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SBD/July 3, 2014/Marketing and SponsorshipPrint All
U.S. G Tim Howard "was an American hero on Tuesday" during the Belgium-U.S. Round of 16 game, which sets him up to "capitalize mightily on his World Cup soccer performance," according to Aaron Smith of CNN MONEY. Marketing Evaluations Exec VP Henry Schafer, whose company creates the Q Score, said, "Given the desire for a squeaky clean, attractive, personable spokesperson, the endorsement potential is probably unlimited. ... The fact that he had 16 saves, it's given him top awareness, it's adding to his popularity right now." But he wondered if Howard will "take advantage of this newfound awareness in the U.S." Schafer: "He's got to strike while the iron is hot" (MONEY.CNN.com, 7/2). USA TODAY's Bruce Horovitz in a business section front-page piece reports after Tuesday's game, Howard's management team "now is moving fast to up his game with potential sponsors." Wasserman Media Group Exec VP/Global Soccer Richard Motzkin, who reps Howard, said that he has "received inquiries from many 'stable' American marketers." However, Horovitz notes Howard "faces the same challenge faced by many Olympic athletes whose moments to shine in the U.S. also come in four-year cycles." Univ. of Oregon Warsaw Sports Marketing Center Dir Paul Swangard said, "He's the water cooler talk of the week. Once the NFL football season begins, his upside window will be closed." USC Sports Business Institute Exec Dir David Carter said Howard's managers will "have to work hard to keep him in the conversation" (USA TODAY, 7/3).
NO TIME TO SPARE: IEG Senior VP/Content Strategy Jim Andrews said Howard is going to "attract a lot of interest from a lot of different companies." He estimated that any national TV campaign Howard signs "could be a seven-figure deal," while single appearances "could net him 'easily six figures.'" AD AGE's Max Willens notes for most U.S. athletes, this "would normally be the perfect time of year to make a huge splash." With only one of the four major U.S. sports "in session, the window for Mr. Howard to pile up as many endorsements as possible is wide open." But WMG agent Dan Segal, who also reps Howard, said that because Howard plays for EPL club Everton, his window "is actually much tighter than that since he starts training again in a matter of weeks" (ADAGE.com, 7/3).
MAMA, THERE GOES THAT KEEPER: In N.Y., Juliet Macur writes casual sports fans "most likely didn’t know Tim Howard from Ron Howard before Tuesday’s game." But as the "contest wore on, the entire World Wide Web was getting to know him, the newest great American." On an image of Mount Rushmore, someone "replaced Thomas Jefferson’s face with a photo of Howard." Someone else "inserted his picture on the Wikipedia page for the United States secretary of defense" (N.Y. TIMES, 7/3). TIME's Brad Tuttle wrote Howard "is the social media world’s favorite son." The memes "range from marriage proposals, to #ThingsTimHowardCouldSave." Howard "was mentioned in one of every five Tweets about the U.S.-Belgium match." What "makes Howard particularly appealing ... is that he comes across as simply a hard-working, humble dude who takes a lunch-pail 'That’s my job' approach onto the field." All of the attention "showered on him has come about organically," as there is "nothing contrived or fake about it." The memes "weren’t the result of some marketing campaign, but due to random people being extra excited by Howard’s record-breaking performance in goal." All of which means that Howard "is in possession of the rarest of qualities -- authenticity -- in a world oversaturated with advertisements, marketing" and personal branding (TIME.com, 7/2).
BRAND AWARENESS: Atlanta-based marketing firm CSE cited data from Topsy Analytics as showing that Howard was mentioned less than 10,000 times on Twitter before the Belgium-U.S. match. By the end of the match, Howard had been mentioned 50,000 times. Several brands took advantage of his performance in official tweets, including McDonald's, Jimmy Dean, Whataburger and Budweiser (CSE).
