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SBD/September 19, 2011/Marketing and SponsorshipPrint All
Amp Energy is "phasing its brand off" Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s No. 88 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series ride, according to Tripp Mickle of SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL. PepsiCo is expected to announce this week that Diet Mountain Dew "will replace its Amp Energy brand as Earnhardt’s primary sponsor for 16 races in 2012." The company "has the primary sponsorship rights for 20 total races on the No. 88 car, and Amp will serve as an associate sponsor while also appearing on the hood for the other four races." The shift is a "major downsizing in the sponsorship" between Amp and Earnhardt. Pepsi, which owns Amp and Mountain Dew, "has one year left on its contract with Earnhardt and Hendrick Motorsports, and the company’s executives believe that Diet Mountain Dew, which is one of the fastest-growing soft drinks, stands to benefit more from Earnhardt than Amp." Mountain Dew Brand Manager George Cox said, “Dale is the embodiment of the person we’re trying to target with Diet Dew. We wanted to tap into that equity Dew has in NASCAR and put it into overdrive with Dale.” Cox said that Pepsi "plans to focus on developing its marketing and activation plans for Diet Mountain Dew and won’t begin discussing a possible renewal with Hendrick until next year." Amp Energy signed a deal with Hendrick Motorsports and Earnhardt in '07 valued at $25-30M. Amp at the time "was the fifth-largest player in a fast-growing category," but the category’s growth "has stalled recently." The "shrinking number of new consumers made it difficult for Amp to justify the cost of the sponsorship." Mickle notes by "shifting the bulk of its marketing support of the driver from Amp to Diet Mountain Dew, Pepsi can save the Amp brand money and align Earnhardt with a brand he’s already passionate about" (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 9/19 issue).
Kraft Foods brand Stride gum is coming out with a "new flavor of chewing gum" named after Gold Medal-winning snowboarder Shaun White -- Whitemint -- and the brand will feature “his likeness on the package,” according to Andrew Adam Newman of the N.Y. TIMES. While Stride is “generally aimed at consumers ages 18 to 34, Whitemint aspires to appeal to the younger end of that spectrum, 18 to 24 -- and may appeal to even younger chewers.” Stride did not disclose financial details but White is “estimated to earn at least $2 million annually for each endorsement deal.” White appeared “briefly in a commercial for a Stride line called 2.0 that was first shown in June” and he will appear in “a new commercial for Whitemint scheduled to begin” today. In the new spot, the brand’s mascot, a ram, “stands idly in a conference room where the marketing team and White are gathered.” The manager leading the meeting says, "New Stride Whitemint is a hit, but it lasts too long. How do we get people to chew another piece?” White says, “I got this one.” He then gestures “for an abominable snowman wearing a headband and earphones to enter the room." The creature "slugs the manager in the stomach, forcing him to spit out his gum.” Newman notes White currently licenses “a clothing line for Target, a sunglasses and goggles line for Oakley, a gear line for Burton Snowboards, and two video games -- Shaun White Snowboarding and Shaun White Skateboarding -- for Ubisoft” (N.Y.TIMES, 9/19).
St. Louis-based sporting goods manufacturer Rawlings started making football helmets last fall "after a 20-year absence” and the company said that it is “on track to capture between 6 percent and 7 percent market share in its first year," according to Lisa Brown of ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH. Officials added that its "unit sales are triple what the company forecast a year ago.” Rawlings Senior VP/Marketing Mike Thompson said that the company “spent nearly three years researching the market and developing its helmet before last year’s launch.” The initial strategy for “gaining traction in the helmet market was to attract the interest of sporting goods dealers who buy equipment for local sporting goods stores nationwide.” The helmets can be found at about “200 retailers nationwide” and Rawlings next year “plans to roll out the helmets at big-box retailers such as Dick’s Sporting Goods.” The company outfits players on 42 NCAA D-I football teams and 16 NFL teams, including a deal with Rams RB Steven Jackson. Thompson said that “signing Jackson was a coup.” Thompson: “If you’re going to lead in any category you have to have a buy-in from the highest level of the sport.” An industry analyst estimated that Chicago-based Riddell and Illinois-based Schutt Sports “combined have more than 90 percent market share." But Rawlings still views football helmets “as a lucrative opportunity for growth” (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 9/18).
