SBD/March 17, 2011/Marketing and Sponsorship

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  • Tiger Woods Hits Media Circuit To Promote Latest Version Of EA Sports "PGA Tour" Game

    Woods plays his new video game via remote on Golf Central's "Morning Drive"

    Tiger Woods is making the media rounds to promote the upcoming March 29 release of EA Sports’ “Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12,” hitting several different outlets today and yesterday. He appeared on Golf Channel’s “Morning Drive” today, where co-host Gary Williams noted the game's addition of Augusta National "is a big leap for them.” Woods: “The Masters is trying to make a concerted effort to grow the event … and I think this is obviously an extension of that.” Williams noted the authenticity of the course in the game, and Woods said, "This is pretty incredible how they were able to pull this off” (“Morning Drive,” Golf Channel, 3/17). In addition, Woods yesterday appeared on NBC's "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon," where Fallon said the new game "has got crazy graphics in this one, especially with Augusta." Woods noted EA Sports "put lasers all over the golf course" and "gridded the whole golf course. Basically it's within six millimeters of the actual golf course. It's as close to perfection as you can possibly get." The new game features the "Caddie Experience" that functions like a real caddie would, and Fallon said, "You need a caddie. He tells you what to do." Woods: "Carries the bag. Catches clubs I throw." Fallon began the interview noting it has been more than a year since Woods appeared on the show, and asked him, "What have you been up to?" Woods: "Nothing. Playing bad golf." Fallon said, "I want to say thank you for having the courage to come on a late-night comedy program. I appreciate it. Honestly, I've got to commend you for that. ... It must have been painful and an awful situation, the whole thing you went through. But from a comedian's standpoint, and my monologue writers, thank you. Some of the greatest comedy ever. ... You're in awful pain and we laughed at your pain and I mean not even making jokes, it kind of wrote itself. I mean, balls, shaft, holes, foursomes." A smiling Woods deadpanned, "You got it" ("Late Night with Jimmy Fallon," NBC, 3/16). Woods has also appeared on ESPN's "SportsCenter" and ABC's "GMA" during the past 24 hours.

    Print | Tags: Marketing and Sponsorship, EA Sports
  • Utility Company To Sponsor Nats Prospect Bryce Harper's Minor League At Bats

    Miss Utility inks deal to affiliate its brand with Harper while playing in Hagerstown

    Maryland’s Miss Utility system will sponsor Nationals prospect C Bryce Harper's at-bats for the Single-A Hagerstown Suns this season, according to Dan Steinberg of the WASHINGTON POST. The Suns will regularly announce, "Now batting, Bryce Harper, brought to you by Miss Utility, reminding you to call 811 before you dig" (, 3/16). Miss Utility Dir of Marketing Matt Ruddo said, “It’s just not possible to sponsor a player’s at bats at the Major League level, and even if it were, it would probably be out of our price range as a safety organization with a limited budget.”’s Sarah Schorno Kogod noted fans “can’t blame the non-profit for jumping at the opportunity, something they wouldn’t normally get a chance to do.” Brand names have “infiltrated just about every part of professional sports, but sponsoring a player’s actions is something that is usually untainted” (, 3/16).'s Michael Smith said, "This is so lame. If Albert Pujols were getting his live at-bats sponsored, I would have a problem, with it let alone a kid who hasn't done anything other than getting drafted No. 1 overall." But's Jackie MacMullen said, "You can say it's lame, but you got to admit it's creative. ... Pretty soon, someone will be sponsoring his helmet and his gloves and his baseball bat" ("Around The Horn," ESPN, 3/16).

    BRACING FOR BRYCE: In Maryland, Bob Parasiliti reported the Suns have received “calls for tickets and from people looking for information” about Harper since it was announced last Saturday he would begin the season with the club. Suns GM Bill Farley said, “We are getting a lot of response. Our ticketing has been really busy. Usually the early season is hard for attendance. We have a ton of games in May and with (Harper) here, it will help push us over the top.” Parasiliti noted the team’s staff is “crossing its fingers against any change of course for Harper and resisting pulling out all the merchandising stops” until he is actually with the Suns. Suns co-Owner Bruce Quinn: “When he gets on the field here, we will start printing everything to have it ready for the home opener.” Farley added, “We want to make sure he is coming for sure. The merchandising will be huge. Everything has been ordered. We are just waiting to see before putting it in motion.” Farley said that “high on the priority list are Suns jerseys and T-shirts bearing Harper’s name” (Hagerstown HERALD-MAIL, 3/15).

