SBD/May 2, 2011/Marketing and Sponsorship

Cam Newton's Endorsement Portfolio On The Rise With Controversial Past, Draft Selection

Newton's appeal will likely land him in national ad campaigns
Cam Newton, who was the NFL’s No. 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft by the Panthers, “boasts a Heisman Trophy and a national championship on his résumé, but he’s also known for numerous off-field controversies,” and that combination “is likely to fuel interest in Newton as a pitchman in the weeks ahead,” according to Erik Spanberg of the CHARLOTTE BUSINESS JOURNAL. GMR Marketing Senior VP/Sports Ed Kiernan said, “He dresses like a Brooks Brothers model, he looks good, he’s bright and articulate.” He added, “I know brands are looking at him as a platform. And that will shine a bright light on Charlotte. You’re going to see Cam in lots of national TV spots and a lot of print campaigns.” Even before Newton “begins talks with the Panthers on his first pro contract, he has already become a millionaire.” He signed in February “an endorsement deal with apparel and shoe company Under Armour estimated to be worth $1 million per year.” Panthers execs “were quick to say Newton was chosen for what he brings to the huddle, but they also acknowledged the quarterback’s marketing sizzle.” Signature Sports Group Principal Steve Hall said that the arrival of Newton “should also reinvigorate interest in the Panthers across the Carolinas.” Jersey and ticket sales “are likely to spike with Newton on the team’s roster” (BIZJOURNALS.com, 4/29).

HOT ON THE MARKET: Fans have pre-ordered about 135 Newton replica jerseys online and at Bank of America Stadium’s team store since the Panthers drafted the QB, said Tom Crocker, GM for Delaware North Sportservice, the Panthers’ retail provider. To jump-start sales, Sportservice sent an e-mail alert to Panthers season-ticket holders within minutes of Carolina selecting Newton as the No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft. The jerseys cost $85. Sportservice is also selling Cam Newton T-shirts for $22-28 on shoppanthers.com (Don Muret, SportsBusiness Journal). In Charlotte, Joseph Person noted Newton wore No. 2 at Auburn and on Friday said that “he’d like to keep it.” Panthers QB Jimmy Clausen last season wore No. 2 as his jersey number. Clausen on Saturday said, “It’s mine right now. We’ll see what happens.” When asked if he “set an asking price” for the number, he said while smiling, “We’ll see what happens” (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 5/1).
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