Group Created with Sketch.
Volume 24 No. 156

Marketing and Sponsorship

Danica Patrick is “in the final stages of a deal to run a full-time Nationwide Series schedule with JR Motorsports and limited Sprint Cup Series races" with Stewart-Haas Racing for the ’12 season, according to sources cited by Jenna Fryer of the AP. A source said that the talks “also include her continuing to run the Indianapolis 500.” Patrick has driven the No. 7 JR Motorsports Go Daddy Chevy in the Nationwide Series the last two seasons as part of a part-time schedule, but JR Motorsports co-Owner Dale Earnhardt Jr. last weekend said that he “wants Patrick to run a full Nationwide schedule with his team.” Earnhardt: "I would like for her to run fulltime, and I'm sure she is considering that, and I think she would enjoy it." Fryer noted the potential to continue to race the Indianapolis 500 “is a new wrinkle, considering JRM co-owner Kelley Earnhardt has said that it would be difficult for Patrick to run that race and compete for the Nationwide championship” (AP, 8/2). YAHOO SPORTS’ Dan Wetzel writes the '12 Daytona 500 is “an obvious choice for her first” Sprint Cup Series start. Danica “has made her name -- and her millions -- on the image of being America’s take-no-prisoners, high-speed temptress.” Wetzel: “Here’s her chance to prove it’s more than a marketing plan. If you’re going to roll the dice on the Sprint Cup, why sit out the main event?” NASCAR “can only dream of what the ratings would be with Patrick in contention late in what is already its most-watched, most-hyped, most-important race” (, 8/3). ESPN the Magazine's Ryan McGee reported a "big reason it’s taken her awhile to get this done (is) she still wants to run the Indianapolis 500, and I don’t think she’s going to sign anything until she has a guarantee that she can go back and try to win that race." McGee: "She wants to make sure she still has a shot at Indy. She doesn’t care about the other races on the Indy Racing League schedule” (“NASCAR Now,” ESPN2, 8/2).

COME ON, WE'RE WAITING: McGee also reported the future of Roush Fenway Racing driver Carl Edwards “literally touches everybody,” as once he signs with a team for the '12 Sprint Cup season, other drivers will be signed. McGee: “What Carl does ... has a lot to do with what Roush Fenway is going to do as far as what sponsors they’ll have. That certainly could affect something some other marketing people are working on in another team” ("NASCAR Now," ESPN2, 8/2).

WHEELS & DEALS: Richard Petty Motorsports announced an associate partnership with weight loss water beverage TrimFit that will display the brand on uniforms as well as RPM’s No. 43 Sprint Cup Series Ford driven by A.J. Allmendinger. The company's logo additionally will be on the uniform of RPM driver Marcos Ambrose. TrimFit will have a presence with both RPM Sprint Cup teams for the remainder of the ‘11 season (RPM)….Common Ground Alliance announced a partnership with 3M and Roush Fenway Racing driver Greg Biffle to promote the 811 "Call Before You Dig" phone number on Biffle’s No. 16 car at this weekend's Cup Series Good Sam RV Insurance 500 race at Pocono Raceway (CGA).

Tennis player Li Na is “poised to become the richest woman in sport as companies fight to cash in on her enormous popularity in China,” according to Malcolm Moore of the London TELEGRAPH. Li has signed “at least $42 million of sponsorship deals this year with the likes of Mercedes-Benz, Rolex and Haagen Dazs, who believe that she may be the key to the lucrative Chinese market.” Her agent, Max Eisenbud, said it was "hard to set a price" after Li became the first Chinese player to win a grand slam tennis tournament, adding, "We had to change it a lot." Li currently is “only out-earned” by tennis player Maria Sharapova. Shanghai-based Zou Marketing Managing Dir Terry Rhoads said, "What a transformation! Two years ago, she could not buy a sponsor. Now she is the only person with a Nike deal who can wear patches from other sponsors on her clothes. They told Nike: if you blink, there are a host of Chinese sports brands ready to pay big money." He added that Li is “in a seller’s market” as international brands “try to chase the Chinese market.” Rhoads: "You have a lot of people searching for someone who has credibility, who can make the needle move and make Chinese stop and think. And Li Na has separated herself from the pack" (, 8/2).’s Chris Nelson reported UFC fighter Anderson Silva has become “the first Brazilian mixed martial artist to be sponsored by Nike.” The news comes “days after a cryptic video of Silva appeared online, sparking rumors of the transaction.” The 90-second clip featured Silva “staring menacingly at a camera, as he would an opponent, dressed in a red t-shirt with a prominent Nike ‘swoosh’ logo.” The Nike deal comes after Silva and Brazilian soccer team Corinthians Monday announced a "multi-tiered marketing initiative” in which Silva “will be prominently featured.” Also, the Brazilian branch of Burger King last week announced Silva “as one of its new promotional faces.” All three of Silva’s recent sponsorship deals were brokered by 9ine (, 8/2).

