SBJ/March 20 - 26, 2006/Marketingsponsorship

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  • Anheuser-Busch takes big role in Cardinals’ new football stadium

    Anheuser-Busch has signed on as the second principal sponsor of the Arizona Cardinals’ new stadium, scheduled to open in August. America’s top brewer signed a five-year deal, becoming the second “building-level” sponsor of the NFL team’s $370 million stadium.

    Under the deal, Anheuser-Busch, a Cardinals sponsor since 1988, gets permanent and electronic signs in the yet-unnamed stadium, along with logo rights, hospitality, TV ads on the team’s preseason games, English and Spanish radio ad inventory on the team’s regular-season broadcasts and title sponsorship to “The Budweiser Big Red Rage” radio show on the local ESPN Radio affiliate.

    The color red will be “woven into just about
    everything”done to activate the sponsorship.
    Anheuser-Busch receives exclusive promotional rights within the alcohol category, and Anheuser-Busch products will be poured and sold in the building.

    Anheuser-Busch will underwrite and title sponsor a large area in the south end zone of the stadium that includes a branded pedestrian bridge, an observation platform and an area behind the end zone with seating and hospitality.

    The “Red Zone” branding will be camera visible, but Anheuser-Busch’s branding “will not, and will conform to all NFL requirements,” according to Cardinals vice president of sales and marketing Ron Minegar. And given that red is a primary color for both the Cardinals and Anheuser-Busch, “They will be woven into just about everything we do from an activation perspective,” he said.

    While Coors has held NFL beer rights since 2002, Anheuser-Busch is not shy about pointing out that it has 28 NFL team sponsorships, purchased at least two spots on every NFL regular-season and playoff game last season and produced 78 different team-specific packaging combinations on 12 million cases of Budweiser and Bud Light last year.

    Heinz, the naming rights sponsor for the Pittsburgh Steelers stadium, also leverages a “Red Zone” thematic in its stadium, in which two 35-foot-long ketchup bottle icons “pour” the condiment onto the scoreboard.

    Insight was the first sponsor to sign up with the Cardinals’ new building (SBJ, April 25-May 1, 2005), and Minegar said the Cards have three additional “building-level partner” deals close to completion, with a goal of opening the stadium with seven top-level sponsors.

    “Clearly, we’re on track there,” he said. Industry sources said Coke was one of the brands close to completing a deal.

    Still, with five months to go before the Cards’ new home opens, there is no naming rights partner yet. The same can be said of Glendale Arena, the nearby home of the NHL Phoenix Coyotes, which has 125 dates annually compared to the 30 to 40 dates expected for the Cards’ new facility in its first year. While the Glendale Arena is asking $2 million to $3 million annually for its naming rights, industry chatter has the asking price for the Cardinals’ building naming rights at $8 million a year. That annual figure would be among the priciest ever and well above the 20-year, $121.5 million — or $6 million-plus a year — pledged by Lucas Oil recently to name the Indianapolis Colts’ new home.

    Minegar would not talk dollars, but expressed no concern about being five months out of the team’s first preseason game without a deal. “We’re having lots of interesting conversations,” he said. “There’s a good buzz on the stadium and we’re tracking ahead of best-case projections on season tickets and suite sales.”

    In its favor, the Cardinals’ much-discussed building has the national presence an NFL venue commands, along with a Fiesta Bowl and the BCS championship game in 2007 and Super Bowl XLII scheduled there for 2008. Among the new NFL stadiums, only the homes of the Washington Redskins and Seattle Seahawks opened without a naming rights partner.

    IT WAS 20 YEARS AGO TODAY...: The New York Mets are hoping to compete for a World Series title this year, but the team is devoting an impressive amount of marketing behind celebrating its last championship 20 years ago.

    The Mets are commemorating the anniversary all season, with no less than six promotional giveaway days of items associated with the team that beat the Boston Red Sox in a championship that included one of the most memorable World Series games ever.

    Among the giveaways are a 1986 replica yearbook, T-shirt, card pack, replica jersey and a possible video or DVD premium.

    A team reunion is planned for a game on Aug. 19.

    Always searching for the next bobblehead, we’re especially intrigued by a Dunkin’ Donuts-sponsored giveaway on June 16 that will have either ’86 player images or an ’86 championship logo printed on New York State quarters. Walgreens ran a similar program via an MLBPA license last year.

    Dunkin’ Donuts, represented by Alliance Marketing Partners, will also offer the imprinted quarters through a retail purchase-with-purchase promo in June.

    Meanwhile, the ’86 promotional giveaways game dates have been packaged as an “’86 six pack” of tickets, which the team is close to selling out.

    “The ’86 team is really beloved, so we’re looking to strike a balance between the emotional attachment fans had for them and the expectations for this year,” said Dave Howard, executive vice president of business operations for the Mets.

