Canadian bank BMO has signed a five-year jersey sponsorship deal with the Montreal Impact, slated to make their MLS debut in '12. The team has yet to release images of the jersey, but Impact President Joey Saputo said it will remain blue. The Canadian bank, which in '07 signed a jersey sponsorship deal with Toronto FC, becomes the first company to sponsor two MLS squads' jerseys simultaneously. BMO’s sponsorship includes the front of the Impact jersey as well as signage at Saputo Stadium, on team tickets and on the team’s bench. In addition, BMO is one of the founding partners of Canada’s other MLS team, the Vancouver Whitecaps. The bank currently sponsors the Canadian Soccer Association and the country’s men’s and women’s national teams, as well as 900 soccer teams at the youth level. BMO will introduce a Team Up campaign with the Impact program that funds youth players to attend Impact games (Fred Dreier, SportsBusiness Journal). In Montreal, Stephanie Myles reports the BMO partnership is the "biggest sponsorship deal" in the Impact's history, and "one of the biggest sports sponsorships in the history of the province." Saputo said, "That was one of my selling points. You're the Bank of Montreal, you have to be in Montreal. ... It was only natural for them to get involved with Montreal if they want to be known as Canada's soccer bank." While the Impact will not change colors, a "new logo is in the works" (Montreal GAZETTE, 6/15).
Samsung has asked LOCOG officials “to protect its Olympic sponsorship from ambush marketing" ahead of the '12 London Games, according to Roger Blitz of the FINANCIAL TIMES." Samsung, an IOC TOP sponsor, said that it expects LOCOG to "react rapidly to any unauthorised attempts by rivals to advertise during the Games." Samsung VP & Head of Worldwide Sports Marketing Gyehyun Kwon said that the electronics company “was spending more than $100m in marketing to underpin its Olympics sponsorship, with about two-thirds of that amount” invested in the U.K. Kwon said Olympics organizers “have to do something against ambush marketing they find, that is the issue.” Kwon: “If it is categorised as ambush marketing, as the local authorities they have to shut down the operations. They have the legal authority and the power. We have a high expectation of the London authorities and the organising committee.” Samsung on Monday launched its ’12 Olympics marketing campaign, “built around David Beckham as its global ambassador” (FINANCIAL TIMES, 6/14). Samsung's promotional campaign will be held under the theme "Everyone’s Olympic Games.” The company also is sponsoring the Olympic torch relay, and “will select 1,360 of the 8,000 runners who will bear the torch on a 70-day trip around” the U.K. after the torch arrives from Greece in May ’12 (KOREAHERALD.com, 6/14).
EXHIBIT A: The London DAILY MAIL reported LOCOG is "threatening legal action" against a company trying to hold an art exhibit "unless they remove the '2012' from their proposed trademark." The Great Exhibition 2012 "aims to stage a major event outside of London in August next year, at the same time as the Olympics." LOCOG is claiming that the company is "trying to cash in on the Games." LOCOG has sent a letter to the exhibit warning that if the organizers do not "drop '2012' from their application for a trademark then London 2012 'will seek to recover our costs' from ensuing legal action" (DAILYMAIL.co.uk, 6/14). The Great Exhibition Company founder Julie Benson said that she "has spent the last 12 years planning the art event." However, she admits that London winning the Games in '05 "led her to plan the timing and the name of the exhibition" (BBC.co.uk, 6/14).
In Scotland, Dominic Jeff reported the Royal Bank of Scotland this week was scheduled to announce a "new sponsorship deal with Andy Murray despite making big cutbacks since its taxpayer bail-out.” The bank is "a long-standing backer of the Scottish tennis ace and his brother Jamie, with the last deal, struck in 2009, reportedly worth” US$3.25M annually. RBS would not comment on details of the latest arrangement, but it is “believed that it will require greater community involvement from the family.” The deal reportedly will involve Murray’s mother and tennis coach, Judy Murray, “fronting a campaign aimed at encouraging parents to play sports with their children” (THE SCOTSMAN, 6/13).
