SBJ/January 19 - 25, 2004/SBJ In Depth

Sports brands, properties turn up the volume

Beyond media conglomerates owning teams to promote synergies within their own empires, sports brands and properties have begun creating more extensive alliances with other niches within the entertainment industry. Here's a sampling:

Major League Baseball Properties
Signed a deal in June with Clear Channel Entertainment to sponsor the Ozzfest and Lollapalooza tours, along with 34 other Clear Channel concerts.

Arena Ventures is a partnership between the league and Clear Channel Entertainment. Clear Channel operates the arenas for the National Basketball Development League, the NBA's developmental league. Clear Channel is one of the nation's largest concert promoters, and many Clear Channel acts have performed at NBA events.

MTV will produce its second straight Super Bowl halftime show next month.

Last year launched "Sounds and Rhythm of Sport," a marketing initiative that represents the fusion of sports and music. The Jay-Z signature shoe line called the "S. Carter Collection by Rbk" debuted in April and included a special-edition CD single from the rapper. In November, 50 Cent became the company's second non-athlete to have a signature athletic footwear collection, the "G6," from the "G-Unit Collection by Rbk."

The shoe company also recently signed a long-term licensing deal with rapper Pharrell Williams that will include a men's and women's footwear line called "Ice Cream," and a men's clothing line called "Billionaire Boys Club." Both lines will be developed in collaboration with designer Nigo. The launch is scheduled for a limited distribution this summer.

Reebok has paired Jadakiss, Scarface, Fabolous and Shakira in feature ads with athletes such as Philadelphia 76ers guard Allen Iverson and Houston Rockets guard Steve Francis. Some music stores display new shoe lines alongside their CDs.

Last year released the Jason Mizell Ultrastar, a 5,000-pair production run to honor the slain rap star. Better known as Jam Master Jay of Run-DMC fame, the singer was shot and killed in October 2002.

The company also partnered in November with Toronto-based Lyrical Knockout Entertainment to sponsor the "My Adidas B-Girl" prize package in paying homage to the breakdancing females of the rap world.

Shoes designed by Pharrell Williams, graffiti artist ESPO and actress Halle Berry went on sale earlier this month.

A bizarre spot pairing Snoop Dogg with ABC football analyst Terry Bowden that aired during the Nokia Sugar Bowl this month left many wondering what demographic the company was targeting.

EA Sports
Def Jam Vendetta, one of the video company's top new titles, is a PlayStation 2 game that showcases 12 Def Jam artists in scenes from the underground fight circuit. Also, the soundtrack for the company's NBA Live 2003 became the first video game soundtrack to be certified as a million-selling platinum album by the Recording Industry Association of America.

Source: SportsBusiness Journal research

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