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The NHL All-Star Game trails the Winter Classic in television ratings and game-day attendance, but the league and its partners say the event provides greater sponsorship opportunities to directly engage with fans.
“The Winter Classic is one big event, and to some degree there is a limited number of sponsorship exposure,” said Keith Wachtel, NHL senior vice president of integrated sales. “At [the All-Star Game] there are more opportunities for partners to activate on-site and to take advantage of the events.”
By comparison, the Winter Classic earlier this month saw 14 league partners activate and a 20 percent jump in revenue from last year.
“The Winter Classic is more of a media value driver; it’s all about the game and the competition and the prime-time broadcast,” said John Lewicki, McDonald’s senior director of alliance marketing. “All-Star is more about consumer activation, about touching the fan in the local market. ”
For the All-Star Game, the McDonald’s In the Lineup program brought 12 children on the ice alongside the NHL players during the event’s pregame ceremony. The league’s quick-service restaurant partner, McDonald’s also sampled its McCafé beverages and sponsored a children’s play area at the convention center, and was presenting sponsor of the accuracy contest during the Saturday SuperSkills competition.
The six skills events — breakaway, fastest skater, shootout, accuracy, skills challenge relay and hardest shot — all featured presenting sponsors, with Honda picking up title sponsorship for the event. Honda, McDonald’s and Cisco are all Winter Classic partners with deeper on-site activation at the All-Star Game. In addition to holding title sponsorship of the inaugural All-Star Fantasy Draft on Friday — where the game’s captains selected teams from a pool of players — Cisco allowed fans to use its consumer video-conferencing product, called Umi, at the fan fair.
In addition to Discover, Sirius XM, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Gatorade, Time Warner, BlackBerry and 2K are partners that activated during the All-Star Game but had little or no presence during the Winter Classic, which was held this year in Pittsburgh on New Year’s Day.
Bridgestone is one of the few partners to reduce its presence from the Winter Classic, and the tire manufacturer brought a quarter as many guests to Raleigh as it did for the Winter Classic. Michael Fluck, Bridgestone’s director of brand and retail marketing, said the brand’s presence will be increased for the Feb. 20 Heritage Classic in Calgary.
“Ratings determine the value of our partnership, and we heavily analyze the numbers before we decide what [the partnership] will be worth,” Fluck said. “There is more excitement for our customers with the Winter Classic since we are title sponsor.”
However, Ugg President Constance Rishwain tells us they won’t be doing anything marketing-wise with Brady until the spring, and those ads won’t be seen until Sept. 1. She did, though, also reveal for the first time that the three-time Super Bowl winner will appear in TV ads for Ugg and that the creative work, which will be the brand’s first television campaign, has been quietly awarded to M&C Saatchi. Print work will continue to be handled by House Design, Los Angeles.
Ugg made Super Bowl XLV-logoed boots.
Ugg will still have some Super Bowl presence. Rishwain said her company made about 350 pairs of Super Bowl XLV-logoed Butte boots for coaches and players. They will not be sold at retail, and Rishwain said Ugg has no plans to license any NFL marks for their men’s products.
Dwyane Wade is the latest of more than a dozen athletes to tour Mission Skincare.
The three-year-old brand, which employs a “designed for and by athletes” positioning, should hit about $20 million in retail sales this year. Its “athlete-care products,’’ including ultra-grip gels to keep hands dry during competition, and anti-chafe cream, are sold in sports specialty retailers like Dick’s Sporting Goods, Hibbett Sports and mass drug chain CVS. In the pipeline are a new muscle rub and some new foot-care products, said Josh Shaw, Mission founder and president.
Mission’s athletes do product development and appearances as well as social and digital media elements for the company. Shaw said Mission will spend between $5 million and $7 million on marketing this year, including the possibility of the brand’s first TV advertising. Other Mission endorser/owners include Serena Williams, MLB all-star David Wright, two-time NBA MVP Steve Nash and gold medal soccer champion Mia Hamm. The athletes get an equity stake in Mission, royalties and a financial tie to their own foundations or another charity.
Data from Scarborough Sports Marketing shows why the passionate fan bases of the Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers could result in a record television audience on Super Bowl Sunday, and a record for licensed product sales.
MAJESTIC PRACTICE PLAN: MLB uniform rights holder Majestic Athletic was scheduled to film a TV ad at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington last week to back the launch of Majestic’s batting practice jersey. The ad was set to feature Texas center-fielder and AL MVP Josh Hamilton, Rangers second baseman Ian Kinsler and San Francisco Giants outfielder Cody Ross. Waylon Advertising, St. Louis, is the ad agency.
“Coming off an MVP season in a region that gets really excited about baseball, Hamilton just seemed like the right guy,” said Michael Johnson, vice president of marketing at VF Corp.’s licensed sports group. The ad will depict fans and players taking batting practice together. “It is the first time we’ve used players in advertising, and we’re still delivering the message that we’re as close to on-field as you can get,” Johnson said.
The ad will break in March and run through the season on national and local baseball broadcasts, backed by a point-of-sale, print, and digital/social media campaign, which Johnson said was Majestic’s largest product launch ever.
