SBD/January 24, 2011/Marketing and Sponsorship

Marketplace Roundup

Newly designed conference championship trophies feature hollowed out football
In Milwaukee, Don Walker noted the NFL yesterday debuted "newly designed trophies for the conference championships." The trophies, created by Tiffany & Co., feature a "silver base with a hollowed out silver football on top." NFL VP/Brand & Creative Jaime Weston said that the league "wanted the new trophies to be aspirational to the Lombardi Trophy." Weston: "If you look at the new design, you see the same football. It's hollowed out. It's the stepping stone. You are almost there" (JSONLINE.com, 1/21). SI.com's Peter King writes, "I think those new conference championship trophies are really ugly" (SI.com, 1/24).

EXCITABLE BOY: In Houston, Jonathan Feigen reported China-based Peak CEO Xu Zhihua noted last week he would "pay the fine for any technical foul based on showing emotion given to any player wearing his company's shoes." Rockets F Shane Battier, one of three members of the Rockets to endorse Peak, said, "I don't know if I'll ever take advantage of the free technicals, but I applaud Chairman Xu for his contrarian attitude. You don't see too many CEOs of companies promoting excessive emotion in the game. It's actually a shrewd marketing move. It's actually very smart" (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 1/22).

YOU'VE BEEN THUNDERSTRUCK: In Oklahoma City, Darnell Mayberry reports Thunder F Kevin Durant is set to appear "in a new Gatorade commercial around the All-Star break." The spot, filmed at Oklahoma City Arena last week, features Durant "going through his customary preparations for a game by using one of the sports drink company's new products, 'Prime,' to help him prepare." Meanwhile, Thunder G Russell Westbrook appears in a 60-second ad for BancFirst. Westbrook "plays a coach to a group of children who are named as cities and towns throughout the state." As he gives the kids instruction, Westbrook "mentions each city and town by name" (DAILY OKLAHOMAN, 1/24).

DRIVING A DIFFERENT PATH: In Baltimore, Julie Scharper reported organizers of the Izod IndyCar Baltimore Grand Prix are "no longer focused on landing a title sponsor for the three-day racing festival and would be content with a number of smaller backers." Baltimore Racing Development President Jay Davidson said, "We have a bucket we need to fill, and it doesn't matter how we fill that bucket." Organizers last year indicated that they were "looking for a title sponsor to pledge" $1-2M. Davidson said that the group "has declined 'low-ball offers' but remains in talks with businesses about the possibility of a title sponsorship" (Baltimore SUN, 1/22).
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