Sunoco Debuts "Essence Of Racing" Campaign Executive Transactions Isiah Thomas Expected Backlash Over Hiring FanDuel Brings On Most Of Zynga Sports Team Georgia Approves Increased Athletic Budget Kentucky Adding Ribbon Boards At Rupp IndyCar Ponders How To Attract Fans Long Term Jeff Gordon Hired As Full-Time Analyst For Fox Danica's Sponsorship Status To Be Telling For NASCAR Classified Advertisements
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Memorabilia Celebrating Halladay's No-Hitter
Includes Pennants, Towels And T-Shirts
MLB licensees are acting quickly to capitalize on the excitement around Phillies P Roy Halladay's no-hitter in Game 1 of the NLDS Wednesday. Using the "Doctober" thematic, various licensed goods should be available at MLB.com, Philadelphia-area Modell's, and at Citizens Bank Park in time for Friday's Game 2 in Philadelphia. Included in the assortment will be pennants, towels, and other novelty items from Wincraft; along with T-shirts and other imprintables from VF's Majestic brand. "Every licensee is on this, it's something you usually have at the end of the playoffs with a big MVP push," said MLB Senior VP/Licensing Howard Smith. "This is something that could build throughout the postseason." Halladay’s no-hitter was only the second in MLB postseason history (Terry Lefton, THE DAILY). In L.A., Kevin Baxter reported the jersey Halladay wore Wednesday is "on its way" to the Baseball HOF. MLB authenticators also "marked several other items, certifying that they were used in the historic game," including "multiple game-used baseballs, home plate, the pitching rubber, the lineup card from the Phillies dugout, all three sets of bases used in the game, buckets of dirt removed from the mound and the uniform used by plate umpire John Hirshbeck" (LATIMES.com, 10/7).
NIKE EFFECT: Nike has sponsored Halladay "for much of his professional career," and in Portland, Allan Brettman reported the company is "preparing a special glove" for him. It will be "embroidered with the date October 6, 2010." Meanwhile, as Halladay paused between pitches toward the end of Wednesday's game, the TBS camera offered a "view of the distinctive Swoosh on a finger of his black 'Diamond Elite' model" glove. Nike Baseball Product Line Manager Jeremy Hewitt said that it is "hard to quantify what sales bounce, if any, can be attributed to a star player or star performance" (OREGONLIVE.com, 10/7).
REVERSING COURSE: In Philadelphia, Paul Hagen reports Toronto Sun editors "had a 30-page sports section planned" for Thursday that was "to be dominated by the Maple Leafs" ahead of their regular-season opener against the Canadiens. The plan was to cover the Reds-Phillies game on page 23. But Halladay "remains an icon in Toronto since he had spent his entire career with the Blue Jays organization before being traded to the Phillies last offseason," and he "ended up dominating the first three pages." Hagen: "It takes a lot to knock hockey off the front of a Toronto sports section" (PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 10/8).
All 30 Superheroes Will Have Five Special
Powers, Including One Specific To Each Team
The NHL's new partnership with comic designer Stan Lee to create a stable of hockey superheroes "targets the bull’s-eye of the NHL’s latest marketing drive -- the so-called 'tween boys' ages 9 to 16," according to Mark Zwolinski of the TORONTO STAR. NHL Exec VP/Marketing Brian Jennings said, "It certainly goes for that target group, but you also hope for a halo effect. You don’t want to be exclusionary." Jennings added that the superheroes, one for each NHL team, "live out typical good guy/bad guy comic book themes, but are not solely devoted to the hockey world." He said, "Imagine 30 characters. There’s lots of material for storylines." Zwolinski reports an online game is available starting Friday, ahead of the formal unveiling at the NHL All-Star Game in January, "offering a sneak peek at the project." In addition, "comics, a complete digital franchise, and merchandise, will come out over the winter" (TORONTOSTAR.com, 10/8). USA TODAY's Bill Keveney notes each Guardian superhero will have "five powers, including one tied to his team." The Flames character, for example, "will have control over fire," while the Flyers character "can go airborne." The superheroes are "not being developed from existing mascots," though the teams "had a role in designing heroes to reflect themselves." The characters will "work together and separately, although there will be friction between those representing traditional rivalries" (USA TODAY, 10/8). In Boston, Donna Goodison reports a "Harry Potter-esque novel, animated TV series and major motion pictures also are planned." Guardian Media Entertainment Chief Creative Officer Adam Baratta: "We worked hand-in-hand with the NHL over the last 10 months to specifically design each character not only to look and feel like the moniker, but to be infused with the spirit that represents the fans of each hometown" (BOSTON HERALD, 10/8).