The new batting practice jersey is designed with fabric said to make it the lightest batting practice jersey yet, along with a new full-button front. It will launch at retail this spring with the same $100 price point as its predecessor.
Terry Lefton can be reached at email@example.com.
In 43 years, Waste Management has made a living by collecting what everyone is getting rid of, and it’s helped it grow into a $13 billion-a-year company. But it’s the recycling and “green” aspect of its business that the company wants to emphasize through its title sponsorship of this week’s Waste Management Phoenix Open.
“This is part of a big evolution for our company,” said David Aardsma, Waste Management’s senior vice president of sales and marketing. “People don’t really understand what we do. This tournament helps showcase what we do in terms of recycling and alternative energy, and shows firsthand what our company is all about. People still think of us as a garbage company, and we have evolved so far past that. This week is our stage to get that story across in a compelling fashion.”
Indicators of Waste Management’s recycling efforts can be found all over the TPC Scottsdale course. The company is doing more than just putting out recycling bins, it’s rewarding fans with coupons from other tournament sponsors for their recycling efforts.
Vending machines positioned around the course will enable fans to scan the item to be recycled and placed in the appropriate bin. After submitting the item for recycling, the vending machine produces a coupon from a secondary tournament sponsor.
After collecting 205 tons of trash and recycling 62 percent of it last year, Waste Management intends to increase
Additionally, trash-collecting trucks will run on natural gas and Waste Management’s hospitality tent will be solar-powered. When the tournament concludes, Waste Management will take the wood, carpet and other building materials from the hospitality village and put them to use in other construction projects.
In perhaps the ultimate example of recycling in golf, Waste Management’s floating logo next to the 18th fairway will be filled with 144,000 golf balls that were recovered from water hazards.
WASTE MANAGEMENT PHOENIX OPEN
The company will use the Phoenix Open to highlight recycling and alternative energy.
Mike McQuaid, the event’s chairman, said the tournament and Waste Management have jointly bought $35,000 worth of green T-shirts and towels that they’ll distribute to fans on Saturday during the third round as part of a “green-out” day. Players have been asked to wear green as well.
“The green angle is something we’ve used heavily in all of our marketing,” McQuaid said. “It’s something that has really caught on. We’ve got six or seven other tournaments coming here to see how we handle recycling.”
Waste Management, which counts 15 other PGA Tour events as its clients, is bringing close to 200 guests to the tournament to show off its recycling efforts. Among them are colleges interested in improving their recycling efforts, manufacturers and industrial companies.
“This is a great educational forum to show people ways to ‘green up’ their business,” Aardsma said. “We’ll also have some local customers from the Phoenix area and others that are even coming on their own dime to see it. It’s a great platform for us because everybody might be familiar with what we do, but this helps build greater awareness and show others how to run a business more efficiently and responsibly.”
Waste Management, which primarily handles its sports marketing in-house, is in the second year of a seven-year contract to title sponsor the event. Title sponsorships for tournaments on network TV (the Phoenix Open is on CBS) typically go for $7 million to $8 million a year and include ad units on CBS and Golf Channel.
Waste Management struck this deal just 45 days in advance of the 2010 tournament, which didn’t allow it enough time to fully implement its recycling theme, but this year’s tournament takes a greater step toward sending the message about the company’s emphasis on recycling and alternative energy.
“A significant part of our business comes from sporting venues now, college and pro,” Aardsma said. “It really fits with where we’re going as a company.”
Beringer Vineyards has extended its official marketing partnership with the PGA Tour for another four years.
Beringer’s deal, which is expected to be announced this week, makes it the official wine of the PGA Tour, Champions Tour and Nationwide Tour through 2014. Beringer, which came on board in 2010, is the only wine that has held that position with the tour.
“We knew it would be a great fit and we were very pleased with what we accomplished in our first year,” said Francesca Schuler, Beringer’s chief marketer. “This is an exceptional environment in which to showcase our portfolio of wines, and we look forward to offering more unique wine experiences.”
The PGA Tour sponsorship in 2010 was the basis for Beringer’s wine-tasting bar at 12 tournaments. The vineyard intends to increase that number this year, although a specific calendar has not been finalized.
The Napa Valley vineyard provides incentives for its membership group, the Beringer Clubhouse, to attend tour events. It also plans to add retail promotions that include discount ticket offers and VIP golf experiences to various tournaments.
Beringer kicks off its wine-tasting season on tour this weekend at the Waste Management Phoenix Open.
Ford will begin an advertising push around its new Explorer this weekend by promoting the vehicle heavily during the 2011 Freestyle World Ski Championships.
The auto manufacturer signed on as the presenting sponsor of the World Ski Championships in a deal valued in the high six figures and will use the event as the beginning of a major media campaign around the 2011 Explorer it released late last year. As the presenting sponsor of the event, Ford will receive seven units during two 90-minute broadcasts on NBC, signage on the slopes, and on-site activation rights at the two resorts hosting the events: Deer Valley and Park City Mountain in Utah.
