SBJ/Nov. 18-24, 2013/Marketing and Sponsorship

In glow of World Series victory, big doings for Big Papi’s agent

Terry Lefton
What’s life like for the agent of a World Series MVP?

Well, over a 10-day period after David Ortiz won the biggest individual honor within the Fall Classic, his longtime agent, Alex Radetsky, orchestrated for Big Papi a cover shoot for Sports Illustrated; chose between appearances on CBS’s “Late Show With David Letterman” and NBC’s “Late Night With Jimmy Fallon” (Letterman won because Ortiz is a longtime fan of the show and had never been a guest); and shepherded Ortiz to appearances at the New York Stock Exchange on CNBC, a “Live With Kelly & Michael” appearance, and nonstop media tours that included SI and People magazine.

There’s been little standing still for Series MVP David Ortiz and agent Alex Radetsky.
Photo by: RADEGEN SPORTS MANAGEMENT
Then there was the signing of “a few thousand bats, balls and photos” to service a new exclusive memorabilia deal with Fanatics. (Game-used equipment and apparel will follow, including his bottle of victory champagne and the goggles he wore while celebrating the Red Sox’s third World Series title since 2004). Ortiz also did an event “for an obscene amount of money” with high rollers at Caesars Atlantic City and shot some video that will be used to help launch Sony’s PS4.

Among the offers spurned were opportunities to present at the Country Music Awards and the American Music Awards.

“We’ve probably turned down a few hundred thousand in one-offs,” Radetsky said. “Just not enough time. We’ve been through the other [Red Sox] championships, but this one was so unexpected, and David had such a big profile in this series, my cellphone’s really been blowing up.”

As for corporate deals, Radetsky said he’s close to a QSR deal. Of the endemic categories, Ortiz is tied up with Reebok for footwear and apparel and Franklin for batting gloves. His video game rights are with Sony and Konami, and his beverage deal with Kraft’s Capri Sun line is up in February.

Also, Radetsky said he’s already seen more activity around the sixth David Ortiz Celebrity Golf Classic, in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, Dec. 12-15. Beyond that, the targets are “new and out-of-the-box categories.”

“We’ve had a lot of jewelers and watchmakers calling,” Radetsky said, “but it’s not like I have gotten through all my email and voicemails yet, either.”
 
> ICING THE REVIEW:  The Richards Group’s Haymaker agency has won an agency shootout to activate a new NHL league sponsorship for Pfizer’s Advil brand of ibuprofen. Haymaker, formerly Richards Sports & Entertainment, is Bridgestone’s sports marketing agency of record and has been activating the tire marketer’s title sponsorship of the NHL Winter Classic since its inception in 2008.

Sources said Pfizer was looking for creative to tie into its new one-year deal as the NHL’s official pain reliever, which includes dasherboards and other marketing assets at the spate of NHL-sanctioned outdoor games in 2014: the Winter Classic in Ann Arbor, Mich., the four games that make up the Coors Light Stadium Series, and the Tim Hortons Heritage Classic in Vancouver.
 
> TECH TALK: With technology becoming a more important sponsorship category every day, the distinctions between hardware manufacturers, software providers and systems integrators are growing fuzzy. As a result, we still expect the tech category to be sliced up ever more finely before it’s all over. Witness the designation granted by the NFL to Enterasys. The company that recently installed enhanced Wi-Fi systems at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Mass., and Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia is now an NFL league sponsor, which carries with it a designation as official provider of Wi-Fi analytics of the NFL.

While the league does not own or control the venues that would have a need for Wi-Fi and analytics thereof, as part of the deal, the NFL has secured Wi-Fi analytics equipment that will allow clubs to measure fan connectivity and online activity. The league also is providing discounted rates for the purchase of Enterasys’ Wi-Fi equipment by teams. If Enterasys reaches designated sales incentives, it can earn the additional designation of official Wi-Fi provider for the NFL.

> CAPPING OFF THANKSGIVING: Thanksgiving opens the holiday shopping season, of course, so NFL rights holder New Era will use the three Turkey Day games as a showcase for new caps to be worn on the sidelines. The new caps for the Baltimore Ravens, Detroit Lions, Dallas Cowboys, Green Bay Packers, Oakland Raiders and Pittsburgh
Steelers will be at retail Thanksgiving week.

> STILL DISTILLING: Still no official word from the NBA on its new spirits sponsorship with Diageo (SportsBusiness Daily, Oct. 30), but we’ve been told that the lead brands will be Ciroc Vodka and Crown Royal Canadian whiskey. NBA legend Julius Erving has been
appearing in Crown Royal TV ads since February. Diageo is replacing Bacardi as an NBA league sponsor. In 2010, Bacardi became the first spirits marketer to sign a sponsorship with one of the big four pro leagues. With beer marketers losing share to spirits, especially among key younger drinkers, we’d look for those beer vs. spirits battles to intensify.

> COMINGS & GOINGS: Jim Ross is moving to Palace Sports & Entertainment, Detroit, to work for President and CEO Dennis Mannion, as executive vice president, business operations and strategy. Ross was last with the Cleveland Browns as senior vice president, business development. He also has held sales and marketing positions with the New York Yankees, Miami Dolphins and Florida Marlins. … Keith Green has been promoted to senior vice president, communications and agency partnerships at Synergy Events, Ocean, N.J., where he’s been since 2007.

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

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