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CAA Sports, which has one of the largest consulting businesses in U.S. golf, has acquired a Munich-based agency to increase its reach globally.
Through its work with KPMG, Zurich, Farmers Insurance, Web.com, Bose and others, the golf division of CAA Sports has established a long list of consulting clients that sponsor PGA Tour events and golfers. What CAA didn’t have, though, was the kind of global reach that many of its competitors, such as Lagardère Unlimited, IMG and Wasserman Media Group, already have or are also seeking.
CAA Sports will now be managing BMW’s branding efforts at six golf events.
Photo by:GETTY IMAGES
PGM has overseen BMW’s branding on the European Tour, where the automaker title sponsors three tournaments in England, Germany and China, as well as other international competitions.
Marco Kaussler, who founded PGM 25 years ago, will join CAA Sports and work with CAA Golf Co-Heads Billy McGriff and Ben Gannett to help guide the agency’s efforts in golf internationally. Those efforts will be focused on finding international activation opportunities for their clients that need more of a global presence.
Essentially, PGM will be rebranded to CAA Sports, but continue to operate as it has. Financial terms of the deal were not announced.
“Our golf group helps major brands in the golf space activate with tournaments and player deals, and that’s very consistent with what Marco has been doing for BMW,” Gannett said. “Most of the growth in golf moving forward is going to come outside of the U.S., and Marco brings us a new expertise because of his work with the European Tour and in China.”
As part of the acquisition, CAA Sports will now be managing BMW’s branding efforts at the BMW International Open, BMW PGA Championship, BMW Golf Cup International and its affiliated World Final, and the BMW Masters. BMW also has a consulting relationship with Octagon for its North American sports marketing, including the PGA Tour's BMW Championship, and that is expected to continue.
Gannett and McGriff were first introduced to Kaussler last April at Augusta during the Masters. Talks progressed from there over the next several months.
“We’ve been a very boutique agency, but over the last several years with BMW going more global in golf, adding an event in London and then Shanghai, it just seemed like the right time to partner up with a global agency like CAA,” said Kaussler, who added that his five employees at PGM will be retained. “From the very beginning, we saw that we would fit well in their company culture,” Kaussler said.
PGM’s headquarters in Munich will provide CAA with its first office in Germany.
CAA Sports entered the golf consulting business in 2011 when it acquired MG Sports Marketing, a Jacksonville Beach, Fla.-based firm founded and operated by Gannett and McGriff. The MGSM acquisition brought with it clients such as CDW, Farmers Insurance, Mitsubishi Electric, UBS and Zurich Financial Services. KPMG and Bose came on board last year.
For now, McGriff said, CAA will continue to work in its sweet spot, consulting, with no immediate plans to move deeper into events or player management. CAA does some marketing for Jack Nicklaus and Greg Norman, but the agency does not represent any active golfers.
“We’re involved in events, but we’re always wearing the hat of the brands that we represent,” McGriff said. “Our job is to make sure the events run to benefit the brand, just as Marco works on behalf of BMW.”
Five NASCAR sponsors are scheduled to debut a combined six new commercial spots during Sunday’s Daytona 500 telecast on Fox, doubling the number unveiled during last year’s season-opening Sprint Cup race.
Automotive endemics Ford, Chevy and Goodyear, along with Coca-Cola and Nationwide Insurance, all will break new, racing-themed creative.
“It’s a great barometer of how things are going in our sport,” said Norris Scott, vice president of partnership marketing at NASCAR. “Partners are using our Super Bowl to unveil new creative. That reinforces the Daytona 500 as a place big brands come to launch campaigns.”
The ads from Chevy and Coke will build on campaigns that the sponsors ran last year.
Chevy continues its “Man and Machine” theme with a spot that features defending Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson.
NASCAR sponsor Coca-Cola and Ganassi Racing sponsor Unilever (below) will be among the brands with new ads for Daytona.
This week, it will debut a fourth.
“For a company like Coke to update the creative during the season, that’s a really big deal,” Scott said. “Their metrics went through the roof after they did it, so now they’re doing it again.”
In the other spots:
n Ford, which last year executed a 30-minute time buy to promote its Ford Fusion on race day, will roll out a new spot for its F-150 truck featuring driver Brad Keselowski.
n Goodyear has a 60-second spot exploring the science of tires that features Kevin Harvick.
n Nationwide will unveil a pair of new commercials.
There also will be at least two team sponsors debuting spots this week.
As in the Super Bowl spot, the tag line “Make Love Not War” provides a twist on the usual “smell good, be cool, get girl” Axe mantra.
Larson, who will be in the Target-sponsored No. 42 car formerly driven by Juan Pablo Montoya in the 500, will drive an Axe-sponsored ride in the Nationwide series race on Saturday. Unilever is an associate sponsor on his Sprint Cup entry.
Richard Childress Racing sponsor General Mills will break its first new NASCAR themed spot in four years when it rolls out a Cheerios commercial featuring the latest driver of the iconic No. 3 car, Austin Dillon, and his mother, Tina — who is the daughter of team owner Childress.
