SBD/December 16, 2010/Marketing and Sponsorship

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  • Pizza Hut Getting In On The Super Bowl Action With Debut Ad

    Pizza Hut will be making its “first appearance in the Super Bowl, with one spot by Interpublic Group of Cos.' Martin Agency appearing in the first half of the game on Feb. 6” on Fox, according to Rupal Parekh of AD AGE. The ad buy “marks a change of course for the restaurant chain, which has long opted to gain exposure around the big game, but has not actually been in it.” Pizza Hut has served as the presenting sponsor of NFL Network's “GameDay Morning,” and has “run ads leading up to the event.” Pizza Hut for last year’s Super Bowl “used the pre-game to debut work from Martin.” Pizza Hut VP/Advertising Kurt Kane said, “We'll be highlighting the role that the Pizza Hut brand plays in customers' lives beyond the game and throughout the year." Parekh noted the effort is the “latest salvo” in the "Pizza Wars" between Pizza Hut and fellow U.S.-based chains Papa John's, the NFL's "official" pizza, and Domino's. Pizza Hut's “move into the Super Bowl comes as Taco Bell, a regular Super Bowl advertiser, has yet to announce an appearance this year.” Both are owned by Louisville-based Yum Brands (, 12/15).

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  • Ganassi Adds Fully Sponsored Rahal, Kimball To IndyCar Team

    Graham Rahal Will Drive No. 38 Izod IndyCar Series Entry For Chip Ganassi Racing In '11

    Chip Ganassi Racing today announced it will add two Izod IndyCar teams in '11 following a pair of primary sponsorship deals with TBC Retail Group, which owns Tire Kingdom among other outlets, and Novo Nordisk, a pharmaceutical company. U.S.-born IndyCar driver Graham Rahal will drive the No. 38 TBC supported car, which will feature Service America as its primary branding and regional branding for Service Central, Tire Kingdom, NTB-National Tire & Battery, Big O Tires and Merchant's Tire & Auto. Fellow American driver Charlie Kimball will drive the No. 83 Novo Nordisk car. Rahal announced his two-year sponsorship with TBC at Homestead-Miami Speedway in October during the last race of the '10 season. Kimball, a diabetic, uses Novo Nordisk's insulin product Levemir to help manage his diabetes. Terms of the sponsorships were not available. The addition of two cars to the Chip Ganassi race team follows the team's third consecutive IndyCar championship. Ganassi will continue to field cars driven by IndyCar Series champion Dario Franchitti and Scott Dixon. IndyCar primary sponsorships typically cost $6-11M.

    : TBC started exposing its brand Service America to the public through racing last year, as Service Central sponsored an IndyCar last year in a small program with Sarah Fisher Racing. The company felt like moving to Ganassi Racing because the team offered them a better chance to earn exposure on the track because of strong performance. TBC Retail Senior VP/Marketing Bob Crostarosa: "Our organization is about performance and anyone we align with we want to be sure they provide that." He added that TBC believes IndyCar will continue to grow and that its demographic was a good fit for the company. He said, "It's a little more upscale (demographic) than NHRA and the price of entry is a little better than NASCAR, so we felt the opportunity for a good ROI was better." With the Ganassi Racing deal, the company now has a presence in NASCAR, NHRA and IndyCar.

    : Kimball often goes to speak to children and parents on behalf of Novo Nordisk about type 2 diabetes and explains that they can live an active life with diabetes by using the company's products. His ability to explain the value of their products, based on his experience with them, was a major reason Novo Nordisk continued to sponsor him as he moved from the Indy Lights Series to IndyCar this year, Novo Nordisk VP/Diabetes Marketing Camille Lee said. Lee: "The reason we decided to do this is because of Charlie. Charlie is an outstanding role model for people with diabetes." To support its sponsorship on the car, the company plans to do on-site activation at tracks in '11 and increase its social media marketing.

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  • Scott Speed Provides Detail About Suit Against Red Bull Racing

    Speed Earlier In '10 Signed Three-Year Extension With RBR

    NASCAR driver Scott Speed yesterday indicated that he is "shocked and ill he was put in the position of having to file a $6.5 million lawsuit against Red Bull Racing, the organization that gave him his shot in motorsports," according to David Newton of Speed filed the suit last week, "about two weeks after Speed received a termination letter from the Sprint Cup organization and about seven months after Speed says the team agreed to a three-year extension" through '13. Speed yesterday said, "They can't say 'We'll give you three more years' and then at the end of the season say 'Just kidding.' They think they have a way of getting out of my contract. I think they're crazy." Red Bull Racing officials contend that "prior to Speed's release there was a provision in the contract that allowed for dismissal if the driver wasn't in the top 16 in points." Speed, who finished 30th, said that "isn't '100 percent the truth' and that proof will come out later in the process." In addition, Speed claims that RBR "did not provide sufficient funding for him to compete at a level necessary to be in the top 16," citing team layoffs before the season and "other financial cutbacks." Speed was "most upset that the organization would not give him permission to talk to other teams when it was obvious he wouldn't return to the Cup car." He said, "They simply kept me with a sock in my mouth and hands tied behind my back until after the last race. With the relationship I had with Red Bull, I can't tell you how surprised I am. I am shocked" (, 12/15).

