Redskins LB Brian Orakpo has signed a two-year sponsorship deal with Geico in which he will be featured in three national television spots this NFL season, the first one set to air tomorrow night on ESPN during the Redskins-Ravens game. The three spots, which were filmed in L.A. in May, feature Orakpo with the Geico Caveman, said Geico Dir of Advertising Bill Brower. Brower declined to reveal the financial details of the deal. “We look on him as a bonafide star in the league,” Brower said. It is the first time that Geico has used an NFL player in national advertising. The company did feature Raiders QB Jason Campbell in the past during his time with the Redskins as part of a regional campaign. Geico is headquartered in Chevy Chase, Md. Brower said the other two commercials will air over the NFL season and the three spots tell a story, although he would not reveal details. “The spots are very funny and you will see Orakpo and the Caveman have a unique relationship, is what I would call it,” Brower said. CAA Sports represents Orakpo for both on the field and off the field work. “Two of the spots actually play off Orakpo’s last name,” said CAA Football marketing agent Howard Skall. “It is going to raise his profile.” Orakpo will not be shown in his Redskins jersey, as Geico is not a sponsor of the NFL.
Marketing and Sponsorship
Edmonton-based Booster Juice this week "kicked off a $1.5 million ad campaign" featuring Blue Jays 3B Jose Bautista "that will eventually include TV commercials," according to Morgan Campbell of the TORONTO STAR. As part of the launch, Booster Juice has erected billboards throughout Canada that "coyly confront the steroid accusations" surrounding Bautista, who has hit 90 home runs over the past two MLB seasons. The billboards feature Bautista holding a smoothie and a baseball bat next to the copy: "Bats Right. Throws Right. Lives Right!" Booster Juice President Dale Wishewan "realizes the blogosphere might erupt with drug jokes when Bautista is linked with the words 'boost' and 'juice.'" So Wishewan "decided to get the first laugh, while also affirming Bautista's assertion that his success comes drug-free." Wishewan said, "(Skepticism) is always going to be there. This (billboard) addresses the point. It shows the confidence of Jose." Wishewan did not disclose how much Bautista is being paid, but his four-year agreement with Booster Juice is the "first national endorsement deal for a Blue Jays player since the mid 1990s" (TORONTO STAR, 8/24).
THE SWEETEST THING: In Toronto, Josh Rubin reports Blue Jays fans "will be able to buy Tim Hortons coffee and Cold Stone creamery ice cream from two kiosks at the Rogers Centre under a new sponsorship deal between the club and the iconic Canadian coffee chain." Blue Jays Senior VP/Business Operations Stephen Brooks said that the deal "is only for the remainder of the season, but the Blue Jays are in talks for a multi-year contract with the chain." Brooks "wouldn't reveal how much the Jays are making from the deal, which includes in-stadium signage, but no TV or radio advertising" (TORONTO STAR, 8/24).
Oklahoma State Univ.’s athletic programs “will receive $11.1 million worth of shoes and apparel” as a result of a new, six-year contract with Nike, according to Bill Haisten of the TULSA WORLD. The contract indicates that Nike “will provide to OSU shoes and apparel equaling $1.7 million in value in 2011-12, $1.7 million in 2012-13, $1.8 million in 2013-14, $1.9 million in 2014-15, $2 million in 2015-16 and $2 million in 2016-17.” Oklahoma State has “had a product-supply contract with Nike since 2007.” For the ‘10-11 sports calendar, OSU’s Nike allotment was $1.2M. If the university “needs shoes or apparel beyond what the allotment provides, the athletic department pays the difference.” OSU Associate AD/Business Affairs Jason Lewis said the new contract should “minimize our expenditures.” OSU’s Nike relationship “involves the university’s football, basketball, baseball, softball, track and field, soccer, tennis and equestrian programs.” Haisten noted the OSU “wrestling program is affiliated with adidas, while the men’s and women’s golf programs have product deals with Ping and Titleist” (TULSA WORLD, 8/22).
The Idaho Potato Commission “will spend $2.49 million over six years" for the naming rights to the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, according to the CAPITAL PRESS. The commission under the contract with the Humanitarian Bowl “will pay $375,000 for the naming rights for each of the 2011 and 2012 games, $420,000 for each of the 2013 and 2014 games, and $450,000 for each of the 2015 and 2016 games.” The commission “must also pay a one-time $80,000 rebranding fee to HBI.” IPC will “receive five, 30-second advertising spots” during the Dec. 17 broadcast on ESPN, and “one 30-second welcome message.” It will also receive “four, 30-second advertising spots on the game's radio network broadcast.” In addition, the commission will receive “the use of an 18-person suite during the game, and 50 Stueckle Sky Center club-level tickets.” It will also receive “500 reserved tickets throughout the stadium, and the right to purchase additional tickets at a discount.” IPC “will be provided with a 200- to 400-person tent or other entertainment venue at the game, 30 tickets to the awards dinner, and 30 VIP parking passes for the game” (CAPITAL PRESS, 8/23).
