SBD/July 23, 2014/Marketing and Sponsorship

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  • Struggling Golf Merch Sales Lead Dick's Sporting Goods To Fire All In-Store PGA Pros

    Dick's Sporting Goods, the largest U.S. retailer of TaylorMade and Callaway products, yesterday "fired all the PGA professionals that it employed in the golf sections of its more than 560 stores," according to Darren Rovell of More than 500 full-time pros "were let go." PGA of America President Ted Bishop in a letter to the impacted employees wrote, "I'm sincerely disappointed that the careers of so many PGA professionals have been hurt today." Rovell noted Dick's "aimed to have one PGA professional at every store to better differentiate the experience from online retailers that try to undercut brick-and-mortar stores." But the economy, the "downturn in participation ... and too many products flooding the market cut into Dick's bottom line so much that the company seems to be giving up on winning the golf equipment business." As TaylorMade's "largest retailer, Dick's was hit hard after it bought all four" driver models TaylorMade released last year, and the "glut of merchandise forced Dick's to sell at under the suggested retail price" (, 7/22). In Pittsburgh, Tim Schooley noted Dick's CEO Ed Stack in a Q1 earnings call in May "warned the company was considering cutting back on golf merchandise." Struggling sales of golf merch also were "evident within Dick’s Golf Galaxy specialty chain." The company "reported same-store sales fell by more than" 10% in Q1. Dick’s also "expects to scrutinize the leases for its Golf Galaxy stores, a number of which will be nearing the end of their term in the next few years" (, 7/22).

    TRYING TO GET BACK TO LEVEL PAR: HBO's Bryant Gumbel examined the state of golf and reported the sport's leaders are "trying desperate measures to cope with golf's surprising desperate times." An average of 130 golf courses in the U.S. "have closed every year for the last eight years." adidas Group North America President Mark King said, "Every macro indicator that we've been looking at for the past 20 years ... says that there are less people playing, and the ones who are playing are playing less frequently." He added, "I just don't like where the game looks like it’s going, and it's not in the right direction. ... It's shrinking to the point where you're only going to have traditional people play and it's going to become an elite game again." Gumbel noted just about "every sector of the business is in trouble." Gumbel: "Retail is off by double-digits for each of the last three years and TV ratings for some of the game's biggest tournaments have been in steady decline since 2012" ("Real Sports," HBO, 7/22).

    Print | Tags: Marketing and Sponsorship, Dicks Sporting Goods, PGA of America, Golf
  • Another Chart Topper: Manziel Heads Up NFLPI's List Of Player Sales For Q1

    One day after the NFL announced Browns QB Johnny Manziel has the league's top-selling jersey on, NFL Players Inc. has Manziel atop its player sales list for Q1. The list is based on total sales of all officially licensed products from March 1 through May 31. The achievement is noteworthy since Manziel was not drafted until May 8, meaning his sales all came during a three-week period (NFLPA). In Akron, Nate Ulrich noted the sales list "includes Nike T-shirts and Fathead wall decals sold online and by traditional retail outlets." Also included are "jerseys, player murals, figurines, matted and framed photos, bobbleheads, drinkware, jewelry and electronic device accessories" (, 7/22). USA TODAY's Lindsay Jones noted the list "further shows just how ... strong Manziel's brand already is." There are "five Manziel-specific T-shirt designs available through Nike ... and a variety [of] others through licensed dealers that show Manziel making his signature money hand gesture while wearing his Browns uniform" (, 7/22).

    Browns QB Johnny Manziel
    Packers LB Clay Matthews
    Seahawks QB Russell Wilson
    Texans DE Jadeveon Clowney
    49ers QB Colin Kaepernick
    Cowboys TE Jason Witten
    Seahawks CB Richard Sherman
    Saints QB Drew Brees
    Broncos QB Peyton Manning
    49ers LB Patrick Willis
    Texans DE J.J. Watt
    Buccaneers RB Doug Martin
    Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch
    Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill
    Cowboys WR Dez Bryant
    Eagles RB LeSean McCoy
    Patriots QB Tom Brady
    49ers S Eric Reid
    Packers QB Aaron Rodgers
    Cowboys QB Tony Romo

