With the start of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament this week, marketers are gearing up for their “most intensive periods of pitching and peddling outside of the Christmas shopping season,” according to Stuart Elliott of the N.Y. TIMES. Coverage of the tournament on TV and online “will be sponsored by scores of major marketers, spending hundreds of millions of dollars.” Liberty Mutual will “bring out new commercials in its long-running ‘responsibility’ campaign,” created by Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos, Boston. Domino’s Pizza is “making a large commitment to the tournament” as the official pizza of the NCAA. The “first fruits of Domino’s sponsorship is a Domino’s Pizza Bracket competition on the company’s Facebook page.” UPS is sponsoring “another competition with voting at the core.” Print Madness, created by Doner, Michigan, will ask consumers to vote on Facebook “for their favorite video clips of five managers of college basketball teams.” Also "adding to the ad spending is activity by marketers that seek to take advantage of all the interest in the tournament but are not official sponsors." Diamond Foods “is offering two ‘bracket’ sweepstakes” on emeraldnuts.com and kettlebrand.com that carry the disclaimer: “not affiliated with any collegiate basketball league or association.” Applebee’s is a sponsor of ESPN’s online fantasy Round by Round Pick 'Em tied to the tournament -- but “because it is not an official sponsor, Applebee’s refers to the event in a news release with euphemisms like ‘March hoops.’” Meanwhile, TBS, TNT and truTV are working with YouTube “to stimulate interest in online viewing.” On Thursday, the youtube.com masthead -- the large display ad atop the page -- will “feature clips from games as they are played” (NYTIMES.com, 3/14).
Marketing and Sponsorship
Nike and its affiliated brands sponsor 55 of the 68 teams in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, up slightly from 53 in last year's 65-team tournament. THE DAILY's annual breakdown of the shoe and apparel brands worn in the tourney shows there are 52 schools that wear Nike shoes, while three teams don Jordan Brand. Twelve teams wear adidas shoes, up from 11 last year. Temple is the lone school to sport Under Armour gear and shoes. Nike/Jordan jerseys are worn by 51 teams. Anaconda Sports' "The Rock" brand and Russell Athletic both sponsor two teams' jerseys, while Crons sponsors UNC-Asheville. Schools in the chart below are listed by region in their seed order. The first round of the NCAA tournament begins today (THE DAILY).
|1) Ohio State||Nike/Nike||1) Kansas||adidas/adidas|
|2) North Carolina||Jordan/Jordan||2) Notre Dame||adidas/adidas|
|3) Syracuse||Nike/Nike||3) Purdue||Nike/Nike|
|4) Kentucky||Nike/Nike||4) Louisville||adidas/adidas|
|5) West Virginia||Nike/Nike||5) Vanderbilt||Nike/Nike|
|6) Xavier||Nike/Nike||6) Georgetown||Jordan/Jordan|
|7) Washington||Nike/Nike||7) Texas A&M||adidas/adidas|
|8) George Mason||Nike/Nike||8) UNLV||Nike/Nike|
|9) Villanova||Nike/Nike||9) Illinois||Nike/Nike|
|10) Georgia||Nike/Nike||10) Florida State||Nike/Nike|
|11) Marquette||Jordan/Jordan||11) Southern Cal||Nike/Nike|
|12) Clemson||Nike/Nike||11) Virginia Commonwealth||Nike/Nike|
|12) UAB||Nike/Nike||12) Richmond||Nike/Nike|
|13) Princeton||Nike/Nike||13) Morehead State||Nike/Nike|
|14) Indiana State||Nike/Nike||14) St. Peter's||Nike/Anaconda Sports|
|15) Long Island||adidas/Anacoda Sports||15) Akron||Nike/Nike|
|16) Texas-San Antonio||Nike/Nike||16) Boston University||Nike/Nike|
|16) Alabama State||Nike/Russell Athletic|
|1) Duke||Nike/Nike||1) Pittsburgh||Nike/Nike|
|2) San Diego State||Nike/Nike||2) Florida||Nike/Nike|
|3) Connecticut||Nike/Nike||3) BYU||Nike/Nike|
|4) Texas||Nike/Nike||4) Wisconsin||adidas/adidas|
|5) Arizona||Nike/Nike||5) Kansas State||Nike/Nike|
|6) Cincinnati||adidas/adidas||6) St. John's||Nike/Nike|
|7) Temple||Under Armour/
|8) Michigan||adidas/adidas||8) Butler||Nike/Nike|
|9) Tennessee||adidas/adidas||9) Old Dominion||Nike/Nike|
|10) Penn State||Nike/Nike||10) Michigan State||Nike/Nike|
|11) Missouri||Nike/Nike||11) Gonzaga||Nike/Nike|
|12) Memphis||Nike/Nike||12) Utah State||Nike/Nike|
|13) Oakland||Nike/Nike||13) Belmont||Nike/Nike|
|14) Bucknell||adidas/adidas||14) Wofford||adidas/adidas|
|15) Northern Colorado||Nike/Nike||15) UC Santa Barbara||Nike/Nike|
|16) Hampton||Nike/Russell Athletic||16) Arkansas-Little Rock||Nike/Nike|
TV, print ads
JUST FOR KICKS: In Portland, Allan Brettman notes the MLS season begins tonight and adidas’ “three stripes will be everywhere as every team will be outfitted in a uniform designed at the Adidas America office in North Portland.” adidas is “among a few companies comprising the 22 MLS sponsors who've been financial partners” since the league’s inception in '96. adidas last August “extended its contractual commitment to the league” through '18. Brettman notes adidas' presence in MLS “doesn't end with uniforms, balls, equipment and merchandise.” The company tomorrow “will kick off its largest brand marketing campaign ever,” and Adidas America Dir of Brand Marketing for Sport Performance Britt Jorgenson said, "We do have plans to integrate the MLS into this campaign starting on a smaller scale in March. As we move to the summer and then the playoffs we'll come back with a soccer and MLS story line similar to what you're seeing" in the original video commercials (Portland OREGONIAN, 3/15).
