SBJ/November 26 - December 2, 2007/This Weeks News

Sponsors line up for SI’s Sportsman honor

Citi, Heineken Premium Light, Liberty Mutual and Symantec are multimedia sponsors of Sports Illustrated’s annual Sportsman of the Year presentation.

An outdoor campaign for SI’s Sportsman of the Year
features lead sponsors and past winners such as Muhammad Ali.
The Dec. 10 issue hits newsstands Dec. 5, and aside from the usual ad pages, the sponsors, each of which made a seven-figure buy, receive category exclusivity within SOY material in the 3.25-million-circulation magazine, online extensions and branding at the SOY presentation party on Dec. 4. New SI front man Dan Patrick will be master of ceremonies.

Online extensions of the award this year include “My Sportsman,” a daily installment on SI.com of 30 SI writers’ Sportsman nominations, along with photo galleries and fan polls. Additionally, SI is backing it with an outdoor campaign on buses and phone kiosks in New York City that will integrate the lead sponsors and feature past winners Lance Armstrong, Muhammad Ali and Tom Brady.

“If we’re going to make ‘Sportsman of the Year’ last another 50 years, we’ve got to include marketing solutions beyond just banners and pages — so that’s what we’re doing here,” said SI CMO Andrew Judelson. “It’s a sponsorship, not just an ad buy, and we know that brands that do that will give better support to the franchise anyway.”

Activation plans for the lead sponsors include an online sweepstakes from Heineken offering a trip to the SOY party. A branded-content feature, “Heineken Premium Light’s The Irresistible Life,” which featured Q&As with high-profile athletes, appeared in SI earlier this fall.

Liberty Mutual is leveraging its sponsorship on FanNation.com, where fans are asked to participate in “Throwdowns,” debates on various sports topics. At the SOY party, Liberty Mutual will sponsor a photo gallery featuring past Sportsman of the Year recipients.

Symantec, in its first year as an SOY sponsor, has SI advertorials in which Norton 360 software is paired with the best defenders in sport: the All-In-One Defenders package. On SI.com, Symantec is running an All-In-One Sports Experience sweepstakes, where fans enter to win tickets to a New York City sporting event and to the SOY party.

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