SBJ/Oct. 2-8, 2017/Marketing and Sponsorship

’47 Brand has message for the industry: ‘We are not for sale’

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oogle ’47 Brand and it yields 51.1 million hits. Fanatics.com lists more than 2,300 items for sale from the suburban Boston-based licensed sports apparel brand. Apparently, none of those SKUs include a definitive sales agreement: Despite persistent rumors from across the sports licensing industry, ownership at ’47 Brand says the company will remain family owned, as it was when founded 70 years ago.

“We’re definitely not for sale,” said Bobby D’Angelo, one of four brothers who now run the company founded by their father. “We’re growing at better than 20 percent, so we still feel like we’re in a very good place.”

Industry chatter had HanesBrands, which already owns licensed brands Gear For Sports and Knights Apparel, as a leading suitor. We’re also aware that everything is for sale, depending on the offer.

Uh-uh, say ’47 Brand’s owners.

“We are not for sale and the people trying to spread that are enemies of our company,” said Steven D’Angelo, another one of the brothers.

With performance brands like Nike de-emphasizing licensing sales more than ever in favor of a pure exposure model, licensing royalty rates soaring and the retail landscape a mess, it isn’t a good time for a licensed apparel manufacturer to put itself on the auction block.

“Everything is a grind,” Steven D’Angelo said. “We’d like to have more layups. Nothing is easy in our business now, but our ownership is not changing.”

LONG LINES: Not many offensive linemen attract marketing deals, but then again, few are the son of Pro Football Hall of Famer Howie Long, not to mention the younger brother of Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Chris Long.

Bloodlines aside, Kyle Long, a former first-round pick and Pro Bowler with the Chicago Bears, has local deals with Ford, Pepsi and Campbell Soup, as well as Nike, supporting those brands’ NFL league sponsorships. Long also has some local radio and TV spots. However, it seems his real passion is on a different field of play.

“His really big passion is gaming,” said Brian Nelson, vice president of talent at 16W Marketing, Rutherford, N.J., which represents Long, along with his father and brother. “So, long term, gaming may be where he’s heading. I keep telling him he needs to play in the NFL a couple more years first.”

> MARCH OF DIMES: Pro Football Hall of Fame and Investors Bank will be among the new sponsors at the 34th annual March of Dimes Sports Luncheon, which will be held at the New York Hilton on Nov. 28. Honorees include Pro Football Hall of Fame president and CEO David Baker, who will receive the Sports Leadership Award; NFL Chief Marketing Officer Dawn Hudson, who’ll get the Corporate Leadership Award; former New York Mets pitcher Ron Darling, who is the “Sports Legend” honoree; and Olympic medalist Simone Biles, who will be feted as Sportswoman of the Year.

> TABLING IT:
The ninth annual TopSpin table tennis tournament and fundraiser, benefitting educational nonprofits, a favorite among industry marketers and athletes, has already raised more than $300,000 in sponsorships — above 2016 to date. The highest yield was 2014, when $400,000 was raised; this year’s “stretch goal” is $500,000, said Peter Farnsworth, a founder of TopSpin and founder/CEO of business development, cause marketing and brand consultancy Foxrock Partners.

Sponsorships range from $10,000 to $50,000. EverFi, Ticketmaster, the Mets and Oak View Group are all new sponsors. Returning sponsors include industry pillars like Anheuser-Busch InBev, JPMorgan Chase, the NBA, NFL, MLS, NHL, MLBAM, AEG, Madison Square Garden, Harman, AmEx, Coke, CAA, IMG, Octagon and Wasserman.

Over the years, TopSpin has raised more than $3 million, which has benefitted 22 educational nonprofits. This year’s event is scheduled for Dec. 6 at the Metropolitan Pavilion in New York City. MKTG produces the event gratis for TopSpin, and supports sponsorship sales.


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


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