SBD/May 7, 2013/Marketing and SponsorshipPrint All
Phoenix Racing Owner James Finch has been "unable to find a long-term sponsor for his Sprint Cup team," and he is thinking about an "exit from racing all together," according to Jason Shoot of the Panama City NEWS HERALD. Finch said that his team "will not enter any races after the Brickyard 400 scheduled for July 28." He added that he "intends to wrap up team operations before the Chase for the Cup begins in September." Finch said of his sponsorship search, "I have not been able to get the right amount of funding, the economy is pretty bad, and a lot of people don't want to do it." Shoot reports Finch's decision "comes in the midst of one of his most successful seasons as an owner." Finch currently is "tied for 13th in NASCAR's owner points standings." However, Phoenix Racing's "success, which includes a pair of Top-10 finishes and five Top-15 results, did not appear to help the team find a full-time sponsor." The team has "found sponsors for individual or small blocks of races, but the lack of a permanent sponsor has forced Finch to cover his team's considerable costs on his own." Finch: "I don't want to lose everything I've got trying to outrun people. I can't do that. It's time to do something else and go from there" (Panama City NEWS HERALD, 5/7).
Procter & Gamble's Charmin brand has “signed a deal with Charlotte Motor Speedway to sponsor” the Sprint All-Star Race and Sprint Cup Coca-Cola 600 at the track, and as part of the deal the toilet paper brand “plans to hang banners outside the speedway and signs along pit road that tout Charmin Ultra Strong,” according to Tripp Mickle of SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL. The billboard-sized banners “will feature the backside of white, men’s briefs with tire skid marks down them.” One of the banners “will face the speedway’s fan zone outside Turn 1; the other will hang on the suite facade" facing the road that runs outside the track. Charmin’s deal also includes 45 "TV-visible signs along pit road during both races.” Financial terms of the deal were not available. The idea of promoting Charmin at a NASCAR race “came from the brand’s creative agency, Publicis Kaplan Thaler.” The creative team for Charmin’s Ultra Strong line “wanted to raise awareness of the brand’s reputation as a plush but strong product capable of preventing skid marks for children in the early stages of potty training.” They thought NASCAR, which “has a history of having drivers create skid marks to celebrate victories, offered a natural tie and a large fan base that would allow it to amplify its marketing message.” Meanwhile, CMS also “sold a sponsorship to Sun Products’ Snuggle and All laundry detergents.” The brands will provide “a tented ‘laundry’ lounge in the campground during the Sprint All-Star and Coca-Cola 600 race weekends” (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 5/6 issue).
Chevrolet "hopes that soccer can do for it in China what baseball did for it in the U.S.,” according to a front-page piece by Nathan Bomey of the DETROIT FREE PRESS. A year after GM signed a $559M sponsorship “that will put the Chevrolet name on uniforms” of EPL club Manchester United beginning next year, the deal is “beginning to attract consumers in China.” Chevrolet China General Dir Richard Choi said, “One of the reasons we’ve grown so fast is we have these road shows. It’s essentially an auto show in a truck. We’ll go out to these rural markets and we open up. It becomes like the thing to do in that city that day.” The road show “sets up a kicking contest for kids, displays Manchester United gear and introduces Chevy to consumers who know nothing of GM’s recent travails that culminated in the 2009 bankruptcy.” Customers at the Dongchang Chevrolet dealership in Shanghai “come face to face with a huge Manchester United poster splashed across a wall.” Bomey notes China is GM’s “biggest market, but it was Chevy’s third-biggest market in 2012, behind the U.S. and Brazil.” Choi said that China “would pass Brazil this year.” If ManU “has an excellent year, there may be room for more growth” (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 5/7).