    This year’s squad hasn’t played a meaningful game yet, but the early commercial indicators are strong. Howard said that by press time, the Mets will have sold 2 million tickets — close to 25 percent ahead of last year’s pace. He added that sponsorship sales are also up “substantially,” with Champion Mortgage replacing Ameriquest on the outfield wall and replacing Pepsi as the title sponsor of the outfield picnic area. Other big deals were a Pepsi renewal, and new deals with Topps, Reuters, Spike TV and Hankook Tire.

    CLEANING UP WITH TOWELS: With a Super Bowl championship as rocket fuel, “Terrible Towel” supplier McArthur Sports is having nearly as good a year as the NFL champion Pittsburgh Steelers.

    Gregg McArthur, who heads the Baraboo, Wis., licensee, said that over the past NFL season and through the Feb. 5 Super Bowl win and celebration, he has shipped about 1.6 million towels, and that doesn’t include a pending design order of 200,000 “Five-Time Champion” towels.

    During a normal year, McArthur Sports would sell 500,000 to 600,000 “Terrible Towels.”

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

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  • Bank of America makes Bednar its top sports sponsorship exec

    Bednar
    Bank of America Corp. has hired Ray Bednar as its senior vice president and sports sponsorship executive, putting him in charge of an extensive sports portfolio that includes relationships with the U.S. Olympic Committee, Major League Baseball and a number of professional sports franchises.

    The move comes as the company’s global chief marketing officer, Cathy Bessant, was shifted over to succeed Tim Arnoult, Bank of America Corp.’s global treasury-services executive, who is retiring after 27 years with the company. In her tenure, Bessant helped expand Bank of America’s relationship with NASCAR and led the city of Charlotte’s bid for the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

    With the shift in Bessant’s responsibilities, advertising, brand management and sponsorships personnel will report to Anne Finucane, who has been named global-marketing and corporate-affairs executive. She retains her responsibilities for corporate communications, public policy, corporate philanthropy and the market-president network.

    Bednar will be based in Charlotte and report to Rick Parsons, executive vice president and brand marketing executive at the bank. Bednar spent the last four years as chief executive of North America and South America for Prism, an international sponsorship agency owned by WPP Group. In that role, Bednar represented Ford Motor Co., Xerox Corp. and other international firms, helping major companies develop sponsorship strategies in the arts, sports, entertainment and nonprofit realms.

    Bank of America had employed both Parsons and Bessant to handle its sports properties and negotiations for the last 18 months, largely due to the departure of former sports sponsorship executive Dockery Clark in September 2004. Clark, who spent 11 years at Bank of America, now heads sports sponsorships for Miller Brewing Co.

    Bank of America has deals with national sports properties, a stadium naming deal with the Carolina Panthers, and bank-sponsor agreements with five Speedway Motorsports Inc.’s tracks and four International Speedway Corp. tracks.

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  • Berman taking strategic role with TicketsNow

    Berman
    Jeff Berman, vice president of business development for StubHub and a key figure in the company’s rise in the secondary ticket market, has left for a similar position with TicketsNow.com.

    TicketsNow.com offers an online secondary ticket service like StubHub, RazorGator and others, but the Crystal Lake, Ill.-based company operates strictly as a national clearinghouse for licensed ticket brokers.

    Berman will serve as vice president of strategic partnerships and, similar to his role at StubHub, will forge relationships with professional sports teams and major universities.

    StubHub over the last two years has bought official sponsorships from more than a dozen teams and major collegiate programs, gaining key exposure to fans looking to buy and sell seats. TicketsNow.com has no such deals now.

    “By building inventory strictly through prescreened, licensed brokers, we can provide a user experience that keeps fraud to a level that’s almost nil,” Berman said. “There’s still a place in the world for individual season-ticket holders to sell extra seats, but given the high level of security and service we can offer, we think there’s a very compelling story to tell.”

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  • Callaway, Nike using early season advertising to reach golfers

    Callaway Golf and Nike Golf are putting more dollars into network television advertising during PGA Tour events this golf season.

    Callaway is increasing its network advertising in 2006 after having minimal presence there last year because the core avid golfer watches a lot of the sport on TV, said John Melican, senior vice president and Callaway Golf brand manager. The ads started at the Ford Championship at Doral and will conclude with the Bank of America Colonial on May 21.

    Tiger Woods and other Nike Golf pros will be
    highly visible on networks through mid-July.
    “Early in the season is the right time to be there, when they’re looking to make their choices on equipment,” Melican said. “We get on their consciousness.”

    Leading Callaway pros Phil Mickelson, Annika Sorenstam, Arnold Palmer, Charles Howell III and Morgan Pressel will be seen in the ads.

    Callaway’s new campaign “is as big if not bigger than what we’ve done in the past,” Melican said. He wouldn’t give numbers, but industry sources say Callaway will be spending in the eight figures.

    Cindy Davis, U.S. general manager for Nike Golf, says the company will be highly visible on networks through mid-July, as opposed to the minimal network advertising it did last April and May.

