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Volume 24 No. 158

Marketing and Sponsorship

PPR is “determined to help Puma get a second wind,” and company Chair & CEO François-Henri Pinault “wants to increase revenue more than $1.4 billion by 2015 by building a portfolio of ‘sports and lifestyle’ brands around Puma," according to Andrew Roberts of BLOOMBERG BUSINESSWEEK. It is a “strategy similar to one he's used in luxury goods bearing his signature Gucci label and seven others.” Rather than “focusing on athletic gear targeted at serious sports enthusiasts," PPR sees a "broader universe of consumer goods and apparel that can evoke the sporting lifestyle without all the sweating.” Pinault said, "The sports and lifestyle segment shares common characteristics with the luxury segment, growing fast in the same regions of the world.” PPR has begun an “acquisition spree for brands that complement Puma.” The company earlier this month agreed to buy California-based skateboard brand Volcom for $607.5M. Pinault said that he is “seeking other small- to medium-sized purchases in categories where Puma has no presence, such as hiking, where there are marketing tie-in and expansion opportunities.” Pinault said that Puma, which also owns the Cobra Golf and Tretorn brands, will “spend more this year on product development and marketing and accelerate store expansion, particularly in China and India.” Pinault has “set an aggressive goal of lifting Puma sales by about 50 percent, to nearly $6 billion, by 2015.” Analysts said that “that won't be easy without another Pelé-class endorser and a slew of hot new products.” Puma sponsors sprinter Usain Bolt and F1 driver Sebastian Vettel, and Liberum Capital Analyst Simon Irwin said, “To be a sporting brand you need to be associated with big names, and in my view, they just don't have enough" (BLOOMBERG BUSINESS WEEK, 5/16 issue).

3n2 co-Owner Sean Murphy said that in the four years since he and Marty Graham "bought the business, sales have increased 90 percent or more each year,” according to Linda Florea of the ORLANDO SENTINEL. The shoe and apparel company has “grown from three employees working out of their homes to 12 full-time workers” in its Maitland, Fla., HQs, plus “two quality-control employees in Asia, where the footwear is manufactured.” 3n2 -- short for "three balls and two strikes," -- focuses on “footwear for baseball and softball players.” An apparel line “was introduced in 2008, and uniforms were added a year later.” The business also “found a niche market in footwear for umpires.” The company in ’10 “sold almost 30,000 pairs of cleated footwear in a business dominated by established, international sports brands such as Nike, adidas and Mizuno.” Its sales of turf shoes also “grew sharply.” Murphy said that “apparel already accounts for about 35 percent of the company's sales,” and clothing's share of the revenue “is expected to continue growing with the introduction of uniforms.” Florea notes an “important part of 3n2's marketing plan is corporate sponsorships of both players and teams.” The company counts MLB Rangers P Neftali Feliz among its current endorsers (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 5/13).

The USA Pro Cycling Challenge race is donating its presenting sponsorship category to the Millennium Promise, a global nonprofit that targets extreme poverty. The race, which will be the country’s second largest when it debuts Aug. 22-28, will now refer to itself as the USA Pro Cycling Challenge for Millennium Promise. Sources familiar with the event said the sponsorship category could have brought in $2.5-4M annually. The race in April dropped the name Quizno’s Pro Challenge, but event CEO & co-Chair Shawn Hunter said he is not worried that two name shifts will cause confusion. “We have two very successful investors who have great vision and the resources to do (the race) long-term,” said Hunter, who referenced FC Barcelona’s '06 choice to donate its jersey sponsorship to UNICEF. The race is owned by Quizno’s founder Rick Schaden and his father Richard, both of whom volunteer with the Millenium Challenge. The change will not affect the QSR's sponsorship of the race (Fred Dreier, SportsBusiness Journal). The sponsorship donation to Millennium Promise includes $2M “worth of advertising during the 27 hours of TV coverage on NBC, Versus and online.” Race organizers said that it is the “first time a professional sporting event in the U.S. has donated the competition’s presenting sponsorship to a charitable organization.” Schaden, who met Millennium Promise co-Founder & President Jeffrey Sachs five years ago, said the charity’s global mission “is a nice fit with our global race” (AP, 5/12).

Samsung Mobile announced the company will serve as the title sponsor for qualifying during the June 9-11 Firestone Twin 275s Izod IndyCar Series/NASCAR Camping World Truck Series doubleheader weekend at Texas Motor Speedway. The Samsung Galaxy Tab Qualifying Days will include the Truck Series on June 9 and the IndyCar Series on June 10. Samsung, which has title sponsored the April Sprint Cup Series race at TMS for 10 years, is promoting the launch of its new Galaxy Tab 10.1 with the qualifying efforts (Samsung).

SOUTHERN LIVING: The Southern Conference has reached a three-year deal with Atlanta-based CSE to serve as the league's marketing rights holder and media partner. The deal will begin July 1 and run through the '13-14 academic year. Under the terms of the agreement, CSE will manage all rights associated with marketing, championships, broadcasting, digital and new media. CSE will also support the conference office through strategic consulting, analytics and branding initiatives. The conference previously had a relationship with IMG (THE DAILY).

COUGAR TOWN: BYU AD Tom Holmoe said that the school is "happy with its apparel contract with Nike and that it will continue to work with Nike in the future." He said that "no football uniform changes are being planned for this fall." Holmoe added that there is "no plan to wear Nike Pro-Combat uniforms in games this season" (, 5/12).

: MLB has unveiled the '11 version of its Stars and Stripes cap that will be worn on patriotic days such as July 4 and Sept. 11, and YAHOO SPORTS’ Kevin Kaduk wrote, "What started out as a decent idea to display baseball's allegiance on patriotic dates has transformed into a fashion monster that grows worse and worse with each passing year.” Proceeds from the sale of the hats benefit the Welcome Back Veterans fund (, 5/11).