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SBD/March 7, 2011/Marketing and SponsorshipPrint All
CME Group has signed a three-year deal to title sponsor the LPGA's season-ending Titleholders tournament. The inaugural CME Group Titleholders will serve as the tour’s season finale and will be comprised of a 72-person field made up of three qualifiers from every official '11 LPGA Tour tournament (LPGA). SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL's Michael Smith reports the CME Group Titleholders, "played in mid-November in Orlando, is a new event on the 2011 schedule." The event "replaces the Tour Championship, which previously had been the season-ender." The LPGA plans to "use the year-ender as a way to recognize each title sponsor, hence the name Titleholders." Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but title sponsorships on the LPGA "can run from the low to mid-seven figures." CME Group Exec Chair Terry Duffy said, "The LPGA has proven to be a good fit because of the way the players interact with our customers in a relaxed environment. They’re not intimidating, they’re not standoffish and many of the golfers are still e-mailing back and forth with our clients. All of the positive feedback resonated loud and clear back to us" (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 3/7 issue). Duffy said the “customer feedback that we've gotten as they've played with the ladies in our pro-am has been second to none. We wanted to be part of something a little bit bigger with the LPGA. When Mike came to me with this concept, I thought it was a more unique event, and that's what CME deserves." Whan added that Rolex is joining the Titleholders as an “official partner.” Whan: “We're going to have a couple of pretty big names making this a pretty significant event" ("Golf Central," Golf Channel, 3/6). GOLFWEEK.com's Beth Ann Baldry noted caddies will wear bibs "featuring the LPGA logos from the tournament at which the players qualified." The event’s $1.5M purse will include the tour’s richest first-place prize: $500,000 (GOLFWEEK.com, 3/6).
SOME GOOD NEWS FOR TOUR: In Orlando, Jeff Shain noted the deal with CME marks the "second new sponsor in recent months" for an LPGA event after RR Donnelley "signed on to underwrite the Founders Cup." It also "countered news last week" that longtime LPGA sponsor State Farm "would be ending its relationship with an event in Springfield, Ill." (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 3/7). In Illinois, Dave Kane noted Springfield's status "as a stop on the LPGA Tour could be uncertain at best when the State Farm Classic comes to a close June 12 at Panther Creek Country Club." Everyone involved with the event "acknowledges the difficulty of finding a new sponsor -- or network of sponsors -- to fill a seven-figure monetary void." Tournament Exec Dir Kate Peters said, "Nobody’s more passionate about this event than our local team. We have to convey the impact this event has on the community. We might have to change the (sponsorship) model a bit, maybe look at several sponsors instead of one large one." State Farm Assistant VP/Marketing Mark Gibson classified his company’s partnership with the tournament as “all very positive.” Gibson said that State Farm "hasn’t had any inquiries from other businesses interested in the Springfield tournament" (Springfield STATE JOURNAL-REGISTER, 3/6).
Quaker State will title sponsor the inaugural NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Kentucky Speedway on July 9 (Kentucky Speedway). In Kentucky, Kevin Kelly reports financial terms for the multiyear deal were not disclosed, but a source estimated that the entitlement "could command between $1 million and $2 million." Kentucky Speedway GM Mark Simendinger said, "It's a relief. But it's also got us excited because of who the company is." Simendinger added that the "search for a title sponsor for the inaugural race focused on national companies." Kelly notes Quaker State is "not new to NASCAR," as it has a "longstanding technical partnership" with Hendrick Motorsports. Quaker State will be the primary sponsor on Mark Martin's No. 5 Chevrolet for the Kentucky Speedway race and a "handful of others" this season (KENTUCKY ENQUIRER, 3/7).
