SBD/March 1, 2011/Marketing and SponsorshipPrint All
Labatt has asked the Ontario Superior Court to "toss out" the NHL's new $375M sponsorship agreement with Molson Coors, according to Josh Rubin of the TORONTO STAR. Labatt claims that it "reached a deal to renew its Canadian sponsorship agreement with the NHL in November, but that the league then turned around and signed a North America-wide contract with Molson Coors instead." Labatt in its court filing stated, "The NHL ... in bad faith and in breach of their contractual obligations, went behind Labatt's back to negotiate an agreement with the Molson Coors Respondents for the rights Labatt has held for almost 13 years." The filing "names four arms of the NHL, as well as Molson Coors Canada, and MillerCoors." Labatt said that its agreement with the NHL was "so solid that the league told other, unspecified third parties about it before it signed with Molson Coors." Rubin notes none of Labatt's allegations "have been proven in court." Labatt VP/Corporate Affairs Charlie Angelakos in a statement said that the company hopes to "have the case heard and determined before June 2011." NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly in a statement said, "We intend to defend against Labatt's claim vigorously and we are confident that our position ultimately will be fully vindicated by the court." Bobby Sachdeva, a partner at law firm Pallett Valo, said that Labatt's court filing "makes it clear it still hopes to be a league sponsor, and it isn't just out to wreak havoc on its rival." Sachdeva: "They're not asking for money. They want the court either to say 'Labatt had a valid deal with the NHL,' or for the court to say 'Labatt didn't have a valid deal, but the league has an obligation to keep negotiating with them'" (TORONTO STAR, 3/1).
The supply of Knicks F Carmelo Anthony jerseys "has been depleted" after adidas shipped roughly 17,000 jerseys to retailers in the 72 hours after Anthony was traded last week, according to sources cited by Darren Rovell of CNBC. The sources indicated that “another 50,000 jerseys are scheduled to be on the shelves over the next 30 days." Retailers have “expressed concern over the amount of time it would take them to get in Anthony jerseys, fearing that fans might choose the cheaper more available items like #7 Anthony T-shirts, of which 20,000 were shipped to retailers in the days after" the trade became official. NBA Exec VP/Global Merchandising Group Sal LaRocca said that “having enough jerseys to satisfy the marketplace immediately isn’t a realistic expectation.” LaRocca said with the unpredictability of player movement, “expecting accurate inventory forecasts and potential demand in each market for jerseys is unrealistic.” LaRocca: “As a result, our partners have historically shipped all the inventory they have on-hand immediately and have increased production accordingly, just as they are doing today." Rovell wrote “time will tell whether the month wait will turn into a big miss for retailers.” Fans who order “the cheapest replica for $45 on NBAStore.com, will find that the note says ‘leaves warehouse in 7 weeks’” (CNBC.com, 2/28).
ALL EYES ON MELO: MSG Network has seen a 182% increase in its HH ratings since Anthony joined the team. The Knicks are averaging a 4.28 local rating through the first three games with Anthony on the team, compared to a 1.52 average for the 51 games prior to his arrival. The three games on MSG are also averaging a 5.78 rating in the male 18-34 demographic, up 165% compared to the 2.18 rating for the first 51 games this season. Through 54 games on MSG Network this season, the Knicks are averaging a 1.67 HH rating, up 62% from a 1.03 rating over the same period last season. MSG Network is also averaging a 2.38 rating in the male 18-34 demo for Knicks games, up 151% from a 0.95 rating last season at this time (MSG Network). BLOOMBERG NEWS’ Mason Levinson reported the Knicks-Heat game Sunday night “earned the best preliminary local television rating ever for an ESPN regular-season” NBA game in N.Y., earning a 4.3 rating in the market. That topped an ‘03 Lakers-Rockets game “that featured a matchup of Shaquille O’Neal and then-rookie Yao Ming, which earned a 3.5 rating.” Sunday's game earned a 6.8 local rating in Miami, making it “the second-best rating for an ESPN NBA regular-season game in that city," behind only the Heat's home opener this season against the Magic on Oct. 29, which drew a 9.3 rating (BLOOMBERG NEWS, 2/28). NEWSDAY’s Alan Hahn notes ESPN is “looking to add more Knicks games to its NBA schedule in the final eight weeks of the season.” The Knicks are scheduled “to play twice more on ESPN” (NEWSDAY, 3/1).
