SBD/February 28, 2012/Marketing and Sponsorship

On The Waves Of Linsanity, Knicks Ink Marketing Deal With Taiwanese Tire Maker

Maxxis is first sponsorship deal Knicks have signed since Lin joined starting lineup
Capitalizing on the hype surrounding G Jeremy Lin, the Knicks have “signed a marketing deal for the rest of the season with Taiwan-based tire manufacturer Maxxis International,” according to Daniel Massey of CRAIN’S N.Y. BUSINESS. The agreement will make the tire maker “a fixture at Madison Square Garden for the next four months or so.” Maxxis' branding will appear on “courtside LED screens and the GardenVision scoreboard, among other places.” The company will also sponsor “a giveaway for fans attending an upcoming game.” It is the “first sponsorship deal the Knicks have signed" since Lin joined the starting lineup on Feb. 6 and led the team to seven consecutive wins. Maxxis is the team's “only Taiwan-based sponsor, though companies across Asia have expressed interest in marketing deals in the past few weeks.” Financial terms of the sponsorship were not disclosed. Phoenix Partners Group Exec Dir of Equity Research Robert Routh said that the cost of being associated with the Knicks “will rise as long as Mr. Lin plays well and the team continues to win.” The Knicks said that Linsanity has “also powered the Knicks' social media networks and merchandise sales.” The team's various digital platforms “have exploded with activity since Mr. Lin's sudden rise to stardom.” The team said that since Feb. 4, Web traffic on NYKnicks.com and KnicksNow.com has “increased more than 770% compared to the two weeks prior, reaching 13.4 million page views, a record number of page views for a two-week period and the highest week-to-week increase in history for the sites” (CRAIN’S N.Y. BUSINESS, 2/24 issue).

STORY TELLERS: United Entertainment Group Founder & CEO Jarrod Moses yesterday discussed the marketability of Lin, and Moses said, “If you’re going to do a deal with Jeremy Lin at this point, I would circle him with a story as opposed to just an endorsement deal. That way, you talk more about him as a human being and a success story than just the outcome of the season.” Moses said endorsements are still a “huge risk” and what Nike “does and most companies of that magnitude do is they have their A-list stars that they promote and create their brand story around and then they have their emerging” stars. Nike “looked at Jeremy Lin a couple of years ago and they placed a small wager on him and now they’re increasing their bet.” Moses: “It’s dangerous, but at the same time it’s a hedged risk” (Fox Business, 2/27).
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