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SBD/April 4, 2013/Marketing and SponsorshipPrint All
Univ. of Louisville men’s basketball players “will wear special warm-ups" from adidas honoring injured teammate Kevin Ware prior to Saturday's Final Four game against Wichita State, according to Chris Chase of USA TODAY. UL coach Rick Pitino “announced the tribute" yesterday and pictures of the gear “had hit the Internet” by the afternoon. The UL-centric blog Card Chronicle reported the team will be wearing a warm-up with "All In For #5" written across the chest. The warm-up is “available for sale on Louisville's official team website,” and it retails “for $24.99 (plus $6.99 shipping)” (USATODAY.com, 4/3). In Louisville, Eric Crawford reported Ware apparel is “springing up around the city faster than spring flowers, and that has raised the eyebrows of some who wonder whether the university should be profiting from a player's injury.” But UL SID Kenny Klein said that the school “isn't raking in cash from the apparel sales.” He said that when Ware “went down, U of L players asked if they could wear a tribute shirt for him at the Final Four.” adidas in response created the "RI5E TO THE OCCASION" shirts, and in “expectation of fan demand also produced them for retail sale.” UL Associate AD/External Relations Brent Seebohm said the school "proactively decided to waive any traditional licensing royalties revenue connected to the No. 5 graphic to be worn by the team on the court.” Still, Crawford wrote, “As with anything, somebody's making money” (WDRB.com, 4/3).
FOLLOW THE MONEY: NBCSPORTS.com’s Daniel Martin wrote, “Regardless of whether Louisville says it is profiting or not, it highlights the reality of big-time college athletics. It’s about money.” adidas is using Bulls G Derrick Rose’s comeback story as a "way to sell shoes and apparel, too.” The "only difference" is Rose inked a $260M deal with the company. Ware has “no such contract and won’t see a dime of the revenue” (NBCSPORTS.com, 4/3). CBSSPORTS.com’s Matt Norlander wrote it is “an endearing idea for a shirt, and it'd be fine -- if only Ware saw some of the cut.” Fans will “buy these because it's a way to support the team and a way to connect beyond simple fandom at the Final Four.” It is “smart marketing,” as plenty will “purchase the shirts without realizing the background/unfairness behind the concept: Adidas is making money off the image and emotional connection to the most powerful story in sports/at the Final Four.” Even with “some of the portion going to good causes, Adidas will still at some level make money off this injury.” Norlander: “Blame Adidas, blame the NCAA. Don't blame Louisville, now that we know the school's position. But regardless, this doesn't seem the right move on the whole” (CBSSPORTS.com, 4/3). USA TODAY’s Dan Wolken on Twitter wrote, “The sick part is, if fans sent Kevin Ware $25 checks instead of shipping it to Louisville and Adidas it would be a violation.”
SHOP TIL YOU DROP: In Ann Arbor, Ben Freed noted Michigan’s journey to the Final Four has been a “source of increased income" for a number of local businesses. Underground Printing co-Founder Ryan Gregg said, “Our sales in the last 48 hours have probably been 1,000 times higher than they would have been otherwise, it’s that much more significant than a non-event weekend.” Gregg said UM’s wins over Kansas and Florida triggered what his team calls a “hot market.” He said, “The theory is that the best market for something this significant exists for 24 hours, so you want to print a lot to make sure you’re stocked up for Sunday and Monday.” The M Den President Scott Hirth said, “The regional championship T-shirts and the hats they were wearing on the court when they cut down the net, those are the most popular by far.” He added, “Anything to do with Trey (Burke) has been a great seller.” UM also will “benefit handsomely from the deep tournament run.” UM Trademark Licensing Dir Kristen Ablauf said that the department “closed its quarter on March 31, so it is still too soon to measure the royalties from increased apparel sales” (ANNARBOR.com, 4/3).
Golfer Bubba Watson appeared on CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street” yesterday morning and said the “only sponsor I don't have that would be fun for me would be a car sponsor.” Watson: “I stare at eBay all the time looking at cars. ... I love cars, so why would I not want to be with a car sponsor? American brand, obviously, because I'm American.” CNBC’s Brian Shactman noted the only thing “everyone in our office wants to talk about” is the hovercraft golf cart Watson received from sponsor Oakley. Watson said the hovercraft is “very real” and added, “I want to be associated with fun companies, exciting companies, and so I teamed with Oakley to wear their clothes and for me it was what can we do to grow the game (and) change the game." Watson talked about some of his other sponsors and said he has “been with Ping since I was eight years old.” The show aired a clip of the “Golf Boys” video. Watson said of doing the video, “The game of golf when you look at it as a whole, it's outdated, it's boring, it’s slow. For our brand, for the game of golf … we want to show excitement” (“Squawk on the Street,” CNBC, 4/3).
Samsung has “opted not to renew its deal” with the Int'l Association of Athletics Federation’s Diamond League “for the forthcoming season, leaving the world governing body with precious little time to find a replacement before action gets underway,” according to Simon Hart of the London TELEGRAPH. Samsung has sponsored the track & field series "for three years since its inception in 2010.” The title sponsorship deal is “believed to have been worth” around US$4.5M a year to the IAAF, which has been “forced to make financial cutbacks in recent years to weather the global economic crisis.” Still, the IAAF yesterday insisted that the series “would not be affected by Samsung’s departure and that it would make up any shortfall in the budget from its own reserves until another commercial partner was found.” Samsung’s decision is “a blow to the sport so soon after it enjoyed spectacular exposure at the London Olympics.” One of the problems Samsung has faced is that “many of the meetings have their own individual title sponsors who enjoy greater projection locally than the series sponsor” (London TELEGRAPH, 4/4). Samsung reportedly is also close to a deal with the NFL that would be worth over $60M per year (THE DAILY).
In Boston, Ira Kantor notes Red Sox CF Jackie Bradley Jr.'s meal at a N.Y. Applebees on Monday "could score his teammates a catered clubhouse meal" at Fenway Park. Applebees "tweeted the offer yesterday." Applebees Int'l Communications Manager Dan Smith said, "We've opened the door with this clubhouse meal and we'll see where that takes us." Smith said that the offer "is good through next week." However, he added that the chain will "make it work" whenever Bradley responds (BOSTON HERALD, 4/4).
THE GIVING TREE: ADWEEK's Anthony Crupi noted Duncan/Channon, S.F., created a new 30-second "Ticket Oak" spot for StubHub which debuted Monday and will "appear all over the TV dial, and across all dayparts." Buys have been made across an "array of broadcast and cable networks." Viewers should look for the spot to "appear during" ESPN's "Sunday Night Baseball," TBS’s Sunday afternoon MLB game and in TNT’s first-round coverage of the NBA playoffs. StubHub also has "bought time" during NBC's coverage of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The spot will air "through the Eastern and Western Conference Finals (mid-May)" (ADWEEK.com, 4/1).
TURKISH DELIGHT: Turkish Airlines will sponsor ESPN's new global documentary series called "Basketball Capitals presented by Turkish Airlines." The new partnership takes viewers through four top destinations that Turkish Airlines serves: Madrid, Berlin, Istanbul and Athens (ESPN).