There "won't be Firestone tires on Indy cars after the upcoming season," as the Izod IndyCar series were unable to renew its deal with the tire provider, according to Curt Cavin of the INDIANAPOLIS STAR. Series officials "made a last-ditch plea to keep Firestone involved" after the company's contract expired on Dec. 31, but Bridgestone Firestone Racing Exec Dir Al Speyer said that the sides "couldn't agree how to keep the program intact." Firestone "has been in Indy-car racing the past 21 years, 16 in an exclusive deal with the IndyCar Series." IndyCar Series CEO Randy Bernard said finding a replacement "is my top priority." Bernard "confirmed discussions with Goodyear, Hoosier, Cooper, Avon, Continental and Pirelli, among others." Cavin noted IndyCar is "on the verge of introducing a new chassis and engine package for the 2012 season," and officials had "hoped Firestone's tires would provide a constant for testing scheduled to begin in July" (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 3/5). Speyer said, "We evaluated all sorts of options, some worked for us and didn’t for them and vice versa, but we just couldn’t find a sweet spot. ... The world has changed immensely in the last 20 years and we’re looking for new ways to promote the Firestone brand. And at the end of the day we’re simply going in different directions" (SPEEDTV.com, 3/4).
Unilever next week is unveiling the newest phase of Dove's "Journey to Comfort" campaign, which will include commercials with college basketball personalities focusing "less on sports than on their families," according to Andrew Adam Newman of the N.Y. TIMES. The campaign, running during the NCAA men's basketball tournament, includes commercials with Pro Basketball HOFer and former Michigan State F Magic Johnson, Georgetown coach John Thompson III and former Duke G Bobby Hurley. All of them "discuss being comfortable in their own skin." While Dove marketing was "female-centric over the last decade, the brand remained popular with men." Unilever Marketing Dir of Personal Wash U.S. Rob Candelino said that "the 'overall brand mission' of Dove made a men's line a natural extension." Candelino added, "We’re not simply throwing a Dove logo on their jerseys the way that sports endorsements have gone in the past. Our guys are fans of these athletes, but they want to know their stories as real people, and their stories are real and moving and that’s what we’re celebrating." Newman notes the Dove Men + Care campaign, which "also highlights a new line of antiperspirants and deodorants, includes behind-the-scenes videos that are only online" at dovemencare.com. On the site, visitors can "play an NCAA-themed trivia game, for a chance to win a trip" to L.A. to meet Johnson at a Lakers game. The site also hosts "Journey to Comfort" spots produced last year that featured Saints QB Drew Brees and Yankees manager Joe Girardi (N.Y. TIMES, 3/7).
In Palm Springs, Debra Gruszecki reported Corona Extra, as part of its multiyear sponsorship agreement with the ATP World Tour, has "created a plaza that bears the Mexican beer-maker's name" at the BNP Paribas Open. At the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, Corona Plaza, "with its Corona Beach House, will offer tennis fans cool reprieve and a brew under a bottle cap-shaped tent." Bill Ligas, a spokesperson for Corona importer Crown Imports LLC, said that appearance by several tennis players "are in the making" (Palm Springs DESERT SUN, 3/5).
AS SEEN ON THE TRACK: Roush Fenway Racing on Friday announced a multicar sponsorship with As Seen on Racing and IdeaVillage Products Corp. ASOR products were slated to be featured on two RFR Nationwide Series entries this past weekend: the No. 16 driven by Daytona 500 winner Trevor Bayne and the No. 6 driven by Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Bayne's car was set to showcase the HD Vision Aviator sunglasses brand, while Stenhouse's was scheduled to promote EasyFeet (Roush Fenway Racing).
LIFE IN THE FAST LANE: In London, Sylt & Reid report revenues at Renault's F1 team increased 9% to a record US$261.8M in '09, "despite the squad suffering a series of setbacks during the year." The boost was "driven by a new 2009 deal" with F1 Management Chair Bernie Ecclestone, "which doubled the team's prize money." Fueled by the "additional income from Mr Ecclestone, the team raced into the black despite the loss of sponsorship, finishing the tumultuous year with a pre-tax profit" of US$18.1M, compared with a US$20.5M loss the year before (London INDEPENDENT, 3/7).
THERE'S ALWAYS NEXT YEAR: In N.Y., Marc Berman reported Basketball HOFer Earl Monroe said that Knicks F Carmelo Anthony "can have his retired No. 15 jersey if he wants it, but the new Knicks superstar has missed the NBA deadline to change numbers for next season." Anthony, who switched from No. 15 to No. 7 when he was traded from the Nuggets to the Knicks, "missed the March 1 deadline to apply for a new jersey number for next season" (N.Y. POST, 3/5).