SBD/December 16, 2010/Marketing and Sponsorship

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" (ESPN.com, 12/14).

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