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Volume 24 No. 159

Marketing and Sponsorship

Ontario Superior Court Judge Geoffrey Morawetz ruled Thursday afternoon that the NHL's $375M North American sponsorship deal with Molson Coors “is valid,” according to Josh Rubin of the TORONTO STAR. Morawetz in a brief note Thursday sent to Molson Coors, Labatt Breweries and the NHL “tossed out the suit, without immediately giving reasons for his decision.” Morawetz wrote, “The application has been dismissed, reasons to follow.” Attorney Paul Steep of McCarthy Tetrault, who had argued Molson Coors’ case, indicated that Morawetz “likely wanted to make his decision known before the puck dropped on the season, and that’s why no detailed, written explanation was immediately released.” Rubin notes Molson Coors has “exclusive Canadian sponsorship deals with 5 of Canada’s 7 NHL teams,” while Labatt’s parent company, A-B InBev, has deals with the Canucks and Flames. In the U.S., where sponsorship deals “aren’t exclusive, A-B InBev has agreements with 22 teams; Molson Coors has agreements with 16 U.S.-based teams” (TORONTO STAR, 10/7). Friday announced it has bought a 30-second ad during NBC's broadcast of Super Bowl XLVI, marking the fifth consecutive Super Bowl the company will be a part of. The commercial, via DDB Chicago, will air in the third quarter and will focus on the website's resources available to shoppers to help them pick their car ('s Anthnoy Crupi notes NBC last month indicated that it "had just a handful of spots left in the Super Bowl." While NBC Senior VP/Sports & Olympic Sales Seth Winter "declined to identify the clients who have already signed on, he acknowledged that NBC's broadcast will be just as flush with car dealers as last year's production on Fox" (, 10/7).

Nike plans to build “a campus in Shanghai similar to its world headquarters” in Oregon, according to Allan Brettman of the Portland OREGONIAN. Nike has emerged as the “top sports brand in China with a growing roster of stores in China that now stands at about 7,300.” Company officials have “repeatedly stated Nike's goal of expanding in China, and the company has substantial cash reserves to finance the expansion.” Univ. of Oregon Warsaw Sports Marketing Center Managing Dir Paul Swangard said that given Nike's expansion plans in China, as well as “the fact the company already has a sprawling European headquarters, it ‘would be a logical next step’ to build a campus in China.” Brettman notes while this month marks Nike's “30th year in China, the nation of more than 1.3 billion people emerged as a key market for Nike with the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.” It took Nike “25 years to reach $1 billion a year in sales in China and the company doubled that number by the end of the last fiscal year.” Nike officials said that they are “confident of doubling the figure again in another four years” (Portland OREGONIAN, 10/7).

Turner Motorsports’ No. 30 NASCAR Nationwide Series entry will sport a unique paint scheme for Saturday’s Kansas Lottery 300, as MLS Sporting KC will serve as the primary sponsor for the race. The deal is the first NASCAR sponsorship for the soccer team and is the latest example of Sporting KC trying to extend their brand off the pitch. Turner Motorsports President Steve Turner said the race team has a relationship with Sporting KC co-Owner Pat Curran through some joint business interests. Turner: “We just thought it would be something great to expose some of our NASCAR drivers to and cross markets.” Sporting KC VP/Communications Rob Thomson agreed, saying James Buescher, who drives the No. 30 car, “kind of fits who we try to market to -- a young, fun, personable, 21-year-old.” Thomson added, “We’ve learned, specifically in the last year, that the younger generation has been very fruitful for us as a business.” Events surrounding the partnership began yesterday with Buescher participating in practice with the MLS squad. Ten members of the Sporting KC roster will join Buescher’s team in the pit box during the race. Wiley Curran, Curran Communications President and Pat Curran’s son, noted that the majority of the team wanted to go but added, “The guys kind of worked it out themselves, but I know that they had some rewards within practice for some of the remaining spots.” Buescher said, “The team hooked me up with a jersey with my name and the #30 on the back of it; it’s really nice of them. Everything’s coming together good." Future activations have not yet been planned, but the relationship between Curran and Turner could bring about more creative partnerships. “We’re up for anything, if it makes sense to further the relationship,” Thomson said.