Upon the U.S. team's exit from the FIFA World Cup on Tuesday, the marketability of team members likely reached its crescendo -- at least for the near future. Accordingly, THE DAILY conducted a roundtable Q&A with four marketing experts regarding how things will play out from a sponsorship perspective over the coming weeks, months and years for U.S. soccer players, the U.S. Soccer Federation and MLS. The panel consists of Baker Street Advertising Senior VP & Exec Creative Dir Bob Dorfman; rEvolution President & CEO John Rowady; Fansource Strategy Founder & CEO Lisa Bregman, who is still on the ground in Brazil; and Temple Univ. School of Tourism & Hospitality Management assistant professor Thilo Kunkel.
Klinsmann's decision to leave Landon Donovan off
the team shows he can make unpopular moves
Dorfman: The clear U.S. star to emerge in Brazil was Tim Howard, whose phenomenal performance against Belgium made him a household name and face, and may have earned him as much as $1M a year in new marketing opportunities. Howard now qualifies to pitch any product that deals with saving, security, defense or protection -- from insurance to deodorant, financial services to bug repellent. And he’s got the bod for any men’s grooming product. He’s also squeaky clean -- a safe choice for advertisers nervous about the Tiger Woods Effect. Look for current sponsor Nike to feature Howard more in their marketing efforts. Howard’s only drawback is that he’s signed with the EPL’s Everton until 2018, so his visibility to casual soccer fans in the U.S. will be limited. And, at age 35, his playing future may be limited. Clint Dempsey is a close second to Howard in marketing muscle; while his performance in Brazil was less spectacular, he plays at home for the Sounders, already has a solid endorsement resume, and will be easier to follow until the next World Cup comes around.
Bregman: It should be noted that Tim Howard, who started his Twitter account on May 29, already has more than half a million followers on the platform. He also has a Facebook page with nearly 500K and an Instagram account with 212K. As far as specific categories, I've always firmly believed that the sponsor should align with personal characteristics and interests of the player as well as their brand. In Tim's case, his personal story about overcoming the challenges of Tourette Syndrome is one he’s always been very candid about and aligns with words like "legend", "hero" and "lion-hearted" that were used frequently in recaps from Tuesday's game. He’s someone young players and even adults can look up to as a person who overcame adversity to accomplish incredible things, a story most endorsing brands would want to be aligned with, regardless of category.
Rowady: DeAndre Yedlin for less obvious reasons. He was consistently a sparkplug as a sub. His selection to the team was unexpected, but he contributed at a high level on the biggest stage with his lightning fast quickness and energy. He returns to Seattle, America’s most fervent soccer market, as one of the nation’s brightest young stars. Having a blonde Mohawk doesn’t hurt his visibility too much, either. Omar Gonzalez also had a great tournament. He lost his roster spot over an injury and a few shaky performances, but absolutely solidified his selection while in Brazil. He’s MLS’ premier defender, and a Mexican-American playing in the perfect market for it -- Los Angeles. He’s going to be a prominent figure in the sport in America for the entire next cycle and one of our mature leaders going forward. His partnership with Chipotle currently is a great fit.
Kunkel: Jurgen Klinsmann. In regards of team performance, he has given the team a solid structure, especially in the midfield, and made good substitutions that positively impacted the games. In regards to team culture, he followed his approach of innovation and is a strong leader who is not afraid of unpopular decisions, such as leaving Landon Donovan at home, and selecting players with a perspective, such as Julian Green. Potential sponsors would want to associate themselves with: innovation, structural change, leadership, future/ long-term perspective. Also, Jermaine Jones: His nickname in German -- “Das Kampfschwein” (“the fighting pig”) -- gives a clear indication of his style of play, which is what the U.S. consumer wants -- he is tough, never gives up, and fights for the team. These are the characteristics potential sponsors would want to associate with. However, in the past he had trouble controlling his emotions and he can be a "loose cannon," a higher risk investment for potential sponsors.
