SBD/October 25, 2012/Marketing and Sponsorship

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  • Tigers See Uptick In Merchandise Sales; MLB Looks To Crack Down On Counterfeiters

    Tigers merch sales saw an 85% increase in share compared to the same week in '11

    The Tigers have seen a “significant surge in merchandise sales in the past week and are outselling" the Giants, according to a SportsOneSource industry report cited by Richard Burr of the DETROIT NEWS. SportsOneSource found that the Tigers are No. 2 in MLB merchandise market share at 11% "during the week ended Wednesday.” The Yankees “finished No. 1" with nearly 33%, and the Giants were No. 3 at 7.2%. The Tigers' share of sales reflects an 85% "surge compared with the same week a year ago,” when the Tigers already had been eliminated by the Rangers in the ALCS. By contrast, the Giants experienced a 227% "explosion in market share, as the team did not reach the '11 postseason. However, the Tigers “haven't been as dominant in sales compared with other teams during the past month of the playoffs as they were last year.” SportsOneSource found that the Tigers in the past month “are No. 3 in market share" at 6.2%. The Nationals were No. 2 at 7.9%, and the Yankees' 35.4% topped the list. Meanwhile, Burr notes the Detroit Build-A-Bear Workshop is “selling a Detroit Tigers Bear” (DETROIT NEWS, 10/25).

    KEEPING IT REAL: MLB Properties Senior VP & General Counsel Ethan Orlinsky said that staff on the streets around Comerica Park and in local retail shops will be "on the lookout for counterfeit merchandise.” Orlinsky said, "We will be in the marketplace undercover working with local authorities. We ramp up our efforts (during the playoffs). Counterfeiters are trying to prey on the hot market." A St. Louis Post-Dispatch report prior to last year's World Series showed MLB has “seized more than 6 million nonlicensed products in the past decade as part of 5,000 raids or other enforcement actions.” Orlinsky said that T-shirts, caps and jerseys are the “most common counterfeit items produced and sold.” The gear, often “of inferior quality, is usually cheaply produced overseas.” Orlinsky estimated that Detroit will “see a few hundred items seized” (, 10/22).

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  • McIlroy's Expiring Clothing Contract With Oakley Opens Door For Nike Deal

    McIlroy was preferred more than 2-to-1 over Woods in poll regarding a potential deal

    Golfer Rory McIlroy allowing his clothing endorsement deal with Oakley to expire at the end of the year "would make sense if he was going to sign a Nike deal," according to Alex Miceli of Golfweek. There were “negotiations with Oakley in Atlanta at the Tour Championship," but the sides "didn’t get a deal done.” Additionally, if McIlroy intends to sign a deal with Nike, he will have to get out of the deal "he currently has with Jumeirah, which ends at the end of 2013.” Miceli: “Now, basically, Rory doesn’t have a clothing deal. ... This is a situation where he makes a significant change in equipment. The clothing doesn’t matter but he’s going to have a change in equipment, he’s going to have to start playing Nike equipment." Meanwhile, yesterday’s edition of Golf Channel’s “Morning Drive” posted its “Poll of the Day” which asked viewers to decide which golfer they would sign to a 10-year deal right now: Tiger Woods or Rory McIlroy. The voting was 69% to McIlroy and 31% for Woods. Golf Channel’s Damon Hack said, “No surprise, I want the guy with upside. I don’t know where Tiger’s body is going to be in five years. Rory’s all upside. I want that guy on the rise.” Golf Channel's Whit Watson added, “It’s 36 years old versus 23 years old. ... You don’t sign a guy on the downside of his career, you hire a guy on the upside of his career” (“Morning Drive,” Golf Channel, 10/24).

    In London, Peter Dixon writes neither McIlroy nor agent Conor Ridge is “giving credence to the speculation that the world No. 1 is ready to leave Titleist and Footjoy, who supply his clubs, balls and shoes, when the present contracts run out at the end of the year.” But “neither of them is denying it, either.” Dixon: “To all intents and purposes, it seems to be a done deal.” What McIlroy “does not have -- yet, perhaps -- is the other-worldly aura" of Woods or Michael Jordan. McIlroy, for “all his brilliance, will never have that.” Dixon: “Physically, and in looks, he is almost the boy next door. But perhaps that, in light of the fall from grace of [Lance] Armstrong and Woods, is exactly what Nike needs. All he has to do is keep on winning -- and winning big” (LONDON TIMES, 10/25).

