SBD/February 2, 2011/Marketing and Sponsorship

Marketplace Roundup

Thorpe's press conference heavily branded by sponsor Virgin Blue
Australian swimmer Ian Thorpe today announced that he will come out of retirement to compete in the '12 London Games, but THE AUSTRALIAN's Simon Canning reports some observers have "already branded Thorpe's return a grab for cash after the swimmer fronted a press conference heavily branded by Virgin Blue." At the news conference, Thorpe appeared in "front of a Virgin Blue-branded hoarding and wearing an Adidas polo shirt, another of his long standing sponsors." Thorpe said that "his motivation was competition, not money." But his fans were "upset that it was Thorpe's sponsors and not Thorpe himself who made the crucial announcement about his comeback" (THEAUSTRALIAN.com.au, 2/2).

FIGHT FOR YOUR RIGHT: Kevin Harvick Inc. yesterday announced a multiyear partnership with TapouT. The MMA apparel brand will make its NASCAR debut at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on March 5 as a sponsor of KHI's No. 2 Nationwide Series entry driven by Elliott Sadler. KHI co-Owner Kevin Harvick also will carry the TapouT logo on the hood of the No. 2 Camping World Truck Series race at Michigan Int'l Speedway in '11 (KHI).

JHONNY ON THE SPOT: In Las Vegas, Norm Clarke writes it "would be surprising" if golfer Jhonattan Vegas "doesn't get offered a sponsorship/promotional deal from a Las Vegas resort or the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority." Vegas won the the PGA Tour Bob Hope Classic last month, and followed that up with a T3 finish this past weekend at the Farmers Insurance Open. Clarke: "Blessed with unbelievable power and an infectious smile, Vegas could be a one-man marketing force for a city in recovery that needs a fresh face to rally around à la the glory days of UNLV basketball and Andre Agassi" (LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL, 2/2).

FIGURE EIGHT: Hill Carrow, Chair of the Greensboro Organizing Committee that brought last week's U.S. Figure Skating Championships to the North Carolina city, said that the committee attracted 44 sponsors but "fell about $60,000 short of its $825,000 goal." But Carrow noted that "more than 100,000 tickets were sold for the 20-session event, eclipsing a $2 million sales goal and covering the sponsorship deficit" (Greensboro NEWS & RECORD, 2/1).
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