Yedlin's selection was unexpected, but he
contributed at a high level for the USMNT
Dorfman: The three young U.S. team members who made strong impressions in Brazil, and offer the most marketing potential, are Julian Green, John Brooks and DeAndre Yedlin. But we may not see much of them until 2018. Green and Brooks play in Germany’s Bundesliga, and Seattle Sounder Yedlin is so good he may soon be snatched up by a European team. Again, the challenge with promising young American players is that the opportunities for them are far greater overseas. And don’t forget our marketable young female soccer stars. Alex Morgan and Sydney Leroux, ages 25 and 24 respectively, are talented, attractive and charismatic, and should star for the U.S. in the upcoming 2015 Women’s World Cup and 2016 Rio Olympics.
Rowady: In addition to DeAndre Yedlin, Mix Diskerud or Julian Green -- they’ve got distinctive looks and names, and the dual-national youngsters both are fan favorites in attacking roles. If either can latch on as a possible successor to the Dempsey-Altidore-Donovan generation, their upside will be huge. Someone we haven’t been introduced to yet may step in and be the next Landon Donovan or Dempsey. Four years is a long time.
Kunkel: Julian Green. Being based at Bayern Munich, a potential sponsor would not only associate with a USMNT player but also gain positive consumer associations through Green’s connection with Bayern Munich, which plays against the MLS All-Stars this summer. A potential sponsor therefore can leverage off Green’s brand relationship with the Bayern Munich brand. DeAndre Yedlin has gone the opposite route of Green’s development. He is the poster child of U.S. Soccer youth development and his case gives kids around the nation hope that the U.S. domestic youth development system has the capacity to develop World Cup players. His alignment with one of the biggest teams in the MLS, the Seattle Sounders, with a big fan base is attractive to potential sponsors, and eventually he may make a move to one of the bigger European teams. Both Green and Yedlin need to develop a more strategic approach to their personal branding and social media to increase their value to potential sponsors.
Bregman: It’s important to think about what makes a player marketable. Performance on the field is an obvious factor, but location can also be influential. That said, a player like DeAndre Yedlin, at least while playing for Seattle, may not have the global marketing appeal in the near future that someone like Julian Green could have playing in Germany for Bayern Munich. My hope is that by the next World Cup we see this changing though. We saw as many as seven MLS-based players started in a World Cup game for the U.S. this year and with the talent level in MLS continuing to grow, my assumption is that within a few years many non-MLS supporting U.S. Soccer fans will take notice of their local clubs as Americans playing oversees return home sooner or don’t go at all.
Roger Federer said that Wimbledon's "tighter enforcement of its all-white clothing policy for players is 'too strict,'" according to the AP. There have "been complaints this year from some players over the more stringent regulations that include undergarments, the amount of colored trim on shirts and shorts and headbands and wristbands." Federer said that he hopes Wimbledon "might be less rigid with the all-white clothing rules in the future." He said, "Maybe one day they'll loosen up the grip again a bit, but that's the time we go through right now." Federer during last year's tournament was told "not to wear running shoes with orange soles" (AP, 7/2). ESPN's Stan Verrett said as the world's "most prestigious tournament, Wimbledon is also a showcase for tennis clothing." Amateurs "want to wear what the pros wear, but manufacturers started getting too colorful. So the All-England Club cracked down" ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 7/2).
ABSENT BY DESIGN? In N.Y., Vanessa Friedman asks given the "amount of excitement fashion is professing about that great new maybe-huge market known as 'activewear,'" why is Stella McCartney currently the "only catwalk designer represented on Center Court?" If a brand "wanted to demonstrate its seriousness about the sporting sector, hooking up with a tennis player would seem an obvious step." Yet in the "many discussions of fashion before and during the current Wimbledon tournament," top design names are "notably absent -- from the court at least." They are "in the umpire seat and on the sidelines, thanks to the uniforms created by Ralph Lauren as the official outfitter." But the Ralph Lauren team said that designing apparel for tennis players during play "simply wasn’t a priority, as they had a strong court presence already" (N.Y. TIMES, 7/3). Meanwhile, USA TODAY's Chris Chase lists his 13 "biggest Wimbledon fashion hits and misses" (USATODAY.com, 7/2).
