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Volume 24 No. 160

Marketing and Sponsorship

NBC has “sold nearly half of its available Super Bowl XLVI spots, cutting deals with a number of repeat clients looking to protect their positions in the big game,” according to sources cited by Anthony Crupi of ADWEEK. Precise ad rates are unavailable, but NBC is “believed to be commanding rates above and beyond Fox’ year-ago average price of $3 million per 30-second spot.” Rates for Super Bowl spots “typically increase by as much as $150,000 each season, although given the deluge of automotive, telecom and financial services dollars flooding the market, NBC could push for a $300,000 hike.” The auto industry has “sparked the run on ad time” and has been “a big part of the conversation at the NFL’s other network partners.” Fox has sold “a healthy portion of its regular-season avails and is believed to have wrapped up a good deal of auto business" for both its "Fox NFL Sunday" pregame show and during its 1:00 and 4:15pm ET game broadcasts. CBS is also “said to be fielding offers for its Sunday afternoon coverage.” ESPN is “in active discussions with its ‘Monday Night Football’ sponsors and, given the uncertainty engendered by the NFL lockout, its 300-game NCAA football slate is the object of great interest.” One game that is “almost certainly sold out is the Sept. 10 Notre Dame-Michigan matchup.” Sources indicated that the “incumbents aren’t hoarding all the NFL inventory; in fact, a good deal of first-time clients are throwing their lot in with football.” College football is “particularly popular amongst marketers who are looking to dip a toe in the water” (, 5/20).

Daytona Int'l Speedway announced this morning that Anheuser-Busch has signed a multiyear renewal for its Budweiser brand to remain the track's exclusive beer sponsor and title partner of NASCAR's Budweiser Shootout. As part of the agreement, Budweiser will also begin a non-exclusive promotional partnership with Homestead-Miami Speedway in '12. Budweiser will maintain signage rights for all events at DIS, including Speedweeks, the Daytona 500 and the Coke Zero 400, as well as naming rights of the infield concession area and branded Party Porch. Budweiser's entitlement extension for the Shootout continues a relationship that began in '79, when the event was known as the Busch Clash. Budweiser began as the official beer of the track in '06 (DIS). SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL's Tripp Mickle notes A-B is "one of Daytona’s five largest sponsors in terms of rights fee and promotional activity." The brewer "promotes its affiliation with the track by using the Daytona logo on Budweiser packaging across the Southeast and nationally at select retailers." A-B Senior Dir of Sports Marketing Brad Brown: "This is one of the main cogs in that (NASCAR activation) wheel. It allows us to showcase at the start of the year what our racing platform will be" (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 5/23 issue).

Aflac during Saturday's NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race posted a "Now Hiring" sign on Carl Edwards' No. 99 Ford, according to J. Scott Trubey of the ATLANTA CONSTITUTION. Aflac "has sponsored Edwards for three years, and it’s the company’s first attempt to recruit directly via stock car." Aflac’s positions "aren't hires; they’re independent contractor jobs." Aflac Senior VP & Director of Sales Tom Giddens "wouldn’t say how many spots are open, but the company launched the campaign in January in an effort to enlarge its 75,000 member U.S. sales force." The company "also is running TV, radio and print spots" (, 5/20). Meanwhile, BLOOMBERG NEWS' Nancy Kercheval reported Aflac "has agreed to sponsor the Heisman Trophy." Aflac "didn't give details of the multiyear partnership," but said that it allows the company to "offer exclusive, Heisman-themed experiences to its accounts and brokers" (BLOOMBERG NEWS, 5/21). The company is "working with major universities to line up" events around the endorsement (AP, 5/21).  

Fox sold out its ad inventory for the UEFA Champions League Final in mid-April, when Gatorade picked up the last two spots. Last year, the same game did not sell out until early May. Fox is reporting that pricing is up about 10-15% this year. In addition to Gatorade, Apple and Burger King are new advertisers on Saturday's telecast, having opted not to buy time in the semis. Geico signed on as the sponsor of the pregame show; Pizza Hut will sponsor the halftime show; and DirecTV will have the postgame show. The story is similarly as good for Fox Deportes, which also is sold out with pricing up 10-15%. Fox' Spanish-language sports channel sold the full auto category sponsorship for both TV and online to Ford, which is an official Champions League sponsor. Snickers' sponsorship will include two customized vignettes using Fox Deportes talent.

Soccer star Mia Hamm “lured American girls to soccer in droves,” and Nike's Jordan Brand is about to find out if new endorser Maya Moore “might have the same marketing impact in basketball,” according to Allan Brettman of the Portland OREGONIAN. Moore last week signed a multiyear deal with Jordan Brand, and she “might be just what Nike, Inc., needs for continued growth in the U.S. market.” Moore's credentials “are top notch, having become the first four-time first team All-American in the history" of college basketball and leading UConn to two national titles. Univ. of Portland marketing professor Diane Martin said, "Women have been largely underserved in a variety of consumer products." Moore on Friday said, "I'm excited about seeing more females wear Jordan products because they're excited to see me wearing them." Brettman noted “few WNBA players have individual sneaker endorsement deals.” adidas Head of Global Sports Marketing Chris Grancio indicated that the lack of deals is “a plus for Adidas, whose WNBA apparel contract calls for all players without shoe deals to wear Adidas.” Grancio said sales to women basketball players have "always been a very important part of our business." Moore said that it is “too early to say whether the Jordan Brand would be designing a Maya Moore shoe, though she acknowledged the possible appeal for women basketball players in high school and college” (, 5/21).

The Bucks on Friday said that they have "reached agreement on a multi-year sponsorship with YES Vodka." The deal includes sponsorship "on the Bucks radio network, in-arena signage and social media elements." Financial details were not disclosed. The vodka brand became available at Bradley Center starting with Saturday's Bon Jovi concert (, 5/20).

A VIRAL SENSATION: In St. Petersburg, Marc Topkin reported a video of Rays 3B Evan Longoria "'saving' a reporter with a bare-handed catch has gone viral, with close to 3 million hits on YouTube." Longoria said that the video "was shot with a handheld camera in one take in about five minutes, after a six-hour shoot for another Gillette commercial." Longoria: "Once it gets on to Twitter and YouTube, it goes from a small snowball to an avalanche pretty quickly" (ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 5/20).

LET'S RACE: In K.C., Randy Covitz reported the NHRA Summer Nationals are "looking for a new title sponsor" after O'Reilly Auto Parts "withdrew from its longtime role" this year. O'Reilly acquired 3,400 CSK Auto stores and has "shifted its marketing efforts from NHRA races in Topeka and Dallas to Chicago and Seattle, where CSK has more stores." But Heartland Park of Topeka Owner & GM Raymond Irwin said that the facility is "not in jeopardy of losing the NHRA, now in its 23rd year at the track." Irwin said that O'Reilly "remains a corporate sponsor through signage at the track and other promotional activities" (K.C. STAR, 5/21).