SBD/November 26, 2013/Marketing and Sponsorship

Adidas Grapples With Season-Ending Knee Injury To Derrick Rose

Rose's 13-year deal with adidas is reportedly worth $185M
adidas yesterday was "presented again with the quandary of what to do with an injured" Bulls G Derrick Rose after the team announced he "would not play for the remainder of this season following surgery to repair a torn medial meniscus in his right knee," according to Allan Brettman of the Portland OREGONIAN. Rose's April '12 knee ligament injury followed adidas "re-signing Rose to a 13-year extension of his endorsement deal for a reported" $185M. Rose and adidas "tried to make the best of situation" in the '12-13 season by "forging ahead with new shoe designs as well as introducing a Derrick Rose line of apparel." The company also "chronicled Rose's rehabilitation with a series of videos." adidas yesterday issued a statement "again re-affirming its support for the injured superstar." SportsOneSource analyst Matt Powell said that the brand at this point "has little other choice." Powell said, "He will likely remain the face of the brand. Still a great athlete." Baker Street Advertising Senior VP & Exec Creative Dir Bob Dorfman said that while adidas also has Rockets C Dwight Howard among its endorsers, he "no longer holds the fan adoration that he might have earlier in his career." Dorfman added adidas' other marquee players, including T'Wolves G Ricky Rubio and Wizards G John Wall, who joined adidas after Reebok retreated from the basketball market, "aren't big enough to pick up the slack." Brettman notes it is "possible Adidas has playing-time clauses written into its deal with Rose, which is typical of athlete contracts" (Portland OREGONIAN, 11/26). The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Jeremy Gordon wrote of Rose, "One would imagine that the shoe commercials advertising his return will be a little less bullish, given what they know about the process" (WSJ.com, 11/25).

SEEING RED: In Chicago, Danny Ecker wrote if Rose's "absence for the remainder of the season has a similar effect on the value of Bulls tickets as it did last season, it will be a tough road ahead." SeatGeek.com data showed that the average Bulls ticket price on the secondary market "dropped 21 percent year over year last season to $96" when Rose was recovering from his knee ligament injury. Bulls Chair Jerry Reinsdorf said that if the Bulls knew Rose had "no chance of returning last season, they would have said so and avoided the mess of media speculation about his potential return in time for the playoffs." The team yesterday "nipped that in the bud by shelving him for the year." While that "may eliminate distracting questions about whether he'll be back, it also means many season-ticket holders can wave goodbye to big resale margins" (CHICAGOBUSINESS.com, 11/25).
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