SBJ/March 20 - 26, 2006/This Weeks News

Ocean Spray to market Craisins through WNBA sponsorship

Targeting the WNBA’s young female fan base, Ocean Spray has signed its Craisins brand of dried sweetened cranberries to a one-year sponsorship of the women’s basketball league.

Ocean Spray also will sponsor the league’s
“Be Fit” tour of fitness workshops.
Craisins, the WNBA’s first new corporate partner since 1800FLOWERS signed on last season, is working with grocers to build retail-specific programs in WNBA markets. Those efforts will include store displays, player appearances and in-arena sampling.

Ocean Spray also will be a sponsor of the league’s “Be Fit” tour, a seasonlong, grassroots program across all 13 WNBA markets in which players and coaches participate in fitness workshops. Craisins will sponsor the tour’s “Cooking Demo” area, and its logo will appear on the Be Fit tour vehicle. McDonald’s was presenting sponsor of the Be Fit tour last year.

Under the deal, Ocean Spray gets rotational signage during nationally televised WNBA games, arena scoreboards and PA mentions.

The WNBA begins its 10th season on May 20 and league marketers are working on renewals in large categories such as beer (currently with Anheuser-Busch) and fast food (currently with McDonald’s).

With the Craisins deal, the WNBA is believed to be the first major sports property to derive sponsorship dollars from a branded dried fruit product. However, parent Ocean Spray has sponsored sports properties as large as the NCAA in previous years.

“When you look at the affinity people have for healthy foods and beverages now, food as a whole could be a great category overall for us,” said WNBA President Donna Orender, adding that she expects more new deals before the season opens.

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