SBD/January 20, 2012/Marketing and Sponsorship

Ravens Could See Increased Endorsements With AFC Championship Win

Burch said Rice, who has a record with companies like Gillette, has most opportunity
Ravens RB Ray Rice, QB Joe Flacco or "even some lesser-known Raven will be poised to land deals" if the team beats the Patriots in the AFC Championship game Sunday, according to sports marketing experts cited by Lorraine Mirabella of the Baltimore SUN. Several Ravens players can be seen in the Baltimore area "making pitches for banks, pizza, car dealerships, and furniture and convenience stores, among others." That is likely to increase "regardless of the outcome of Sunday's game," but "highly lucrative national endorsements -- especially those unrelated to sports gear -- are harder to come by." Some marketing experts "see strong possibilities for a handful of players." Baltimore-based TBC Advertising Exec VP & Managing Dir Howe Burch said, "The guy with the most opportunity is Ray Rice." Burch and others said that Rice has a "compelling, against-the-odds story, good looks, charisma and an overachieving personality -- plus a record with companies such as Gillette." Burch said that LB Ray Lewis comes in a "close second in marketability, thanks to his longevity and leadership skills." Lewis has "proved himself in a series of Old Spice television commercials." Maroon PR President John Maroon said that Flacco and rookie WR Torrey Smith have the "biggest endorsement potential -- if they play well." Meanwhile, Mirabella reports if the Ravens play the 49ers in the Super Bowl, Ravens coach John Harbaugh and 49ers coach and younger brother Jim Harbaugh would "find themselves in the spotlight in a big way." Burch: "Brother versus brother. You could have interesting marketing coming out of that" (Baltimore SUN, 1/20).

UA CASHING IN: In Baltimore, Gary Haber reports regardless of the Super Bowl matchup, Under Armour is "likely to get plenty of air time during the Feb. 5 NBC broadcast." The company's roster of NFL endorsers includes Lewis, Patriots QB Tom Brady, Giants RB Brandon Jacobs and 49ers TE Vernon Davis. Many other players on each of the teams "remaining in the playoffs wear Under Armour's cleats or gloves." UA Baltimore-based ad agency GKV CEO Roger Gray said that the company "lucked out with this year's playoff lineup because three of the four teams remaining ... represent some of the biggest media markets in [the] country." The other, Baltimore, is "not among the largest media markets, but it's Under Armour's hometown." Execs "declined to comment on their pre-Super Bowl marketing plans." However, Aquarius Sports & Entertainment President Marc Bluestein said that UA will "likely try to capitalize on whichever team wins the Super Bowl by running congratulatory ads in the winning team's market and nationally." The company also "could incorporate its athletes in new ads talking about how wearing Under Armour gear helped them perform well in the big game" (BALTIMORE BUSINESS JOURNAL, 1/20 issue).
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