The freestyle event, which hasn’t been held in the United States since 2003, will showcase aerial, moguls, ski cross and ski halfpipe competitions. The other event sponsors are Paul Mitchell, Sprint, Southwest Airlines and Coca-Cola, which will use the event to promote its interactive fountain dispenser system known as the Coca-Cola Freestyle.
Each sponsor will present one of the ski disciplines showcased during the weeklong event that concludes this weekend. They will receive on-site signage, on-site activation rights, three to four commercials during the NBC coverage, and one to three advertising spots during a Versus highlight show that will air throughout the week.
Deer Valley bid more than $3 million to host the event. It hired Juma Entertainment to assist with sponsorship sales and produce 15 hours of coverage of the event.
Together they sold $2 million to $3 million in sponsorships. The events will be televised on NBC from 4:30 to 6 p.m. ET Saturday, and from 3 to 4:30 p.m. ET Sunday. The coverage also will be distributed in 24 countries.
Deer Valley Resort President Bob Wheaton said that event organizers aren’t quite covering the operational costs of the event but added that the losses are worth the worldwide exposure for the resort. More than 75 percent of visitors to Deer Valley come from outside the Utah region.
“This is an elite event that’s right under the Olympics,” Wheaton said. “It’s an exposure to the sport and the area you can’t buy.”
Brand Affinity Technologies and GMR Marketing have signed a multiyear partnership agreement in which they will work together on athlete-related endorsement and marketing efforts.
The pact, formalizing more than a year of occasional collaboration, will give GMR Marketing preferred access to BAT’s online endorsement platform involving more than 3,700 celebrities and athletes, real-time research and analytics, and new products, such as BAT’s interactive celebrity application Fantapper.
In turn, BAT will be GMR Marketing’s preferred outlet for any digital celebrity-related work coming out of the agency.
“We’re each going to do what we do best,” said Ryan Steelberg, president and chief executive for Irvine, Calif.-based BAT. “They’re going to handle overall marketing campaign management, and we’re going to stay laser-focused on the athlete and celebrity endorsement pieces of those campaigns. But it’s going to be a very effective partnership, and we think there are real gains to be had by being collaborative like this.”
Financial terms were not disclosed, but the transaction-based deal involves designating BAT as a preferred vendor of GMR and the establishment of pre-set fees for GMR Marketing to access BAT products and services. The deal is non-exclusive, and BAT may work with other traditional agencies, but it will primarily deal with GMR Marketing.
“Celebrity endorsements do still work, but it has to be the right talent against the right brand,” said Craig Connelly, president of Milwaukee-based GMR Marketing. “Working with BAT is going to make us a lot smarter and enable us to make much more informed, quantifiable decisions about those endorsements. It’s going to make us a better agency and should be seamless to our clients.”
The NFL will have 26 sponsors or brands activating against the Super Bowl this week, offering a mix of sweepstakes, sampling and displays. There will be messaging from one of the league’s newest partners, Castrol, to one that’s ending its affiliation with the NFL, Coors.
New partner Castrol isn’t running a television spot, but the league has given it an enhancement at the two-minute warning that will launch its association with the league, said Tracy Perlman, NFL vice president of entertainment, marketing and promotions.
Coors, in its final months as an NFL corporate patron after 10 years, has been running a promo offering Super Bowl tickets and unique access.
In one of the more artfully combined promotions, Visa has combined its offer of Super Bowl tickets for life with creative featuring four fans that have never missed an NFL championship, one of whom will be walking radio row in the days before the game. The fine print of Visa’s promo describes the grand prize as being worth $493,678.
Meanwhile, longtime league partner Gatorade is again sponsoring Media Day.
At the NFL Experience, 13 sponsors will have branded interactive displays.
Pepsi/Frito-Lay activation includes a promo offering a total of $5 million in prizes to authors of user-generated ads if ads for Pepsi Max and/or Doritos sweep the top three spots on the USA Today Ad Meter. At the NFL Experience FanFest, the most recent Pepsi Max creative is being brought to life with a Pepsi Max NFL Combine and associated skills contests, including a vending machine sled. Pepsi’s Super Bowl concert series is in its ninth year and the Pepsi Rookie of the Year award will again be presented to the top newcomer in the league.
For its first Super Bowl, Verizon will supply the NFL Mobile application with a live radio call. There is also a text-to-win contest for a game program, and a game program app. Fans will again have the opportunity to vote via NFL Mobile for the Super Bowl MVP, and the league is hoping to increase voting by 50 percent, to more than a million votes.
Motorola is again sponsoring the Super Bowl Media Center, along with being presenting sponsor for Maxim’s high-visibility party. Chad Ochocinco will again do his best imitation of a journalist, with Super Bowl week updates via the Ocho Cinco News Network (OCNN), powered by the Motorola Xoom.
Procter & Gamble will be demonstrating and sampling a variety of brands, including Febreze, Head & Shoulders and Vicks, at the media center and the NFL Experience.
Retail at the NFL Experience, handled in conjunction with GSI, will take on a new look, with a 30,000-square-foot store including pop-up stores from licensees including Victoria’s Secret, Junk Food and a complete kitchen stocked by NFL licensees.
Consumer products chief Leo Kane said he was hopeful of all-time highs in both generic Super Bowl merchandise and hot market licensed products.