UPPING THE ANTE: In S.F., Eric Young reports Kraft Foods and Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl organizers “are upping the ante” for fundraising efforts, “hoping to raise the monetary equivalent of 25 million meals, or more than $3.5 million.” The bowl game, which is played at AT&T Park, last year “raised the monetary equivalent of almost 21 million meals -- or about $3 million -- for a nonprofit known as Feeding America.” Bowl organizers said that the association with Kraft Foods “is paying dividends.” Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl Exec Dir Gary Cavalli: “Now we’re not just a bowl game, we’re a cause. It puts us in a different category.” Cavalli said that the game’s sponsors “have expanded to 35 companies” (BIZJOURNALS.com, 8/23).
In Austin, Ricardo Gandara notes the Univ. of Texas during football games this season will offer "revamped first-aid stations and more medical personnel spread throughout" Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium due to a "lucrative six-year agreement that will make St. David's HealthCare the official health care sponsor and emergency services provider" for the UT athletic program. Longhorn IMG Sports Marketing VP & GM Scott Willingham said of the agreement, "It is a very significant annual investment involving cash and in-kind services." Pursuant to terms of the deal, St. David's is "upgrading seven first-aid stations at Royal-Memorial Stadium and one at Myers Stadium," and will provide "about 120 medical personnel" to work at each UT home football game. In addition, incoming UT athletes "will get free heart screenings" and a registered nurse from St. David's "will work full time" at the school (AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN, 8/24).
TOP OF THE HILL: In Kentucky, Nick Baumgardner reported Western Kentucky Univ. and Russell Athletic last week announced a "four-year contract extension" and unveiled the football team's new uniforms. The contract between WKU and Russell "will run through 2016 and is worth $1.75 million." The new agreement "goes into effect July 1, 2012, and ensures that all 19 WKU athletic teams will wear Russell Athletic-designed apparel." WKU also will "unveil new men's and women's basketball uniforms this season." Under the agreement, Russell receives "category exclusivity for licensed apparel at all university bookstores, as well as sports venue concession stands." The deal includes "stadium and arena signage, public address announcements, in-game video board recognition and commercials during WKU radio and television broadcasts" (BOWLING GREEN DAILY NEWS, 8/20).
TURTLE POWER: In DC, Tracee Hamilton writes of the Univ. of Maryland's new football uniforms, "Love it!" Hamilton: "A lot of people are anti-gold pants -- but don't worry. There are 32 combinations of uniforms from which to choose. ... They could actually have costume changes at halftime." Under Armour "designed this collection, which will challenge locker room attendants like never before" (WASHINGTON POST, 8/24). Meanwhile, the school is allowing fans to vote on which uniform combination the football team will wear during games, and Washington Post columnist Jason Reid said, “I like that, make it interactive. You know, get the fans involved. … Increase support, increase interest” (“Washington Post Live,” Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic, 8/23).
FLAG ON THE PLAY? In Colorado, Brittany Anas reported former Univ. of Colorado football player Art Johnson and his wife opened a new restaurant last week called Ralphie's, which is the name of the school's live buffalo mascot, and a sign "visible from Arapahoe features a generic Buffalo and the restaurant's name ... spelled out in a black-and-gold font similar to that used by the school's athletic department." The school and a CU-themed barber shop in June "resolved a dispute over licensing revenue and the use of Ralphie on the shop's window front." CU Dir of Media Relations Bronson Hilliard "wouldn't go so far as to say that the restaurant is in violation of the school's trademark policies." But he indicated that CU AD Mike Bohn and Dir of Equipment J.T. Galloway "will be swinging by the restaurant to talk about the use of the name Ralphie" (BOULDER DAILY CAMERA, 8/20).
U.S. women’s national soccer team G Hope Solo appeared on the “The Dan Patrick Show” Monday to promote her upcoming run in the Bank of America Chicago Marathon, but the conversation turned to female athletes using their sex appeal to capitalize on marketing opportunities. Host Dan Patrick asked, “How much does sex sell sports and your role in that? Do we need to do it? Can it stand on its own?” Solo replied, “I can answer that pretty easily because the nation stood behind our team this summer in Germany. We were not wearing short skirts. We were playing as athletes … not as cute women on the field.” She noted it has “nothing to do with sex on the field” but it “had everything to do with the quality of the game.” Patrick said, “But I wonder about the marketing of it. Obviously, when you guys get on the field, you're athletes and you play. I wonder if there’s outside pressure that you feel like it has to be sold to market yourself that way.” Solo: “I can assure you going into the World Cup there was no outside marketing that had to do with the sex symbol of the U.S. Team. It had everything to do with being just the sports team. You look back and we had so much viewership without that marketing." But Solo added, "That said, post-tournament of course there's those opportunities out there for many of us, not just me, and it is our duty to capitalize on whatever we can do to bring attention to the game and to the sport, but being true to ourselves as athletes.” Solo: “Hopefully, in selling the sex symbol persona, at the end of the day we'll gain more viewership and more long-term fans.”
