SBJ/September 3-9, 2012/Marketing and Sponsorship

New licensees to bring double-digit sales growth, NFL predicts

Terry Lefton
This time of year, NFL prognostications are as common as political stump speeches. Of course, we’re more concerned with sales results here than gridiron performance, not that they aren’t related.

Buoyed by two new on-field licensees in Nike and New Era that are among the most powerful and creative in sports licensing, NFL consumer products chief Leo Kane is forecasting double-digit growth for what is a very mature licensed product business. That’s not quite like picking Jacksonville or Cleveland to win the next Super Bowl (200-to-1 odds in Vegas), but enough to turn heads.

“Business is good across the board, and retailers are enthusiastic by our new partners, most of which are experts in their categories,” Kane said.

For an even loftier goal, Kane says, the long-term objective is “to transform the look of football.”

“We want people to wear [NFL-licensed apparel] every day of the week,” he said. “The way you do that is providing new styles and ways to express yourself, whether it is an accessory or a hat or scarf. The goal with our licensees is to establish some fashion trends instead of following them.”

COOLING TREND: Dunkin’ Donuts is teaming with online licensed goods retailer Fanatics to find “Philly’s Coolest Sports Fan,” in a promotion that will be plastered across more than 3.5 million 24-ounce and larger iced drink cups in the area over the next six weeks.

The new Dunkin’ Donuts-Fanatics promotion will appear on iced drink cups around Philly.
Prizes via Fanatics, which does e-commerce for all the big league sports sites, include discounts on free beverages at Dunkin’ Donuts, merchandise from Fanatics.com and tickets for area sporting events.

Marketing support includes dedicated TV, radio, point-of-sale, outdoor, digital and social ads. An associated Facebook promotional extension asks fans to submit a photo or video demonstrating why those depicted are the coolest sports fans in Philly, where there are 550 Dunkin’ Donuts in the metro area. The top 10 are subject to a subsequent vote, of which the winner gets a chartered plane trip for six, plus tickets and hotels to a Philadelphia team away game.

An interesting sidelight is that this is a promotion that could work in any city, depending on what rights the sponsor brings to the table. Former Versus President Jamie Davis, president of Fanatics since April, said it’s the first handiwork of Fanatics’ ramped-up corporate promotions department.

Alliance Marketing Partners, Wynnewood, Pa., is the representative for the local Dunkin’ Donuts co-op.

FLOWER POWER: That “Granddaddy of Them All,” the Rose Bowl, has had an official rose grower for several years now in Passion Growers. Now it has an official rose and flower care company in Miracle-Gro, which has signed a deal that is two years, plus an option, taking it at least through the Rose Bowl’s 100th anniversary in 2014.

The deal with the Tournament of Roses gives Miracle-Gro rights to the Rose Parade and Rose Bowl game intellectual property. The rights had been owned by Bayer. However, media buys in the parade and game are to be determined.

Sponsorships for Scotts Miracle-Gro had been restricted to Scotts, which is heavily invested in Major League Baseball and NASCAR. However, Tom McLoughlin, vice president of gardens and landscaping, said: “Roses are an important category for us and the more we dug into it, the better fit it seemed, so [negotiations] went pretty quickly. We think it will be a way for us to cultivate new generations of gardeners.”

Activation, likely to also include Ortho-branded horticultural products, will include a float in the parade, along with local garden refurbishments and retail-specific promotions at important local garden retailers, such as Orchard Supply Hardware.

Wasserman Media Group represents Scotts Miracle-Gro.

Terry Lefton can be reached at tlefton@sportsbusinessjournal.com.

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