Group Created with Sketch.
Volume 24 No. 155

Marketing and Sponsorship

The NCAA in October "paid $17.2 million to sports and entertainment marketer Intersport to stop using the term 'March Madness,' which has been attached to the NCAA's Division I men's basketball tournament since the 1980s," according to Steve Wieberg of USA TODAY. The settlement gives the NCAA "sole ownership of a trademark that has been the subject of several legal disputes and challenges over the years." Notre Dame AD Jack Swarbrick said, "Long term, protecting the vitality of that asset ... I think it's a good investment." Wieberg noted Intersport "took out the original trademark more than two decades ago but reached an agreement" with the Illinois High School Association in the early '90s in which it "accepted a limited license to the phrase in exchange for a share of royalties." Intersport was most recently using "March Madness" in "programming for mobile devices." The NCAA deemed that "detrimental to the trademark" (USA TODAY, 5/11).

The USTA yesterday announced that Esurance has extended and expanded its sponsorship of the U.S. Open. Esurance, which became a U.S. Open partner last year, will remain a sponsor of the tournament through '12. The deal includes media support of tournament TV broadcasts, an on-site presence and presenting sponsorship of live match streaming on Esurance has also agreed to sponsor four Olympus US Open Series events (USTA). Esurance VP/Marketing Darren Howard said that the company "will focus on elevating the fan experience and the US Open's Green Initiative." MARKETING DAILY's Tanya Irwin notes Esurance will distribute N.Y. Subway MetroCards "at select times during the two-week tournament" to help promote the initiative's mission to "encourage attendees to take mass transit to the competition." The company will have "branding exposure on USTA shuttles and select on-site maps, and is sponsoring a bag-check station during the event for the convenience of fans" (MARKETING DAILY, 5/11 issue).

Service Central Chip Ganassi Racing has partnered with firearm manufacturer Colt in an associate sponsorship deal that puts the company's logo on the team's No. 38 car driven by Graham Rahal at the Indianapolis 500. The deal also puts the Colt logo on Rahal's uniform for the rest of the Izod IndyCar Series season. Terms of the deal were not available (Tripp Mickle, SportsBusiness Journal).

Green Smoke's deal for Bell's ride is its
first NASCAR sponsorship
SMOKE SIGNALS: Electronic cigarette brand Green Smoke announced it will sponsor T.J. Bell for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coca-Cola 600 on May 29th at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Bell will drive the No. 50 Green Smoke Toyota in what would be his first Sprint Cup race should he qualify. Green Smoke's deal with Bell is the company’s first NASCAR sponsorship and the first by any organization within the electronic cigarette industry (Green Smoke).

DRIVING TRAFFIC: Roush Fenway Racing has launched new sections to its website, providing more sponsorship focus to attract business partners. The enhanced site highlights the marketing advantages of a NASCAR sponsorship and features a list of RFR’s partners. It also showcases each individual sponsor and details how they are able to achieve marketing success through their relationship with the racing team. A “Driving Success” flash video, produced with NASCAR Media Group, is also featured on the revamped site (RFR).