SBJ/October 24 - 30, 2005/Marketingsponsorship

Enterprise picks up NCAA corporate partnership

Category leader Enterprise Rent-A-Car has signed on as the NCAA’s latest corporate partner in a multiyear deal that sources said was in the low seven figures per annum. While the rental-car category has been dormant for some time as far as sports sponsorships, the NCAA deal marks the second major sports hookup for Enterprise in recent months.

St. Louis-based Enterprise has leveraged a NASCAR sponsorship with a “Racepoints” frequency/loyalty program. Enterprise has long been a heavy buyer of sports media, but lately is augmenting with sponsorship rights.

Driving the hoop: Enterprise Rent-A-Car
has supplied cars at previous championships.

“They understand consumer loyalty and behavior,” said Brian Corcoran, NASCAR’s director of corporate marketing. In sports, he said, “Enterprise sees a tremendous opportunity to complement traditional television advertising with sponsor loyalty programs.”

Enterprise has been a sponsor of the Pro Bull Riders since late 2003.

Greg Shaheen, NCAA vice president of Division I basketball and championship strategies, noted that Enterprise has provided cars at championships in a supplier-type deal for several years.

“We think there’s a good match of brands here,” Shaheen said. “Enterprise is family-owned and a big believer in our mission of education.”

VIDEO POWER: NBA video-game licensees will be flexing some marketing muscle this season. Sony’s NBA06 is presenting sponsor of the league’s Premiere Week. Ads combining video-game footage with NBA game footage will run on TNT NBA games and NBA06 and on the gamers section of NBA.com.

Xbox and Take 2 will join T-Mobile in sponsoring NBA All-Star balloting. Xbox will be a sponsor of in-arena balloting, while Take 2 will leverage its NBA 2K6 title by underwriting an “All-Star Life” sweeps offering two trips for two to the NBA All-Star Weekend in Houston, where the winners will be paired with NBA players to compete in the game.

CAP ON THE BIG APPLE: New Era Cap, the exclusive on-field headwear of MLB, will open a brand-focused store in New York (likely Greenwich Village) early next year as it continues to enlarge its marketing profile.

Plans for what will be New Era’s first retail venture are incomplete, but the company hopes to combine its 85-year history with its newer entry into the fashion/hip-hop arena.

“We’d like a franchise store to host events and activate our brand,” said New Era CEO Chris Koch.

COMINGS & GOINGS: Mark Tatum, instrumental in adding the elusive automobile deal to the NBA’s portfolio with Toyota, has been elevated from vice president to senior vice president, marketing partnerships. Tatum came to the NBA from MLB in 1999. Roundball marketer Emilio Collins gets bumped from director to vice president of marketing partnerships. … Mark Woolsey has come full circle. The former Nike marketer, who was director of marketing at And 1 2000-03, has returned as the basketball apparel and sneaker brand’s GM and CMO of American Sporting Goods, which bought the And 1 brand earlier this year. Woolsey will be based at ASG’s California headquarters. His last gig was vice president of marketing at DC Shoes.

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

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