    “The reason is impact,” Davis said. “It means a larger audience and it works because it’s coupled with what we’re doing in print and on cable. We’ll have a strong presence in the majors.”

    Tiger Woods is featured in some of the ads, as are Nike Golf pros such as Justin Leonard and K.J. Choi.

    Nike Golf is spending what company President Bob Wood says are millions of dollars on its new effort.

    Network advertising also plays prominently in the campaign from MacGregor Golf, which is spending $20 million on what its chairman and CEO, Barry Schneider, calls the company’s biggest advertising campaign ever.

    MacGregor will spend about the same amount of money on network advertising this year as it did last year, according to Schneider. It will be on all network golf broadcasts except the Masters through June 4. Greg Norman will be featured in the 30-second network spots.

    Technology will be the major message that binds all three companies.

    MacGregor’s new products, led by its new Mactec NVG2 drivers, are “very technology heavy,” Schneider said. MacGregor’s theme is “Better Technology, Better Materials, Better Design, No Matter the Cost.”

    “This is … our expression that we’re totally committed to using advanced technologies to create equipment that will make the game more fun and enjoyable,” Schneider said.

    Callaway’s theme is concentrated on “Choosing to Be Better.” It will feature a full line of Callaway products, including new introductions such as the X460 driver, X Series fairway woods and HX Pearl golf ball, which is designed for women.

    “We repositioned the brand last year and got back to telling the technology and innovation stories and how that can help every golfer become a better player,” Melican said. “We’re one of the few brands that can stress that whole pyramid of influence, from making products for the touring pro at the top level of the game all the way down to somebody entering the game, and everybody in between.”

    Nike Golf intends to tell golfers its technology story for the first time to make them understand the strength and the innovation behind its products. The campaign will feature Rock Ishii, director of product development for balls, and Tom Stites, director of product development for clubs. Key products will be the SasQuatch driver, Slingshot OSS irons and the Nike One golf ball.

    “You’ll see our R&D center (in Fort Worth, Texas) so people will understand there’s an investment made in research and development,” Davis said. “I don’t think you see much television creative talking about technology the way we are. It’s very human and very personable. You can understand it and say, ‘Wow, there’s a lot behind it.’”

    There’s also a lot behind the other parts of the companies’ campaigns. Cable advertising on The Golf Channel and USA Network will be important, as will print ads in key endemic weekly and monthly golf-related publications such as SI Golf Plus, Golfweek, Golf Digest, Golf Magazine, Golf For Women and others.

    Bob Seligman is a writer in New York.

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  • Chargers add Coors Light as beer sponsor

    Coors Light is sponsoring the San Diego Chargers, replacing Miller Brewing as the team’s second beer sponsor. As part of the deal, which is scheduled to be announced today, Coors will appear in the backdrop of all team press conferences and have team logo rights in the San Diego area.

    San Diego is the first team Coors has signed since renewing its national sponsorship with the NFL last September in a five-year, $500 million contract. Some of that money was dedicated to signing more teams, which can have multiple beer sponsors.

    Anheuser-Busch dominates the NFL team sponsor area with 28, compared with six for Coors, the nation’s No. 3 brewer. Anheuser-Busch this month renewed its deal with the Chargers, retaining exclusive in-stadium signs.

    Coors, a division of Molson Coors, is committed under its national deal to sponsor nearly a dozen local clubs, a source said. Calls to Coors were not returned.

    Chargers chief marketing officer Ken Derrett said a local Coors distributor, Crest Beverage, had been keen for some time to have the beermaker become a sponsor of the team, indicating that a significant amount of promotion is planned around the sponsorship.

    “Coors is going to be very active and aggressive from the activation point of view,” Derrett said, adding that the plans are still being discussed.

    Coors replaces team sponsor Motorola on the press conference backdrop. Discussions to renew with Motorola are continuing, Derrett said.

    Derrett declined to provide terms, though beer sponsorships generally run from the mid to high six figures annually, to the low seven figures.

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  • Woodward to handle Miller’s media and marketing assets

    Jackie Woodward played a key role in
    developing McDonald’s marketing efforts.
    Miller Brewing Co. has hired Jackie Woodward to serve as vice president of programming, media and marketing assets.

    Woodward, who will report to Miller in April, has been serving as vice president of global brand business for McDonald’s Corp.

    Woodward will report directly to Tom Long, Miller’s chief marketing officer.

    The hiring of Woodward comes as Miller is reorganizing its marketing services business, which has been renamed and is now called “programming, media and marketing assets.” The new name more appropriately reflects the scope and work of the unit as Miller seeks to increase brand equity, sales and key business partnerships, according to Miller management.

    Woodward held a variety of positions at McDonald’s and played a key role in developing the company’s marketing efforts for the 2006 Winter Olympics, the 2006 Academy Awards and the upcoming World Cup.

    Prior to her stint at McDonald’s, Woodward served as vice president of marketing for Ultimatebid.com, an online auction site.

    Rich Rovito writes for The Business Journal of Milwaukee.

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