    Print | Tags: Marketing and Sponsorship, Washington Nationals
  • Voting Boom: Oklahoma Fans Using Videos To Support DeMarco Murray For EA Sports Cover

    NFL Draft prospect and former Univ. of Oklahoma RB DeMarco Murray is one of four finalists to be on the cover of EA Sports' "NCAA Football 12," and many OU fans have "taken the voting seriously -- at least semi-seriously," according to Jake Trotter of the DAILY OKLAHOMAN. OU fan site has "launched parody-like campaign attack ads" against Murray’s competition: former Alabama RB Mark Ingram, former Auburn DT Nick Fairley and former Washington QB Jake Locker. One ad says, "What do we know about Jake Locker? In 2008, Jake Locker led the Huskies to a perfect record. ... A perfect losing record! DeMarco Murray has a superb record, including a 25-0 record at home. ... Vote DeMarco Murray, he protects his house." Trotter notes on top of "landing the lucrative licensing fee, gracing the NCAA Football cover has become a big honor." Murray said, "It would be sweet to be on the cover for that game." Meanwhile, former Auburn QB Cam Newton was "one of those considered" for the cover, but EA Sports Senior Product Marketing Manager Randy Chase said that the company opted for his teammate Fairley, "since a defensive tackle has never been on the cover" (DAILY OKLAHOMAN, 3/17).

    FIVE FOR FIGHTING: Murray was one of five NFL Draft prospects whose endorsement deals with adidas was announced yesterday. The other players are CB Prince Amukamara, WR Jerrel Jernigan, TE Kyle Rudolph and WR Titus Young. The players will be featured in adidas' marketing efforts and will wear adidas gear as NFL players (adidas). Jernigan, when asked yesterday about his Draft preparations, noted he "just signed a deal" with adidas. Jernigan: "So I’ve had photo shoots and other things like that. It’s very hectic" (, 3/16).

    Print | Tags: Marketing and Sponsorship, EA Sports
  • Weekend Getaway: Sports Power Weekends Partnering With Steiner Sports

    Sports Power Weekends Inc., a N.Y.-based sports travel startup, has struck a partnership with Steiner Sports to include a variety of game-used and exclusive sports memorabilia in its trip packages. The newly renamed "Steiner Sports Power Weekends" will offer game tickets, hotel and travel accommodations, and memorabilia for a single price, typically revolving around multiple events in a single city over a weekend. Financial terms were not disclosed, but the parties will participate in a revenue-sharing agreement. Sports Power Weekends also will, in effect, serve as a new distribution arm for Steiner merchandise as a result of the new alliance. "Steiner has incredible contacts and relationships with some of the top teams around, including the Yankees, Red Sox and Cubs, and this will allow both of us to provide a premier-level offering to the market," said Sports Power Weekends CEO Jared Cooper, a former NFL publicist. Steiner is formally aligned in business partnerships with each of those clubs, along with Syracuse, Notre Dame, Alabama and MSG. The first Steiner Sports Power Weekend is scheduled for April 16-18 in Boston.

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  • Marketplace Roundup

    Arbella Insurance signs on as Celtics' playoff sponsor for second consecutive year

    The Celtics and Arbella Insurance announced that the Boston-based company will be the presenting sponsor of the team’s playoff run for the second consecutive season. A co-branded Celtics-Arbella logo will appear throughout the team's marketing promotions before and during the playoffs. Arbella also will be featured on team broadcast partners Comcast SportsNet New England and Sports Radio WEEI-AM (Celtics).

    TOOLS OF THE TRADE: Makita Industrial Power Tools yesterday announced a deal making it the official power tool of X Games competitor and Metal Mulisha founder Brian Deegan. The three-year personal services agreement makes Makita an associate sponsor of the trucks Deegan drives in the Lucas Oil series, the rally car he will drive in the X Games and his freestyle motocross bike. The parties are in discussions around a tool partnership between Makita and Metal Mulisha, too. The deal was brokered by the California-based agency Connexions Sports & Entertainment (Tripp Mickle, SportsBusiness Journal).

    SCORE UPDATE: In Detroit, Dale Buss notes Michigan-based technology company iDashboards has "introduced an NCAA tournament computer 'dashboard' that will bring scores, statistics and other game data to the desktop screen of visitors” to a company website. iDashboards CEO Shadan Malik said the company, not an NCAA partner, is “very careful" about how it refers to the tournament. Last year, it "cleaned up" a graphic that the NCAA questioned (DETROIT NEWS, 3/17).

    ON THE HOT MARKET: In N.Y., Garett Sloane profiles Massachusetts-based tech start-up StarStreet, which allows basketball fans to "invest" in virtual athletes and "rack up profits or losses based on other investor interest" in the athletes. StarStreet co-Founder Jeremy Levine said, "It's a digital version of sports cards with a market attached. It's a lot like trading with ETrade except you're trading players.” StarStreet said that in the past seven days, Knicks F Carmelo Anthony’s “value has soared 20 percent to $3.39 a share.” The firm is planning an Initial Player Offering of Yankee SS Derek Jeter today (N.Y. POST, 3/17).
    I GOT SOUL: Soldier Field spokesperson Lucca Serra said that “legal documents are being drawn up for a deal with EA Sports that would give the company the right to include" the Bears' stadium in its "Madden NFL 12" video game. In the past, Soldier Field had been referred to as “Chicago Stadium” in Madden games. The facility is “expected to receive a minimal stipend to cover legal fees” (, 3/14).

    Print | Tags: Marketing and Sponsorship
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