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SBD/March 10, 2011/Marketing and SponsorshipPrint All
NBC and the USOC have signed Citi as an official advertiser and sponsor for the ‘12 London Games. Sources valued the media-driven deal at $30M. The bank will be the official bank partner of the network and the ’12 U.S. Olympic team. Citi plans to use the partnership to promote its 200th anniversary next year. Its rights include retail, corporate, commercial and investment banking. The deal is the second of three NBC and the USOC hope to cut in the banking category. The parties recently signed TD Ameritrade as an official online brokerage. They are working to find a wealth management partner as well. This is the first time NBC and the USOC have partnered to sell an integrated package that includes media and marketing rights, and USOC officials are encouraged by the results of the collaboration. USOC CMO Lisa Baird: “Partners are responding to the integrated marketing and media package. We're proud of both of these coming on and doing so in quick time is evidence this is working.” The USOC has been without an official bank since Bank of America declined to extend its 16-year support of the organization in ‘09. The Citi agreement was negotiated by GroupM, which recently worked with Farmers Insurance Group on the naming-rights deal at the downtown prospective L.A. stadium. GroupM will activate, with help from Publicis. NBC VP/Olympic Sales Paul Wilson led NBC's sales team and 21 Marketing Founder Rob Prazmark, who helped put together NBC and USOC last fall, represented the USOC in the negotiations.
Air Canada, one of the NHL's "largest financial corporate backers, is threatening to withdraw its sponsorship if the league doesn't take 'immediate' and 'serious' action on headshots," according to Bruce Garrioch of the OTTAWA SUN. Air Canada Dir of Marketing & Communications Denis Vandal in a letter addressed to NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman yesterday "expressed concern over recent incidents of headshots and concussions." The letter "came in the wake of Tuesday night's controversial hit" by Bruins D Zdeno Chara on Canadiens LW Max Pacioretty. Vandal wrote, "From a corporate social responsibility standpoint, it is becoming increasingly difficult to associate our brand with sports events which could lead to serious and irresponsible accidents; action must be taken by the NHL before we are encountered with a fatality. Unless the NHL takes immediate action with serious suspension to the players in question to curtail these life-threatening injuries, Air Canada will withdraw its sponsorship of hockey." Garrioch notes "not only does Air Canada own the naming rights to Toronto's Air Canada Centre, it's believed they're a major corporate sponsor behind all six Canadian teams." Vandal "copied all six Canadian NHL governors with his letter." The NHL's GMs will meet next week in South Florida "to discuss headshots," and they are "trying to find a solution to cut down on the number of concussions and bring more respect to the game" (OTTAWA SUN, 3/10).
OVERSTEPPING ITS BOUNDS? YAHOO SPORTS' Greg Wyshynski wrote the "notion of a sponsor attempting to influence the on-ice product, as altruistic as its aim may be, can't be something fans see as a positive development." Instead, the "real issue" is "whether other sponsors find it 'becoming increasingly difficult to associate (their) brand with sports events which could lead to serious and irresponsible accidents'" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 3/9).
Powerade launches "Game
Science" marketing campaign
Nike has signed DT Nick Fairley, who is projected to be selected in the first 10 picks in next month's NFL Draft, to an endorsement deal. Fairley has also signed an exclusive autograph deal with GT Sports Marketing and is one of four athletes in the running to appear on the cover of EA Sports' upcoming "NCAA Football 12" release (THE DAILY).
PROOF POSITIVE: In Seattle, Bob Condotta reported Gatorade is partnering with NFL Films "on a new web series" called "Everything to Prove," offering a behind-the-scenes look at 14 NFL Draft prospects. The first two episodes debuted yesterday at NFL.com/ProveIt, and new ones will debut weekly on Wednesdays. The series includes several projected first-round picks, including QB Blaine Gabbert, WRs A.J. Green and Julio Jones, LB Von Miller and DE J.J. Watt (SEATTLETIMES.com, 3/9).
THAT DOG WILL HUNT: The AP's Mary Pemberton reported the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race's finances "appear to be getting back on track after two years during which the purse in the world's longest sled dog race shrank and the field got smaller." Corporate sponsorship is "increasing slightly," now accounting for 40% of revenues, up 5% "over the last few years." The race's "approximately 35 sponsors, mostly Alaska-based companies, are expected to provide" $1.6M this year in cash support. In-kind sponsorship, such as "hotel rooms in Anchorage and flight service, is estimated at an additional $950,000" (AP, 3/9).
TIME TO FOCUS: HSBC has "reiterated its commitment to focusing its sport sponsorship spend on golf and rugby, and disclosed that it has cut the overall spend by up to 20% over the past two years." HSBC's sports sponsorship portfolio "was previously more diverse and included sponsorship of Formula One." HSBC Group Head of Sponsorship Giles Morgan said, "We could sponsor any sport and could make a case for tennis or cricket." But he added that "golf and rugby represented a good fit with the bank's 'brand heritage'" (MARKETINGMAGAZINE.co.uk, 3/9).