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SBD/June 26, 2013/Marketing and SponsorshipPrint All
Wimbledon officials have "demanded" Roger Federer "changes his grass court tennis shoes," according to Mike Dickson of the London DAILY MAIL. Federer's orange-soled shoes "contravene strict rules about players being clad from head to toe in gear that has to be almost totally white." His '13 Wimbledon Nike clothing line "involves orange trim around his personalised tracksuit with the famous RF logo that the shoes are meant to match." Serena Williams, who "also has custom made shoes, is believed to also have been similarly told to change to something more conventional." Tournament regulations state that manufacturers "must submit all clothing designs for inspection 90 days before the start, but there is often not quite the same formal scrutiny of footwear" (London DAILY MAIL, 6/26). ESPN.com's Darren Rovell noted other than the soles, Federer's shoes are "virtually all white, save for a gray swoosh and a small gray 'RF' logo." The shoes are a "special version" of Nike's Zoom Vapor. The neon orange on the soles matches "the color of the swoosh on his shirt and his headband" (ESPN.com, 6/25). Meanwhile, ESPN’s Pam Shriver noted Serena Williams wore “the same color tennis pants, all orange,” as Federer’s shoes during her first-round match yesterday. Shriver: “Why is she allowed to wear her tennis pants that are all orange if Roger can’t have the soles of his shoes all orange?” ("Wimbledon," ESPN2, 6/26). A Wimbledon spokesperson said, "The rules state that players can wear any colour underwear they like provided it is no longer than their shorts or skirt. Anything else must be white" (REUTERS, 6/26).
FORTNIGHT CATWALK: In London, Bibby Sowray noted English fashion designer Stella McCartney is "kitting out three of Wimbledon's biggest talents" in Laura Robson, Caroline Wozniacki and Maria Kirilenko. All three will "wear her new 'Barricade' range for Adidas throughout the competition." McCartney said, "Tennis is really one of the sport disciplines that I design that can really house feminine styles with high performance. We achieve this in our use of colour and cut as well as using all the latest technology" (London TELEGRAPH, 6/25).
Prior to Heat F LeBron James winning his second NBA championship, his marketing reps "completely redefined the dynamic between a sponsor and celebrity endorser, at least in the realm of the iconic athlete," according to Michael Wilbon of ESPN.com. The perception in "some quarters is that he had a relatively low commercial profile on television during the playoffs." But in this day and age, the "bottom line means strengthening the brand, which may trump any other measurement in popular culture." A source involved in James' marketing strategy said, "It's the next level of involvement. It's not just your face on a product. It's an increasingly complex business relationship." Another source said, "It's not an 1980s-1990s construct. There is a mix. There are traditional relationships, like with McDonalds ... And there are less traditional or non-traditional relationships, like with Beats. The number of times an ad runs on television is no longer the end-all." Wilbon noted James' Beats by Dre commercial is "traditional in that it's a television ad, but is not traditional in a number of other ways." James "essentially came up with the idea and designed the company's first pair of 'sport' headphones." He also "picked the director for the shoot, selected the music and has a financial stake in the product." Meanwhile, Champs Sports has a "strictly digital relationship" with James, meaning "access to his Facebook page" and his website. Champs has "no television commercials, no print ads, by design." James also has a Dunkin' Donuts campaign that "appears only in China, Taiwan and the Philippines." A source said that James, who has deals in China with Sprite, Nike, Dunkin' Donuts and Beats by Dre, "sells as much product in China as he does in the U.S." James reportedly made $42M in endorsements last year, and his second title "will probably mean" a $5-7M increase in endorsements in '13 (ESPN.com, 6/25). James this summer will make a "trip to China for Nike" (MIAMI HERALD, 6/26).
WRITTEN IN INK: A Washington Post column yesterday questioned whether the Wizards should sign G John Wall to a max contract in part because of several large tattoos Wall has recently gotten. ESPN's Michael Wilbon said, "If we're going to talk about tattoos and related to max contracts, I got one thing to say: LeBron James. Not only in terms of marketing, in case Mr. Wall is worried about that, because LeBron James at $42 million is making more off the court than anybody. ... Tattoos have no relevance to performance or marketability" ("PTI," ESPN, 6/25). ESPN's Bomani Jones said, "Keeping John Wall's body free of tattoos was less about the team and more about marketing dollars on an echelon that he won't be able to get" ("Around The Horn," ESPN, 6/25).
