SBD/March 9, 2011/Marketing and Sponsorship

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  • Hitting His Stride: Shaun White Signs Two-Year Deal To Endorse Gum Brand

    White adds Stride Gum brand to his endorsement portfolio

    Kraft Foods' Stride Gum brand announced a two-year endorsement deal with skateboarder/snowboarder Shaun White. White becomes an official brand spokesperson and will take part in a variety of promotional activities in the coming months. Stride later will announce specific engagement activities featuring White, including giveaways, digital and social media campaigns and PR efforts (THE DAILY). In this week's SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, Terry Lefton reports the "low-seven-figure endorsement deal ... will include packaging and perhaps even a name based on White." Sources said that the "promise of TV advertising support was integral in signing White." Sources added that the flavor "should be available at retail sometime in the second half of this year" (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 3/7 issue).

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  • IndyCar Owners Nearly Unanimously Vote To Keep Firestone, No Matter The Cost

    IndyCar CEO plans to meet with Firestone next week to discuss staying in series

    An open forum meeting among IndyCar team owners Monday "resulted in a near-unanimous vote to stick with Firestone -- regardless of the price" -- despite the fact Firestone last week announced that it "would no longer compete in the Izod IndyCar Series following the 2011 season," according to Robin Miller of Conquest Racing Owner Eric Bachelart said, "We all want to keep running with Firestone. We know those people; we trust their product and we have to save the deal. They are the best partner ever and we can't afford to lose them so we're hoping they'll review their decision." IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard "called the meeting to get feedback from the guys who spend the money." Bernard: "The owners are concerned there isn't enough time to find a new company to develop a tire so they want to go back and get Firestone." Miller reported Bernard "plans to meet" with Bridgestone Firestone Racing Exec Dir Al Speyer "next week at the open test" at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham. Firestone's "tire lease for 2011 is expected to be in the neighborhood of $300,000 but it's believed Firestone might charge as much as $550,000 to stick around for 2012." However, team owners could be "willing to step up and swallow the extra costs if it means holding onto Firestone's record for safety and trackside support." Bernard "has been talking with Goodyear, Hoosier and Cooper and all indicated the start-up costs would be pricey" (, 3/8).

    NEW DIRECTION? Goodyear VP/PR & Communications for North American Tire Ed Markey said that company officials are "having 'internal discussions' regarding supplying tires for IndyCar but no decisions have been made." Markey said the company's "focus is on NASCAR" and other motorsports with which Goodyear already has a relationship. He added that Goodyear "does not want to take on new business that would jeopardize its relationships with current customers" (AKRON BEACON JOURNAL, 3/8).

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  • Special Delivery: New Sponsor DHL Unveils No. 28 IndyCar For Ryan Hunter-Reay

    Hunter-Reay's car number signifies 28 million cancer sufferers worldwide

    Andretti Autosport driver Ryan Hunter-Reay's car for the '11 Izod IndyCar Series season was unveiled yesterday "for the first time with the familiar yellow-and-red banner" of new sponsor DHL at the company's regional HQs in Plantation, Fla., according to Craig Davis of the South Florida SUN-SENTINEL. While the car is "virtually the same as he drove in his first season with Andretti, it has a new number, 28, signifying the 28 million cancer sufferers worldwide." Hunter-Reay "lost his mother to cancer in 2009," and he "has since become primary spokesman of Racing For Cancer, a partner of Lance Armstrong's Livestrong Foundation." For a company that "stakes its name on speed and reliability," the tie-in "seems a good fit for DHL, which also will sponsor Hunter-Reay's teammate Mike Conway." Davis notes the commitment from DHL "provides stability that has eluded Hunter-Reay throughout his career." Hunter-Reay: "This is the first time I've ever been able to come back into the beginning of a season with the same group of people" (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 3/9). Meanwhile, Dr Pepper Snapple Group's Venom Energy drink will sponsor Andretti Autosport's No. 26 IndyCar driven by Marco Andretti this season. The beverage company also will continue its associate sponsorship of Hunter-Reay with Snapple. Sun Drop Citrus Soda will make an appearance with DHL on Hunter-Reay's No. 28 car at the season-opening Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on March 27 (Dr Pepper).

