SBD/January 21, 2011/Marketing and Sponsorship

Marketplace Roundup

Gordon recently filmed ads for Drive To End Hunger that will debut in coming months
NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon said he thinks fans will "be blown away" by the activation from his new primary sponsor, the AARP's Drive To End Hunger campaign. Gordon: "Just last week we were working on the first run of commercials that will run at the start of the season and it is some really powerful, emotional stuff. At this stage of my career and my life I really want to use the notoriety that I've been fortunate enough to have over the years and use that to really make an impact. That's why we started the Jeff Gordon Foundation. That's why I got so excited about the Drive To End Hunger deal when it was first brought to us last fall" (ESPN.com, 1/20).

HIT ME WITH YOUR BEST SHOT: Dallas Morning News columnist Tim Cowlishaw said he thought it was “okay for the NFL to ask” Toyota to alter an ad that featured a helmet-to-helmet hit. He noted the NFL “for 50 years has been promoting violence and big hits and guys getting jacked up, and now all of a sudden they are going in the other direction” due to an increased emphasis on concussion prevention. Cowlishaw: “It may take time for advertisers to do that." ESPN.com's Michael Smith : "For somebody to put that upfront and exploit that for commercial use, I can see how the league would have a problem with that" ("Around The Horn," ESPN, 1/20).

AT THE STARTING GATE
: MainGate and Churchill Downs announced a three-year partnership for MainGate to be an official licensee, handle off-site retail locations and launch a new Kentucky Derby e-commerce website, KentuckyDerbyStore.com. MainGate, which launched the site on Jan. 1, also will open multiple off-site retail locations in hotels throughout Louisville the week leading up to the Derby (MainGate).

IT'S IN THE GAME: EA Sports and Toronto-based Virgin Gaming Thursday announced a "new partnership for an online gaming tournament platform for Microsoft's Xbox 360 and Sony's PlayStation gaming consoles." Virgin will provide "all head-to-head competitive play tournaments, some of which entrants would have to pay to enter," and the deal covers "all paid and sponsored tournaments for select EA Sports console video games" (Montreal GAZETTE, 1/21).

FIRST AID HELP: The Univ. of Kansas has reached a deal with the Royals for KU Hospital and its partner, the Univ. of Kansas Physicians, to become the official team doctor and provide "on-site first aid services" at Kauffman Stadium on game days. In return, the Royals will provide on-site visits to the hospital (K.C. STAR, 1/19).
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