SBJ/January 14-20, 2013/Marketing and Sponsorship

IMG looks for national sales heads after reassigning Logan

Terry Lefton
IMG’s head of national sales, Lawton Logan, has been “reassigned’’ within the company, according to reliable sources. What that means is not clear, as it appears the scenario has yet to play itself out and is fluid. However, sources said that he has been offered another executive position at IMG, but
Lawton Logan
Photo by: IMG
as of press time, we’re told he had not yet decided whether he was staying with IMG. Additionally, we are told a search for new national sales heads has started. National sales responsibilities have been temporarily handed to Roger VanDerSnick, IMG College’s chief sales and marketing officer.

Logan, a SportsBusiness Journal/Daily Forty Under 40 Hall of Famer, came to IMG during its November 2007 acquisition of Host Communications. He was later named senior vice president of business development with responsibilities for all of IMG’s businesses in North America. He managed IMG’s national sales offices in New York, Atlanta and Los Angeles.

> NUTS TO YOU: Looking to boost sales by borrowing equity from the Harlem Globetrotters and the tour’s “healthy fun” and “good for you” positioning, Wonderful Pistachios has inked a three-year sponsorship with the Globies, which includes a uniform ad patch, something the NBA has been considering for some time. The patch on the left front chest has the nut marketer’s “Get Crackin’” tag line. Uniform supplier Russell has the right side of the Globetrotters jersey.

The Harlem Globetrotters will soon feature the Wonderful Pistachios’ “Get Crackin’” uniform patch.
Photo by: GLOBETROTTERS
In addition to a rights fee, Wonderful Pistachios will put millions behind a media buy for TV ads it has produced with five Globetrotter players, which will break late this month. Further integration includes in-game vignettes, title sponsorship of the Globetrotters’ “four-point shot” via PA announcements, along with in-arena sampling and couponing, said Peter LaPointe, senior vice president, partnership and marketing sales with the Globetrotters. “It’s a new level of integration for us,” he said, “and the amount of support they are putting behind it should really help the property.”

Leonard Armato at the Leverage Agency brought home the bacon on this one, as Leverage is the Globetrotters’ sales agency of record.

The Globetrotters tipped off their current 270-show domestic tour Dec. 26. Other endorsers for Wonderful Pistachios have included Manny Pacquiao and Snoop Dogg.

> HONORABLE MENTIONS: “NFL Honors,” the TV show awards ceremony the night before the Super Bowl, rolls into its second year. This year’s venue is Mahalia Jackson Theater in downtown New Orleans, with a taping from 6 to 8 p.m. CT. Top-tier sponsors, which get their names on awards, include Bridgestone, Papa John’s, Lenovo, SAP, Xfinity and Pepsi. Associate sponsors are Marriott, USAA, FedEx and GMC. “As you’d expect in the second year, we’re seeing earlier, better and deeper integration from our partners and their award programs,’’ said Renie Anderson, the NFL’s vice president of business development, sponsorship and media sales. A red carpet show, titled by Xfinity, will air on NFL Network that afternoon, with the ceremonies live-to-tape on Super Bowl rights holder CBS from 9 to 11 p.m. ET. Sponsor benefits include hospitality for the show, vignettes within the show and broadcast, and access to a star-filled cocktail party before the show.

As for new business, Anderson said her department continues to chip away at the technology category. Even with Lenovo and SAP on board as league partners, there may be some opportunity in storage hardware, IT servers and other areas. Elsewhere, the league has been seeking travel dollars, as in rental cars and airlines, for some time now. The lure of a Super Bowl at MetLife Stadium next year has spurred interest in those categories, as well as with financial services brands. “Obviously, we won’t do any one-offs, but there’s interest because of the Super Bowl here that we’re entertaining,” she said.

Other categories still being mined: health care, timepiece, energy provider and some possible business-to-business plays.

> EXTRA BOWL OF SUN: The Fiesta Bowl as a basketball tournament as well as a major bowl game? That idea is quietly being floated in and around the Phoenix/Scottsdale region where one committee controls both the Tostitos-titled Fiesta Bowl and the recently renamed Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, which began life as the Copper Bowl in 1989. While stressing that the project was not fully green-lit, nor funded, sources said the concept is to have the game played at University of Phoenix Stadium as soon as December 2014, with Arizona State, the University of Arizona and two big-name Eastern basketball schools.

An exploratory committee has been formed, including members of the Fiesta Bowl committee, NBC and Front Row Marketing, which has relationships with the two bowl games and University of Phoenix Stadium. We’re told Buick has some interest in sponsoring the proposed basketball tourney.

>
SOFTER SIDE OF ALL-STAR: Sears is replacing departed NBA corporate sponsor Haier as title sponsor of the Shooting Stars event during the Saturday night skills competition at this year’s NBA All-Star Weekend in Houston. The competition will be televised as part of the State Farm-titled All-Star Saturday Night telecast on TNT. The one-off deal gives members of Sears’ “Shop Your Way” frequency/loyalty program the opportunity to earn All-Star Game experiences — including the presentation of the Sears championship trophy to the winning team during a live show. Sears will also advertise on the Saturday night telecast and have a presence at the All-Star Game Jam Session fan fest.

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

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