MAKING HISTORY: History network yesterday announced a deal with Charlotte Motor Speedway to name the Memorial Day weekend NASCAR Nationwide Series race the Top Gear 300. The race will air nationally on ABC at 2:30pm ET on May 28 (History). SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL's Tripp Mickle reports the "one-year agreement, which sources valued at slightly more than" $1M, gives History "a chance to show its car-centered, reality show 'Top Gear' on the nation's largest video board." History officials said that the deal was "driven by the demographic fit it saw between 'Top Gear' and NASCAR, and the opportunity to show 'Top Gear' and other History Channel programming on the speedway's new, 80-foot-tall by 200-foot-wide Panasonic LED board." Mickle notes History in '07 did a series of track deals in order to promote the launch of its show "Ice Road Truckers" (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 3/14 issue).
Under Armour "has confirmed that it is planning to include its 'E39' technology in the shirts" for EPL club Tottenham Hotspur, a system that is "comprised of sensors that send second-by-second updates on everything from a player's heart rate to core body temperature, breathing rate and acceleration," according to James Hurley of the London TELEGRAPH. Smartphones and laptops "receive the data so that coaching staff can monitor players' fitness and performance during training and matches." Under Armour also "wants to share the information with broadcasters," which would give fans "unprecedented access to players' athletic performance and even state of mind during key moments in a match." Under Armour Exec VP/Global Brand and President of Int'l Mark Dowley: "We can metrically tell you what is happening to the body of somebody kicking a penalty in front of 60,000 people. You can watch his heart rate as he waits to take the kick. For the first time you can see inside an athlete as they perform. It adds to the drama." Dowley said that he "believed that more Premier League teams will be interested in the technology once they see Tottenham employing it." Under Armour "launched the E39 shirt in Indianapolis at the NFL Scouting Combine last month," and the company "believes E39 could be used successfully in almost any televised sport." Under Armour is "planning to sell a retail version of the kit" (London TELEGRAPH, 3/13).
UNITED FRONT: Aon Global CMO Phil Clement appeared in a podcast for CHICAGOBUSINESS.com, where he discussed sponsoring the jersey for EPL club Manchester United. He said Aon was "looking to something very major in the marketing arena," something that would "unify the firm ... and amplify our brand globally." The deal is reportedly a four-year and $120M, and Clement noted it is "safe to say there was a lot of debate internally" as to whether to make the deal. Clement: "It turned out that the price tag for what we wanted to accomplish and what are mission was really the most efficient way to go about it" (CHICAGOBUSINESS.com, 3/14).
VF Corp. Friday said that it is "counting heavily on the surging popularity of its outdoors and action-sports apparel to help it reach an ambitious five-year growth initiative," according to Richard Craver of the WINSTON-SALEM JOURNAL. VF said that it "plans to reach $12.7 billion in revenues by 2015 -- up $5 billion from 2010 -- primarily through outdoors and action-sports apparel sales, as well as expanding internationally and with its retail stores." The company said that the "bulk, or $3 billion, of the revenue growth would come from its outdoor and action-sports apparel categories, which are led by The North Face and Vans brands." It added that "by 2015, the two categories should account for at least half of VF's total revenues." About $1B in revenue growth "would come each from jeanswear sales, led by the Lee and Wrangler brands, and combined from its sportswear, imagewear and contemporary-brands categories." VF also set a 15% "annual growth target for international sales, with Asia expected to lead the sales increase, followed by Europe -- its largest global market -- and the Americas" (WINSTON-SALEM JOURNAL, 3/12).