Under Armour is "hoping to make a footwear comeback" after it "replaced the footwear team, redesigned shoes and switched marketing strategies," according to Andrea Walker of the Baltimore SUN. Under Armour Chair, President & CEO Kevin Plank "hit a speed bump" when the company launched footwear in '08, and Under Armour execs "hope this year will mark a turning point in the slow rebuilding of the footwear division." Plank: "It's a long-term play. Look at what we've done in the past, and give us the ability to be patient with that and ensure that success." Under Armour expects footwear "to return to growth this year" after sales declined 7% to $221M in '10. The company plans to launch its "second-generation basketball shoe in the second half of the year, when it expects most of the footwear division's growth to happen." It also is "banking on the success of new models of football and baseball cleats, one category that has proved to be a big seller." At the same time, Under Armour "appears to have pulled back on plans to launch new versions of the running and cross-training shoes, which the company had indicated might debut this year," and instead is "looking at 2012 for the launch of those new models." Walker notes last year's introduction of the basketball shoe "might be a glimpse into their new strategy -- and whether it might succeed." Despite the "lack of hype, some analysts said it held its own in a year when competitors released an unusually large number of shoes." But Nike officials "don't seem to be fazed by Under Armour's presence in the market." Nike Dir of Media Relations Derek Kent said, "We thrive on competition because it always makes us better" (Baltimore SUN, 3/1).
TAKING IT TO ANOTHER LEVEL: Under Armour this past weekend introduced its E39 shirt at the NFL Scouting Combine, which it sponsors, and company Senior VP Kevin Haley said that the new product is a "biometric shirt that measures heart and breathing rate, skin-surface temperature, as well as force and direction." Haley said that the technology is "a 'game-changer,' because it allows teams to pinpoint a player’s burst in different game situations." He noted that the E39's monitor was "designed by Zephyr Technology and previously used by U.S. Army Special Forces." Haley said that "post-combine, the next step would be providing the shirts to professional athletes, teams and, ultimately, the general public" (NFL.com, 2/27).
In Charlotte, Erik Spanberg reports the looming expiration of the NFL CBA has not stopped the Panthers "from landing key contracts this off-season." The Panthers in recent weeks "renewed expired sponsorships, including the crucial beer category," in which incumbents Anheuser-Busch and MillerCoors "agreed to multi-year deals." Terms of the new deals "weren't disclosed." The previous six-year deals with the two brewers "totaled $4 million and expired after the 2010 season." Spanberg reports OrthoCarolina and US Airways Group Inc. also "have come to terms with the Panthers on new contracts" (CHARLOTTE BUSINESS JOURNAL, 2/25 issue).
RBC lands plenty of exposure during the
Accenture Match Play Championship
WHAT A DEAL! Monumental Sports & Entertainment (MSE) yesterday announced Groupon as the official and exclusive Daily Deal sponsor of the Wizards, Capitals, WNBA Mystics and Verizon Center. Groupon will offer team and arena deals to local subscribers, and the company will receive signage throughout the interior and exterior of the arena, including in-game signage during Wizards, Capitals and Mystics games. Ted Leonsis, who owns Monumental, is a Groupon investor and BOD member (THE DAILY).
FUN & GAMES: MARKETING magazine's Arif Durrani reports Visa is "turning to British Olympians past and present" for a US$8.1M ad campaign "to run throughout the build-up to the London 2012 Games." The campaign will feature former U.K. rower Sir Steven Redgrave, heptathlete Jessica Ennis and former paralympian Tanni Grey-Thompson. The ads, via Saatchi & Saatchi, "will launch later this month" and "show the athletes using Visa cards in everyday settings" (MARKETINGMAGAZINE.co.uk, 3/1).