SBD/February 9, 2011/Marketing and Sponsorship

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  • Webster Bank Partners With Celtics G Ray Allen For Promotional Deal

    Connecticut-based Webster Bank today announced a marketing partnership with Celtics G Ray Allen through August '12. Financial terms were not available for the deal, under which Webster gains full marketing and endorsement rights to the former UConn standout for use throughout the bank's New England/N.Y. footprint. Allen will appear in advertising, marketing and collateral materials for Webster, as well as make special appearances at bank events. Boston-based Altus Marketing & Management, which has handled previous promotional events involving sports stars for Webster, brokered the deal. "The original strategy of partnering with athletes was definitely being well-received, and the thought was, 'Let's try to define one athlete that could represent the brand in the best possible way,'" said John Ivey, Managing Partner for Altus. "Ray immediately came to the forefront, by virtue of both the geographic connection with Ray and Webster's Connecticut roots, and also his prominence here in Boston." Ivey added that the bank is looking to expand the partnership to include Allen's charitable foundation. Today's announcement was accompanied by the release of "The Webster Dream Team," a viral video starring Allen, his former UConn coach and fellow Webster endorser Jim Calhoun and a group of bank employees. The video, reminiscent of ESPN's "This is 'SportsCenter'" ads, features Allen interacting with bank employees in a variety of settings. Boston-based Kelliher Samets Volk produced the video, which concludes with a blooper reel. Webster VP/Marketing Joanne Renna said the bank decided to produce a video in conjunction with the announcement in an effort to utilize social media. "We were just looking for a way to get some additional buzz instead of doing a traditional press release," she said. Meanwhile, Allen enters tomorrow's Lakers-Celtics game only one three-point field goal shy of tying Reggie Miller for the all-time NBA record, but Renna said the timing of the announcement is coincidental.

    Print | Tags: Boston Celtics, Marketing and Sponsorship
  • FC Barcelona Replacing UNICEF On Jerseys With Qatar Foundation

    UNICEF's logo will move to the back of Barcelona uniforms under player names

    FC Barcelona VP Javier Faus yesterday said that the La Liga club plans to "drop the UNICEF logo from the front of their first-team shirts from July and replace it with the name of their new Qatari sponsor," according to Iain Rogers of REUTERS. Barcelona is "one of the few clubs in world soccer not to have a corporate logo on their shirts." But the club signed a five-year deal with Qatar Sports Investment in December worth US$41M annually, and beginning July 1 will feature "Qatar Foundation" on the front of its jerseys. Faus said, "In the end, there will be only two words 'Qatar Foundation' in yellow. UNICEF will go on the back underneath the player's name." He added that it was "not clear whether the UNICEF logo would be allowed to appear on shirts worn in the Champions League." Rogers noted the Qatari sponsorship "includes a commitment for the club to play one friendly per season and the Qatar Foundation will take part in joint projects with UNICEF and Barca's own foundation" (REUTERS, 2/8).

    NFL FANS WANT NO PART OF SPONSOR LOGOS: The issue of placing corporate logos on NFL jerseys was discussed on ESPN2's "SportsNation" yesterday, and 71% of viewers responded that they would not be okay with corporate logos on uniforms. ESPN's Colin Cowherd said, "I could care less. The most popular sport in the world is soccer, and international soccer has been doing it for 50 years now." ESPN's Michelle Beadle: "We are talking about a league that is not floundering. The only leagues that I want to see do it are ones that are struggling. The WNBA did it and I'm okay with that, but I don't want the NFL to end up looking like NASCAR on cleats" ("SportsNation," ESPN2, 2/8).

    Print | Tags: Marketing and Sponsorship, Soccer
  • "Lombardi" Producers Working To Capitalize On Packers' Super Bowl Win

    (l to r) Eric Simonson, Ponturo, Frand Kirsmer, Tommy Kail with Lombardi trophy

    The producers of the Broadway play "Lombardi" are "hoping for a halo effect at the box office" from the Packers' Super Bowl XLV victory, "ordering championship T-shirts to display at the theater, inviting Packers players to see the show, and planning a springtime media campaign linking the play" to Sunday's win, according to Patrick Healy of the N.Y. TIMES. Producer Tony Ponturo said that "his marketing team would highlight the Super Bowl win on new fliers, e-mail blasts and signage in the lobby of the Circle in the Square Theater." Ponturo also said that the show's "spring advertising buy on television and radio would almost certainly include references to the Packers' victory." Healy noted "Lombardi" is the "only brand-new drama from the fall 2010 Broadway season to remain on the boards this winter, an indication that the producers have been earning at least enough to cover weekly running costs." Ponturo noted that the show has a "seven-figure advance in ticket sales, with performances scheduled through June 19." However, the production cost about $3M, and "has not been earning enough to start paying back investors in a significant way" (, 2/8).

    THE TOP TEN LIST ISN'T EVERYTHING...: Actor Dan Lauria, who plays the former Packers coach in "Lombardi," sat on-stage next to CBS' David Letterman last night as the talk-show host read his Top Ten list, which was the "Top Ten Signs You're Watching A Bad Cable Channel." Letterman said, "Look ladies and gentlemen, it's legendary football coach Vince Lombardi." Lauria, as Lombardi, replied, "A pleasure to be here." Letterman: "Must be a thrill for you that the Green Bay Packers prevailed again this year." Lauria: "Not a surprise to me." After Letterman read each one of the entries in the Top Ten list, "Lombardi" would offer one of his motivational sayings, such as, "The measure of a man is not how he falls down but how he pulls himself up off the ground!" More Lombardi: "Jerry Kramer used to drive across the border to beat up Canadians just for the fun of it. I love that kind of guy! ... German potato salad is not real potato salad. Real potato salad has mayonnaise in it!" ("Late Show," CBS, 2/8).

