SBD/September 10, 2013/Marketing and Sponsorship

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  • MLSE's Leiweke Gets First Corporate Deal With 10-Year Canadian Tire Sponsorship

    Leiweke thinks the deal can turn teams such as the Raptors into global brands

    MLSE and Canadian Tire yesterday announced a 10-year retail and sponsorship agreement that is "the first major corporate transaction MLSE has completed" since President & CEO Tim Leiweke took over in late June, according to Morgan Campbell of the TORONTO STAR. The deal "will have local impact," as Canadian Tire next year "will take over the Real Sports apparel store at Maple Leaf Square" and make it the flagship location for its Sport Chek brand of stores. The deal also "will have national scope, with Canadian Tire and Sport Chek hoping to capitalize on the Raptors’ growing popularity in Canadian markets." Leiweke said that the agreement "heralds a shift in the company’s goals." MLSE is "pursuing multiplatform partnerships, which Leiweke thinks can turn its sports teams into global brands." Leiweke said, "We have to take on a bigger mantle, and I want the Leafs to be seen like the Cowboys and the Yankees." The new arrangement will include "boutiques within selected Canadian Tire stores selling apparel from MLSE teams," as well as "exclusive video content produced by MLSE and published on Sport Chek websites and in interactive displays at Sport Chek stores" (TORONTO STAR, 9/10). Leiweke: "I'm very loyal now to Canadian Tire. This has a lot to do with the fact that it's a Canadian company." The GLOBE & MAIL's Marina Strauss notes Canadian Tire "replaces troubled home improvement specialist Rona." Leiweke said that after Rona "bowed out of the sponsorship in its bid to save costs, 'several' other retailers vied to take its place." The new partnership "will involve Canadian Tire’s namesake brand as well as Mark’s, Partsource, National Sports, Pro Hockey Life and Atmosphere, all retailers it owns." Canadian Tire "will run MLSE apparel shops in some of its flagship stores, and Mark’s will become the official uniform provider for MLSE staff at Air Canada Centre" (GLOBE & MAIL, 9/10).

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  • Gatorade's "G Force" Campaign Looks To Reach Colleges, High Schools Directly

    Gatorade is bringing back "G Force," a "hybrid field-marketing and sales team that's rolled out to 13 markets throughout the Midwest and South" during football season, according to Natalie Zmuda of AD AGE. The aim of the campaign is to "put Gatorade products within arm's reach of athletes in colleges, gyms, athletic facilities and high schools." Courting these "niche markets may seem picayune," but a brand "so dominant in its category must find new outlets if it is to continue to grow." The campaign was launched in spring '12 and "supplements Gatorade's traditional means of distribution to big-box, convenience and grocery stores." It is a "key differentiator for Gatorade -- and key to promoting its 3-year-old G Series." Gatorade Marketing Dir Alfie Brody "wouldn't disclose specifics, but said the pricing varies based on the venue." Gatorade VP/Brand Marketing Andrea Fairchild would not provide specifics, but said that the G Series approach has "boosted sales and market shares" (AD AGE, 9/9 issue). 

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  • Dwyane Wade Partnering With The Tie Bar To Design His Own Line Of Neckwear

    Wade's new line will include 30 bow ties,15 neckties and 15 pocket squares

    Heat G Dwyane Wade has teamed up with Chicago-based men's neckwear company The Tie Bar "to design his own line of bow ties, neckties and pocket squares," according to Danny Ecker of CRAIN'S CHICAGO BUSINESS. "The Gentleman by Dwyane Wade" collection, which will be a collaboration of Wade's "personal design team and the Tie Bar designers, will include about 30 bow ties, 15 neckties, 15 pocket squares, tie bars and cufflinks." The new line will be available "online only at starting in November, with revenue split between" Wade and the company. Wade said that he will "be very involved on the design side of the line, just as he has been with shoes and other apparel to which he's lent his name." Wade: "I've been a (Tie Bar) customer in the past. I'm in that space right now where I'm designing my own shoes, I'm designing socks. I thought, how cool would it be to design my own ties?" The partnership is "by far the highest-profile marketing deal the Tie Bar has made since its 2004 launch." Sales at the company "have increased by double- or triple-digit percentages every year to close to eight figures in annual revenue" (, 9/9).

