SBD/July 6, 2012/Marketing and SponsorshipPrint All
The New Zealand Rugby Union is "refusing to confirm or deny a report that a sponsor's logo could be emblazoned on the famous black jersey," according to the AP. AIG is "in negotiations with the NZRU to place their logo on the front of the playing strip, which has been free of advertising since the All Blacks began playing in the late 1880s." The All Blacks are "one of the few international rugby teams without a large front-of-jersey sponsor." The NZRU "refused to comment on the issue" earlier this week but "their stance softened a little after Jed Thian, who runs the Alternative Rugby Commentary website, spoke about an impending sponsorship deal" with AIG Thursday on Radio New Zealand. NZRU CEO Steve Tew in a statement said, "We are discussing opportunities with a number of potential sponsors across a range of categories. ... But let's be clear adidas is our principal partner and that contract extends to 2019 and underpins rugby in this country." The AP reports AIG has "signed a five-year deal which includes logos on the All Blacks' shorts and shirt sleeves." The All Blacks "have had a shirt sponsor in the past, with Steinlager emblazoned on the right side of the jersey during the mid-90s." Currently, adidas has a "small logo on the right breast, opposite the silver fern on the left" (AP, 7/6). Former All Blacks player Chris Laidlaw said, "It's the one thing that is sacrosanct. It's a comedown to have an American insurance company on it." He added that the NZRU "was cash-strapped and casting around for money." Laidlaw said aligning with AIG "smacks of commercialism." Laidlaw: "It would take away some of the magic of the All Blacks" (TARANAKI DAILY NEWS, 7/6).
The Univ. of Maryland football program has hired Maryland-based Maroon PR “for positive spin” following the '11 season that resulted in a 2-10 record and several disciplinary problems off the field, according to Joe Tessitore of ESPN. Using an "outside public relations firm is not news that we hear often" from major college athletic programs. Football coach Randy Edsall said UMD's situation "is probably unique a little bit from the standpoint of where we’re located in-between Baltimore and Washington and having all the competition we have with all the pro teams here in this area." Edsall: "We needed somebody to come in and aid us with getting our message out there. We have so many positive things that are taking place within our program.” Edsall said hiring Maroon PR was “something that we felt was very advantageous and we’ve already seen some of the positives with our relation” with the agency's President & Owner John Maroon (“College Football Live,” ESPN, 7/5). Edsall said the program has “a lot of human interest stories with our players.” Edsall: “What we wanted to do was be able to get that message out more about who we are, what we’re all about and … I don’t think it’s a real big change. I think some people do but when you get a chance to know your surroundings and know your people and trust people, then you go ahead and do some different things” (WNST.net, 6/29).
MAINTAINING WHAT IT CURRENTLY HAS: In Baltimore, Jeff Barker writes UMD "spread itself too thin" before dropping seven teams due to budget reasons. The school's current focus "won’t be on adding sports, but rather on better supporting the athletes on the 20 teams it has retained." Schools "do occasionally bring back sports as budget numbers or other circumstances change." UMD track coach Andrew Valmon said that he "was looking into examples of schools that have dropped men’s track teams and considered restoring them." However, it is "not easy resurrecting teams," as they need to be sure they have "secured funding well into the future." Barker: "The last thing you want is to restore a team and then find there aren’t the resources to sustain it long-term" (BALTIMORESUN.com, 7/6).
Under Armour shirts inspired by Nationals LF Bryce Harper's "clown question" saying “will go on sale Tuesday at UA.com and at select retailers in the DC market,” according to Dan Steinberg of the WASHINGTON POST. The shirt reads “Don’t Be A Clown Bro,” and will be priced at $24.99 with multiple colors available. Steinberg noted after "so many amateur shirt makers immediately rushed out with bootleg ‘That’s a clown question bro’ shirts, and Harper’s people trademarked that phrase, the Under Armour shirt switches up the wording a bit.” The back has Harper’s number and initials (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 7/5). Harper appeared on MLB Network Wednesday wearing the shirt, and MLB Network’s Dave Valle said to him, “I love the T-shirt. ... You got your stuff turned around pretty quickly. It didn’t take Under Armour very long to make that happen for you” (MLB Network, 7/4).
RAVES FOR RIZZO: Cubs 1B Anthony Rizzo said that he has already “fielded some endorsement requests” despite just playing nine games for the team since being called up from the minors. He said he "shoves them off on my agent." But he declined to say “what products he has been asked to sell.” Rizzo: "There are things in the works. But we're keeping it as simple as possible." In Chicago, Paul Sullivan notes the “selling of Rizzo is crucial to the Cubs marketing department, which fanned by hyping Kosuke Fukudome as the main attraction in the spring of 2008.” But Rizzo “appears to be the real deal,” and the attention he is receiving is “off the charts, and the attention may be difficult to deal with down the road” (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 7/6).