CAPITALIZING ON THE MOMENT: Patrick addressed the rumors about Solo appearing on the fall season of ABC's "Dancing with the Stars," saying "sources in Hollywood" told him Solo would join the cast. Solo replied, “Oh boy, are those sources correct? You will not know until next week when they make their announcement.” Patrick said, “So you’re not denying it?” Solo: “I'm not admitting it either.” Patrick told Solo appearing on “DWTS” is a “great move” because she needs to “capitalize on your popularity with what's going on." He noted Solo has "already posed nude” for ESPN The Magazine’s next Body Issue, and said, "If you posed nude, you should be able to dance out there.” Solo: “I don't know about your sources. You’ve got to work on your sources.” Solo did say, “I will tell you that ESPN has been amazing in support of the women's soccer team so I do do a lot for ESPN” (“The Dan Patrick Show,” 8/22).
As a companion to his cover story in this week’s SportsBusiness Journal about the state of title sponsorship deals on the PGA Tour, reporter Michael Smith talks about the success the Tour has had in signing 17 deals in the last 18 months, all in the midst of a turbulent marketplace. Smith, “You’ve got to say they’ve done a remarkable job ... in weathering [the economy]. All of their inventory is practically sold out. ... It really speaks to the sales strategy and the all-out effort that they have put in the last year and a half to get through this period, and now they have a list of title sponsors that are signed through 2013 and beyond.” Smith added the deals come at a critical juncture for the Tour, while it’s starting talks on a new TV package. Smith: “They are still in the front end, but they have started their TV negotiations with CBS and NBC. Those deals end in 2012, and so as they move forward, to be able to go to the negotiating table and say that ‘we have a full roster of title sponsors and those sponsors are signed to mostly long term deals’ ... that does make them a more attractive property than say, they would have been 18 months ago.” View the entire discussion.
SBJ/SBD’s Abe Madkour (right) talks with reporter Michael Smith
In N.Y., Andrew Adam Newman notes Lacoste sponsors professional athletes, including tennis player Andy Roddick, but “in a twist, the brand also recently began outfitting noncelebrities, including the wait staff, bus boys and valets at the Hamptons location” of Japanese restaurant Nobu in clothing featuring the Lacoste logo. Outfitting concierges and waiters is “representative of a broader effort to reinvigorate Lacoste, which some may associate with a bygone preppy era.” Lacoste also partnered online with Jared Eng, the “fashion and celebrity blogger who publishes JustJared.com and JustJaredJr.com, to produce online videos” where Eng interviews celebrities (N.Y. TIMES, 8/24).
GRIN AND BARE IT: The AP’s Sarah Skidmore noted adidas yesterday unveiled its first "barefoot" training shoe, which “is designed to mimic the experience of exercising barefoot while providing the protection, traction and durability of a shoe.” The Adipure Trainer, which is “a cross between a glove for the feet and a traditional shoe, hits U.S. stores in November priced at $90.” The barefoot shoe is “part of a strategy” by adidas to “expand into the U.S. where rival Nike dominates.” adidas joins “a list of athletic makers trying to tap into the small but burgeoning U.S. market of fanatical runners and gym-goers who swear by shoes designed with as little material between the wearer and the ground as possible” (AP, 8/23).
DRINK TO THIS: The GLOBE & MAIL’s James Mirtle notes NHL players are filling Gatorade sponsored bottles “with a new drink called BioSteel, which was developed by trainer Matt Nichol, championed by Montreal Canadiens star Mike Cammalleri and is now being used by nearly half of the league.” Nichol said that 18 NHL teams placed orders last season. This week at BioSteel’s annual camp in Toronto, “20 NHLers and 16 top prospects are all training under Nichol and using his supplements.” Originally “just for pros, it’s now available to anyone in a few stores and online” (GLOBE & MAIL, 8/24).
SHOCKING THE SYSTEM: Minneapolis-based Shock Doctor has signed NHL Kings D Jack Johnson and Blackhawks D Nick Leddy as endorsers. Johnson and Leddy will have access to wear the full line of Shock Doctor’s products, including the brand’s ShockSkin Hockey base protective apparel and full line of mouthguards (Shock Doctor).