Knicks F Carmelo Anthony has “become the latest in a long line of fashionable New York athletes,” as he “favors custom-made suits, vintage jackets and high-end cargo pants, a look that has caught on among his peers in professional sports,” according to Mary Pilon of the N.Y. TIMES. Anthony on Sunday following the Knicks' loss to the Pacers in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference Semifinals series “wore a burgundy blazer over a black T-shirt, along with a black fedora to the postgame news conference.” When designer Khalilah Williams-Webb met Anthony he had “cornrows and favored baggy clothes.” Now she has “helped turn him into the kind of person who attends fashion shows and offers style tips in the British edition of GQ.” Williams-Webb said, “The goal was to make him look more like a gentleman, to make him be more relatable, in a sense.” Pilon reports Williams-Webb every few weeks she “meticulously selects outfits for Anthony, down to his socks, underwear, belt and shoes.” She then “places each outfit into a garment bag, with instructions for Anthony pinned to the bag.” Her client list includes Raptors F Rudy Gay, Celtics F Brandon Bass and 49ers S Donte Whitner, among others. The “unintentional effect” of the NBA instituting its dress code in ’05 is that it has “turned the sidelines into a runway.” Williams-Webb said, “Basketball players are into it, athletes in general are into it. They’re into clothes, they’re into suiting” (N.Y. TIMES, 5/7).
Ontario-based hockey supplier Grit Inc. has sued Reebok alleging subsidiary Sport Maska Inc. has "started marketing a new hockey bag that is similar to Grit’s well-known Hockey Tower,” according to Janet McFarland of the GLOBE & MAIL. Quebec-based Sport Maska “denies all the claims and says its Reebok 20K hockey bag does not infringe on Grit’s designs or patents.” The company has counter-sued Grit, alleging it has "'made false or misleading statements tending to discredit' Sport Maska to distributors and potential customers." Grit Owner & CEO Greg Collins said that the Reebok bag “isn’t in stores yet, but is in a new order catalogue being shown to retailers and suppliers.” The Hockey Tower bag “hit the market” in ’06, and Grit has “seen sales of its distinctive wedge-shaped bags climb to” C$5M annually. The bags “stand upright and have shelves and spaces for each piece of a player’s gear, including skates and pads, and also have a place on the outside to fasten hockey sticks.” The company also “sells bags for goalies, game officials, figure skaters and soccer players.” The lawsuit is the “second of its kind for Grit, which filed a claim in 2010 against Travelway Group International Inc. and Hockey Canada over an upright bag sold in Wal-Mart stores.” Collins said that the case was “settled out of court” (GLOBE & MAIL, 5/7).
In San Antonio, Jerry Briggs reported the Univ. of Texas-San Antonio and adidas “have entered into a three-year partnership in which the company will be the school's official athletic apparel, footwear, accessories and equipment products supplier" through the '15-16 season. A school spokesperson said the deal marks the first known department-wide contract of its kind at UTSA. Financial terms were not disclosed. adidas' deal for the school's "17 intercollegiate sports and spirit programs" will begin in July (MYSANANTONIO.com, 5/6).
WILD THING: The Univ. of Arizona football team yesterday “unveiled the Wildcats' new Nike uniforms" for the '13 season. The updated jerseys “feature ombre jersey numbers in the school's traditional Cardinal, Navy and White.” Nike has “produced jerseys and pants in all three of those colors to suit various uniform combinations, complemented by Cardinal, Navy, White and Copper helmets” (AZCENTRAL.com, 5/6).
I CAN SEE CLEARLY NOW: In Detroit, Brian Manzullo noted Lions draftee DE Ziggy Ansah “received a letter from IMAX … offering him to watch all 3D IMAX movies for free for the next year.” The offer comes after Ansah wore his “lensless 3D glasses” during the NFL Draft as he took the stage as the Lions’ first-round pick (FREEP.com, 5/3). The Lions also are “offering a free replica pair of Ansah's glasses with every purchase of his jersey from their online store” (ESPN.com, 5/6).
TAKING THE PLUNGE: USA Diving renewed its sponsorship with AT&T through ’16. AT&T has served as a sponsor of the NGB since ’07 and will continue its title sponsorship of the upcoming AT&T USA Diving Grand Prix in Ft. Lauderdale this weekend. The company also will serve as the official telecommunications sponsor and will have a presence at several USA Diving events through ’16 (USA Diving).