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Volume 24 No. 157

Marketing and Sponsorship

The U.S. national women’s soccer team will play Japan in the FIFA Women’s World Cup final Sunday, but the potential for marketers to use players “after the World Cup ends is limited" because the team will have “a ghost of a stage to return to” in the U.S., according to Rovell & Kaminsky of Some have suggested that team G Hope Solo "would be on her way to making millions.” N.Y.-based Strategic President Peter Stern said, "If they win out, there’s going to be a halo for them and some additional endorsement opportunities. But they clearly have to find a way to stay in the spotlight.” Stern said that he “believes that some companies will take a shot at Solo, but her appeal is limited since, unlike Maria Sharapova or Serena Williams, there's not a schedule of her guaranteed future appearances.” Stern also “believes that the best thing for a company would be to latch on to someone like Solo and hope that she gets involved in alternative programming, like a reality show, in order to retain fans and attention.” But Rovell & Kaminsky wrote if the U.S. team “falls short of winning the Cup, they can kiss any sort of endorsement deal goodbye” (, 7/13). After the U.S. defeated Brazil Sunday in the quarterfinals, Baker Street Advertising Exec VP & Exec Creative Dir Bob Dorfman wrote on Twitter, “Solo's got the look that could earn her multi-millions. ... Marketers itching to find the next Hamm or Chastain.” But Octagon VP & Managing Dir of First Call David Schwab responded, “Those $’s are way too high.” But Schwab did write that Solo "could be very similar to" Gold Medal-winning swimmer Amanda Beard "if marketed properly" (, 7/10).

COMPARABLE ATHLETES: According to N-Score data from Nielsen Media/E-Poll, which aims to evaluate potential endorsement effectiveness, U.S. F Abby Wambach’s score measures comparably to top-ranked tennis player Caroline Wozniacki and golfer Brittany Lincicome. Wambach’s highest marks were in confidence and experience. Meanwhile, Solo’s N-Score level, which was slightly higher than Wambach’s, is comparable to WNBA Minnesota Lynx F Maya Moore and Gold Medal-winning snowboarder Hannah Teter. Solo currently is part of a Nike campaign that includes Sharapova and French Open winner Li Na (THE DAILY).

FEET OF STRENGTH:’s Ives Galarcep wrote the U.S. team “has picked the perfect time to pick up a sports-loving nation that badly needed an inspiration.” The U.S. women are “putting together a historic and dramatic World Cup run that feels even more impressive than the one their predecessors made en route to their 1999 triumph.” The current team is “transcending the niche that women's soccer had become and inspiring Americans of all sporting preferences with their displays of courage and fearlessness.” Galarcep: “The American women have grabbed the attention of casual sports fans, but without the perfect ending, those same fans will not hesitate to abandon the soccer and Women's World Cup bandwagons” (, 7/13). In Oakland, Monte Poole writes under the header, “U.S. Women Give Us A New Bandwagon To Board.” The team, with “its growing camaraderie and evident pluck, has so quickly gained the interest of not only domestic soccer fans but an entire country of people, many of whom have no more than a casual interest in any sport.” Poole: “Suddenly, again, they matter beyond the relatively insular world of soccer” (OAKLAND TRIBUNE, 7/14). In New Jersey, Tara Sullivan writes the nation is “captivated once again by a relentless, passionate group of soccer stars.” Sullivan: “This is the story of a country crying for unity, of a nation that took its time finding the love for this remarkable team but is pouring it out now in overwhelming proportion, thrilled to share in the magical journey that is but one win away from championship completion” (Bergen RECORD, 7/14). In DC, Sally Jenkins in a front-page piece writes, “This team can’t accomplish the huge cultural shift that the ’99 team did, but they still have their own part to play in the ongoing effort to popularize soccer and redefine acceptable female athleticism” (WASHINGTON POST, 7/14).

Mercedes-Benz’s sponsorship of the British Open “is part of a bigger push into golf” by the carmaker, according to Jack Ewing of the N.Y. TIMES. Mercedes in ’08 “began a major push into the sport” and has been a sponsor of three of golf’s four major tournaments -- the British Open, the Masters and the PGA Championship. The company “has its sights on” the U.S. Open, the other major, “once Lexus’s sponsorship deal expires in 2015.” Mercedes’ push into golf “represents a challenge to BMW, which sponsors the PGA European tour as well as numerous other golf events.” Consulting firm Sport+Markt noted that BMW “continues to outspend Mercedes in golf.” Sport+Markt found that BMW “remains the biggest golf sponsor," spending $55M, followed by Mercedes with $30M and Volvo at $21M. But unlike BMW, which sponsors “a range of sports, Mercedes is concentrating its international sports budget on golf and auto racing, a sport with obvious links to the product.” Mercedes has turned to golf “at the expense of tennis.” Mercedes managers said that they are “convinced that golf is acquiring a younger and hipper image, and that it is growing in popularity in Asia, where luxury car sales are soaring” (N.Y. TIMES, 7/14).

ESPN hired marketing agency B.R. Zoom "to create a TV, digital and print campaign in support of the fictitious candy bar" High 5 as part of an effort to "assess how advertising performs in ESPN's NFL content," according to Anthony Crupi of ADWEEK. High 5 was "thought to serve as a perfect control in a study of commercial effectiveness, given that viewers would carry no preconceived notions about a wholly imaginary brand." The lengths to which ESPN and B.R. Zoom "went in order to convince the test subjects of the brand's veracity were almost absurdly baroque." Everything "had to be built from the ground up, from the packaging ... to the 30-second commercial designed to introduce the phantom product," and the process "took nearly three months." Crupi noted the spot is "set in a sports memorabilia shop after hours" and it "features a group of animated trading cards enthusing over a High 5 bar." ESPN "essentially had the High 5 ad compete with three ads for authentic and recognized national candy bar brands." When "introduced within the context of ESPN's NFL coverage, favorable ratings for High 5 increased 40 percent versus when the same ad was shown during non-NFL programming." Additionally, NFL fans reported that they "would pay a 10 percent premium for a High 5 bar after viewing the spot during ESPN's pigskin coverage." Crupi wrote, "If nothing else, the High 5 experiment demonstrates the lengths to which ESPN will go to help advertisers find the most receptive audience for their brands" (, 7/13).

