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Volume 24 No. 158

Marketing and Sponsorship

Dallas-area stores "opened their doors to fans eagerly waiting in line to buy the official NBA Champions locker room T-shirts ... as the final seconds ticked away" during Sunday's Mavericks-Heat NBA Finals Game Six, according to Sandra Baker of the FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM. Those T-shirts "went quickly, and the retailers started over again bright and early Monday morning." Dick's Sporting Goods reopened at 7:00am CT, and Dick's Communications Marketing Manager for Dallas West Ryan Green "couldn't release the number of shirts and hats flying off the shelves" but said that sales "were strong." Baker notes the Academy Sports & Outdoors store in White Settlement, Texas, was "out of hats" as of noon yesterday. The store "had received three shipments of merchandise, but was unable to get more hats Monday." Meanwhile, Coca-Cola "jumped on the bandwagon and said it would offer fans a commemorative championship Sprite can to celebrate" the Mavericks' championship. Coca-Cola said that the 12-ounce cans featuring the Mavericks' logo "will be available beginning this week." Sprite is the official soft drink of the NBA (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 6/14). In Dallas, Lindsay Ruebens notes "many stores opened late Sunday after the Mavericks historic win and quickly sold out" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 6/14).

FEELING THE HEAT: In Ft. Lauderdale, Kathy Laughlin notes the Miami Herald "posted a correction on the home page of their web page" after a Macy's ad yesterday accidentally "appeared in some editions, touting Miami Heat NBA champions T-shirts for sale." The correction read, "A Macy's advertisement featuring Miami Heat merchandise was mistakenly published June 13 on page 11D in some editions of The Miami Herald. We regret the error and apologize for any inconvenience" (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 6/14).

Sports marketing experts believe that Mavericks Owner Mark Cuban is "emerging as the most unlikely member of the team to score in the lucrative world of sports endorsements," according to Rich Thomaselli of AD AGE. Cuban already has a relationship with Samsung, was a contestant on ABC's "Dancing With the Stars" and made a cameo appearance as himself in HBO's "Entourage." Univ. of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business professor Kenneth Shropshire said, "He's extremely marketable, certainly more so now than ever. His good behavior during the finals was a big plus" (, 6/13). Baker Street Advertising Exec VP & Exec Creative Dir Bob Dorfman in his post-NBA Finals marketing report writes while the "outspoken Cuban was unusually quiet during the playoffs, he's more charismatic than any of his Maverick players." As a "fabulously successful entrepreneur, he could certainly make a compelling pitchman for any business-related product or service -- from telecom to computers to banking -- though it's doubtful he needs the money." Dorfman writes there are "no Slam Dunk pitchmen" emerging from this year's Finals. Heat stars LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh "damaged their marketability with their Finals failure," while Mavericks F and Finals MVP Dirk Nowitzki "just isn't terribly interested in endorsements." Nowitzki "could easily net $3-5M a year in new endorsement deals -- if he's willing to put himself out there." Dorfman: "That's a big if; Dirk's a very guarded personality, not terribly charismatic on camera, and none too interested in marketing himself." On the other side, James' "un-superstar-like performance put a serious dent in his marketability, and may have cost him as much as $10M in new deals." It is "tough to recommend paying top dollar right now to a jock as polarizing as he's become," at least "not until he proves he can deliver in the clutch, and win it all" (THE DAILY).

HOW DOES DIRK MEASURE UP? Bloomberg TV's Michele Steele noted Nowitzki scores a "dismal 45 on the Davie-Brown Index, used to measure celebrity appeal and brand influence." The Marketing Arm Senior VP Bill Glenn: "Endorsements are sort of an afterthought for him. Secondly, the 'brand Dirk' is not quite defined yet." Glenn added, "From a trendsetting standpoint, entertainment-wise he's like a Bob Newhart. He's pretty bland right now. That's not a bad thing. It's just going to define the types of brands that are going to link with his attributes. So if you look globally, I personally think a global brand is going to have to step up and actually link to that German heritage" ("Bloomberg Bottom Line with Mark Crumpton," Bloomberg TV, 6/10). Meanwhile, Nike during the playoffs turned its basketball website "over to a data viz app called Epic that calculated which Nike-sponsored player was getting the most tweets per hour," and Nowitzki was "ahead in that ranking on Monday afternoon." The app "also measures which teams were getting the most tweets per hour, a stat in which the Mavericks trounced" the Heat. Nike worked with digital agency R/GA on the program (, 6/13). Nike took out a full-page ad in today's Dallas Morning News for Nowitzki (THE DAILY).

