SBJ/January 28 - February 3, 2002/Marketingsponsorship

DirecTV hitches its Extra Innings ads to a Rocket

DirecTV has signed New York Yankees pitcher Roger Clemens to a six-figure, one-year deal as spokesman for its Major League Baseball Extra Innings Package, which offers more than 1,000 out-of-market games. The deal includes a one-day production commitment from the six-time Cy Young Award winner.

Roger Clemens filmed a
series of ads for DirecTV's
MLB Extra Innings Package.

Clemens shot a series of ads in Los Angeles last week with Four Square Productions, San Diego. One ad shows Clemens pitching a simulated game on an off day; another shows his windup and delivery in slow motion, set to the audio of a rocket launch countdown. The ads will appear on DirecTV's premium channels starting in March.

"Roger is the greatest pitcher of our generation, and the Yankees really drive sales of this product like no other team, so he was a perfect choice for us," said Chris Brush, senior director of marketing at DirecTV. Clemens will be used in print ads in DirecTV publications and in direct and online marketing campaigns.

COOL WITH COORS: Charles Barkley has signed on as the latest pitchman for Coors in its "Originals" campaign, which began a few years back with John Elway and has since included Bobby

Barkley
Hull, Willie Mays and Barry Sanders. Agency sources said that in keeping with Barkley's image, decidedly more contemporary than past Coors Originals endorsers, FCB, Chicago is tweaking the creative in hopes it will be less of a soporific. Marc Perman at IMG, New York handles Barkley but would not comment on the deal.

CONTINENTAL LOVES N.Y.: Continental Airlines, always one of the most active marketers in its category (even after Sept. 11), is combining its New York-based sports and entertainment properties for a 10-week spring promo. Tentatively titled "Best Seats in New York," the sweepstakes will dangle as top prize some primo tickets and "experiences," like meet-and-greets with celebrities at Continental's Big Apple properties: the Yankees, Knicks, New York Marathon, Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, New York Philharmonic and Broadway.

Ad support includes a New York Times buy. Also supporting is radio and the "brand train" buy on New York City subway cars, wherein one brand buys out entire cars. Halo Sports & Entertainment, Chicago, handles for Continental.

"We're connecting Continental to its core business traveler target by reaching out through icons that are important in New York," said Halo executive vice president Tony Schiller.

The promotion will run from mid-March through May.

BEARS WON'T MIGRATE: The NFL has dropped plans to export one of the Chicago Bears' home games next season to Canada. The Bears are out of Soldier Field next season for renovations, and the league had hoped to put a game in Toronto's SkyDome. The sliding value of the Canadian dollar relative to the U.S. dollar made the league reconsider.

The NBA, NHL and MLB have staged regular-season games outside the United States, but the NFL has stayed home, principally because its owners are unwilling to lose one-eighth of their home schedule. NFL International continues to stage annual exhibition games outside the United States. The Washington Redskins will play the San Francisco 49ers in Osaka, Japan, in August.

COMINGS AND GOINGS: Pepsi's Tropicana juice brand has named Millsport of Stamford, Conn., as its sports marketing agency of record. Millsport, a longtime Pepsi agency, has handled Tropicana's NASCAR affiliation for two years, including its title sponsorship of a NASCAR race. Millsport also will handle Tropicana's entitlement to the home of the MLB Tampa Bay Devil Rays. ... Former Major Indoor Lacrosse League owner Bruce Lucker to tour marketing strategist at the Senior PGA Tour, based in Ponte Vedre, Fla. He'll help relaunch the senior circuit, which is trying to differentiate itself from the PGA Tour. Lucker was chief operating officer of the World Golf Hall of Fame for the past two years.

Terry Lefton can be reached at tlefton@amcity.com.

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