SBD/December 21, 2010/Marketing and Sponsorship

Marketplace Roundup

Tony Kanaan Spent Eight Years With Andretti Autosport

de Ferran Dragon Racing President Gil de Ferran yesterday announced that the team has signed driver Tony Kanaan for its Izod IndyCar Series team. Kanaan will drive the No. 2 car with primary sponsorship from Hewlett Packard (IndyCar). Kanaan drove for Andretti Autosport for eight years before his contract expired at the end of the '10 season, and he said, "It has been eight, almost nine years with a big team, so it took me a little time to get used to. … Everything's downsized for me" (AP, 12/19). SI.com's Bruce Martin noted while the "trend in IndyCar racing seems to be multi-car teams," Kanaan will be the "sole focus of attention at De Ferran-Dragon Racing" (SI.com, 12/20).

SOMETHING IN THE AIR: In Charlotte, Erik Spanberg reports Bobcats Owner Michael Jordan "has lots more in store for improving the team's fortunes," specifically at the Bobcats' team store. Bobcats Exec VP and Chief Sales & Marketing Officer Pete Guelli said that merchandise sales at Time Warner Cable Arena have "increased 50% so far this season." Those gains "resulted from a major Jordan assist, as his Nike division, Jordan Brand, transformed the arena team shop in October." Around 40% of the apparel and "other items there are Jordan Brand" (CHARLOTTE BUSINESS JOURNAL, 12/17 issue).

KEEPING HIS BALANCE: In San Antonio, Mike Monroe reports Spurs F Matt Bonner again wore New Balance shoes for last night's game against the Suns "despite the sole of one of his New Balance basketball shoes blowing out on him in Saturday’s game against the Grizzlies." Bonner has "alternated this season between New Balance and Converse and explained his decision to continue wearing New Balance on Monday was more superstition than loyalty." He said, "I’ve been wearing New Balance at home and Converse on the road. We’ve been winning, so I don’t want to change up the pattern" (SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS, 12/21).

JUST FOR KICKS: In Detroit, Tom Walsh reports 21-year-old James Moore, founder & CEO of Detroit-based shoe retailer Jimmy Kicks, has landed a "big-time backer" in Cavaliers Owner Dan Gilbert. During its first year, the Internet-based Jimmy Kicks has "sold about 500 pairs" of limited-edition sneakers. Another 300 pairs, "in two designs selected via online voting by sneaker enthusiasts, are in inventory, available at $69.99 a pair" (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 12/21).

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