Stolichnaya Is The Official Vodka Partner Of
Barclays Center, May Use Prokhorov In Ads
Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment and Russian vodka company Stolichnaya Thursday announced a five-year deal making Stoli a founding partner of Barclays Center and a sponsor of the Nets. As part of the agreement, making Stoli the official vodka partner of the new arena in Brooklyn, the company will receive numerous entitlements, including category exclusivity and branding throughout Barclays Center (Stolichnaya). CNBC's Darren Rovell reported the deal is "worth more than $2 million a year and is one of the biggest spirits deals in sports." Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov bought the Nets earlier this year, and Nets CEO Brett Yormark said, "Our building and our team is going global, so it's a very appropriate fit for us to partner with Stoli. Stoli will take a very significant position at the Barclays Center. They will brand six premium bars. ... Their brand will be seen also throughout the Barclays Center in a very subtle and relevant way." The arena is planning to host about 200 events a year, and Yormark said, "We're doing a lot from a programming perspective, and Stoli will be visible for all those events." When asked if Stoli plans to use Prokhorov in advertising, SPI Group co-Owner Andrey Skurikhin said, "You never know so you never rule out any possibility" ("Power Lunch," CNBC, 10/7).
"NBA 2K11" Includes Jordan-Inspired Features
Based On Memorable Games, Like '97 Finals
Bobcats Owner Michael Jordan said the “deciding factor” in agreeing to be the cover athlete on this year’s “NBA 2K11” was the opportunity “to connect to this generation, when in essence a lot of these young kids never saw me play,” according to Brian Mahoney of the AP. Jordan: “They do remember me from ‘Space Jam,’ but not from basketball. So I felt like this would be a good opportunity to kind of expose them to that.” Jordan had “input in the development of the game,” which was released Tuesday and includes features based on the “Flu Game” in the '97 NBA Finals against the Jazz and the “Shrug Game” in the '92 NBA Finals against the Trail Blazers. To obtain Jordan for their team, players “first have to unlock him by completing the ‘Jordan Challenge,’ a series of 10 of Jordan’s most memorable performances that he helped select.” Once that is completed, fans “can place a rookie Jordan onto their current team as if he were in the 2010 NBA draft.” A commercial for the video game shows Lakers G Kobe Bryant obtaining Jordan to play for the Lakers. Jordan was “one of sports’ top pitchmen" during his playing career, but he "had never before appeared on the cover of an NBA-licensed basketball game” (AP, 10/7).
TWO THUMBS UP: In Charlotte, Langston Wertz Jr. wrote “NBA 2K11” is “one of the best video games in a generation.” You can “try to create 10 of Jordan’s greatest games,” and “if you can get Michael and the Bulls over the top, you can unlock a special mode where you can draft Jordan as a rookie and play out his career.” But the “thing that stands out here is the presentation.” Wertz: “The game really looks and feels like a real TNT broadcast, down to the soundtrack and sound effects. The crowd sometimes will arrive late, and leave early if you’re at home and getting blown out” (CHARLOTTEOBSERVER.com, 10/4). USA TODAY’s Brett Molina gave the game 3.5 stars out of 4 and wrote, “In the era of Kobe and LeBron, The Jordan Challenge serves as a nice history lesson, reminding players of Jordan’s greatness and dominance.” Developers “paid great detail in highlighting Jordan’s classic gestures.” The game also “revisits some of the great teams in NBA history, such as Larry Bird’s championship Celtics squad in 1986 … and the Bad Boys of the Detroit Pistons” (USATODAY.com, 10/7). CBSSPORTS.com’s Royce Young wrote the game is “like the 1991 MJ -- near perfect, but not quite there.” The Jordan Challenge “really is almost a game in itself.” Meanwhile, the announcing team of Kevin Harlan and Clark Kellogg “is terrific.” When a player is using the Thunder, Harlan “talks about how 150 fans or so met the team at the airport after OKC clinched a playoff berth.” There also is an “incredible attention to detail down to things like accurate tattoos and free throw routines” (CBSSPORTS.com, 10/5).
Subaru To Use Puppy Bowl Theme For
Its Super Bowl XLV Commercial
MARKETING DAILY’s Tanya Irwin reports Subaru of America is “looking for some extra special talent” for its Super Bowl XLV commercial. The automaker will be “scouting the filming of Animal Planet’s Puppy Bowl” in N.Y. Oct. 15 and will “select five puppies to star in the spot, which will be shot the same day.” Sources said that the spot “will air nationwide just before the Super Bowl.” The commercial is “about a guy from Animal Planet traveling to the Super Bowl (in his Subaru, of course) with his five puppies and they make several stops along the way” (MARKETING DAILY, 10/8 issue).
NO “I” IN “TEAM” Heritage Sport Art is “selling watercolor portraits of historic uniforms, except the numbers shown didn’t belong to any player or else were worn by multiple players.” Heritage Sport Art Founder Scott Sillcox said, “Sports fans are truly fans of a team first, and fans of individual players on that team second” (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 10/8).
WHEELS & DEALS: Carlisle Companies will be an associate sponsor for Brad Keselowski’s No. 12 NASCAR Sprint Cup Dodge beginning in ’11. Carlisle will “use its sponsorship to put a variety of its brands” on the car throughout the season. Miller Lite will be the primary sponsor for Keselowski next season (SCENEDAILY.com, 10/7)....Lotus Racing has “signed a global representation agreement” with CAA. As part of the deal, CAA Marketing will “help the team develop and implement new marketing strategies” (GRANDPRIX.com, 10/7).