Chicago sporting goods stores started stocking Blackhawks gear "right after" the team's Stanley Cup-clinching victory over the Bruins on Monday night, and many stores "reopened later that night so fans could taste victory for themselves," according to Peter Timotijevic of the Illinois DAILY HERALD. Customers were "willing to spend hours standing inside and outside of sporting goods stores waiting for delivery trucks to bring new supplies." Along with jerseys and other championship gear, many fans "wanted to get their hands on the official Stanley Cup hats that players wore" during their celebration. Chicago-area Dick's Sporting Goods Senior Community Marketing Manager Jeremiah Zimmer said, "The lines outside our doors was nothing I've ever seen before." He added that lines of fans "ringed the stores in at least four store locations." Crystal Lake, Ill., Sports Authority Manager Sandy Brown said that the store "stayed open late after the game and then opened" at 6:00am CT yesterday, four hours early. The chain's Lombard location was "waiting for reinforcements" by mid-day (Illinois DAILY HERALD, 6/26). Union Station vendor Jon Chandler said his merchandise stand "got the championship shirts at our stand at 6:45 (a.m.) and by 6:50 (a.m.) were out of all the larges." He added the stand "ran out of the rest" at 7:30am. Chicago-based Clark Street Sports Social Media Dir Sarah Yeazel said that the company "ordered thousands of items -- key chains, T-shirts, tank tops, jerseys, hats -- ahead of time with fingers crossed that they would be able to sell them." She added that she thinks the "merchandise craze will last until Friday, and maybe a little later than that." Yeazel: “The Hawks did well in 2010, but this year was a record-setting season. There’s definitely more of an energy this year" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 6/26).
Wasserman Media Golf wasted little time after signing eight-time major winner Tom Watson to represent his sales and marketing in striking its first deal. The agency has secured a sponsorship from Transamerica, and Watson beginning today at the Champions Tour Constellation Senior Players Championship will be wearing the company's mark on his right sleeve. He already has deals with Ralph Lauren Polo for apparel, Greenbrier on his left sleeve, MasterCard on the side of his hat and Adams Golf on the front of the hat, as well as a watch deal with Rolex. While Wasserman Golf will seek endorsement and marketing opportunities for Watson, Assured Management Company’s Steve Glassman will continue to serve as Watson’s agent. CAA Golf previously handled Watson’s marketing before he moved to Wasserman. Golf Division President Malcolm Turner, Exec VP Barry Hyde and Vice Chair Arn Tellem worked on the Watson deal for Wasserman. Wasserman’s Brad Buffoni is credited with bringing in Transamerica, whose lineup of golfers includes Zach Johnson, Kyle Stanley and Azahara Muñoz.
The Univ. of Nebraska and adidas yesterday "unveiled the alternative TECHFIT football uniform the Huskers will wear Sept. 14 when they play UCLA at Memorial Stadium for adidas’ annual 'Unrivaled Game,'" according to Steven Sipple of the Lincoln JOURNAL STAR. The uniform includes black jerseys with "white stencil font numbers and a unique pattern throughout." The helmet is "matte white with a wide black stripe, stencil numbers and a face mask that fades from red to matte black." NU's "famous straight red 'N' featured on its helmets for decades remains unchanged" (JOURNALSTAR.com, 6/25). In Omaha, Jon Nyatawa notes black jerseys are "part of Husker history, too, normally reserved for the first-team defense in practice." NU "hasn't worn solid black jerseys in a football game before, though other Husker sports teams have sported black-dominated looks." The new black jerseys are "sleek-looking." The white pants have the school's "red 'N' stamped on the front left hip," and feature "a black stripe down the side." The socks have "a candy-cane design in red and black." NU AD Shawn Eichorst said, "Black is a color that our student-athletes are always interested in wearing, but you've got to have a balance there. I think we were able to incorporate the black in a way that still played well with our history and tradition, particularly as it relates to making sure that our iconic block 'N' is in red" (OMAHA WORLD-HERALD, 6/26). ESPN.com's Paul Lukas wrote, "It's not an ugly uniform per se, but it doesn't feel right to see the 'Huskers wearing black, especially since they have the long-established tradition of calling the first-string defensive unit the Blackshirts." Lukas: "What's the point of being a Blackshirt if the whole team is wearing black shirts? Disappointing" (ESPN.com, 6/25).
