Liverpool shirt sponsor Standard Chartered wants the EPL club to "bring in high-profile Asian players to capitalize on their marketability on the continent," according to Rob Harris of the AP. Standard Chartered Head of Corporate Affairs Gavin Laws "outlined his hopes for Liverpool" Thursday, saying that the bank "sees great potential for the club to increase its exposure in the Asian market -- where it does most of its business." Laws: "The markets in Asia and the Middle East are so nationalistic, they are very proud about their countries. (Matches) become huge events. One appearance from a player, say from Dubai in the Premier League, and you'd have the whole of Dubai watching it." Liverpool currently ranks sixth in the EPL, meaning the team is "set to miss out on competing in the more lucrative Champions League for the second successive season." But for Standard Chartered, European competitions "are of less interest than the Premier League." Laws: "The Champions League for us as a sponsor is not that important for us. By the time the games are played, the major markets we are interested in, everyone is asleep and in bed." Laws added, "The market is saturated in Europe with so many clubs, how many more merchandise sales are they going to create over the next 10 years? If the clubs want to do merchandise sales going at an exponential rate you've got to be in China, you've got to be in Korea really getting all the people excited about the game." Harris noted Standard Chartered "committed to investing" $134M "over the next four years to replace beer brand Carlsberg as the principal commercial backer of the club," which was bought by Fenway Sports Group in October (AP, 3/31). YAHOO SPORTS' Brooks Peck wrote, "Clearly this man knows the business of football. No one in Asia cares about the world's premier club tournament because they're all asleep when the matches happen. Right" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 3/31).
GETTING INVOLVED: In London, Ian Herbert reports Standard Chartered "has sought reassurances that the conduct of players will not cause it any embarrassment." Standard Chartered CEO Peter Sands "sought undertakings with his Liverpool opposite number about the club's likely action against offending players and also had sight of the club's code of conduct before signing" the sponsorship deal last year. Also, Laws "stated the merits" of Fenway Sports Group "refurbishing Anfield rather than building a new stadium." Laws: "Anfield is not as developed as some other clubs and that makes it very exciting for our guests from Asia" (London INDEPENDENT, 4/1).
The Canucks this year “have bought into virtual advertising on a test basis" with ads that appear "on the glass behind the nets" to TV viewers, according to Yvonne Zacharias of the VANCOUVER SUN. Canucks Sports & Entertainment COO Victor de Bonis said, “We think the experiment has been good so far. The sponsors that are participating have been very excited about it in terms of the exposure they are getting." But there has been “some trial and error in getting the new technology up and running.” De Bonis said that in the “first game the ads appeared, they dominated the screen because they were too big.” Zacharias noted the team “moved quickly to make the appearance softer so it blended in better with ads on the rink boards.” The Canucks will “continue to test the ads for the remainder of the season and then make a decision this summer on whether they want to continue next year.” The “green-screen technology definitely has some advantages over more traditional forms of advertising.” The ads “can't be missed by viewers who might take a break from their screens during regular commercials.” Univ. of British Columbia Saunder School of Business Assistant Marketing Professor Tim Silk said that another advantage is teams “can easily change them merely by switching a lens whereas ads along the boards are more of a permanent fixture.” Zacharias noted the Canucks have BCIT, the British Columbia Lottery Corporation, Meyers Norris Penny and Joey's Restaurants “as advertisers using the green-screen technology.” The Flyers, Rangers, Red Wings, Blue Jackets, Senators and Capitals also are using virtual ads (VANCOUVER SUN, 3/31).
Target Chip Ganassi Racing has signed a deal with the Kellogg Company for it to be the primary sponsor of Dario Franchitti's No. 10 Izod IndyCar Series ride for two races. Franchitti will drive the Kellogg's Honda Dallara during the May 1 Itaipava Sao Paulo Indy 300 and the Sept. 4 Baltimore Grand Prix (TCGR). Meanwhile, Pennsylvania-based Kennametal Inc.'s Widia Products Group will be the primary sponsor of Earnhardt Ganassi Racing's No. 1 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series ride driven by Jamie McMurray for Sunday's Goody's Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway. Kennametal, which "has been a secondary sponsor of race cars," did not disclose the cost of the primary sponsorship (Pittsburgh TRIBUNE-REVIEW, 3/31).