Steiner Sports since Saturday has sold $2.5-3M of "products related" to Yankees SS Derek Jeter’s 3,000th career hit, according to Richard Sandomir of the N.Y. TIMES. Steiner Sports Chair Brandon Steiner, whose company has partnerships with Jeter and the Yankees, said, “I thought this would be big, but it’s huge.” Steiner “likened the volume of Jeter sales” to the Yankees' ’09 World Series championship. He said that the demand for sales caused the company's “phone lines to crash three times Saturday.” Sandomir reports Jeter Sunday night signed “about 1,000 items, mostly balls and photos, for Steiner, and he will sign more products, including commemorative bats, later this month.” In addition to Steiner Sports’ sales, “about $3 million in 3,000th-hit goods were sold at Yankee Stadium over the weekend.” Modell’s Sporting Goods CEO Mitch Modell said that T-shirts “were leading sales at his stores, but he would not give sales figures.” Sandomir notes business has been “very strong” for the 24 MLB licensees that have produced 3,000th-hit merchandise. Execs from all the licensees attended Tuesday’s All-Star Game in Phoenix, and MLB Senior VP/Licensing Howard Smith said, “They’re all walking around with strange smiles on their faces.” Smith added, “This has exceeded all our expectations. Nobody has reported run-of-the-mill sales” (N.Y. TIMES, 7/14).

WE HAVE A WINNER: USA TODAY’s Bruce Horovitz notes several marketers, including MillerCoors, Modell’s and Steiner Sports, are “offering wads of cash” to Christian Lopez, the Yankee fan who caught and returned Jeter’s 3,000th hit ball. Miller High Life “offered to pay the estimated $14,000 tax bill for memorabilia and tickets that Lopez got as a thanks from Jeter and the Yankees.” Modell’s “has dubbed this ‘Christian Lopez Week’ at Modell’s, and will donate 5% of Yankee merchandise sales to Lopez” with a minimum guarantee of $25,000. Steiner Sports also is “auctioning sports memorabilia on its site, with profits going to Lopez” and a minimum guarantee of $25,000 (USA TODAY, 7/14).’s Darren Rovell noted Miller High Life, which “recently had a campaign to make its beer the official beer of fans,” also has offered “to throw a party for Lopez with free beer for him and his ‘legal-drinking-age friends’” (, 7/13). Meanwhile, Topps said that it will “produce a trading card featuring Lopez that will be included in sets later this year” (NEWSDAY, 7/14).

The NHL will hold its sixth annual trade show for licensed products, called NHL Exchange, July 20-21 at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto. The show is where licensees will debut new NHL-licensed apparel and hard goods for the ‘11-12 season. The 500 attendees include NHL licensees, retailers and representatives from all 30 clubs, as well as representatives from league partners Reebok, Old Time Hockey, Hunter Forever Collectibles and New Era Cap, among others. Representing the NHL will be Exec VP/Marketing Brian Jennings, Group VP/Consumer Product Licensing James Haskins, VP/Consumer Product Licensing Dave McCarthy and VP/Retail Sales & Marketing in Canada Barry Monaghan. Held in St. Louis last year and Boston in ‘09, the trade show was originally exclusively for hard goods, though it has evolved to include apparel as well. The show will occupy 17,000 square feet (Fred Dreier, SportsBusiness Journal).

DELAY OF GAME: True North Sports & Entertainment Dir of Corporate Communications & Hockey Operations Scott Brown said that the Jets are “continuing to work with the NHL and other partners to finalize" the team's graphic brand. He indicated that the logo “could be unveiled in the next couple of weeks.” Upper Deck yesterday tweeted, “The delay in releasing uniforms and having photo shoots for the #Winnipeg #Jets is really hindering our ability to get cards done of them” (WINNIPEG SUN, 7/14).

MULTICHANNEL NEWS’ Mike Reynolds reported Sony “has extended its sponsorship of ESPN's 3D for another year, supporting a number of events.” Sony will sponsor the network's 3D productions of “the upcoming Summer X Games, as well as regular college football action.” Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed. ESPN 3D to date has presented “115 events in the advance format” (, 7/13).

HOW SWEDE IT IS: The WALL STREET JOURNAL’s Aditi Kinkhabwala notes Int'l Tennis HOFer Bjorn Borg’s “off-court aesthetic pursuit is fashion and his eponymous label, Bjorn Borg Sportswear.” The brand's “core is underpants -- underpants that are hardly, um, conservative.” The majority of the products are “wildly-patterned, sunglass-requiring briefs." Former tennis player John McEnroe said of Borg, “He's the Calvin Klein of tennis" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 7/14).

WHEELS & DEALS: Wonderful Pistachios has agreed to a multiyear deal to title sponsor Richmond Int'l Raceway's September NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race. As part of the deal, Wonderful Pistachios will be sold at RIR concession stands and at most ISC tracks. The Wonderful Pistachios 400 is the last race before the Chase for the Sprint Cup begins (Roll Global LLC)….Coca-Cola will title sponsor Talladega Superspeedway’s Oct. 22 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race (Coca-Cola).

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