While Australian tennis player Nick Kyrgios is already signed with Yonex and Nike, his “image as a confident, Tweet-happy athlete blessed with extraordinary talent will have huge appeal for companies seeking to tap into lucrative youth markets” after his “electrifying run at Wimbledon,” according Ian Ransom of REUTERS. Ransom cites marketing experts as saying that Kyrgios' brand "has also shot into the stratosphere" following his win over Rafael Nadal on Tuesday. Sydney-based boutique agency Waterfront Managing Dir Sean Pickwell said the value of Kyrgios’ brand has “probably quadrupled.” Pickwell: "He's got all the right attributes. He's a good kid. He doesn't come across as arrogant. I think potentially he could command a lot more money." Jack Lamacraft, the Dir of ad agency M&C Saatchi’s Sydney office, said, "This might well open up some lucrative commercial opportunities for him in Asia as well.” Ransom notes Kyrgios' “commercial appeal also has an alluring geographical reach, as the son of a Greek-born father and mother of Malaysian heritage.” David Drysdale, who manages fellow Aussie tennis player Lleyton Hewitt, said that how Kyrgios and his management team “handle his career both on and off the court over the next year will be under a lot of scrutiny.” Drysdale: "If they go on a short-term cash grab, that's the probably the worst way they can go.” Kyrgios' manager John Morris, from England-based Global Tennis Connections, has been “vocal about his client's commercial appeal, claiming he can aspire to the same sponsorship heights” as Nadal and Roger Federer (REUTERS, 7/3).
Haas Automation has signed on to sponsor F1's Scuderia Ferrari team for the remainder of the '14 season and the entirety of the '15 season. Financial terms of the agreement were not available. Haas’ logo will be featured on the sidepods of the Ferrari cars beginning this weekend at the British Grand Prix in Silverstone. The deal is designed to give Haas Automation a chance to begin promoting its brand in F1 before it becomes a full-time, primary sponsor in '16. Haas Automation Founder Gene Haas is committed to become the only American owner of an F1 team in '16. He believes the move can help raise the profile of his machine tool building company overseas and boost its overseas revenue by as much as $900M. In a statement about the Scuderia Ferrari deal, Haas said, “Scuderia Ferrari is F1’s most prestigious and decorated team with a large, loyal and passionate fan base. Exposing Scuderia Ferrari fans and Ferrari customers to the quality of Haas Automation CNC machine tools is an important first step to expanding our global reach.” Haas has held talks with Ferrari about becoming the manufacturer for the Haas F1 team in '16 and said publicly that he is leaning in that direction, but they have not announced a deal. The team is slated to become the first American-based F1 team since '86.
The Republican Party of Florida on Wednesday filed a complaint with the Florida Elections Commission against Democratic gubernatorial contender Charlie Crist, accusing him of "violating campaign-finance laws" by sponsoring a car in Saturday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400, according to Skyler Swisher of the Daytona Beach NEWS-JOURNAL. Driver Josh Wise’s No. 98 car is "sponsored by Crist’s campaign, and the car will be covered with ads for the Republican-turned-Democrat." The complaint states that a one-race sponsorship of the car "costs about $55,000 to $60,000, well above the state’s $3,000 limit for a contribution to a statewide candidate." The car is owned by former California Lieutenant Gov. Mike Curb (Daytona Beach NEWS-JOURNAL, 7/3). 270 Strategies contractor Brendan Gilfillan, who reps Crist's campaign, said that the GOP "got its facts wrong," noting that the sponsorship was "an in-kind contribution to Crist's political committee, Charlie Crist for Florida, which is not subject to the $3,000 limit." Gilfillan: "We appreciate them drawing more attention to the car, though" (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 7/3).
There will be both Coca-Cola and Pepsi signage near the grounds at Daytona Int'l Speedway for this Saturday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400, but Coke "obviously doesn't want Pepsi signs around,” according to Bob Pockrass of SPORTING NEWS. However, there is something that Coke and DIS "can’t control," as the Pepsi signs are on "poles for street lights that line the speedway grounds on the busy thoroughfare on the north end of the track by the main grandstands." As of yesterday, the Pepsi banners -- which have shown up around this time for several years -- "hadn't shown up on the poles but it wouldn't be surprising to see them there." It is a “city street and the city owns the light poles.” Daytona Beach has a deal with Pepsi, “primarily for pouring rights to sell along the beach” (SPORTINGNEWS.com, 7/2).
