SBD/June 22, 2012/Marketing and Sponsorship

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  • Lin's New Agent Says First Task Is Weighing Endorsement Opportunities

    Lin will be a restricted free agent come July 1, could make $5M per year in next contract

    Knicks G Jeremy Lin's new marketing agent, Jim Tanner, said his first order of business is to begin sorting through potential opportunities from corporations interested in endorsement deals with Lin, including companies based in Asia. "Our main charge at this point is to get our arms around the many opportunities available to Jeremy," said Tanner, an NBA player agent and partner at DC law firm Williams & Connolly. "He has an extreme amount of interest from any number of companies, including companies in Asia." Tanner would not name any of the companies interested in Lin, the first American-born player of Taiwanese or Chinese descent to play in the NBA. Lin currently has existing deals with Nike, which signed him after he went undrafted in '10, and Volvo, which signed him earlier this year. Tanner will work collaboratively with Lin's current agent, Roger Montgomery, on his NBA affairs, including his free agency. Montgomery did not return a phone call or a text. Tanner recruited Lin when he was at Harvard, but lost out to Montgomery. Tanner: "We had met with Jeremy and his family when he was coming out of Harvard. We had a conversation with them recently, and they expressed an interest in working with us" (Liz Mullen, SportsBusiness Journal).

    MARKETING GOLD MINE: In N.Y., Howard Beck wrote Lin “is poised to cash in on his newfound fame.” He will be a restricted free agent as of July 1 and is "expected to command more than" $5M a year in his next contract. Lin’s family “has been unhappy with his marketing and has been seeking a larger firm to handle it.” Williams & Connolly is “mainly known for its litigation prowess and its insider credentials.” The firm also has "carved out a niche representing talent across the entertainment industry” (N.Y. TIMES, 6/21). Also in N.Y., Marc Berman notes Montgomery “needed help mostly because Lin is a marketing gold mine.” There has been “criticism Lin hadn’t cashed in with enough endorsements” (N.Y. POST, 6/22).

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  • Dodgers, Galaxy Team Up For Cross-Promotion Ticket Sales Partnership

    The Dodgers and MLS Galaxy this week are "teaming up in a bid to bring on board the other club’s fans, offering discounts and special offers to sweeten the deal," according to Sam Mamudi of MARKET WATCH. In a partnership that is the “first such team-up between the clubs," the Dodgers and Galaxy will “host nights for each other at their stadia." The Dodgers said that this marks the fourth year the franchise has “teamed up in such a way with a local sports outfit, and the results have been positive -- 63% of those who bought tickets for similar promotions last year were new Dodger ticket buyers.” The Dodgers in the past have "offered similar promotions” with the NHL Kings which, like the Galaxy, are owned by AEG. The Dodgers in previous years also “have teamed up for similar deals” with USC, UCLA, the Clippers and MLS club Chivas USA. Saturday night will be “Dodger Night at the Galaxy’s Home Depot Center, and there will be an L.A. Galaxy Night at Dodger Stadium on July 30.” The cross-promotion “will see discounted tickets to Saturday’s Galaxy game for Dodger fans, as well as a unique co-branded Dodgers and Galaxy scarf for the first 500 buyers.” Galaxy night at Dodger Stadium “will see special ticket -- and concessions -- offers, a limited signed photograph of Galaxy and U.S. soccer star Landon Donovan and a pre-game autograph session with Galaxy players” Mamudi notes this type of cross-promotion is “rarely used in other cities, where franchises from different sports often consider themselves rivals for sponsorships and ticket sales" (MARKETWATCH.com, 6/22).

    KICKING AROUND IDEAS: The L.A. Galaxy said that it “received more than 8,000 entries” for the fan competition to design the team’s third jersey. ESPN.com’s Patrick Dorsey noted it is now “down to five finalists” which were chosen by the Galaxy, adidas and sponsor Herbalife reps “with voting open through Friday.” The winner “gets to watch his or her kit on the field next year, in about five MLS games, plus international friendlies” (ESPN.com, 6/21).

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  • Musician Suing Thunder's Durant Over "Durantula" Trademark

    Kevin Durant has been featured as cartoon superhero named Durantula

    A trademark lawsuit was filed on Wednesday in federal court in Chicago against Thunder F Kevin Durant, Nike and Panini America for “unfairly infringing musician Mark Durante's trademark DURANTULA by using that nickname on items like basketballs and photographs and in shoe campaigns, including one that features a cartoon superhero named Durantula,” according to Erin Geiger Smith of REUTERS. The guitarist has been “known on stage as ‘Durantula’ since the 1980s, a persona he officially trademarked in 2010.” Durante has “released albums under the name Durantula and has maintained the website durantula.com for more than 10 years.” However, Durante’s suit is “no slam dunk,” as it “might be difficult to show that anyone would confuse a 23-year-old basketball phenom with a middle-aged rocker, especially since Durante's officially registered mark is for uses related to music and accompanying promotional items.” Nike, Panini and Durant's agent at Landmark Sports Agency did not comment on the suit (REUTERS, 6/21).

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  • Marketplace Roundup

    Nationals LF Bryce Harper said that Under Armour “will begin selling t-shirts with the now often repeated” phrase, "That's a clown question, bro." Harper last week used the phrase when a Canadian reporter asked the 19-year-old if he would be taking advantage of the fact that he is of legal drinking age while in Toronto for the Nationals-Blue Jays series (CSNWASHINGTON.com, 6/21).

    TEAMING UP: AD AGE’s Brian Steinberg reported Coca-Cola and Walmart will sponsor Basketball HOFer Magic Johnson’s “emerging cable channel Aspire in exchange for some rather large and unorthodox concessions: Each advertiser will be the exclusive sponsor in its category for a specific period of time and each will be able to develop programming on the nascent outlet, which aims to entertain and inform a predominantly African-American audience” (ADAGE.com, 6/21).

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