BALTIMORE GRAND PRIX SIGNS SPONSORS: In Baltimore, Ryan Sharrow reported the IndyCar Baltimore Grand Prix has signed 10 "new sponsorships, including deals with Sunoco, Geico and AirTran Airways." Sunoco will serve as the "official fuel partner and pit lane sponsor," while AirTran will be the race's official airline. Other sponsors signing deals include Transamerica, Greenspring Energy, Enoch Office Products and HVM Racing. Deals also are "in place with Tequila Patron ... Bacardi Rums, Jack Daniels Tennessee Whiskey, Grey Goose Vodkas and Jagermeister." All five alcohol brands "will serve their spirits at the race." Terms of all the deals were not disclosed (BIZJOURNALS.com, 3/31).
THE IRON BOWL HITS THE TRACK: YAHOO SPORTS' Matt Hinton reported Aaron's has unveiled the Auburn Univ.-inspired paint scheme it will use on Michael Waltrip's No. 15 Sprint Car entry in the Aaron's 499 at Talladega Superspeedway on April 17. The paint scheme "will commemorate Auburn's BCS championship" over the Univ. of Oregon. Aaron's "put itself on the hook last year by unveiling a Crimson Tide-themed car at Talladega to commemorate Alabama's BCS championship in January 2010" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 3/31).
NOTES: NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. is appearing in a new TV commercial for Nationwide Insurance that began airing Wednesday (Nationwide)....All Sport Body Quencher will be the primary sponsor of Tommy Baldwin Racing's No. 36 car driven by Dave Blaney at the Goody's Fast Relief 500 Sunday (TBR)....Shell and the Common Ground Alliance have teamed up to raise awareness of 811, the national "Call Before You Dig" number, during National Safe Digging Month in April. The 811 logo will appear on Penske Racing's No. 22 Sprint Cup car driven by Kurt Busch (Shell).
MLB.com's Thomas Boorstein reported "for every home run hit during the regular season, Budweiser will donate $100 to Folds of Honor -- a charity that provides post-secondary educational scholarships for children and spouses of killed or disabled military personnel." Anheuser-Busch Dir of Military Sales Rodney Sickmann said that A-B "hopes to raise $2 million through the 'Here's to the Heroes' program, which will also raise money through Budweiser's Facebook page." MLB players last season combined to hit 4,613 regular-season home runs, down from 5,042 in '09 (MLB.com, 3/30). Baseball HOFer Dave Winfield said that A-B will donate another $1.5M on top of the home run contribution ("Varney & Company," Fox Business, 3/30).
LET'S GO STREAMING: AD AGE's Kunur Patel reported Volvo is "presenting free streaming" of MLB games "on Apple devices for one month." MLBAM announced that "access to MLB.TV in its iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad apps is free for all of April, thanks to the Volvo sponsorship." Android users "will get one free game per day." For the sponsorship, Volvo "has secured pre-rolls ads during the live stream and banners between innings." Patel noted this "isn't the first time the MLB at Bat apps will feature ads" (ADAGE.com, 3/31).
SOMETHING TO TALK ABOUT: BLOODHORSE's Tom LaMarra wrote the "benefit of a clever ad campaign" like the Maryland Jockey Club's Kegasus character, promoting the Preakness Stakes, is it "gets people thinking and talking." Maryland thoroughbred racing "isn't having an easy time of it right now, and any relief, even that of the comic variety, is much appreciated." The MJC promoted last year's Preakness with the "Get Your Preak On" campaign, and LaMarrawrote, "It seems the MJC with its 2010 and 2011 marketing campaigns is trying to do what any good business would do: generate noise and traffic to ultimately increase revenue -- and hopefully a little more interest in horse racing" (BLOODHORSE.com, 3/31).
BACK IN STYLE: CNN.com's Doron Levin noted this year "marks a return to prominence" in golf for Cadillac, which "hasn't thrown in the towel" on the sport despite relinquishing The Masters in '07 after 40 years of sponsorship. Now a major sponsor of the PGA Tour, Cadillac "tries to highlight individual achievements." Cadillac VP/Marketing Don Butler said, "That's why golf is good for Cadillac. It's about individual excellence. We're also sponsoring tennis and skiing on a regional basis." Butler said the opportunity to sponsor the WGC-Cadillac Championship at Doral is a "way to let customers experience our products." Cadillac models "were on display around the course" at the tournament (CNNMONEY.com, 3/30).