adidas Canada and the Canadian Olympic team yesterday announced a four-year partnership making adidas the official high performance apparel and footwear supplier for the Canadian Olympic Team. Sport Chek, owned by Canadian Tire, has been named as the lead retail partner that will carry the entire adidas line. In addition, Sport Chek and adidas also announced their sponsorship of seven Canadian Olympic hopefuls (adidas). The GLOBE & MAIL’s Susan Krashinsky writes Canadian Tire is "challenging Hudson’s Bay Co.’s dominance as Canada’s Olympic apparel retailer." The deal marks the first time the Canadian Olympic Committee "has ever had two apparel partners,” as Hudson’s Bay supplies "opening and closing ceremony uniforms, podium outfits, and casual wear." Sport Chek as part of the agreement with adidas “will be responsible for marketing the new line (the two companies share an advertising agency, Montreal-based Sid Lee).” They "separately signed sponsorship deals with seven Canadian athletes, who will be the faces" of a new TV and promotional campaign called "What it Takes." The campaign "will launch in the fall." The deal represents “a new source of sponsorship revenue for the COC.” It also “reflects a broader evolution long under way in the sports marketing and sponsorship world: Where athletic organizations in the past would partner with a single car maker or fast-food chain, for example, increasingly these sponsorships are being divvied up to allow for more niche-focused deals” (GLOBE & MAIL, 6/26).
NORTHERN EXPOSURE: Canadian skeleton racer Jon Montgomery, who will be featured in the "What It Takes" campaign, said, “It’s still a tough row to hoe for Canadian athletes when it comes to getting sponsorship dollars in the private sector -- even for the seven of us standing up here. It’s not an easy landscape to work within as far as private sponsorship in Canada, so it’s so rewarding when a deal like this comes together.” Meanwhile, the GLOBE & MAIL’s Rachel Brady notes the COC "has been active recently in landing new deals.” It announced a “new partnership with BMW Group Canada earlier this year, which will go through the next two Olympic Games” (GLOBE & MAIL, 6/26).
In this week’s SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, Terry Lefton reports Blue Jays RF José Bautista is “the newest endorser for Coke” in Canada. Lightning C Steven Stamkos also “will also appear in the point-of-sale ads, and social media video was shot last week at the Rogers Centre in Toronto.” Bautista’s image on Coke Zero packaging, along with TV ads, is "also expected later this year” (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 6/24 issue). Meanwhile, Dickies announced that Blue Jays P R.A. Dickey will be part of a "Built To Work" Facebook contest. The activation is an extension of the clothing brand's recently launched ad campaign of the same name, and will run through the back-to-school and holiday seasons on digital and print channels (Dickies).
PAINT IT BLACK: Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment has signed a marketing partnership deal with BlackBerry making the company the official mobile computing partner of the Maple Leafs, Raptors and AHL Marlies. Financial terms of the multiyear deal were not disclosed. BlackBerry will work with MLSE to create new platforms to allow fans to connect with the teams. The company also will create a fan app for BlackBerry smartphones. In addition, BlackBerry will have signage throughout Air Canada Centre. This marks MLSE’s first deal with BlackBerry (John Lombardo, Staff Writer).
RING MY BELL: The Jackson CLARION-LEDGER wrote vendors in Omaha selling Mississippi State Univ. merchandise "caught on to Bulldogs culture" prior to the school's loss to UCLA in the College World Series yesterday. In addition to the "usual T-shirts depicting the two schools playing for a national title, the creators saved some of the best designs for last." One shirt read "Blood Sweat and Beard," while another featured the copy "I got a fever" and showed a "silhouette of Will Ferrell with a cowbell, from the 'Saturday Night Live' skit." A final shirt read “Love God, Sweet Tea and the SEC" (CLARIONLEDGER.com, 6/25).
DRAGGIN' THE LINE: Mello Yello this week released a special NHRA-branded can in select convenience stores across seven cities. The limited-edition cans are available in: Atlanta; Brainerd, Minn.; Chicago; Epping, N.H.; Indianapolis; Norwalk, Ohio; and Topeka. The 16-ounce cans, which feature the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series logo flanked by flaming mufflers, can be redeemed for an $8 discount on NHRA race tickets. Mello Yello, a Coca-Cola brand, became the title sponsor of the NHRA’s top drag racing series this year (Tripp Mickle, Staff Writer).