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  • NFL Marketing Notes: Delta-Seahawks Partnership Gives Airline 12 Team Deals

    Delta took Seahawks charter business last year, leading to the new deal

    Delta has signed on as the new official airline of the Seahawks and MLS Sounders. The multiyear deal gives Delta entitlement to the 7,500-seat club level at CenturyLink Field, which will now be known as the Delta Sky360 Club, along with videoboard and other gameday enhancements. Delta now has marketing deals with 12 NFL teams. Seahawks and Sounders President Peter McLoughlin noted Delta picked up the team's charter business last season, which spawned this larger deal. McLoughlin: “We were under indexed versus average NFL club deals in the airline category and now we have one of the largest." He added that with the new deal, Seahawks' sponsorship revenues will have increased more than 15% over last year. McLoughlin said, "We’re not the biggest NFL market, but our objective is to be among the top (sponsorship revenue) teams in the league and deals like this are a big step in that direction." Alaska Airlines has a year left on its smaller marketing deal with the Seahawks, and since it is a marketing partner of Delta, those rights may continue even longer than that (Terry Lefton, Editor-At-Large).

    : The Bears on Friday announced Ford, Microsoft, State Farm, Cancer Center Treatments of America, Red Robin, Sherwin-Williams, Tempur-Pedic, Bridgestone and Hillshire Brands as new partners for this season. They also renewed 95% of their corporate relationships from '12 and expanded their deal with MillerCoors as a HOF partner. Ford now is the "Official Car and Truck" of the Bears. Grocery chain Jewel-Osco also renewed its partnership with the team and now is the "Official Grocery Store" of the Bears (Bears).

    JUST CHARMING:'s Heather Zeller noted jeweler Alex & Ani has "designed a licensed line of expandable wire bangle, embellished with" NFL team charms. The initial collection includes the Ravens, Bills, Bears, Cowboys, Broncos, Packers, Texans, Dolphins, Patriots, Giants, Jets, Eagles, Steelers, Redskins and 49ers. Additional team bangles "will launch later in the season" (, 9/9).

    WHO DAT: The New Orleans Advocate for Falcons-Saints created a 24-page special edition to celebrate former Saints player Steve Gleason, "who was honored at Sunday's game for his courageous fight" against ALS. The papers were draped over fans' seats in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The edition was "made possible by a marketing deal" between the Saints and the newspaper. More than 200 volunteers "showed up Saturday night to distribute the sections" (, 9/9).

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  • Marketplace Roundup

    AD AGE's Michael McCarthy reported American Express has renewed its deal to sponsor the NBA as the league's official credit card "for the foreseeable future." The company would not comment on the size of the deal. AmEx Dir of Sports Marketing Michele Carr said that the company "will take a slightly different approach" than previously, "focusing more on digital marketing." AmEx will "integrate its league-wide advertising and marketing initiatives with its individual sponsorships of NBA teams." The company has deals with the Heat, Lakers, Celtics, Nets, Bulls and Wizards (, 9/9).

    BALANCING ACT: In Boston, Donna Goodison noted New Balance is "looking to expand its presence by taking a swing at younger players and professional leagues in Japan and South Korea." The brand "now has 450 MLB players wearing its cleats, with 260 under formal contracts." New Balance's "global attack will focus on Japanese and Korean MLB players" -- it signed Dodgers P Hyun-Jin Ryu this spring. New Balance GM of Sports Marketing Mark Cavanaugh said that the brand "opted to break into professional baseball because of its low cost of entry compared to other pro sports" (BOSTON HERALD, 9/8).

    LAST RACE BEFORE THE CHASE: In Richmond, Billy Fellin noted Federated Auto Parts and Richmond Int'l Raceway on Saturday agreed to the "extension of a contract" that will see the company continue to title sponsor the September NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at RIR. The Virginia-based company started sponsoring the race last season. The deal "extended the sponsorship and the title of Official Auto Parts Supplier for RIR for an undisclosed number of years" (RICHMOND TIMES-DISPATCH, 9/8).

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