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  • Interest, Investment Seem To Be On The Rise Among NASCAR Sponsors

    NASCAR's ratings, estimated attendance have increased so far in '11

    NASCAR's ratings and estimated crowds have "increased in each of 2011's first three races," and interest and investment also "seem to be on the rise among those benefiting most from the increased exposure: sponsors," according to Nate Ryan of USA TODAY. Just Marketing Int'l Founder & CEO Zak Brown said that his company "saw an uptick in prospects and in hospitality spending by existing sponsors" for Sunday's Kobalt Tools 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Brown: "People want to get involved with things that are trending up. I'm definitely seeing my clients and other clients talking about good stuff now." But Brown said that the "slow recovery of the U.S. economy ... will limit the impact of NASCAR's momentum on Corporate America's largesse." It is "unlikely there'll be a return of the $20 million primary sponsorships that became commonplace before the recession." Brown said sponsors are "inching up their spend," but it is "not a drastic increase" (USA TODAY, 3/9).

    UNFAIR COVERAGE?'s Pete Pistone wrote, "It's not my job or anyone who works in the media to be a cheerleader for NASCAR." But he added there "should be a sense of fairness in either criticism or praise." Pistone: "The discussion about television coverage is one that really gets under my skin in the unfairness department. It's true that in terms of ratings NASCAR has benefitted from good stories and solid competition as well as having it pretty open on the television stage. ... The reality is that for whatever the reasons, more people are watching again this year. ... To listen to some, you'd think FOX, TNT and ESPN position one camera on top of the grandstands at a racetrack and just turn it on when the green flag flies and switch it off when the race ends" (, 3/8).

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  • Million Dollar Baby: New "MLB 2K11" Ad Touts Return Of Perfect Game Bonus

    2K Sports has created a new commercial for its baseball release "MLB 2K11" featuring Wade McGilberry, the Alabama man who won the game publisher's $1M contest last year for pitching a perfect game in “MLB 2K10.” McGilberry appears with Phillies P Roy Halladay, cover athlete for this year's title, touting the return of the perfect game contest and the $1M prize. 2K Sports, however, has altered the rules so rather than beginning the contest yesterday to tie into the game's release, it will now start on April 1 at noon. McGilberry, not eligible to win again due to his participation in the marketing campaign, predicted it will still take longer for someone to perform the feat, even with the lead time, than his first-day achievement in '10. "It's definitely going to be harder," McGilberry said. "In the demo I saw, the batters were smarter, and you have to do more and be more precise with the fielding and throwing." The $1M prizes are believed to be the largest ever for playing a console video game. Since winning the prize last year, McGilberry has paid off his house, bought a car, and went to Mexico with his wife. But he maintains his job as a records keeper for a retirement plan.

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  • Marketplace Roundup

    Under Armour reportedly will pay $81M over five years for deal with Tottenham

    The AP reported Under Armour's five-year kit supplier deal announced yesterday with EPL club Tottenham Hotspur is worth a reported $81M, making it the company's "biggest European sponsorship." Under Armour President & CEO Kevin Plank said that the company "wants to build the brand in Britain with the Tottenham deal," which begins with the '12-13 season (AP, 3/8). Under Armour Exec VP/Global Brand and President of Int'l Mark Dowley said that the agreement "comes ahead of plans to open branded UK retail outlets and secure deals with other clubs." In London, James Hurley notes Under Armour's products currently are "distributed through around 800 UK shops" (London TELEGRAPH, 3/9).

    TEXT TO WIN: In South Florida, Jeff Zbar notes attendees at most PGA Tour events this year for the first time can "bring wireless phones onto the premises," and for advertisers and sponsors, this has "opened a potential marketing opportunity to reach attendees during -- and after -- the event." PGA National Resort & Spa in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., at previous events would host "enter to win" contests that "required entrants to fill out entry forms at expo booths." But at last weekend's Honda Classic, "text to win" contests, cards, banners and signs around the property encouraged attendees to "send text messages to PGA National's entry number." The six areas where attendees were allowed to use their wireless devices were "branded as the Verizon Wireless Cell Phone Zone" (SOUTH FLORIDA BUSINESS JOURNAL, 3/4 issue). 
    TEA IT UP: Golfer Annika Sorenstam has signed a deal to endorse Pepsi Lipton Tea in Florida. She will make in-market appearances and appear in regional advertising for the company's portfolio of iced tea products (THE DAILY).

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