SBD/April 29, 2011/Marketing and Sponsorship

Marketplace Roundup

Couture hoping to retain strength
of brand after he retires from UFC
In Las Vegas, Amanda Finnegan notes Randy Couture “has become much more than a fighter” in his 14 years with the UFC, he has “become a brand.” Couture has “parlayed his successes into business ventures outside the ring with T-shirts, gyms, supplements and a budding acting career, all of which he hopes sustain him long after his last fight at UFC 129 on Saturday.” The Xtreme Couture gym in Las Vegas has “become the headquarters for Randy Couture the brand." His supplement, clothing line and charity, the Xtreme Couture GI Foundation, "are all run from the facility.” In addition, Couture “will start filming on his next two movies, ‘Hijacked’ and ‘The Expendables II,’ later this summer” (LAS VEGAS SUN, 4/29).

THAT'S THE GOAL: U.S. men’s national soccer team and EPL club Everton G Tim Howard is the subject of Allstate’s newest soccer-themed campaign, titled “Protection is Our Game.” Howard stars in comical 15- and 30-second spots in which he dreams about various insurance scenarios while playing. The spots were produced by Leo Burnett, Chicago, and are scheduled to begin airing Friday. They will run during MLS broadcasts on ESPN, ESPN2 and Fox Soccer Channel. Howard signed a one-year deal with Allstate in March. The company in February signed a four-year, eight-figure deal with MLS (Fred Dreier, SportsBusiness Journal).

TIMES STILL TOUGH:
In Virginia, Dustin Long notes 17 of the 42 NASCAR Nationwide Series cars entered for Friday's Bubba Burger 250 in Richmond “listed their sponsor as either TBA, TBD or the race team's name, when the entry list was posted Monday.” Five of the top 14 drivers in the Nationwide points standings “did not have a sponsor listed Monday, including series co-leader Justin Allgaier." His team has “since added the same sponsor it had on its car last week at Nashville.” Long writes, “The tight economy strangles NASCAR teams in each of the national series. Race purses have been cut. Costs escalate. Cup sponsorship fees have declined to where companies that once considered sponsoring a Nationwide car can put their logo on a Cup car and be exposed to a larger TV audience.” Still, Nationwide Series officials noted that “there have been eight new primary sponsors this season, although they vary on how many races they've been on a car” (ROANOKE TIMES, 4/29).

NO CHILD'S PLAY HERE: The AP’s Michael Marot noted the Indianapolis 500 next month will send an “unnamed Hot Wheels stunt driver down a huge ramp in an attempt to break the world record for a four-wheel vehicle," and the “hope is that stunts will add older buyers to a market traditionally reserved for children.” The investment also means Hot Wheels “is looking to do more than one show.” IndyCar, which “has a partnership with Hot Wheels, hopes to tap a younger market to fill seats and improve the television ratings that have been lagging for years.” IMS is “selling ticket packages to get a birds-eye view of the jump in the fourth turn.” Race broadcaster ABC “will carve out a 30-minute postrace slot to broadcast the stunt” (AP, 4/27).
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