SBJ/October 1-7, 2012/Marketing and Sponsorship

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  • Dempsey scores with new watch

    In another sign of Clint Dempsey’s growing stature as an endorser, the Deuce Limited Edition watch arrives in stores internationally this week.

    The Deuce — Dempsey wears No. 2 for Tottenham Hotspur of the English Premier League — is made by California-based Jorg Gray. The watches are limited to 1,002 in distribution (a further “deuce” play). They sell for $795 and are available in U.S. and European jewelry stores and on the Jorg Gray website.

    Jorg Gray is producing the Deuce Limited Edition.
    Photo by: JORG GRAY
    All of Dempsey’s endorsement deals have been made by his representatives at James Grant Sports, which also brokered Dempsey’s move this summer from Fulham to Tottenham, a change that came with a $10 million transfer fee.

    In addition to his deal to be a brand ambassador for Jorg Gray through 2013, Dempsey — a member of the U.S. men’s national team, as well — has partnerships with Nike, Crown Imports (for the Mexican beer Modelo Especial), Pepsi and Upper Deck that run through the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. His relationship with Nike began with his rookie season in MLS in 2004. All of Dempsey’s other deals were signed in the last 18 months.

    The agency would not divulge financial details of his marketing partnerships, but Lyle Yorks, a former pro soccer player and now the global managing director of the soccer group at James Grant Sports, said the 29-year-old Dempsey could have even more
    business if he so chooses.

    “There are two big hurdles: his schedule and his determination to only be with brands he can be personally vested in,” said Yorks, whose agency represents more than 100 soccer players across the United States and Europe. “Between Tottenham and his national team commitments, he doesn’t get home to Texas much. When he has time, he wants to be with his family or relaxing.”

    Executives at Jorg Gray — an American watch company in a market filled with European brands — liked the idea of a link with Dempsey, an American soccer player finding success on a global stage. They also were impressed by Dempsey’s practical approach to endorsements.

    “At our first meeting, Clint told us his credo was ‘Family, Faith, Football, Fishing,’” said Jorg Gray COO Damian Want. “He didn’t want to be an athlete who just does a few photo shoots and calls it a partnership. He wanted to have a lot of input into his own watch brand.”

    Dempsey was deeply involved in the crafting of the Deuce, sharing his opinions and suggestions via email and in meetings in England. The product is being promoted with full-page ads in magazines including Men’s Fitness, Outdoor, Details, Playboy and Top Gear. Dempsey’s deal with Jorg Gray calls for personal appearances and social media tie-ins.

    “We expect the watch to sell out fairly quickly,” said Want, whose brand also has deals with MotoGP racer Ben Spies and IndyCar driver Alex Tagliani. “We feel like, with this partnership, we are on the front edge of soccer’s incredible growth in the U.S.”

    At Soccer United Marketing, the marketing arc of MLS, where Dempsey played for the New England Revolution for three years, there is little surprise over his rising profile.

    “Companies recognize that Clint is a special talent,” said David Wright, SUM’s senior vice president, global sponsorship. “He’s a player who has the ‘it’ factor. … Clint steps up in the big games, as you can see from his play with both club and country, and often that’s what brands want to align with.”

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  • System allows fans to buy no-obligation tickets to bowl games

    Editor's note: This story is revised from the print edition.

    Fans who want to go to the Discover BCS National Championship Game — but only if their favorite team plays in it — now have the chance to reserve tickets ahead of time without an obligation to buy the tickets if their team doesn’t make it.

    Chicago-based Forward Market Media has developed an online ticketing system that enables fans to reserve face-value tickets for events like bowl games, where the teams aren’t announced until a month before the game. As part of the reservation, the buyer specifies a favorite team and pays a non-refundable reservation fee that ranges from $10 to $325, depending on demand for that team. That fee is in addition to the face-value price of the ticket ($375 for the championship game).

    Fans won’t have to worry about getting stuck with tickets should their team not make it.
    Photo by: GETTY IMAGES
    If the specified team makes it, the buyer has access to tickets for face value. If the team doesn’t make it, the reservation expires.

