October 17 - 23, 2011 Vol. 14 — No. 25

Top Stories

  • McDonald's close to TOP extension

    McDonald’s is close to finalizing an eight-year extension of its worldwide Olympic sponsorship, ensuring that the restaurant chain will continue serving Olympic athletes for four more Games. The deal, which sources familiar with the negotiations said would be announced in the coming weeks, is valued at $180 million to $200 million total. It extends McDonald’s membership of the International Olympic Committee’s The Olympic Partnership (TOP) program and gives the company worldwide marketing rights to more than 200 national Olympic teams as well as the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, the Rio 2016 Summer Games, and both the 2018 and 2020 Olympics, whose host cities have yet to be selected.

  • NFL plans to start venture capital fund

    The NFL is planning to form a more than $32 million venture capital fund to invest in startup media, technology and entertainment businesses that tie into football. Owners were briefed on the concept last week at their meeting in Houston. The subject is expected to come up for a vote at the owners’ next gathering, possibly in December.

  • How best to use the bait?

    MLB clubs adjusted their game-day promotions strategies this season by shifting much of their distribution of bobbleheads back to weeknights, increasing the number of weekend festivals and concerts, and giving away more traditional items. Club officials and vendors said the changes were done to help boost attendance throughout the week and maximize exposure for a sponsor base that has become increasingly involved in the promotions and giveaway process.

  • ESPN to offer X Games sponsors the world

    Six months after announcing plans to turn the X Games into an integrated, six-stop global property, ESPN is preparing to go to market with an exclusive, worldwide sponsorship package that covers all of its action sports events. The deals will give sponsors a suite of assets that includes TV, digital and print advertising elements as well as the potential for branded content development. The sales effort will begin in late October, and executives at ESPN are still determining sponsorship prices.

  • A sweet dream for licensing biz

    Sports merchandisers are excited again, as the sports-licensed Pillow Pets, a new plush offering, are this season’s “it” item. Like so many licensing hits, Pillow Pets is a deceptively simple idea that has become a rage.

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