FOLLOW THE BOUNCING BALL: CAMPAIGNLIVE.co.uk's Matt Williams noted Sony is “revisiting its iconic ‘balls’ TV ad in an online campaign to promote its 3D coverage of the Wimbledon finals.” The U.K. campaign, via Crayon, London, is “spearheaded by a video featuring thousands of tennis balls bouncing through the streets of suburban Wimbledon, in the same way that Fallon's ad for Sony Bravia showed thousands of colourful balls bouncing through the streets of San Francisco.” The video will be “supported by a national press campaign, as well as radio, eCRM and experiential activity, with 10,000 branded tennis balls being handed out in London.” Users will also “be able to take part in a competition that challenges them to collect virtual tennis balls that have been placed on various web pages.” Each ball collected represents an "entry into a competition, with prizes including tickets to the final, as well as a range of Sony 3D products” (CAMPAIGNLIVE.co.uk, 6/15).
CREATING A RACKET: In London, Belinda White wrote it “seems that the fashion world is having a tennis moment.” The British Fashion Council is “capitalising on the worldwide interest in Wimbledon” by enlisting a "host of British fashion design talent to design exclusive outfits for the leading lights of the female tennis world for this year's pre-Wimbledon party.” Designers including Stella McCartney, Vivienne Westwood, Giles Deacon, Burberry, Richard Nicoll, Matthew Williamson, Hussein Chalayan and David Koma “have all offered their services for this one-of-a-kind project aimed at raising both the off-court profile of the stars of women's tennis, and the international profile of British fashion design talent.” Many of the designers “will be accompanying the WTA stars to the annual pre-Wimbledon party” at Kensington Rooftop Gardens on Thursday “to show off their creations, before the dresses are auctioned off during Wimbledon with the proceeds being split between WTA charities and the British Fashion Council's Princess of Wales Charitable Trust” (London TELEGRAPH, 6/13).
In Dallas, Marianne Brown noted sporting goods stores across the Dallas-Ft. Worth region have "gotten new shipments” of official Mavericks championship T-shirts or will get them soon. Fourteen Academy Sports & Outdoors locations opened at 7:00am CT yesterday “to meet the demand,” and “many Dick’s Sporting Goods stores said they had a large number of the T-shirts available.” Brown noted “most Sports Authority locations said they were low on adult sizes but were expecting new shipments this week” (DALLASNEWS.com, 6/14).
LISTEN TO THIS: Newly retired NBAer Shaquille O'Neal has agreed to endorse battery and headphone company iGo and "will appear in the company's marketing and advertising campaigns." That includes "print and television advertising, packaging and in-store and online promotions." O'Neal's "first duty will be to help launch" the new iGo Green Rechargeable Alkaline battery brand and iGo headphones that will be available nationwide this summer. This is the "first time iGo has employed a celebrity of any sort for its product marketing" (MEDIAPOST.com, 6/14).
LICENSE TO ILL: NASCAR Team Properties last night was recognized as the "Best Sports Program of the Year" at the International Licensing Expo in Las Vegas. The award follows a year in which NASCAR and its teams formed a new licensing trust, ending a system that required licensees to negotiate deals with each individual NASCAR team and replacing it with one in which licensees could secure rights across the sport from one entity. Since then, the group has signed deals with Lionel Electric Trains, Motorsports Authentics, Spin Master Toys and Walmart (Tripp Mickle, SportsBusiness Journal).
ON THE LINKS: Lexus yesterday announced the addition of golfer Jason Day to its sponsorship roster, with the deal beginning tomorrow at the start of the U.S. Open. Day will wear the Lexus logo on his apparel and make appearances at Lexus events as a brand ambassador. Lexus' golf endorsers include Nick Watney, Natalie Gulbis, Charles Howell III, Annika Sorenstam, Peter Jacobsen, Mark O'Meara, Raymond Floyd and Johnny Miller (Lexus). Meanwhile, Washington state-based employee benefits, annuities and life insurance provider Symetra Financial yesterday announced an agreement to sponsor golfer J.J. Henry through '12. The agreement with Henry marks Symetra’s first sponsorship with a PGA Tour player (Symetra).
OPEN HAPPINESS: The PGA Tour yesterday announced a new logo and name for the final tournament of the Playoffs for the FedExCup. The event will now be called the Tour Championship by Coca-Cola. The new branding is part of Coca-Cola and Southern Co.'s six-year sponsorship renewals through '16 (PGA Tour). In Atlanta, Jeremiah McWilliams noted the logo “features Coca-Cola’s contour bottle alongside a golf ball.” Tour Championship Exec Dir Todd Rhinehart: “We believe this new logo symbolizes the Coca-Cola Company’s commitment to increasing the reach and impact of the culmination of the FedExCup” (AJC.com, 6/14).