Floyd Mayweather Jr. defeated Victor Ortiz Saturday night via a fourth-round TKO, and Mayweather "fights under a highly unusual financial structure, exchanging upfront risk for back-end profit while retaining total control,” according to a front-page examination of Mayweather's financial model by Greg Bishop of the N.Y. TIMES. Mayweather is "even responsible for paying his opponent, in this case a business expense of at least $2 million.” Mayweather said of his financial model, “It’s never been done. Not in entertainment history. Not in sports history. You see that arena Saturday? It’s all Mayweather money. Want a hot dog? Mayweather money. Want a T-shirt? Mayweather money. I need all that.” Bishop noted Mayweather Saturday night was “expected to make about $40 million, and the checks will come for years, determined by the results of many things beyond the fight itself, like the gate and the pay-per-view television numbers.” Mayweather for his last four fights has hired Golden Boy Promotions, and company CEO Richard Schaefer said, “All revenues here are Mayweather revenues. He gets part of everything.” Bishop noted under this model, the “expenses are Mayweather expenses, too.” Schaefer said that for Saturday’s fight at MGM Grand “the expenses would run about $10 million” (N.Y. TIMES, 9/17).
FIGHTING WORDS: In N.Y., Tim Smith noted the end of Saturday's bout "came after a bizarre series of events that began when Ortiz was charged with a foul for deliberately head-butting Mayweather after landing a barrage of punches in the corner.” Referee Joe Cortez “deducted a point from Ortiz for the foul, and Ortiz came over to Mayweather and embraced him to offer an apology.” When the two fighters were brought back to the center of the ring, Mayweather “embraced Ortiz, then stepped back and landed a quick left and right combination that sent Ortiz falling to the canvas.” The crowd “turned on Mayweather almost immediately and was booing him.” Mayweather then “got into a profanity-laced shouting match with HBO boxing commentator Larry Merchant during the in-ring interview.” Mayweather during the interview said, "I'm going to do you a favor and let you talk to Victor Ortiz. You never give me a fair shake. HBO need to fire you. You don't know s--- about boxing. You ain't s---! You're not s---!" Merchant replied: "I wish I was 50 years younger and I'd kick your ass" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 9/18). The N.Y. TIMES’ Bishop noted the crowd “booed, loudly, lustily, as Mayweather assumed the role of villain once again” (N.Y. TIMES, 9/18). In L.A., Bill Dwyre wrote under the header, “Jeers For Mayweather-Ortiz Outcome Are Justified.” Dwyre: “Any resemblance between sportsmanship and boxing vanished on a night of mugging and dirty play. … Boxing made a lot of money Saturday night and may have lost a lot of friends and future customers” (L.A. TIMES, 9/18).
NASCAR is working with its partner DirecTV to offer fans the chance to appear in a '12 commercial with some of the sport's drivers. The opportunity is being given away as part of the "Send Me 2 Vegas" sweepstakes, which begins today and is designed to promote NASCAR's Champions Week in Las Vegas. The sweepstakes will give one fan a chance to win a '12 Ford Explorer, a two-night stay at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas during NASCAR's Champions Week and the opportunity to be featured in an on-air promotional spot on Game Show Network (GSN), which is co-owned by DirecTV. GSN plans to run a series of NASCAR promotional spots in '12 that will be tied into the sanctioning body's "The World Needs More Winners" campaign. NASCAR drivers and the "Send Me 2 Vegas" winner would be featured in those spots. GSN is distributed in 73 million homes. The network also plans to run promotions this fall encouraging fans to participate in the sweepstakes and attend its "After the Lap" event in Las Vegas, which features all 12 of the Chase for the Sprint Cup drivers talking to 2,000 fans at the Hard Rock Cafe. NASCAR VP/Partnership Marketing & Business Solutions Norris Scott said, "This helps reach new audiences and continues to promote this (After the Lap) event, which has really become a jewel event for us because of the opportunity it presents for fans to interact with drivers."