SBD/March 20, 2012/Marketing and Sponsorship

Volvo Inks Jeremy Lin To Sponsorship Deal With Focus On U.S., China

Lin will participate in Volvo's marketing activities over next two years
The U.S. arm of Swedish car brand Volvo has reached an endorsement agreement with Knicks G Jeremy Lin that will “cover several international markets but focus on the U.S. and China,” according to Norihiko Shirouzu of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. The company announced that Lin over the next two years will “participate in Volvo's corporate and marketing activities as a 'brand ambassador.'" The deal with Volvo “marks one of the first major corporate contracts” for Lin. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Volvo Senior VP & Chair of China Operations Freeman Shen said that hiring Lin was “an important part of Volvo's ‘brand rejuvenation,’ showcasing the new Volvo brand strategy ‘Designed Around You’ with ‘sportsmanship and intelligence’" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 3/20). BLOOMBERG NEWS’ Erik Matuszewski notes Lin “will appear in his first television commercials for Volvo after the NBA season ends.” Volvo said that he will be “used in promotional materials immediately” (BLOOMBERG NEWS, 3/20). USA TODAY’s Michael McCarthy writes the Volvo deal “could just be the beginning for the undrafted Harvard grad on Madison Avenue.” Webster Univ. economics professor Patrick Rishe said that Lin could “reap $12 million to $15 million from endorsements -- but only if he continues to start for the Knicks” (USA TODAY, 3/20). YAHOO SPORTS’ Kelly Dwyer wrote Lin "seems like the perfect spokesman.” Dwyer: “It's an odd choice, as his first move into the realm of the major endorser, but one that's as unique as Lin's gifts and move into the NBA's upper strata. Unorthodox-y, but good” (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 3/19).

LINSANITY CONTINUES: MARKETWATCH’s Andria Cheng notes while the atmosphere of Linsanity surrounding him may have “died down somewhat on the hardwood, on the commercial side there still appears to be plenty of passion.” Since Lin’s Feb. 4 breakout game, sales at online Knicks-linked stores -- which “carry about 50 Lin-related items -- have surged fortyfold.” MSG officials said that sales at the arena are up 70%, with Lin-related gear “accounting for about half of online sales and about a third of in-arena sales.” The NBA reported that Lin’s jersey has been the league’s “top seller for well over a month, catapulting sales of Knicks team gear to the top spot.” Nike said that it is “discussing opportunities for a longer-range marketing plan for Lin that could include footwear and appearances” (MARKETWATCH.com, 3/20). The N.Y. Daily News’ Bob Raissman said, “There is another side to Linsanity, to Jeremy Lin, that is probably more important to the Garden. I know winning is what drives it, but this guy’s made (Knicks Owner) James Dolan more money in the time he’s been playing. He got the (MSG-Time Warner) cable deal done. That’s more than $10 million a month. He’s got the TV ratings up, which translates into ad sales. So they don’t want to see him phased out” (“Daily News Live,” SportsNet N.Y., 3/16).
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