Heat F LeBron James is "setting off on another offseason in which he'll desperately need to rebuild his reputation," according to Mitch Lawrence of the N.Y. DAILY NEWS. After giving a "mysteriously passive Finals performance" against the Mavericks, James was "more dangerous with a microphone and in front of the cameras than he ever was with the ball." Asked after Sunday night's Game Six loss if it "bothered him that so many people were happy to see him fail," James said, "Absolutely not. Because at the end of the day, all the people that was rooting on me to fail ... they have to wake up tomorrow and have the same life that they had before they woke up today. They have the same personal problems they had today. I'm going to continue to live the way I want to live and continue to do the things that I want to do." Lawrence writes if James was "trying to alienate more fans, he certainly accomplished it." James has been "doing a fine job of killing himself with basketball fans over the last 13 months," and that response together with his "classless mocking with Dwyane Wade of Dirk Nowitzki in front of TV cameras were the low points everyone will remember from one of the best Finals in years" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 6/14). FORBES' Mike Ozanian wrote the postgame interview was "bad business by LeBron." Many of his "lucrative sponsorship deals, like McDonald's and Coca-Cola, are with companies that cater to the very people that James belittled with his remarks." Ozanian: "If James wants to remain the NBA's leading earner from endorsements, he needs to think about who buys the products he pitches before he speaks" (, 6/13). Comcast SportsNet's Brian Mitchell said, "He has to understand those 'nothings' are the ones making you rich." Comcast SportsNet's Michael Jenkins: "I have never seen a professional athlete who was so self-unaware" ("Washington Post Live," Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic, 6/13).

TIME TO LOOK IN THE MIRROR:'s Darren Rovell wrote James "hasn't seen the error of his ways." He "still doesn't get that fans aren't mad at his actual decision to leave Cleveland, but the way 'The Decision' show went down" on ESPN. Rovell added, "And he still doesn't understand that the reason he is disliked so much is because he brings it on. It's the little things that continue to push him back. Getting involved in petty antics like his coughing fit with Dwyane Wade, meant to mimic their opponent Dirk Nowitzki" (, 6/13). In Boston, Gary Washburn writes, "Right now, LeBron James is just an overhyped superstar who badly needs an image makeover. He desperately needs a mentor to coach him through these difficult career moments because, quite honestly, he’s blowing it. And his crew isn’t helping him much." Regardless of whether his comment Sunday night "is true, the worst thing a professional athlete can do is flaunt his wealth and lifestyle in the face [of] the working man." Washburn: "For someone who wanted to be Michael Jordan as a youngster, this was about as far from MJ as one could get" (BOSTON GLOBE, 6/14). In N.Y., Jorge Castillo wrote under the header, "Does James Need His Own PR Firm?" Since "The Decision" last summer, James "has come under fire whenever he has taken a misstep or failed to succeed." Castillo: "Sometimes you want to feel bad for him. Then he does something that sweeps the sympathy right out of you, and makes you wonder what kind of advice he’s getting -- if any at all" (, 6/13).

CHANGE WILL DO YOU GOOD: In St. Louis, Bryan Burwell wrote there "still is plenty of time to get this right" for the 26-year-old James, but "before that can happen, James needs to admit to his shortcomings." Off the court during the Finals, he "continued to behave like an immature kid." Burwell: "I don't think LeBron is a villain. I just think he is an incredibly immature young man who has surrounded himself with too many people who were ill-equipped to help him through this journey. He is working with people who were back-slappers and yes men, toadies and sycophants who enabled him because they didn't know what else to do" (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 6/14). USA TODAY's Mike Lopresti writes, "James is now in the news media grinder, where big-name players go to suffer. They hype you to absurd proportions, and then tear you down when you turn out less than unbeatable" (USA TODAY, 6/14). In Newark, Dave D'Alessandro writes under the header, "LeBron James Needs More Talk About Basketball, Less About His Brand" (Newark STAR-LEDGER, 6/14). Bill Sutton & Associates Principal Bill Sutton said, "There's no question he lost some marketability. ... A lot of this goes back to 'The Decision.' He went from one of the most respected athletes to one of the most reviled." But TrinityOne Sports CEO Lou Imbriano said, "Everybody guns for the guy on top. Everybody enjoys seeing a guy like LeBron enjoy some misery. He's still marketable. He's probably one of the three most marketable athletes in the U.S., if not the world" (, 6/13). Octagon VP & First Call Managing Dir David Schwab on his blog wrote, "In today's world, legacies are (unfairly) defined at point-in-times. LeBron has work ahead of him." Conversely, Schwab wrote Wade's marketability "increased this post-season." He is a "top-five player and should be marketed as such" (, 6/13).