    As part of a new promotion that just launched, fans who reserve their tickets to the championship game and have their team make it also will receive a $75 travel discount from Orbitz for a hotel and flight package. More importantly for Orbitz, the company will develop a database for the thousands of fans who make reservations.

    No. 1-ranked Alabama, as you’d expect, requires the most expensive reservation fee at $325 for tickets. No. 2-ranked Oregon’s reservation fee is $125.

    That means an Oregon fan whose team makes the national championship game will have spent $125 to reserve the ticket and $375 to buy the ticket, for a total of $500. Tickets to last season’s national championship game on the secondary market averaged $1,815 and ranged from $500 to $1,000 in the upper deck.

    Prices fluctuate based on demand for seats for that team in a given section. The Orange Bowl, as the host for the championship game, sets the reservation rates. The bowl keeps 75 percent of the reservation revenue, while Forward Market Media gets 25 percent. All of the primary ticket revenue stays with the bowl.

    “It’s a supply-and-demand business,” said Forward Market Media CEO Scott McKibben, the former executive director of the Tournament of Roses and the Rose Bowl. “This process gives fans a chance to follow their team and pay face value for a ticket if they make it to the big game. Otherwise, they’d find themselves paying four or five times the face value for a ticket on the secondary market.”

    Forward Market Media is working with all of the BCS bowls to make the ticketing system available. The company also has deals with the AutoZone Liberty Bowl and the Big Ten championship game.

    McKibben also has his sights set on the college football playoff that begins in the 2014 season.

    This season marks the first time that all four BCS bowls, plus the championship game, are using Forward Market Media’s ticketing technology. The promotion with Orbitz marks the first time the company has brought a sponsor into the mix, and McKibben said he hopes to do more of that in the future, whether it’s with a travel agency, airline, rental car company or hotel.

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  • Marathon starts campaign; NFL effort targets women

    Terry Lefton
    The ING New York City Marathon breaks a campaign this week with the somewhat chauvinistic tag line “Everything Else Is a Warm-up.”

    Developed by agency Doublespace, the campaign is designed to promote awareness and increase tune-in during a time when the Nov. 4 marathon is in the first year of a new five-year TV deal with ESPN that will give it more national exposure, via 3 1/2 hours of live race coverage from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on ESPN2. Marathoners featured in the campaign are Meb Keflezighi, Firehiwot Dado and Amanda McGrory. Actor Edward Norton also is in the 30-second TV ad.

    Ronnie Tucker, vice president of marketing and digital for New York Road Runners, parent of the ING New York City Marathon, said that according to recent research from Nielsen, “We have permission to be America’s marathon. The audience finds us compelling because while they know they can’t play in the Super Bowl, there’s a possibility they could run in the New York marathon if they got up off the couch.”

    The $3 million-plus campaign’s media mix includes TV, radio, digital, out-of-home and print — The New York Times, Sports Illustrated and running publications, as well as the programs for the Chicago and Berlin marathons. Wonder how those races will feel about being called “a warm-up” in their own programs?

    > LOUNGE LIZARDS: Continuing to bolster marketing support behind licensed product for female fans, the NFL and its licensees are supporting a series of “style lounges” at nine NFL stadiums this year.

    The NFL and its licensees plan a series of “style lounges” at nine stadiums this year.
    Photo by: NFL
    Designed as a combination pop-up store and an experiential marketing play, the 40-by-60-foot customized tents will include photo booths, DJs spinning music, manicurists applying nail polish in team colors, and a “boutique retail environment” featuring a variety of NFL-licensed women’s merchandise such as performance apparel from Nike, apparel from the likes of 5th & Ocean, jewelry from LogoArt, cowboy hats from Little Earth, cowboy boots from Old Pro Leather and the aforementioned nail polish in team colors from KE Specialties.

    Niceties largely unknown at licensed-product retailers but commonplace in department stores, like fitting rooms and mirrors, will help make buyers feel more at home and perhaps decide if “that jersey makes me look fat.”