A potential showdown "is brewing between the PGA Tour and the association that represents the majority of the circuit’s caddies," according to Rex Hoggard of GOLFCHANNEL.com. A letter dated June 17 from the Association of Professional Tour Caddies to the Tour has "requested clarification over a litany of issues." The letter claims the APTC has "'received conflicting information' from the Tour and that officials initially told the association that caddies, like players, were allowed to enter into sponsorship agreements." According to the letter, caddies were told that "any potential sponsor that would conflict with an existing marketing partnership the Tour has would also not be allowed; yet players aren’t subject to the same rules." Officers with the APTC also were "told that any sponsorship agreements involving the caddie bib would not be allowed and that the circuit already has an 'exclusive agreement' with Nature Valley for headwear." Meanwhile, the APTC, which was "formed last year and represents more than 125 Tour caddies, is seeking to create a health program and retirement plan for its members, as well as better working conditions at tournaments." Since the APTC’s initial meeting with Tour officials Jan. 20, the circuit has been "less than accommodating in its meetings according to the letter that was sent" to Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem and presented to the Player Advisory Council last week at the Quicken Loans National (GOLFCHANNEL.com, 7/2).
The Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association and Weather Guard have agreed to a two-year deal to make the brand the Official Truck Box of the PRCA and the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. Weather Guard will have signage at December’s NFR in Las Vegas and will sponsor bullfighters with branded jerseys. CBS Sports Network also will feature a “Weather Guard Save of the Night” during broadcasts in both the NFR and each Wrangler Champions Challenge. The deal was negotiated in-house. PRCA Dir of Properties Sara Muirheid said, “Most of our fans and all of our contestants are driving trucks down the road, and their product was in most of our vehicles anyway.”
The organizing committee for the ‘18 Pyeongchang Games on Wednesday signed its second sponsor, inking a deal with U.S.-based outdoor retailer The North Face. The deal comes one day after Pyeongchang signed its first domestic sponsor, South Korean telecom firm KT Corp. The signing of The North Face was attended by IOC President Thomas Bach in Pyeongchang (Pyeongchang 2018).
CATCHING AIR: Hospitality specialist Airbnb is the latest corporate partner for the N.Y. Marathon, agreeing to a three-year deal with the N.Y. Road Runners as a year-round Foundation partner. The deal makes Airbnb the "Official Community Hospitality Partner" of NYRR and the N.Y. Marathon. Activation plans for what is believed to be Airbnb's first sports sponsorship are to be determined. Civic Entertainment Group is handling the activation. The site matches travelers with short-term accommodations with those with rooms to rent. Other Airbnb sponsorships have included the S.F. Gay Pride Parade and the Sundance Film Festival (Terry Lefton, Editor-at-Large).
TITLE TOWN: In Nashville, Lauren Moore writes Vanderbilt’s first NCAA baseball title has led to a “frenzy of fans buying just about anything that has ‘national champions’ on it.” The school's bookstore has “sold close to 10,000 shirts” since the team won the title last Wednesday. VU bookstore Dir Beth Cain said that the retailer “ordered 400 locker room shirts -- like the players put on while they were celebrating on the field -- and split them between the store and the celebration on campus” last Thursday. Cain said the bookstore is on its “third reorder now” (Nashville TENNESSEAN, 7/3).
GREEN FLAG: In L.A., E. Scott Reckard reports the area's largest bank, City Bank National, is opening a branch just north of Daytona Beach, Fla., "to serve the auto-racing industry.” The bank yesterday said that it would initially “focus only on motor sports, other sports and entertainment, not broader business banking and wealth management as its full-service branches do.” City Bank National Senior VP & Relationship Manager David Pijot, who will staff the office, said that he will be looking to “bank" IndyCar and NHRA drivers, "as well as businesses supporting NASCAR” (L.A. TIMES, 7/3).