SBJ/December 20 - 26, 1999/No Topic Name

INSIDE THE DEAL

THE DEAL:


LiFizz Effervescent Vitamins signs as sponsor of LPGA

VALUE/TERM:


Three years, estimated at more than $500,000 in fees and promotional support.

DEAL MAKERS:


Michael Rackley, vice president of marketing, LiFizz Inc.; Karen Durkin, LPGA vice president of marketing; Cathy Levering, LPGA marketing coordinator.

KEY ELEMENTS:


Benefits to LiFizz include:

Designation as official vitamin of LPGA.

Signs on LPGA's HealthSouth Sports Medicine Trailer, which travels to domestic LPGA events, and selected event signage.

Opportunity to give away samples at LPGA tournaments.

Access to LPGA marks in its trade and consumer advertising and promotions.

Access to ancillary tournament opportunities such as pro-am spots, luncheons and award ceremonies.

BACKGROUND:


LiFizz's vitamins are packaged in flavored effervescent tablets. They dissolve in water, and the company claims they're assimilated into the body more efficiently than tablets. LiFizz introduced the product to the U.S. market in the fall of 1998 and claims retail distribution in more than 12,000 health stores, supermarkets and chain drug stores.

PGA Tour golfer Jesper Parnevik is co-founder and chairman of LiFizz Inc. Investors include golfers Laura Davies and Annika Sorenstam.

This LPGA relationship is an expansion of the company's golf marketing efforts. Last January, LiFizz announced a five-year similar category sponsorship with the PGA Tour and Senior PGA Tour. LiFizz is one of the few PGA Tour and Senior Tour sponsors to grow into LPGA. The LPGA relationship officially commences Jan. 1.

ANALYSIS:


With so much clutter and competition for consumer affection, key-customer segmentation is more important than ever.

In a sponsor survey published Sept. 20 by SportsBusiness Journal, the LPGA ranked fourth highest among 21 leagues and sanctioning bodies in terms of being client-centered and service-oriented. LiFizz Marketing VP Mike Rackley said the survey had an influence on the company's decision to grow its golf marketing program.

People interested in golf tend to be health-conscious, rosy-cheeked outdoor types — and vitamin customers. Women interested in golf and women's sports have an interest in the LPGA. Rackley said company research indicates that 70 percent of the time, the woman in a household makes the vitamin purchase. Sounds like a good match.

Like most other sports leagues and sanctioning bodies, LPGA needs more sponsors, advertisers, viewers and spectators. Plus there is a wide range of marketability of its athletes, ranging from excellent to awful. But LPGA puts on a good show, the athletes are for the most part approachable and its broad base of national sponsors feel catered to.

It's interesting to note that Rackley got several welcoming letters from LPGA players when the deal was announced Nov. 30. That says a lot about the attitude of the LPGA players. When was the last time an NBA, NFL or NHL player wrote to thank a sponsor?

OTHER NEW DEALS:

Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. was title sponsor of the 1999 Butkus Award Gala. The award is presented by the Downtown Athletic Club of Orlando Inc. to the top collegiate linebacker in the country.

JustBalls.com became a systemwide partner of the California Community College Commission on Athletics. JustBalls becomes the commission’s official supplier.

DLJdirect, online brokerage service of Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette Inc., became the official brokerage firm of Vail Resorts Inc.

Sun Country Airlines became the official airline of A-League soccer team the Milwaukee Rampage.

Source: Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Journal research

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Related Topics:

LPGA, NBA, NFL, NHL, Oakland Athletics, Vail Resorts

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