England's FA is "looking to use a new sponsorship deal with Budweiser to promote the FA Cup globally, taking on internationally popular competitions" such as the EPL and the UEFA Champions League, according to John Reynolds of MARKETING MAGAZINE. The FA's deal with Anheuser-Busch, set to be announced this week, "will be activated in New York to help push the brand across the US, China and the Middle East." The deal is "thought to be worth" about US$13.2M annually. Previous FA Cup sponsors "have primarily concentrated their marketing around the tournament" in the U.K. (, 6/14). Meanwhile, in London, Charles Sale reported the FA has dropped IMG “as their sponsorship agency partners.” It is thought that IMG “played little part in the FA securing Vauxhall’s backing for the England team,” as well as Budweiser’s sponsorship of the event. However, Club Wembley “will continue to use IMG to help sell corporate seats at the national stadium” (London DAILY MAIL, 6/8).

YOUR NAME HERE: German Bundesliga club Bayer Leverkusen took out a quarter-page ad in today's Financial Times to advertise the club's vacant jersey sponsorship. The ad places "Your Brand" across the chest of a Bayer Leverkusen jersey and reads in part, "Come and play the Champions League with us!" (THE DAILY).

Year-to-year royalties generated from the sale of licensed merchandise fell 1.9% in '10 to $5.065B, according to an annual licensing industry survey released today by the Int'l Licensing Industry Merchandisers' Association. Sports licensing revenue fell 2.2% last year, to $645M from $660M in '09. LIMA's data is derived from results of its annual survey of companies directly involved in the licensing business, examination of public financial document and interviews with industry execs. Respondents noted that business began to increase in the second-half of last year. They also saw a steady increase of retail sales, licensing opportunities with new retailers and progress with mid-tier department stores and specialty retailers (LIMA).

% +/-
Characters (Entertainment/Movies/TV)
Sports (Leages, Individuals)
Non-Profit (Museums, Charities)


In N.Y., Claire Atkinson notes cable networks are “on track to close out the upfront ad-selling season with about $1 billion more in their pockets than they had last year.” Market sources said that the “dramatic rise in cable advertising revenue -- broadcast TV is expected to log a gain of just 2 percent -- is tied to programming changes for broadcasters, such as the disappearance of ABC's daytime soaps, the end of Oprah's syndicated show and the question mark over the NFL season, all of which has put money into play in primetime that had been committed elsewhere in years past” (N.Y. POST, 6/14).

SAVE THE DATE: LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan said that the tour will reserve the State Farm Classic’s early June dates for Springfield, Ill., until tournament Exec Dir Kate Peters “says the monetary backing just can’t be arranged for next year.” State Farm ended its 19-year title sponsorship of the event this year and Peters said that the Classic “needs somewhere between $2.2 million and $2.5 million -- the bulk of which would cover the prize-money purse -- for a 37th annual to take place.” She “acknowledged the possibility raised last week by Whan, who said the Classic could skip a year if sponsorship can’t be acquired.” But it is “something Peters wants to avoid if at all possible.” She said that a “more desirable scenario -- short of finding one or two major sponsors willing to commit on a multi-year basis -- would be several central Illinois businesses willing to combine for one year” (Springfield STATE JOURNAL-REGISTER, 6/14).

SMELLING LOVELY AT THE TRACK: In N.Y., Andrew Adam Newman noted Schick is “introducing what it says is the first men’s scented razor, the Xtreme3 Refresh, and rolling it out with scratch-and-sniff packaging, an online marketing campaign and a partnership” with NASCAR driver Martin Truex Jr. Schick will be “circulating its new scent through diffusers at ‘refresh stations’ it is setting up at 10 Sprint Cup races this summer.” The stations will “include a tent area cooled by misters and fans, and will be equipped with a television, sinks where NASCAR fans can try the new razors, and a 40-foot RV for respites from roaring engines.” Online ads for the new razor, which “will begin to appear on shelves this week, are scheduled to begin appearing June 17 on Web sites including Facebook, and” (N.Y. TIMES, 6/13).

ON THE CATWALK: In Toronto, Dan Robson notes Maple Leafs G James Reimer has teamed up with Vancouver-based sports apparel company Firstar “to launch a line of fan gear and performance wear.” Firstar President John Catliff said that Reimer has been “wearing the company’s ‘base-layer’ for about six months.” Catliff said that Firstar is “still working on its marketing and promotion plans.” The company is “hoping to cash in on the Toronto market” through its partnership with Reimer. In addition to its deal with Reimer, Firstar also partners with Canucks C Ryan Kesler and launched his RK17 line introduced last year (TORONTO STAR, 6/14).