SBD/September 25, 2013/Marketing and SponsorshipPrint All
Jimmy John’s signed a 12-race primary sponsorship deal with Stewart-Haas Racing that will allow it to extend its five-year association with driver Kevin Harvick. The sandwich franchise joins Anheuser-Busch and Outback as a primary sponsor of Harvick’s No. 4 car, and leaves SHR with just four available races to sell for next season. Jimmy John’s has sponsored Harvick since '09 when it signed a 10-race deal with his now-shuttered Nationwide Series team, Kevin Harvick Inc. The company has expanded from 825 franchises to more than 1,600 stores since then (Tripp Mickle, Staff Writer). USA TODAY's Jeff Gluck writes because Harvick "wasn't allowed to campaign for his sponsors to leave" Richard Childress Racing and follow him to SHR, yesterday's news "was that much sweeter." Harvick: "It almost gives me a better feeling. It's very rewarding that we're able to move forward without having been able to be involved in those negotiations" (USA TODAY, 9/25). Harvick added, "Part of the intrigue of the Stewart-Haas situation was for me when I signed my contract, we had no sponsor, no team, no number, nothing, and from a contractual side, I couldn't really be involved in any of the sponsorship stuff that was going on so that I could focus on the racing at hand this year. It's been an interesting time for me because in the past we have been so involved in the things that are going on. But to see Budweiser and Jimmy John's and to have Outback come on board next year is pretty satisfying for me" (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 9/25).
TIME TO SHAKE AND BAKE: NASCAR driver Kurt Busch this morning announced his No. 78 Furniture Row Racing Sprint Cup entry will be sponsored by Wonder Bread for the Camping World RV Sales 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on Oct. 20. Busch made the announcement on Fox News’ “Fox & Friends" and said, “The Wonder Bread brand is now going to be back on the shelves, and we're doing an official re-launch with the NASCAR program. NASCAR, with all the sponsorship things going on, this shows that a company wants to be involved in our sport." Fox News’ Brian Kilmeade noted Wonder Bread was the main sponsor for Will Ferrell’s character Ricky Bobby in the ’06 movie "Talladega Nights" and said the movie is being brought to life with the deal ("Fox & Friends," Fox News, 9/25).
NAPA KNOW-HOW: ESPN.com's Terry Blount said of NAPA ending its sponsorship with Michael Waltrip Racing after this month's race manipulation scandal, "Frankly, it makes me wonder whether NAPA wasn't already thinking about it and it gave the company a convenient excuse to pull the plug and save face. Yes, MWR made an embarrassing mistake that reflected poorly on the company, but not enough to end a long partnership that has benefited NAPA with a highly successful ad campaign involving Waltrip and Truex on numerous TV commercials." ESPN's Ryan McGee said, "I don't blame NAPA at all. ... To try to call it out as disloyal for walking away from a final straw of embarrassment is laughable. ... If they want to pack it up and take it to a team where they think they can win without being shamed, they can do it." ESPN.com's David Newton said, "As funny as Waltrip is in those NAPA commercials, his organization embarrassed the sponsor with the 'jet fuel' scandal at Daytona in 2007. The Richmond scandal was worse." ESPN's Marty Smith said, "It's awful for the sport. It sets a terrible, terrible precedent" (ESPN.com, 9/24).
The NBA’s plan to have the Heat and Nets play at least one game this coming season with player nicknames on the back of their jerseys is a “straight money grab,” according to ESPN’s Dan Le Batard. He said, “All that's in play here … is that they want to sell more Heat jerseys. This is all about commerce, it’s not about nicknames. When you put the nicknames on the jerseys, what do you have? More jerseys to sell” ("Highly Questionable," ESPN2, 9/24). ESPN’s Keith Olbermann asked, "What do you do when you run out of alternate jerseys to sell? What do you do when you run out of new throwback jerseys to sell? What do you do when you run out of new retro jerseys to sell, new Sunday jerseys, new anniversary jerseys, new championship jerseys, new special jerseys? Well, naturally, you start selling jerseys that are different not on the front, but on the back." He asked ESPN.com’s Paul Lukas, "Was there some pressing call from players or fans for nicknames on the back of uniforms? This doesn't seem like it was organic to me." Lukas, who also maintains Uni-Watch.com, said most people “were blindsided" by the news. He said, "It seems like they just need one more way to sell a jersey." Lukas: "The culture of the NBA for a generation now really has increasingly pushed the individual over the team, and that's really what this is part of" (“Olbermann,” ESPN2, 9/24). The Boston Globe’s Bob Ryan said he "loves" the nickname jerseys because it "maintains the fiction that it's really not just a business, that they really love to play this game and they'd play for nothing." However, he ended his statement by giving a wink to the camera ("Around The Horn," ESPN, 9/24).
