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SBD/March 21, 2011/Marketing and Sponsorship
NFL Lockout Watch, Day 10: League Warns Sponsors About Deals With Players Group
Published March 21, 2011
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NFLPA TALKING WITH SPONSORS: The NFLPA's marketing and licensing arm is currently in discussions with some NFL sponsors as well as a number of non-NFL sponsors in many categories which are now open to deals with the players about new sponsorship deals with the decertified union, which is now operating as a trade association. "We have had several discussions with league sponsors and for contingency sponsorship agreements that would essentially continue their ability to utilize group player licensing rights, but the majority of sponsorship categories remain open," said Keith Gordon, President of NFL Players, the NFLPA's marketing and licensing arm. "And NFL Players has engaged in discussion with a variety of potential sponsors across those categories," he said. The categories which are open for new, non-NFL sponsors include QSR, automotive, beer, travel, and various technology products, he said. Meanwhile, the expiration of the commercial agreement will not affect EA Sports' "Madden" videogame franchise, as the NFLPA has a separate licensing agreement with EA Sports, Gordon said. "Madden will be released this year," Gordon said. "What you may see is some delayed rosters” (Liz Mullen, SportsBusiness Journal).
PARTNERS WARY OF LABOR UNCERTAINTY: Packers President & CEO Mark Murphy revealed yesterday that "some corporate sponsors are expressing concern about renewing their deals with the uncertainty of the 2011 regular season." Murphy: "For a lot of sponsorships, there is a lead time. They're worried (whether) this will be resolved in time for (them) to be able to start programs in time for the season." He also suggested that "some teams are having trouble getting commitments for premium seating in their stadiums, although the Packers are not likely to be one of those" (ESPN.com, 3/20). Murphy added, "Sponsorships require lead time, and a lot of the sponsors you're talking to are worried about this being resolved in time to do something (for the 2011 season)" (N.Y. POST, 3/21). Bank of America Senior VP/Global Sponsorship Charles Greenstein said that BofA has "been in close contact with the teams it sponsors" about the lockout. Industry sources said that BofA and other sponsors are "holding off, for now, on planning specific in-season promotions and advertising" (CHARLOTTE BUSINESS JOURNAL, 3/18 issue). Meanwhile, Panthers President Danny Morrison said that team officials have "reached out to their corporate partners to address alternatives should the lockout drag into the summer and threaten the league's training camp or regular season." Morrison: "We're just having continuing dialogue. And that way, we're able to shift gears if needed." He noted that the Panthers "have sponsorship deals connected to the draft that will not be affected" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 3/21).