    YEARLY TREND: NFL Network's Dan Hellie noted Manziel having the league's top-selling jersey is a continuation of a theme that has developed the last couple of years -- the "most popular rookie quarterback from draft time to when training camp starts has the No. 1 selling jersey." NFL Network's Warren Sapp said, "It gets everybody excited, you go buy the jersey" ("NFL Total Access," NFL Network, 7/22). ESPN's Max Kellerman said Manziel having the No. 1-selling jersey will pressure the Browns to start him this season because "money matters." Kellerman: "Jersey sales puts pressure on the owner of the team, who obviously is in the business of making a profit, to start Johnny Manziel. Even if the GM, even if the coach say it's all about football, that pressure from on high will start to roll downhill and effect decisions." ESPN's Michelle Beadle said, "I don’t know if I believe that ... because at the end of the day, they've already bought the jerseys. What are they going to do, return them? You're making the money regardless." Kellerman: "They can stop buying them" ("SportsNation," ESPN2, 7/22).

    Print | Tags: Marketing and Sponsorship, Cleveland Browns, NFL
  • Browns, Value City Furniture Partner For Deal On Preferred Fan Access To Training Camp

    The Browns are partnering with Columbus-based Value City Furniture for a "pass that will give fans first dibs on spots to watch training camp and faster entry to FirstEnergy Stadium on game day," according to Kevin Kleps of CRAIN'S CLEVELAND BUSINESS. The Browns "are asking fans who plan to attend any of the 13 training camp practices in Berea to register on the team’s website," and those who do "will get a chance to enter the Browns’ training facility 30 minutes early, via the Value City Furniture Easy Pass." With training camp space "at a premium (the Browns’ facility can only hold about 5,000 fans), the team believes the easy pass is another way to offer fans free perks." Browns VP/Fan Experience & Marketing Kevin Griffin said that the number of passes given "will depend on the size of the crowd, but he estimates that '250 to 300' fans will have the chance to enter each of the 13 practices a half-hour ahead of their peers" (, 7/22).

    Print | Tags: Cleveland Browns, Marketing and Sponsorship
  • AT&T Rolling Out New Yankees-Centered Campaign That Focuses On Fan Chants

    AT&T is debuting a new Yankees campaign this week from BBDO, N.Y., that  "takes the team's 'Let's Go Yankees' rhythmic chant to new levels," according to Aaron Baar of MARKETING DAILY. In one spot, two men "have an entire conversation, using only the four-beat chant." One chants, “What’s up, Brian,” from his office cubicle, while the other replies, “Not much, Tony,” from his "kitchen table while feeding young children." A second commercial "follows a similar pattern, with a dentist -- in mid-procedure -- taking a video call from a friend who’s in the stands at a game." Meanwhile, the company is "giving fans their own chance to add to the cheers, encouraging them to add their own chants online ... on Twitter using the hashtag #MyYankeesChant." AT&T also has erected a booth at Yankee Stadium where fans can "create a chant." Fans who "upload their chants will be automatically entered into a sweepstakes for Yankees gear and tickets" (, 7/21). 

    Print | Tags: Marketing and Sponsorship, ATT, New York Yankees, MLB
  • Chip Ganassi Drivers Larson, Dixon, Kanaan Star In Cottonelle Toilet Paper Spots

    Kimberly-Clark's Cottonelle toilet paper brand "recently posted on YouTube a commercial" focusing on how NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Kyle Larson "takes care of his 'bum,'" according to Bob Pockrass of SPORTING NEWS. A woman in the commercial says to Larson, "I’m hearing from you that you kind of neglect your bum." He responds, "I wouldn’t say I neglect it," and later adds, "I’m a dry wiper right now." IndyCar drivers Scott Dixon and Tony Kanaan, Larson's teammates at Chip Ganassi Racing, "also are featured in similar Cottonelle commercials" (, 7/22).'s Tony DiZinno wrote Larson "may not be able to live this one down for a while." Dixon and Kanaan "aren’t quite as much of a kick in the bum, per se," but they are "still littered with bathroom puns" (, 7/22). YAHOO SPORTS' Jay Busbee writes under the header, "Here It Is, The Worst NASCAR Sponsorship Ad Campaign Ever." We now "know more about Kyle Larson's bathroom habits than we ever needed to know about anyone's, including our own." Busbee: "Only way this can be redeemed? If a subsequent ad reveals that there's an actual bum sleeping out back of Kyle's house that he's been neglecting" (, 7/23).

    Print | Tags: NASCAR, Marketing and Sponsorship, IndyCar
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