    Print | Tags: Football, Green Bay Packers, Marketing and Sponsorship
  • That's The Ticket: Boston Sports Teams Banking On Sale Of Team Lottery Tickets

    Patriots lottery ticket brought team $2.5M; Red Sox ticket has delivered $10.4M since '06

    Sales of instant lottery tickets that bear a Red Sox, Patriots, Celtics or Bruins logo “account for more than half of $763 million that has been spent on 51 licensed team-based lottery games now in retail stores across the country,” according to David Broughton of SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL. The lottery games, in turn, have “brought new, incremental revenue to each of the participating teams.” The Red Sox have brought in $10.4M in related revenue since the debut of their lottery ticket. The Celtics have added $1.1M and the Bruins $900,000. The Patriots last month “became the first NFL team game to post more than $100 million in retail sales" of a branded lottery ticket, and the $2.5M the club received "is the highest fee ever paid for an NFL lottery ticket.” Twelve states launched NFL team games in fall ‘09 with a total of 17 games, and “nearly all the games sold well.” The NBA was the first pro sports league to authorize team-branded lottery tickets in '02,, and 20 NBA clubs have since “fielded a lottery ticket, but only four teams have games this season.” A dozen NHL clubs have had a game since NHL games debuted in ‘03, but just the Bruins, Penguins, Flyers and Blackhawks remain “with a ticket this season.” MLB clubs first began games in ‘06, and “more than half of the league's teams have fielded a game since then, but only the Red Sox, Cardinals and Yankees had singular games last season” (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 2/7 issue). Bruins Senior VP/Sales & Marketing Amy Latimer said of the revenue brought in by the team's lottery tickets, “This is great for our fans, this is great for our product, but then when you realize the money is going to buy a firetruck or to support programs in schools, there’s no better relationship you can have with a partner” (BOSTON GLOBE, 2/9).

    Print | Tags: NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, Marketing and Sponsorship
  • Nick Swisher Among Athletes Building Their Brands Through Social Media

    Mercedes-Benz targeted Swisher (r) for his social media cachet

    Yankees RF Nick Swisher is "at the vanguard of a new type of celebrity athlete -- one who has achieved some success on the field, but uses every tool at his disposal to build his personal brand," according to Daniel Barbarisi of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. Sports Business Group President David Carter said that "as celebrity endorsements move beyond the superstars, the mid-level player with personality and social-media savvy can reach endorsement and name-recognition levels that were once only the domain of the best of the best." Swisher was "one of the early athlete adopters of Twitter, and one of the first to see its potential to dramatically raise his profile." Mercedes-Benz recently asked Swisher to be "one of four celebrity coaches for their 'Tweet Race,' a social media ad campaign that used Twitter to build buzz" for the automaker's ad during Fox' broadcast of Super Bowl XLV. Mercedes "needed someone with a different kind of appeal: social media cachet." Swisher: "When they asked me to be a part of it, maybe they think I'm an up-and-coming guy, something like that." Barbarisi noted Swisher's name "has reached the ear of an unlikely set of new fans of late -- the mostly female teens and 20-somethings who watch his new wife," actress Joanna Garcia. Garcia indicated that the couple "bounces marketing ideas off one another ... but they have largely tried to keep their business lives separate." Garcia: "We understand that the sports world and the entertainment world are very similar in this day and age. So there's a lot of understanding there" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 2/8).

    Print | Tags: New York Yankees, Mercedes Benz, Marketing and Sponsorship
  • May The Force Be With You: John Force Entertainment Launches Offseason Projects

    Force looking to expand empire to include graphic novel, second reality show

    The offseason buzz at John Force Racing has “centered on its off-track ambition as much as its namesake's title defense” in the NHRA Funny Car division, according to Nate Ryan of USA TODAY. Many of the projects are “spearheaded by Ashley Force Hood, whose pregnancy allowed an opportune hiatus from her Funny Car career to focus on being president of the newly formed John Force Entertainment.” A contract has been sold “on a graphic novel,” titled “Destination Force,” which stars John Force "as a superhero,” and the John Force Racing Road Show will travel to all 22 NHRA national events in ‘11. Also, an “in-house production facility was added to the team's Yorba Linda, Calif., headquarters that's aimed at producing TV shows and sponsor commercials.” The company also is working on “developing a biography and a movie” of Force. Ryan notes that JFE’s primary focus will be “developing a reality program around the career development of Courtney Force, who is vying to follow her older sister into Funny Car.” The Force family is “familiar with reality TV, having starred in A&E's popular ‘Driving Force.’" Force Hood said, “The reality show benefited us a lot. The sponsors loved the show. We were in US Weekly and places we'd never been before." Ryan notes that is also “the concept behind the John Force Racing Road Show, a multiple-trailer caravan that will bring the team's Mustangs and interactive exhibits to malls, movie theaters, airports and church parking lots.” The NHRA will “piggyback on the displays by promoting event ticket sales.” The team also “plans to make free commercials” for team sponsors Castrol, Ford and Auto Club (USA TODAY, 2/9).

    Print | Tags: Marketing and Sponsorship, Motorsports, NHRA
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