SBD/August 3, 2011/Marketing and Sponsorship

Names & Faces: UFC Fighter Anderson Silva Inks Nike Deal

Silva is the first Brazilian MMA fighter to be sponsored by Nike
SHERDOG.com’s Chris Nelson reported UFC fighter Anderson Silva has become “the first Brazilian mixed martial artist to be sponsored by Nike.” The news comes “days after a cryptic video of Silva appeared online, sparking rumors of the transaction.” The 90-second clip featured Silva “staring menacingly at a camera, as he would an opponent, dressed in a red t-shirt with a prominent Nike ‘swoosh’ logo.” The Nike deal comes after Silva and Brazilian soccer team Corinthians Monday announced a "multi-tiered marketing initiative” in which Silva “will be prominently featured.” Also, the Brazilian branch of Burger King last week announced Silva “as one of its new promotional faces.” All three of Silva’s recent sponsorship deals were brokered by 9ine (SHERDOG.com, 8/2).

IRON CHEF: CNBC.com’s Darren Rovell reported N'Genuity Enterprises, a company which obtained the marketing rights to former MLBer and NFLer Bo Jackson, is suing Chick-fil-A. The company said that the "unauthorized use" of Jackson in a Chick-fil-A commercial "damaged the potential of one of its products,” the Bo Burger. Jackson's face “appeared on a mooing cow" in an ad for the QSR that stated that "he never took up burgers." N'Genuity in the suit said that the “potential to sell ‘Bo Burgers’ was subsequently forever damaged.” The company “is asking for damages caused by the commercial” (CNBC.com, 8/2). Meanwhile, Pat Dye, Jackson's football coach at Auburn Univ., and former Univ. of Alabama football coach Gene Stallings “buried themselves in sand Tuesday morning for a series of commercials that are part of Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism’s recent agreement to be an SEC corporate sponsor.” The coaches were “covered to their midsection while enduring a heat index of 100-plus” (Mobile PRESS-REGISTER, 8/3).

GOD SAVE THE KING: ESPN's "SportsNation" yesterday discussed the recent Nielsen N-Score list that rated Mavericks F Dirk Nowitzki as the NBA's most marketable player and did not include Heat F LeBron James or G Dwyane Wade in the top 10. ESPN’s Michelle Beadle said, “This is a ridiculous poll because you cannot tell me that LeBron James is now less marketable … (than) Dirk, Kobe, Steve Nash, Kevin Garnett, Tim Duncan, Jason Kidd … Grant Hill?" Beadle did say the "things probably affecting his score (are) name and image awareness, appeal, personality, and sincerity." Beadle: "These were all things that he really did take a big hit in the last year on.” ESPN's Colin Cowherd said, "Nobody’s buying shoes because you’re not sincere. Okay? Allen Iverson sold shoes. Nobody cares. The bottom line is the kids buying shoes. When I watched the NBA Finals, call me nutty, but I looked at LeBron, he appeared to be wearing Nikes. He appeared to be in Nike commercials. A lot of guys on that list, they didn’t get national commercials” (“SportsNation,” ESPN2, 8/2).

CHANGE OF PACE: MARKETING magazine’s John Reynolds notes online betting company Betfair is “radically overhauling its sport sponsorship activities by introducing four brand ambassadors and ending its relationship with FC Barcelona after two years.” The brand has signed former England cricketer Michael Vaughan, former England rugby player Will Greenwood, BBC soccer analyst Lee Dixon and horse trainer Paul Nicholls. The endorsers “have signed up to front Betfair ads for the next year, beginning this month,” and they will also “provide tips and opinion, monthly podcasts and video content.” Betfair is “thought to be increasing its overall spend on sports marketing.” It will remain the official betting partner of EPL club Manchester United (MARKETINGMAGAZINE.co.uk, 8/2).

NOTES: Patriots QB Tom Brady “stars in a new Under Armour TV spot titled ‘Footsteps’ that’s set to debut next week showcasing the brand’s latest footwear collection.” Brady will appear with Panthers QB Cam Newton and UFC fighter Georges St-Pierre in the spot (BOSTON HERALD, 8/3)....Tennis player Martina Hingis at Wimbledon this year signed a contract with Canadian apparel company Tonic, and is “in the middle of helping it produce a line of tennis clothing set for release next spring” (L.A. TIMES, 8/2).
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