SBD/September 6, 2013/Marketing and Sponsorship

Restaurant Group Ends Braun Partnership; Slugger Calls Season-Ticket Holders

It was Braun's idea to call season-ticket holders and apologize for his PED use
SURG Restaurant Group, which manages restaurants in Wisconsin affiliated with suspended Brewers LF Ryan Braun, announced on Thursday it will "sever its relationship with him," according to Darren Rovell of ESPN.com. The group had a "licensing deal with Braun for an Italian restaurant called Ryan Braun's Graffito Restaurant." SURG said that it will "keep the restaurant open until the end of the year 'to honor its pre-existing obligations to its customers and employees.'" SURG also said that it will "change the name" of its 8-Twelve MVP Bar & Grill -- the numbers of Braun and Packers QB Aaron Rodgers, respectively -- at its current location, "as well as at another restaurant that will open this fall." The company's deal with Rodgers "will remain unchanged." The restaurant deal "seemingly is the last shoe to drop for Braun, who also lost a deal with convenience store Kwik Trip and a shoe deal with Nike." Meanwhile, the Brewers on Thursday said that Braun has "started to call some season-ticket holders to apologize." Brewers COO Rick Schlesinger said, "This was all Ryan's thing. He said, 'I'd like to call fans, but with an emphasis on ticket buyers, miniplan holders, reach out, apologize, listen.' We said, 'Great!' It was all his initiative. He didn't want publicity about it" (ESPN.com, 9/5). Brewers season-ticket holder Pat Guenther noted, "[Braun] said, 'I messed up, in a nutshell, I messed up. I just want to reach out and say I'm sorry.'" In Milwaukee, Patterson & Doyle reported the Brewers provided Braun "with contact information for some season-ticket holders at his request." Guenther said, "He was very humble on the phone. He wanted to reach out and for him to do this is an act of kindness. He wants the people of Wisconsin to support the Brewers and him" (CBS58.com, 9/5).
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