BLATANT PANDERING OR A FINE IDEA? NBA.com's Steve Aschburner called the nickname jerseys a "bad idea," as it is "blatant pandering for replica jersey sales." Aschburner: "Putting them on the backs of jerseys? That's best left for beer softball leagues and frat-boy reunions." NBA.com's Jeff Caplan said, "Sounds like a publicity gimmick for a league that doesn't need publicity gimmicks." NBA.com's Sekou Smith: "As a one-game gimmick, this is fine. ... But seeing guys with 'Pookie' or 'Shawty Red' (or other foolishness like that) on the backs of jerseys over the course of an entire NBA season is a premise that I simply refuse to embrace." NBA.com's John Schuhmann: "I like it as something that each team does once or twice per season. It's a way for fans to more closely identify with guys that are already the most visible athletes in the four major sports." NBA.com's Lang Whitaker: "As a kid who would have given all the money I had to get an Atlanta Hawks number 21 jersey that said HUMAN HIGHLIGHT FILM on the back, I totally get the appeal" (NBA.com, 9/25).
ABOUT THE INDIVIDUAL, NOT THE TEAM: In Ft. Lauderdale, Ira Winderman writes he is "surprised that a Pat Riley team would indulge in such a look-at-me promotion." Any turn toward "self-promotion seems out of place, not exactly part of the 'Heat culture.'" Let the "tankers have the nicknames and let the contenders instead put their focus on the ultimate prize" (SUN-SENTINEL.com, 9/25). ESPN's Michael Wilbon said the NBA "has just gotten away from the image of being self-indulgent and selfish and really the NBA now wants to go out there and put these nicknames" on the jerseys. Wilbon: "This is too AAU for me" ("PTI," ESPN, 9/24). But in West Palm Beach, Greg Stoda writes the nickname jerseys are a "no-harm, no-foul deal." Advertising logos on uniforms "are coming soon enough ... so enjoy the nicknames before the business of business intrudes." Nicknames would "beat those hideous long-sleeved jerseys by any tailor’s longest tape measure" (PALM BEACH POST, 9/25).
NOTHING NEW HERE: ESPN.com's Lukas noted several NBA and ABA players, including HOFers Pete Maravich and Elvin Hayes, "wore nicknames on their backs in the 1970s." MLB players "have worn nicknames, too," including Tony Conigliaro, Ken Harrelson, Bert Campaneris, Catfish Hunter and "most of" the '76 Braves (ESPN.com, 9/24).
NFL Dir of NFC Football Communications Randall Liu said Panthers QB Cam Newton's usage of Under Armour-branded clips on his facemask is a "violation of the NFL's uniform policy," as the clips "should be clear of all logos," according to Chris Smith of FORBES.com. Attached to each side of Newton's facemask are "what appear to be black pieces of metal or plastic" that feature UA's logo. Nike is the NFL's official apparel partner, and the league is "notoriously strict about uniform rules." A Panthers spokesperson wrote in an e-mail that the visor clips "should be in compliance with league rules because they are 'blacked out.'" UA upon Newton joining the NFL "rewarded him with an endorsement deal" reportedly worth more than $1M annually, the "largest ever for an NFL rookie." Newton has worn the same UA clips in all three games in '13. Smith wrote, "So far as I can tell, he’s has been wearing them since his very first NFL game" in '11 (FORBES.com, 9/24).
NO DISCIPLINARY ACTION YET: In Charlotte, Jonathan Jones notes, "There was no indication if Newton or other players would face fines, which are normally announced on Fridays." A source said that the Panthers' equipment staff uses the UA clips "because they're easier to manage." Photographs from the Giants-Panthers game Sunday "show no fewer than three other Panthers" -- RB DeAngelo Williams, DE Greg Hardy and DE Charles Johnson -- wearing the black UA clip (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 9/25).