SBD/February 3, 2011/Marketing and Sponsorship

Marketplace Roundup

The NBA yesterday announced a multiyear deal making travel company Thomson Sport the official presenting partner of NBA Games -- London 2011, as well as the league's Official European Fan Travel Partner. The London '11 games will feature the Nets and Raptors facing off at The O2 in London on March 4 and 5. As part of the deal, Thomson will offer packages for European fans to attend NBA games in the U.S. and Canada, and packages for U.S. fans to attend NBA Games in Europe (NBA). MARKETING magazine's John Reynolds notes Thomson will "receive prominent brand exposure around" the games at The O2. The company also will be "granted brand exposure" at NBA.com, "where it will present a new editorial feature highlighting its travel services." Thomson is "bidding to ramp up its commercial relationships with U.S. sports" by signing the deal with the NBA "ahead of its first-ever" regular season game in the U.K. The deal "comes just months after it signed a similar contract with the NFL" (MARKETINGMAGAZINE.co.uk, 2/3).

SWIMMING AT HOME
: Seattle-based video game consulting firm TechSavvy CEO Scott Steinberg said that U.S. swimmer Michael Phelps' forthcoming swimming simulation game, which is entitled "Michael Phelps: Push the Limit" and will retail for $49.99, has the "potential to cleverly blend celebrity with cutting-edge technology." Steinberg: "I wouldn't be surprised if they can pull off a reasonable facsimile of swimming." However, he added, "The question is whether people will flock to it en masse, since it's been a while since Phelps' victory [at the '08 Beijing Games]. But he remains a household name and an icon in sports and the best-recognized face of swimming." In Baltimore, Jill Rosen notes "plans for a sequel are already in the works" at game publisher 505 Games. The "hope is that if Phelps performs as well at the 2012 games as he did in Beijing, fans will be ready for more" (Baltimore SUN, 2/3).

STEAKING A CLAIM: The PGA Tour has struck a deal that makes Morton’s the tour’s official steakhouse. The new agreement is the first league-wide partnership for the premium restaurant brand. Morton’s, which has worked with individual athletes in many sports to create “celebrity server” events and charity auctions, will work with the tour to create events involving players, tournaments and their charities. Chicago-based Morton’s has 77 steakhouses worldwide (Michael Smith, SportsBusiness Journal).
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