    FOUR-POINT TURN: Red Bull Racing GM & VP Jay Frye indicated that new driver Kasey Kahne "will compete with the No. 4 in 2011, a nod to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver’s number in Sprint cars." Teams "do not own the car numbers with which they race, but are awarded specific numbers, typically upon request, by NASCAR." Frye said that "because Kahne will only be with the team for one year, it would be easy to make a 'clean break' the following year and resume use of either the 82 or 84 numbers the team has previously used" (, 12/15).

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  • Patriots Fans Show Love For RB Woodhead Through T-Shirt Sales

    Patriots Fans Are Snapping Up Woodhead T-Shirts During RB's First Season With Team

    Danny Woodhead T-shirts are "outselling every other Patriot" at some Boston-area stores as the 5'8" RB "builds a cult following among New England fans," according to Thomas Grillo of the BOSTON HERALD. At Modell's Sporting Goods, Woodhead has "sold twice as many $20 T-shirts in the past month as the team’s top-selling duo," Patriots QB Tom Brady and WR Wes Welker. Modell's Senior VP/Marketing Jed Berger said that the retailer "stocked 144 Woodhead T-shirts in 11 of its New England stores in mid-November, but most were gone within a week." The chain "tripled the order to keep up with demand." Modell's Marketing Dir Rich Lampmann noted that this week, Woodhead "even suited up as a Modell’s sales associate at the South Attleboro store and sold his own T-shirts." Patriots Pro Shop Manager Michael Periello indicated that at his store, "Brady and Welker still are the top sellers, but Woodhead T-shirts and game jerseys are the third most popular item." Periello said, "Woodhead is one of those scrappy, hard-working players that appeals to New Englanders." He added, "We had to move quickly to fill the demand. ... We’re trying to keep up with the demand, but it’s been through the roof" (BOSTON HERALD, 12/16).

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  • Sporting Goods Sales Surprisingly Robust Through Downturn

    While most retailers are on a "slow road to recovery, sales of sporting and outdoor goods have remained surprisingly robust," according to Miguel Bustillo of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. Commerce Department figures Tuesday showed that November sales at sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores "rose 2.3% from the prior month, and 12.3% over the last year." Though the combination of three categories makes it "hard to discern which had contributed the most, many specialty athletic and outdoor merchants have been outperforming their general retail peers all year." Analysts who follow sporting goods chains are "not surprised." Stephens Inc. analyst Rick Nelson: "It's less discretionary than other segments of retail. A baseball glove or football cleats for your kids is not something you are going to postpone." Bustillo noted sporting goods and outdoor chains still "have felt the weight of the economic slump," but many chains "reported benefiting from strong sales of firearms after President Obama was elected in 2008." Bass Pro Shops Founder John Morris said that sales of "big-ticket items such as boats predictably dropped after the economy softened," but the chain "has found that hunters and anglers are as eager as ever to pursue their passions" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 12/15).

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  • Marketplace Roundup

    USOC CMO Lisa Baird said the organization is "tracking ahead of budget on revenue from sponsors, suppliers and licensees." Baird said the USOC is in "active discussions regarding several potential new sponsor categories," and noted it might “need to determine how many sponsors it wants to have at a maximum.” In Colorado Springs, Brian Gomez notes the USOC has "placed an increased emphasis lately on pushing its merchandise through retail stores, and it likes the idea of cobranding with Olympic national governing bodies." Baird said digital media “continues to be a focus” for the USOC, which she said is “working to strengthen its online content and is coordinating with NGBs to stream their events" (Colorado Springs GAZETTE, 12/16).

    LIGHT MY FIRE: MLS Chicago Fire President Julian Posada said the team plans to target local companies in the retail, telecom and airline industries to replace Best Buy as the club’s jersey sponsor. The Fire also will emphasize its popularity with the Hispanic and international communities when engaging potential sponsors. Best Buy was the team’s jersey partner from ‘08-10, and Posada noted team execs started the search for a new jersey partner a month before Best Buy publicly announced it would not renew its deal last week. Posada: “They were very courteous with us -- they let us know that they were going in a different direction” (Fred Dreier, SportsBusiness Journal).

    STEPPING UP TO THE PLATE: L.A.-based Platinum Equity yesterday "emerged the victor in a 19-hour bidding war" with Rawlings in an auction to "buy virtually all the assets" of sports equipment firm Schutt Sports. Platinum's winning bid was $33.1M. Rawlings "filed an objection to the auction after it concluded, alleging proper procedures were not followed, but the bankruptcy court finalized the sale in a hearing" late yesterday. Rawlings' highest offer "before the auction concluded" was $36M (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 12/16).

    NOT FOREVER IN BLUE JEANS: ESPN's Brian Tunney reported Levi's has cut its BMX sponsorship program for '11 "following four years of direct involvement" in the sport. The decision "leaves the core team of Levi's BMX riders ... without a clothing sponsor." Currently, "none of the Levi's team riders have future clothing sponsors lined up" (, 12/14).

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