IRON CHEF:’s Darren Rovell reported N'Genuity Enterprises, a company which obtained the marketing rights to former MLBer and NFLer Bo Jackson, is suing Chick-fil-A. The company said that the "unauthorized use" of Jackson in a Chick-fil-A commercial "damaged the potential of one of its products,” the Bo Burger. Jackson's face “appeared on a mooing cow" in an ad for the QSR that stated that "he never took up burgers." N'Genuity in the suit said that the “potential to sell ‘Bo Burgers’ was subsequently forever damaged.” The company “is asking for damages caused by the commercial” (, 8/2). Meanwhile, Pat Dye, Jackson's football coach at Auburn Univ., and former Univ. of Alabama football coach Gene Stallings “buried themselves in sand Tuesday morning for a series of commercials that are part of Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism’s recent agreement to be an SEC corporate sponsor.” The coaches were “covered to their midsection while enduring a heat index of 100-plus” (Mobile PRESS-REGISTER, 8/3).

GOD SAVE THE KING: ESPN's "SportsNation" yesterday discussed the recent Nielsen N-Score list that rated Mavericks F Dirk Nowitzki as the NBA's most marketable player and did not include Heat F LeBron James or G Dwyane Wade in the top 10. ESPN’s Michelle Beadle said, “This is a ridiculous poll because you cannot tell me that LeBron James is now less marketable … (than) Dirk, Kobe, Steve Nash, Kevin Garnett, Tim Duncan, Jason Kidd … Grant Hill?" Beadle did say the "things probably affecting his score (are) name and image awareness, appeal, personality, and sincerity." Beadle: "These were all things that he really did take a big hit in the last year on.” ESPN's Colin Cowherd said, "Nobody’s buying shoes because you’re not sincere. Okay? Allen Iverson sold shoes. Nobody cares. The bottom line is the kids buying shoes. When I watched the NBA Finals, call me nutty, but I looked at LeBron, he appeared to be wearing Nikes. He appeared to be in Nike commercials. A lot of guys on that list, they didn’t get national commercials” (“SportsNation,” ESPN2, 8/2).

CHANGE OF PACE: MARKETING magazine’s John Reynolds notes online betting company Betfair is “radically overhauling its sport sponsorship activities by introducing four brand ambassadors and ending its relationship with FC Barcelona after two years.” The brand has signed former England cricketer Michael Vaughan, former England rugby player Will Greenwood, BBC soccer analyst Lee Dixon and horse trainer Paul Nicholls. The endorsers “have signed up to front Betfair ads for the next year, beginning this month,” and they will also “provide tips and opinion, monthly podcasts and video content.” Betfair is “thought to be increasing its overall spend on sports marketing.” It will remain the official betting partner of EPL club Manchester United (, 8/2).

NOTES: Patriots QB Tom Brady “stars in a new Under Armour TV spot titled ‘Footsteps’ that’s set to debut next week showcasing the brand’s latest footwear collection.” Brady will appear with Panthers QB Cam Newton and UFC fighter Georges St-Pierre in the spot (BOSTON HERALD, 8/3)....Tennis player Martina Hingis at Wimbledon this year signed a contract with Canadian apparel company Tonic, and is “in the middle of helping it produce a line of tennis clothing set for release next spring” (L.A. TIMES, 8/2).

MasterCard placing old Yankee
Stadium seats around N.Y.'s Bob Marshall reported MasterCard this month is "placing seats from the old Yankee Stadium in 20 different popular spots" around N.Y. as part of the company's "Priceless" campaign. Each seat has a QR code that "leads users to check-in to the site on Facebook Places, and offers them the opportunity to win VIP tickets for a game at Yankee Stadium in MasterCard’s Batter’s Eye Cafe." MasterCard also has a TV component of the campaign, via McCann, N.Y. (, 8/1).

SECOND IS THE BEST? In Charlotte, Joseph Person reported the NFL Panthers on Saturday were selling rookie QB Cam Newton's No. 1 jersey for $85, "less than 24 hours" after the top NFL Draft pick signed his contract. The Panthers hung Newton's jersey next to QB Jimmy Clausen's No. 2 "in the mobile team shop" outside training camp in Spartanburg, S.C. Newton wore No. 2 at Auburn, but Clausen "set a high price for the No. 2 jersey that Newton wanted, which Newton was not willing to meet." Newton said, "I'm not bitter toward me having No. 1 and him having No. 2. He just had the number first" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 7/31).

THINK BIG, THINK SMALL: WPS yesterday announced a partnership with Global Marketing with a Local Vision that will see the Newark-based firm create marketing strategies for the league on the heels of the FIFA Women's World Cup. As part of the new partnership, GMLV will help identify new opportunities for brands to partner with the league. WPS currently has seven national partners: Puma, Citi, Fox Soccer, Playtex Sport, Sahlen Packing Company, U.S. Coast Guard and USSF (THE DAILY).