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SBD/April 30, 2014/Marketing and Sponsorship
Las Vegas Leaving: Mandalay Bay The Latest Company To End Its Clippers Sponsorship
Published April 30, 2014
SILVER URGES SPONSORS TO RETURN: In L.A., Hsu & Chang report Silver at yesterday's press conference "urged Clippers sponsors to return to backing the team." He said, "Those marketing partners of the Clippers and partners of the entire NBA should judge us on our response to this incident. I would hope that they would return to their business relationship with the Clippers." Hsu & Chang note more than 15 sponsors "suspended or cut ties with the team since Friday night." CarMax, a Clippers sponsor for nine years, reiterated that it "had ended its sponsorship of the team but added executives 'welcome the opportunity to discuss future sponsorship if this matter is fully resolved.'" The Southern California Ford Dealers said it will "revisit our direction with the L.A. Clippers" based on the NBA’s action against Sterling (L.A. TIMES, 4/30). AD AGE's Michael McCarthy reported the "promptness -- and severity -- of Mr. Silver's response seemed partly to put the league's marketing partners at ease." While team sponsors dropped out, leaguewide sponsors said that they "were waiting on the results of the investigation" (ADAGE.com, 4/29).
NEARLY SPONSORLESS STAPLES CENTER: The Clippers and Warriors played in a virtually sponsorless arena last night as former Clipper sponsor names were removed or covered up in the arena. Signs that read "Clippers Playoffs" and "Los Angeles Clippers" and the Clippers Twitter tag “@LAClippers” covered up walls of the arena where sponsor names used to be. Those brands were nowhere to be seen in Staples Center last night. The only sponsor name spotted was Spalding, which is the official ball of the NBA. The company's name was visible on the base of the basket stanchions at both ends of the court. The video board on the scoring table had the names of the networks TNT, ESPN and ABC, the networks which broadcast the NBA playoffs, but no other company names. An arena employee said the names of sponsors had been on the scoring table in the past. Staples Center and Clipper employees acknowledged sponsor names had been covered up (Liz Mullen, Staff Writer).
DROPPIN' DIMES: State Farm is among the companies that have suspended their relationship with the Clippers, but its sponsorship of Clippers G Chris Paul remains intact. ADWEEK's Tim Nudd wrote State Farm's ongoing "Born to Assist" series of ads starring Paul is the "most entertaining campaign airing now with an NBA endorser." The ads, via Translation, N.Y., are "based on a delightful idea" -- that Paul "was separated at birth from a twin brother he never knew." It is a "simple, almost perfect metaphor: that State Farm agents have assisting in their blood." And Paul, a "gifted actor, has quietly made it soar while playing himself and Cliff." The writing is "playful and faux mythic -- a tone that's only becoming more assured over time" (ADWEEK.com, 4/29).