SBJ/November 22 - 28, 2004/SBJ In Depth

Deals that caught our eye in 2004

NFL big winner

While NFL owners reshaped the NFL Trust in terms of which sponsorship categories the league should sell and which ones teams should have to themselves, the league was able to pull off several major sponsorship deals that saw their partners get fewer rights at higher fees.

First up, Visa renewed its NFL sponsorship for six years at a cost of $300 million. The deal gave Visa league rights, including the NFL shield, Super Bowl and Pro Bowl marks and collective use of the 32 team trademarks.

Gatorade agreed to an eight-year, $384 million sponsorship renewal that features the ultimate in product placement: Gatorade’s sports drink, logo and towels along the sidelines of the league’s 32 teams.

The ink had hardly dried on that deal when Gatorade parent PepsiCo and the NFL agreed to extend their sponsorship deal through the 2011 season. Sources valued that deal at $560 million. The agreement involves the company’s Pepsi, Tropicana and Frito-Lay brands.

Sounded like a good idea

We salute the deals that looked good on paper, but …

In May Major League Baseball Properties agreed to a marketing sponsorship with Columbia Pictures and Marvel Studios around the release of “Spider-Man 2.” MLB agreed to decorate its bases, pitching mound rubbers and on-deck circles with a spider-web pattern. However, fans and the media balked and the web-slinging concept was squashed.

In October SBC Communications offered $1 million-plus to be title sponsor of the annual Michigan-Ohio State football game for two years. Fans and alumni flagged the idea, so the deal was scrapped.

MLB rallies

Major League Baseball cashed in on the successful playoff run in the previous season by signing three big sponsorship deals.

Bank of America signed a five-year deal worth a reported $90 million to $100 million to be the league’s official bank. Taco Bell agreed to a three-year, $25 million deal to become the official fast-food restaurant of MLB. Ameriquest Mortgage became the official mortgage company of the league. Terms were not disclosed.

A piece of the action

If any brand knows what it means to perform a frontside 180 ollie or a corkscrew, it’s Mountain Dew. The brand has been so active in action sports, it was obvious that Dew’s door would be knocked on first when Clear Channel and NBC announced plans for an extreme sports tour.

Mountain Dew signed on as title sponsor, clearing the way for the Dew Action Sports Tour to begin in 2005. Sources said the sponsorship was for four years plus an optional fifth at an average of $3.6 million a year.

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