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  • Caterpillar Satisfied With ROI From NASCAR Team Sponsorship Despite Burton's Struggles

    Burton's No. 31 Caterpillar Chevy has not been to victory lane in more than four years

    Caterpillar NASCAR Program Dir Greg Towles said that driver Jeff Burton's “lack of success hasn't impacted the value of Caterpillar's sponsorship,” according to Nate Ryan of USA TODAY. Caterpillar is in its fourth season with Richard Childress Racing, and is Burton's "primary sponsor for 24 of the 36" Sprint Cup races this year. Caterpillar seven years ago “began tracking the return on its NASCAR investment -- based mostly off sales related to racing.” Towles said that the figure is “more than 15%.” He added it is “a sufficient ROI that management is very comfortable with.” Burton said, "Like every team, we want to perform for sponsors. But when you are having down times, it's very nice to have sponsors that understand ebbs and flows and aren't constantly tightening the vise.” Ryan notes it has “been more than four years, though, since Burton visited victory lane,” and this season marks the second in a row in which he failed to qualify for the Chase for the Sprint Cup. However, much of Caterpillar’s NASCAR-related business “stems from race-day hospitality suites that can draw as many as 400 guests.” Towles: “Our goal with the race-day hospitality is to create an experience, no matter what happens on track, that the dealers and customers can say they had a great day with Caterpillar. If your whole reason for being in NASCAR is to win races and make the Chase, it's a tough economic model to make it work” (USA TODAY, 10/25).

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  • Openly Gay Boxer Orlando Cruz Fielding Endorsement Calls Since Coming Out

    Cruz says he is "very, very happy" since his coming out earlier this month

    Orlando Cruz earlier this month became what is believed to be the first active boxer to announce that he is gay, and sponsors have since "come calling," according to HBO’s Jon Frankel. Cruz said before his announcement he did not “have any sponsors” but now he is fielding calls from interested companies. Cruz did not mention any of the potential sponsors he has heard from, but he said, “I am very, very happy. I am free.” co-Founder Cyd Zeigler said, “We talked to fans, people in the media, professional athletes, Fortune 500 companies -- across the board they say they will support an openly gay player.” Frankel noted leagues are “starting to spread messages of tolerance,” and star athletes are “speaking out for gay rights.” Following the report, HBO’s Bryant Gumbel asked Frankel, “Just as Orlando Cruz realized sponsorships after he came out, might the first (openly gay team sport athlete) get a windfall?” Frankel: “I think that is the feeling. The folks that we spoke to have directly spoken to the folks at Nike -- prominent company -- and other companies and they say they are really prepared to embrace an athlete. Of course, it’s got to be the right person, and what that means I don’t know. But everybody thinks this could be a real marketing bonanza” (“Real Sports,” HBO, 10/23).

    Print | Tags: Marketing and Sponsorship, Boxing
  • Marketplace Roundup

    In Boston, Donna Goodison reports Reebok-CCM Hockey and Cambridge, Mass.-based conformal electronics company MC10 have “developed a wearable device that identifies impacts to athletes’ heads during play to detect possible traumatic brain injuries such as concussions.” The “sports impact indicator device,” which is “housed inside a thin, breathable mesh skullcap that can be worn under helmets used for any sport, will be available commercially to consumers early next year.” Reebok said the device provides a visual measurement of the force of impact to “direct athletes on a pathway to assessment to determine if medical treatment or rest is needed before resuming play” (BOSTON HERALD, 10/25).

    RAIL SERVICE: WORLD TENNIS MAGAZINE's Justin Cohen noted Switzerland-based insurance company Nationale Suisse announced an extension of its sponsorship with tennis player Roger Federer, which began in ‘07 and is “more than just an ordinary advertising contract.” Federer in addition to appearing in TV, print and digital advertising campaigns, also has “lent his name to the Nationale Suisse locomotive, which has been transporting passengers around Switzerland for a year now.” Nationale Suisse for every kilometer traveled “makes a contribution to the Roger Federer Foundation which focuses most of its efforts on educational projects for children in Africa.” Financial terms of the extension were not disclosed (, 10/24).
    COURT REPORT: In Portland, Allan Brettman reported adidas “appears to have won the latest round in the legal tangle over Nike's contention that Adidas infringed on Nike's development of a super-lightweight running shoe.” The Nuremberg, Germany District Court yesterday said, "The granted injunction cannot be sustained. It is to be expected that on November 7, 2012, the Court will set aside its initial decision and decide in favour of adidas." Nike had “sought and obtained an injunction Aug. 28, alleging the adizero Primeknit was a copy of the Nike Flyknit” (, 10/24).

    Print | Tags: Marketing and Sponsorship
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