Indianapolis-based Strategic Marketing Affiliates serves as Butler's collegiate licensing agency, and COO John Mybeck said that the school's second straight appearance in the national championship game “has pushed sales this year ‘significantly ahead’ of last year,” when Butler made its first Final Four appearance. Merchandise sales also have "increased three-fold” from ’09. Mybeck said Butler's licensing revenue "is up 150 percent from last season, and it is four times what it was" in June ’08. The amount Butler receives “from each item increased Jan. 1 from 7.5 percent to 10 percent” (Renee Bruck, INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 4/2).
NOT GETTING THERE: SI.com’s Bruce Martin noted for the “second time in the last three races, NASCAR had another tire issue with the Goodyear Racing Tires” at yesterday's Sprint Cup Goody's Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway. The issue was “essentially the same problem that happened at Bristol Motor Speedway two weeks ago, as the tires were not ‘rubbering in’ to the race track, turning to rubber dust particles instead.” Martin wrote, "This is an issue that NASCAR must correct soon because there is too much at stake to be ruined by a faulty tire” (SI.com, 4/3). In Charlotte, Jim Utter notes Goodyear’s “premise on development is to construct tires that last a full fuel run,” but having tires “wear out before that was a new wrinkle that drivers didn’t much appreciate this weekend.” Utter: “It did make for a better race. The question is, will we see more of it?” (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 4/4).
QWEST FOR A NEW NAME: In Seattle, Danny O’Neil noted with CenturyLink’s acquisition of Qwest, MLS Sounders FC sponsorship items “will bear a new logo beginning later this month.” The Qwest Field name and logos “aren't changing -- at least not right now.” However, the company's “sponsorship of the Sounders club -- such as messages on the video scoreboard -- will bear a new logo, one that likely could include the logos of both Qwest and CenturyLink.” CenturyLink Northwest Region President Brian Stading said the change of signage is a “transitional branding." O’Neil noted the term “probably means this isn't the last of the sponsorship changes” (SEATTLE TIMES, 4/2).
BRAND ANTHEM: In Detroit, Chrissie Thompson noted Buick last weekend debuted the “Your kind of luxury” campaign in the “latest step in General Motors’ attempt to define its upscale” brand. Buick Dir of Advertising & Promotions Craig Bierley said that the 60-second "Brand Anthem: What Matters to Buick" spot was slated to premiere Saturday during CBS’ pregame broadcast of the Final Four and will have run a “total of six or seven times by the time a men’s college basketball champion is crowned” tonight (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 4/2).