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SBD/November 21, 2011/Marketing and SponsorshipPrint All
On the heels of Tony Stewart winning his third NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship last night, several of his sponsors are congratulating his effort. Office Depot ran an ad in USA Today featuring Stewart with the header, “Congratulations seems like the wrong word when describing the unbelievable, crazy, historical, astonishing, inconceivably, awesome run that Tony just gave us. Wow (now that’s better).” NASCAR also ran an ad in USA Today featuring Stewart with the copy, “Destiny waits for no man. You have to chase it down.” Stewart appeared this morning on ESPN's "SportsCenter" wearing a shirt that featured logos for Office Depot and Mobil 1. Meanwhile, NASCAR.com is offering a variety of Stewart championship merchandise, including T-shirts, caps and die-cast cars (THE DAILY).
WINNING OFF THE TRACK: In Indianapolis, Curt Cavin cited sources as saying that Stewart’s "annual income from driving for and owning Stewart-Haas Racing" is estimated at $20M. Stewart’s “charm carries over to boardrooms, where he’s persuaded executives at Office Depot, Mobil 1, Burger King, Chevrolet, the U.S. Army, Coca-Cola, Bass Pro Shops and GoDaddy to support the NASCAR team he took control of at the end of the 2008 season.” Chevrolet VP/Performance Vehicles & Motorsports Jim Campbell said, "He's a natural leader, and you like to work with him.” He added, “He can get very intense when it's time for him to go to work on the racetrack, but he has a very quick wit, and he likes to have fun with people" (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 11/20). SCENEDAILY.com’s Bob Pockrass noted Stewart “indicated he’s at least close to not losing money.” Stewart said, “This is a big industry and it's my goal from day one has been to be able to look Gene Haas in the eyes and shake his hand and say, ‘Hey, it didn't cost you a dime this year to go race, I want you to just come to the track and have fun and enjoy what you've built.’ Our economy has been rough the last three years and it's been a challenge to do that.” He added, “But I'm proud with the new partners that we have had come on board. We are in the best financial situation our company has been in” (SCENEDAILY.com, 11/20).
Sales of hats, shirts and other items "emblazoned with the Penn State name have plummeted about 40 percent overall compared with the same period last year," according to retailers and industry analysts cited by Joann Loviglio of the AP. SportsOneSource analyst Matt Powell said, "This is the first time I can recall ever seeing a decline of sales right out of the box." Powell indicated that PSU "typically ranks in the top 10 in sales, capturing roughly $80 million annually." Powell: "They probably made about $3 million last year from sales of royalty products. This is a very unusual situation, and my gut tells me it’s not going away, at least in the short term." For the week after the child sexual abuse scandal broke, PSU’s "slice of the market share was about 1.93 percent." Powell said that during the "same week last year, that figure stood at 2.67 percent" (AP, 11/20).
SIMPLY YES MEN? In Pennsylvania, Charles Thompson noted many of those on PSU's Board of Trustees "were blindsided by the whole affair." Several trustees indicated that the investigation "was rarely, if ever, discussed at meetings this year, even after The Patriot-News published a March 24 story outlining much of the developing case against" former assistant PSU football coach Jerry Sandusky. The trustees' "lack of preparation has exasperated some outside observers." In some cases, it "raised questions about whether a board that was largely seen as a privileged group of yes men for Spanier can take the steps needed to recover from the scandal" (Harrisburg PATRIOT-NEWS, 11/20). Meanwhile, Penn State took to ESPN’s airwaves during coverage of Saturday’s game against Ohio State to address the issue. New school President Dr. Rodney Erickson spoke directly into the camera and said, “As we struggle with the recent terrible news, I have seen another more hopeful side of Penn State emerge, one that focuses on compassion, generosity, and resilience. I’m proud of our students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends who have come together and joined others across the nation in support of the victims and each other. I am committed to leading Penn State through this difficult time and restoring your trust and confidence. You have my promise.” A short message remained at the bottom of the screen throughout the 30-second announcement: “This message furnished by the Pennsylvania State University” ("Penn State-Ohio State," ESPN, 11/19).
UNUSUAL INVESTIGATION: In N.Y., Pete Thamel reported the NCAA has "sent Penn State a letter announcing it will begin an inquiry into the university's institutional control and ethical conduct stemming from" the Sandusky situation. NCAA President Mark Emmert said that the organization would "examine both a lack of institutional control, one of the most serious charges the NCAA can make against a university, as well as 'the actions, and inactions, of relevant responsible personnel.'" Emmert said, "The circumstances are uncharted territory in many ways. This is not in my mind or in many other people’s mind an unprecedented application of our bylaws and our constitution. It is a very unusual set of circumstances." Emmert "stressed that the letter sent to Penn State was different from a formal NCAA investigation letter." It "includes a series of questions for Penn State to answer, and Emmert said that the NCAA would monitor the case throughout the legal process." The NCAA will "not send investigators to Penn State’s campus" (N.Y. TIMES, 11/19).
