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Volume 24 No. 113

Marketing and Sponsorship

NBC has been "quietly testing whether it can command as much as $3.5 million for 30 seconds of commercial time during its broadcast of next year's Super Bowl, which would be a record-setting price for advertising in the gridiron classic," according to Brian Steinberg of AD AGE. NBC is "entertaining discussions with advertisers and media agencies about Super Bowl XLVI, slated to be broadcast from Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis on Feb. 5, 2012." Interest in the game "has been robust, spurred further by Fox's ability to sell out its broadcast of Super Bowl XLV all the way back in October," and a source indicated that NBC has been "holding talks with potential advertisers since early fall." Ad buyers revealed that the network has "suggested that 30 seconds of ad time during the game is worth" north of $3M and as much as $3.5M. By comparison Fox is believed to have charged around $3M for a 30-second spot during Super Bowl XLV earlier this month. Steinberg noted Super Bowl ad prices "typically rise $100,000 or $200,000 each year, depending on the performance of the most-recent broadcast." NBC's proposal of a "possible hike of $500,000, however, is bold," especially since the NFL is "in the midst of labor discussions that could leave the U.S. without a football season come autumn." NBC's broadcast of Super Bowl XLVI will be its first since merging with Comcast, and recent comments from NBC Universal President & CEO Steve Burke "suggest the company expects to make a profit off sporting events" (, 2/24).

Clippers F Blake Griffin’s dunk over a Kia Optima which won the Sprite Slam Dunk Contest last Saturday as part of the NBA’s All-Star Weekend will be incorporated into a TV ad breaking Friday on ESPN’s NBA doubleheader, as well as Friday's Clippers-Lakers broadcast on FS Prime Ticket and FS West. The ad shows a side view of the dunk in slow motion, enough to include the beauty shot that is a staple in any auto ad. It says, “Not your average dunk. Not your average mid-sized sedan.” Print versions of the ad appear in Friday’s USA Today and L.A. Times. The question now is how long that moment will endure, said Tim McGhee, Senior VP for IMG Consulting, Kia's sports and sponsorship agency. On Sunday, the day after the dunk, Griffin did an appearance at NBA Jam Session fan fest and even after he signed the car and left, fans were queuing to get pictures of themselves next to the Kia he dunked over (Terry Lefton, THE DAILY). Kia Dir of Marketing Tim Chaney said that the brand "didn't pay an additional fee to the NBA, which shot the spot for them, because of the car's status as the official car sponsor of the league." Chaney noted that it is "possible that the ad will run throughout the remainder of the season."'s Darren Rovell reported "right now, the deal is a one-off with Griffin, but Kia and Griffin's agency Excel Sports Management have continued discussions on possibly doing a longer term deal." The only other athlete on Kia's endorsement roster is golfer Michelle Wie (, 2/24).

IndyCar team de Ferran Dragon Racing “closed operations Thursday because of a lack of sponsorship” after four years in operation, according to Curt Cavin of the INDIANAPOLIS STAR. Team co-Owner Gil de Ferran said, "I couldn't figure out an equation where there wasn't an ounce of uncertainty and financial risk." Earlier this week, it was “confirmed Tony Kanaan, the driver who committed to de Ferran's team in December, didn't have enough sponsorship to run.” Kanaan is “looking for a new team for the season that begins in a month.” Also to be determined is “the partial-season program of Davey Hamilton, who planned to return to de Ferran Dragon.” The team was founded in '07 by Steve Luczo and Jay Penske (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 2/25). Kanaan said, “It’s a shame because we worked really hard the past couple months to try and find funding and I had 88 meetings with people looking for sponsorship.”’s Robin Miller noted Kanaan “may be able to hook up with Dale Coyne but there’s not many options remaining.” There had been talk that de Ferran Dragon “might run a partial schedule,” but Kanaan “opted not to.” He said, “Believe me, we looked at every scenario available, half a season, Indy, some races near the end but I couldn’t build a case for it” (, 2/24).

Charlotte Motor Speedway Thursday announced a sponsorship with the Myrtle Beach Area Convention & Visitors Bureau to title sponsor the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals this April. The deal, which sources valued in the mid-six figures annually, makes the new title sponsor of the second annual race at Charlotte's zMax Dragway. The deal is a one-year agreement with an option to renew. The Myrtle Beach Area Convention & Visitors Bureau signed on to sponsor the event because it saw synergies between the speedway's audience and the tourists it is trying to attract. Myrtle Beach Area Convention & Visitors Bureau Exec VP/Marketing Scott Schult: "We did a lot of homework on this one. The Charlotte Motor Speedway team gets marketing." Schult said he hopes that affiliating with the NHRA race and becoming the speedway's official vacation destination helps drive traffic to Charlotte Motor Speedway currently gets 1.7 million visitors a year.