AT&T, the NCAA’s longest-standing partner, "has extended its corporate champion sponsorship" by three years, according to Michael Smith of SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL. The agreement "keeps AT&T on board as the NCAA’s official wireless service provider and a heavily integrated sponsor of CBS’s basketball broadcasts, including 'At the Half.'" Terms of the deal were not released, but NCAA corporate champion deals in the past "have sold in the low eight figures annually." AT&T "has committed to more activation against the NCAA’s championships in women’s basketball, baseball and lacrosse." There is "not an exclusive content play for AT&T because of the NCAA’s TV Everywhere approach of putting all of the men’s basketball tournament games on March Madness on Demand, but AT&T will have the opportunity to pass through some rights to its handset partners." Turner Senior VP/NCAA Partnerships Will Funk said that there "also exists a possibility for AT&T to work with LG, an NCAA corporate partner." Funk and CBS Sports Senior VP/Sales & Marketing Chris Simko said that they "plan to limit the corporate champion program to the three current brands" -- AT&T, Coca-Cola and Capital One -- but "intend to expand the partner program from the 10 categories represented now" (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 10/24 issue).
Marketing and Sponsorship
Hockey Canada yesterday "revealed a special edition third jersey" for the '12 IIHF World Junior Championship in Alberta, according to Kristen Odland of the CALGARY HERALD. The jersey "was inspired by two gold medal-winning Canadian teams -- the 1982 junior team that won gold in Minnesota and the 1994 edition that captured gold in the Czech Republic." The jersey -- which is "mostly red with white stripes around the arms and the base -- has been updated, however, with three maple leaves on the front to celebrate Hockey Canada's Program of Excellence." Hockey Canada President & CEO Bob Nicholson said, "Looking back over 30 years, this is the jersey that started it. We've won a lot of gold medals with it." Odland notes the jerseys "will hit the shelves Nov. 1 in Nike stores, Sport Chek, and Team Canada retailers across the country and will be available online at hockeycanada.ca for $140" (CALGARY HERALD, 10/26). Team Canada will wear the third jersey "at least once" during the '12 junior tournament (CP, 10/25).
Michigan State Univ. basketball coach Tom Izzo yesterday confirmed that the team "will wear a special camouflage uniform for its Nov. 11 season opener" against the Univ. of North Carolina as part of the Quicken Loans Carrier Classic in San Diego. A report by KTVI-Fox in St. Louis "showed what appears to be camouflage MSU jerseys" during a report "profiling the company that sewed World Series patches onto the St. Louis Cardinals' jerseys." Izzo noted he has yet to actually see the special jerseys (FREEP.com, 10/25).
PLANTING ITS FLAG: MARKETING WEEK's Lara O'Reilly reported the NFL is "looking to triple its UK fanbase in the next five years by partnering with more 'quintessentially British' brands, expanding its merchandise range and forming a London-based team." NFL U.K. Managing Dir Alistair Kirkwood said that the league "aims to become 'engrained' in the British sporting landscape ... by 2016." NFL U.K. Commercial Dir Marc Armstrong added that the "'key thing' the league looks for in a partner is activation of their sponsorship." O'Reilly noted the NFL brand will be "further extended in the UK in 2012 through merchandise partnerships with Nike and New Era" (MARKETINGWEEK.co.uk, 10/25).
RALLY TIME: St. Louis-area Cardinal Glennon Children's Foundation Exec Dir Dan Buck appeared on Fox Business yesterday to discuss the Cardinals’ “Rally Squirrel” and how the foundation is benefiting from the sale of merchandise depicting the squirrel. Buck said. “We’ve sold about 28,000 of the T-shirts, several thousand of the hats and we’ve raised almost $280,000 to build a new playground above our Bob Costas Cancer Center.” Buck said the Cardinals and Anheuser-Busch have “stepped up and made it really a risk-free endeavor for us. We bought the first 10,000 shirts and several thousand hats with a grant from Anheuser-Busch and from there we've had to remanufacture more and more hats but, to see that their $30,000 grant grown into a $280,000 community-wide effort, it shows the power and support of Anheuser-Busch and what a great philanthropic community we have here in St. Louis” (Fox Business, 10/25).
NAMES & FACES: China-based shoe company Peak has signed Nets G Anthony Morrow and Rockets F Marqus Blakely to endorsement deals. Peak currently has 10 NBAers signed to deals, including Mavericks G Jason Kidd (THE DAILY)....MusclePharm has signed Patriots WR Chad Ochocinco "to a one-year endorsement deal that will help it strengthen its social media abilities" (BOSTON HERALD, 10/26).