SBD/January 14, 2011/Marketing and Sponsorship

Teams Prepare Sponsor Activation For Divisional Playoff Games

Bears' sponsors activating around this weekend's playoff game
Home teams in the penultimate weekend of the NFL conference playoffs are busily preparing sponsor activation. The Packers play the top-seeded Falcons in Atlanta Saturday in the first postseason game at the Georgia Dome since '04. Severe winter weather has caused problems with some of the hoopla around the game and even in delivering tickets. However, Verizon, one of four playoff sponsors for the Falcons, is staging pep rallies at six area retail locations Friday. The rallies include contests offering game tickets and merchandise as prizes, along with appearances by cheerleaders and the Freddie Falcon mascot. The pep rallies have been postponed twice because of winter weather. Other Falcons playoff presenting sponsors are BMW, Georgia Power, Georgia National Guard, and Verizon. They will all have on-site marketing Saturday outside the Georgia Dome and a presence in and around the stadium, said Falcons CMO Jim Smith. Team sponsor Taco Mac, designated as the Falcons’ official away game headquarters all season, is also holding a pep rally tonight at their biggest restaurant. All fans at the game get an unsponsored rally flag due to the lead time production demands, but bearing the teams’ "Rise Up" thematic.

STEEL RESOLVE
: In Pittsburgh, where rally towels originated, the Steelers have not given away a Terrible Towel yet this season, and this weekend is no exception. Playoffs are enough of a routine with the team that has won more Super Bowls than any other that even game-specific Terrible Towels will not be made unless and until the Steelers reach the AFC Championship Game. The Steelers Saturday host the Ravens in a postseason game for the third time in the past nine years. Friday night, the Steelers are also hosting a Playoff Bash with singer Bret Michaels as the featured talent at Stage AE, which is adjacent to Heinz Field. Country singer Trace Atkins will sing the National Anthem at Heinz Field, and there will be a military tribute and an Air Force flyover prior to kickoff, said Steelers Marketing Coordinator Rick Giugliano. "Call it business as usual in Pittsburgh," he said.

BEARING DOWN
: The Bears have four playoff sponsors for their Sunday game versus the Seahawks: the Chicago Tribune, grocer Jewel-Osco, Comcast and U.S. Cellular. All are sponsoring a 4th Phase promotion which offers game tickets, pregame sideline passes, and an opportunity to participate in the pregame coin toss as prizes. Fans can enter on- and off-line, and those using a special code can double their chances of winning. Those codes can be found on Jewel-Oscos' Facebook page, Comcast’s VOD page, and U.S. Cellular’s website. "It’s another way to quantify things, so we like that," said Bears Senior Dir of Sales & Marketing Chris Hibbs. All four sponsors will also have their brands on an orange rally towel to be given to all fans at the game.

TO THE MAX
: Pepsi Max has been one of the biggest marketers activating across the NFL playoffs. On Sunday, Pepsi Max will sponsor a rally towel giveaway at the Jets-Patriots game at Gillette Stadium that ends this weekend’s playoff card.
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