Luxembourg-backed team with a fleet of vehicles next season.” Officials from the Luxembourg Pro Cycling Project confirmed that Mercedes-Benz Luxembourg “will supply a fleet of cars, mini-buses, trucks and luxury buses to the new squad," the first from the country. A “title sponsor backing the team is still unknown” (, 9/30).

    NOTES: Rice Univ. and the Univ. of Houston announced that State Farm has become the title sponsor for the annual football game between the two schools. The game will be called the Bayou Bucket presented by State Farm and will be played this season Oct. 16 at Rice Stadium (, 9/28)….Publix grocery stores on Tuesday announced a multiyear agreement to title sponsor the Georgia Marathon and Half Marathon (Publix).

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