The spot, which will break in the days leading up to the race, goes along with a large retail program that Cheerios will run this year in about 2,000 Kroger stores, which includes boxes that feature a No. 3 shaped Cheerios bowl.
A Charlotte company that produces on-screen graphics for video largely in college stadiums and arenas has renegotiated its deal with IMG College.
The company, 10 Foot Wave, has a digital platform called FanConnect, which enhances the in-stadium video feed that typically goes to TVs in premium areas, concession stands, restrooms or anywhere else a team might place a screen in its venue, including video boards.
FanConnect puts stats and sponsor info on in-stadium video feeds.
The original plan called for 10 Foot Wave and IMG College to share the ad inventory, but that was not working, both sides said. So they restructured their deal to enable IMG College to sell all of the advertising, with 10 Foot Wave receiving a fee.
10 Foot Wave has worked with IMG College for the last four years to place the product in college stadiums and FanConnect is used in 25 college facilities through the relationship with IMG College. It just recently added the football venues at Florida State, Michigan and UCLA.
The company also works with Louisville and Michigan State and is in talks for a similar arrangement with Learfield Sports and its 92 schools.
“It fills a void in some venues where you aren’t able to have exposure to every fan,” said Rick Barakat, vice president of sales strategy and operations for IMG College. “This enables advertisers to have a portal into club areas and suites, where they can find the more affluent customers.”
Outside of IMG College’s network of 79 schools, 10 Foot Wave just signed its first professional sports deal with the Charlotte Bobcats for Time Warner Cable Arena.
The Bobcats are running FanConnect on the arena’s 250-plus televisions, and it provides exposure for sponsors such as Mercedes-Benz in the premium areas while updating game statistics in real time, said Pete Guelli, the team’s executive vice president and chief sales and marketing officer.
The technology is generating incremental revenue in the mid-six figures and the Bobcats expect to expand the system next season as the team rebrands itself as the Hornets, Guelli said.
Staff writer Don Muret contributed to this report.
Less than two weeks before one of the most anticipated network launch dates, the Los Angeles Dodgers’ network, SportsNet LA, is rolling out its biggest marketing push yet around the channel.
The campaign breaks in full this week and includes TV, radio, digital, billboards and print. The campaign soft launched last month with some billboards in the Los Angeles area. It uses Dodgers stars Clayton Kershaw and Yasiel Puig to create awareness around the channel, which launches Feb. 25. The campaign is slated to run through mid-March.
The marketing campaign is similar to the one the Lakers used two years ago when they launched TWC SportsNet with Time Warner Cable. TWC spent millions of dollars on that effort, and this one is believed to cost as much.
The campaign focuses on current Dodgers stars, though it also will highlight big moments from the team’s history, such as Kirk Gibson’s game-winning home run in the 1988 World Series and Fernando Valenzuela’s 1990 no-hitter.
One of the Dodgers’ biggest stars, longtime broadcaster Vin Scully, provides voiceovers on the TV and radio spots. For one TV spot, which shows Kershaw getting ready to pitch, Scully says, “Once in a generation, you see a player who truly transcends greatness and commands the trust of a team. The comparisons will come and go. But the moments will define the legend.”
The screen then shows, “Great moments live forever,” followed by “Great moments live here.”
Each of the marketing messages sends fans to a website, INeedMyDodgers.com.
The channel is fully owned by the Dodgers through American Media Productions, which tabbed Time Warner Cable to handle programming and distribution for the channel. The campaign could put pressure on distributors like DirecTV that so far have refused to carry the channel. Negotiations are not expected to heat up until late March, as Opening Day approaches.
“We know it takes time to build these things,” Rosen said. “Time Warner Cable takes the lead on these negotiations. We’re confident they will get this done and distribution will be in place.”
Editor's note: This story is revised from the print edition.
The Pac-12 Networks have sold presenting sponsorships of their pregame and postgame shows during the men’s basketball tournament to a pair of automotive companies.
General Motors has bought a spot for Buick to sponsor the pregame show, and Mercedes-Benz will sponsor the postgame show. Financial terms of the deals were not available.
Eight of the 11 games during the tournament in Las Vegas will be televised by the Pac-12 Networks. Fox Sports 1 has the other three games.
“We’ve seen some good interest this year because we’ve had a marquee team in Arizona that’s been No. 1 for much of the year and because we’ve got eight other teams fighting for NCAA berths,” said Neil Davis, executive vice president of sales for the networks.
Davis, a former executive with Fox Sports, the Brooklyn Nets and Madison Square Garden, joined the Pac-12 Networks three months ago. He came in on the tail end of talks to secure New York Life as a presenting sponsor for the entire tournament.
Unlike other conferences that outsource sponsorship sales, the Pac-12 handles network and sponsorship sales in-house.
Buick’s deal is a straight media buy. The Mercedes-Benz sponsorship includes some rights on-site in Las Vegas for signage and hospitality.