    The pop-up retail experience debuts outside the FedEx Great Hall (formerly the Coca-Cola Great Hall) at Pittsburgh’s Heinz Field on Sunday and will make additional appearances throughout the season at NFL venues in Indianapolis, Detroit, New Orleans, Kansas City, St. Louis, San Diego and Washington. In Baltimore, it will be installed in the Ravens’ locker room as part of the team’s sixth annual Purple Evening for female fans, which offers on-field football drills, football 101 and autograph sessions. All the other installations are on game days.

    Eventive Marketing is staging the lounges for the NFL and its licensees.

    “This is part retail and part marketing, so we’re looking for sales, of course, along with awareness of our products for women and media impressions,” said Tracey Bleczinski, vice president of consumer products at the NFL, adding that the program was tested at a New York Jets game last year. “We’re changing that NFL retail experience for our female fans so they can see licensed products in new ways and shop in an environment more like a department store.”

    This is the third consecutive season that the NFL has bolstered marketing behind licensed products for women. Bleczinski would not say what percentage of NFL licensed sales women’s products represent — we’d be stunned if it was close to 20 percent — but noted it was the league’s fastest-growing consumer product category and product awareness was skyrocketing.

    > COMINGS & GOINGS: Ben LaMarca leaves Source CommunicationsSource1 Sports unit, where he’d been a managing partner since September 2011, to put out his own shingle as The Calibrate Group, which will focus on how marketers can tap into the fan experience, and sponsor activation. … Former NFLer Eric Petrosinelli joins GroupM Entertainment & Sports Partnerships, New York City, as a senior vice president. He’d been running his own consultancy, Five Star Sports, for the past eight years. … Meanwhile, leaving GroupM ESP after four years is Seth Jacobs, senior vice president, to join CAA Sports Corporate Consulting, a unit former GroupM ESP CEO Greg Luckman has headed since September 2011. Jacobs also worked with Luckman at Momentum.

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

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  • TWC to sponsor Hendrick entry in four Cup races

    Time Warner Cable is taking its “Enjoy Better” slogan racing.

    The company, which debuted the new marketing slogan earlier this year, signed a three-year agreement with Hendrick Motorsports to become a four-race, primary sponsor on the No. 5 car driven by Kasey Kahne. It will unveil its new paint scheme Oct. 10 and make its NASCAR Sprint Cup Series debut at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Oct. 13.

    The deal expands on a six-year licensing agreement Time Warner had with Hendrick Motorsports that allowed the company to use Jimmie Johnson and other Hendrick drivers in advertising and promotions.

    Financial terms of the new agreement weren’t available, but sources said Hendrick Motorsports was shopping races on Kahne’s car earlier this year for as much as $550,000, which would make the Time Warner deal worth more than $2 million annually.

    Time Warner Cable CMO Jeffrey Hirsch said NASCAR fans represent an important consumer demographic in key markets such as North Carolina and Texas, and said expanding the company’s agreement with Hendrick to include four primary races would give it exposure in those markets.

    “To be more present every week with a guy [Kahne] who’s able to really knock the socks off the sport was a good opportunity for us,” Hirsch said. “It aligns with what we’re trying to do with ‘Enjoy Better.’”

    The company will incorporate Kahne into its “Enjoy Better” campaign. The campaign, which was developed by Ogilvy & Mather, has a budget estimated at $80 million. It currently features athletes such as the New York Giants’ Victor Cruz in advertisements that promote how Time Warner Cable makes it possible for consumers to enjoy watching movies, playing video games and surfing the Web better. The marketing message around Kahne will be that NASCAR fans can enjoy motorsports better with Time Warner.

    There is a business-to-business element to the agreement, as well. Time Warner Cable sells advertising on its local news and sports channels such as News 14 in North Carolina. Hendrick Automotive has dealerships in 12 states, and Hendrick Motorsports can help Time Warner Cable’s sales team with introductions to its local dealers. HendrickCars.com, a division of Rick Hendrick’s automotive company, also has begun placing national advertising buys.

    CAA Sports assisted Time Warner Cable on the deal.

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