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SBJ/April 4-10, 2011/Marketing and Sponsorship
Team Epic will take Smash Zone on the road for the USTA
Published April 4, 2011, Page 11
The 53-foot trailer, which unfolds to tennis courts downsized for youth play, will begin its tour in late May or early June in Atlanta and is a complement to the association’s ongoing youth participation initiatives, Quick Start and the Smash Zone at the U.S. Open. Since it is targeting a family crowd, the tour will stop at fairs and festivals, along with some retail environments and downtown locations, with some overlap at sites hosting the U.S. Open Series.
Darran Miner, USTA senior director of marketing, said the NGB’s sales staff is in the market with signage-laden sponsorship packages, including a title sponsorship in the mid-six figures. Miner said Team Epic won the assignment based on its engagement and sponsorship integration concepts. Team Epic Principal Mike Reisman said his agency’s experience working on youth brands like Nerf, Slim Jim and Mountain Dew also helped.
If this seems somewhat premature, remember that this is the year when we’ve already seen a stadium in Los Angeles without a team, blueprints or government approvals get a naming-rights deal. At least the proposed 49ers venue has an NFL tenant with which to start, and $114 million in funding. Should the venue become a reality, the assignment would make the first bona-fide naming-rights sale for CAA, which earlier sold deals that packaged everything but naming rights with Madison Square Garden for JPMorgan Chase, and for Bank of America with the New York Yankees, a deal that cratered after the economy and the banking industry did the same.
It’s assumed that the naming-rights partner would come from the riches in Silicon Valley, but even those heady dollars won’t bridge the gap between the $114 million in public funds allocated by voters for the new stadium and the $937 million it is projected to cost.
Accounting for the continued growth is a headwear business that remains strong, new batting practice jerseys from Majestic, strong video game sales and a 2010 postseason that Smith said is still echoing and was one of the top five ever — which was especially surprising since the World Series champion San Francisco Giants were projected as one of the weaker “if wins” at the start of last year’s postseason.
Terry Lefton can be reached at email@example.com.