Nike along with other NBA partners and sponsors “have had to adapt to a changing landscape while hoping for the best” in this “uncertain world of lockouts, lawsuits and labor strife,” according to Allan Brettman of the Portland OREGONIAN. Nike this fall has had to rely on its "Basketball Never Stops" campaign. The “video-rich marketing campaign" features several company’s endorsers -- including Thunder F Kevin Durant, Lakers G Kobe Bryant and Heat F LeBron James -- in “a kaleidoscope of basketball scenarios, none of which include an NBA arena.” SportsOneSource analyst Matt Powell said that basketball shoe sales in October “were higher than the same month last year.” Powell had predicted several weeks ago that the lockout “would have little to no effect on shoe sales.” Powell: "Television is much less important to selling sneakers today than it was in 1999. Sneaker sales are much more influenced by the web today. Brands get more exposure for products on YouTube than they do on ‘SportsCenter.’" But analysts said that sales of NBA-licensed merchandise -- jerseys, T-shirts, hats, trinkets and the rest -- are “expected to drop by at least a half.” adidas had “about $350 million in NBA-related clothing sales last year.” Still, analysts said that the “biggest benefit” for adidas in its apparel deal with the league is “having its three-stripes logo on NBA uniforms and, as a result, visible to stadium and television audiences.” Brettman notes in that regard, the season “has been a total loss [for] the company.” But an adidas spokesperson said that the company's “latest quarterly earnings statement included growing sales of basketball footwear.” GroupM Entertainment & Sport Partnerships CEO Bryce Townsend said that “for now, neither broadcasting companies nor advertisers have felt the loss of the games.” Advertising slots “have already been purchased,” and networks “have been able to fulfill client expectations by placing ads with programming that attracts the demographics of an NBA game: college football, college basketball or the NFL” (Portland OREGONIAN, 11/21).
The AP’s Mark Long reported Sprint is “deep in negotiations with NASCAR to continue title sponsorship of its top racing series.” The current 10-year deal expires at the end of the 2013 season, but talks on an extension “have been ongoing.” Sprint VP/Corporate Marketing Steve Gaffney indicated that he “was pleased with the negotiations.” Gaffney yesterday said, "We're really hopeful we'll have some good news to announce soon." NASCAR Senior VP & CMO Steve Phelps acknowledged that renewal talks “are progressing.” Gaffney said that Sprint “has been thrilled with the title race between Carl Edwards and Tony Stewart, and felt the last month has increased interest in NASCAR” (AP, 11/20).
ROUNDIN' 'EM UP! In Houston, Ronnie Crocker reported Aramark’s sales of Texans gear “have been running more than 10 percent ahead of last year and likely will set a record if Houston reaches the playoffs for the first time.” Aramark manages the Go Texans shop at Reliant Stadium, and Retail Division Manager Chris Inouye in an email noted that he “expects strong holiday sales of team gear and other souvenir items.” He added that if the team were to “finish first in the AFC South, Aramark will roll out division-championship T-shirts and hats immediately.” At Academy Sports + Outdoors, the Texans’ official sporting-goods retailer, WR Andre Johnson’s No. 80 “remains the top-selling Texans jersey,” followed by RB Adrian Foster and QB Matt Schaub (CHRON.com, 11/18).
TAKING A STAND: The AP reported that Dubai-based airline Emirates, a “prominent” FIFA sponsor, is “speaking out against racism in football following uproar over President Sepp Blatter's comments.” Emirates yesterday said it "completely abhors racism" and that it supports efforts to abolish "all forms of discrimination in football." Emirates said that it is “watching developments within soccer's governing body closely, and notes it has ‘no role in the management of the organization’" (AP, 11/20).
ON THE HUNT: AD AGE’s Zmuda & Parekh noted Dick's Sporting Goods is “making the rounds with creative agencies.” The retailer is “having discussions with several shops about handling creative work,” and final presentations are “expected to take place before the end of the month.” Dick's declined to comment. It is a “marked shift for the sporting-goods giant, which has traditionally relied on a team of in-house creatives and partnered with production companies” (ADAGE.com, 11/18).