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Volume 24 No. 156

Marketing and Sponsorship

The NBA lockout has "complicated the Kings' relationship with their corporate patrons, particularly those that responded to Mayor Kevin Johnson's frenzied appeal last spring, to keep the team" in Sacramento, according to a front-page piece by Dale Kasler of the SACRAMENTO BEE. With two weeks of games "already canceled, and much of the rest of the season in jeopardy, the team is talking to sponsors about refunds, 'make-goods' and other concessions." Kings PR Dir Chris Clark said that so far "nobody has asked for their money back, and the discussions 'have been positive.'" Thunder Valley Casino's deal with the team is worth $1M and is "among the team's largest" sponsorship agreements. But Thunder Valley spokesperson Doug Elmets said as games are canceled, "the sponsorship becomes questionable." Elmets: "We're now reassessing how we want to move forward." Clark said that sponsorships are "being treated with the same 'worry-free guarantee' applied to season ticket purchases." Kasler reports while refunds are available, the Kings are "trying to persuade corporations to accept other benefits instead, including sponsorships of other events and community outreach programs." But for many sponsors, "the problem is it's hard to replicate the marketing buzz generated by an actual Kings game." Thunder Valley's deal includes signage at Power Balance Pavilion, but Elmets said that those signs are "barely visible when the arena lights are dimmed for a concert." Kasler notes because it is a casino, Thunder Valley "gets little benefit from having its name displayed at an ice show or some other event geared toward children." Brown Construction Co. President & CEO Ron Brown said, "The investment was good will, to support good faith to the NBA." However, Brown "still wants value for his company's sponsorship" (SACRAMENTO BEE ,10/27).

NASCAR team JTG Daugherty Racing’s “carefully crafted business model is delivering success off the track, allowing the 29th ranked team to remain fully sponsored with ambitious plans for a 2012 reorganization and future expansion beyond driver Bobby Labonte,” according to Nate Ryan of USA TODAY. JTG Daugherty as a one-car Sprint Cup Series operation has “maintained longtime partnerships with a bevy of companies such as the Clorox Co. despite a relative lack of on-track success.” Team co-Owner Tad Geschickter said that his team has “built software to help companies track sales based off their sponsorship.” Another focus is “using online chats and offers to send traffic to sponsors’ sites and social-media networks.” Geschickter said Clorox Co. has “promised to up its sponsorship if the team can help register 50,000 fans" for a promotion with its Kingsford charcoal brand. Clorox Dir of Sales Troy Datcher said that the company’s market share “has grown in each race market this year and credited the NASCAR team with helping connect fans to the brand through in-store promotions at retailers such as Safeway and Kroger.” Ryan notes Geschickter “wants to expand to a second car, and the team’s plans are predicated on selling sponsorship around three shopping mega-trends: grilling, car care and health and wellness” (USA TODAY, 10/27).

DELIVERY SYSTEM: UPS today formally announced that it has signed a multiyear agreement to remain the official logistics partner of NASCAR, a designation the company has held since '00. UPS also will serve as a full-season associate sponsor of the No. 99 Ford driven by Carl Edwards in the Sprint Cup Series. The company previously held a full-season primary sponsorship of RFR's No. 6 Cup car driven by David Ragan (THE DAILY). ESPN's Marty Smith tweeted, "UPS deal is shrewd IMO. They retain garage shipping logistics biz & can leverage Edwards at point-of-sale."

Kia Motors has signed a three-year deal to be an official sponsor of the SEC. Financial terms were not announced, but the Kia Sorento will serve as the conference’s official vehicle for all championship events and FanFare fan events. The deal was negotiated by SEC Sports Marketing, a property of IMG College, along with Atlanta-based MELT and Initiative Media. Kia Motors will receive category exclusivity on conference logos, marketing rights, SEC TV and online site, event signage and merchandise (Michael Smith, SportsBusiness Journal).

Player names on the back of UNC's jerseys will
be replaced by "U.S.A." for the game

CAN YOU SEE ME NOW? The Univ. of North Carolina yesterday unveiled special men's basketball camouflage jerseys that will wear in the Nov. 11 Quicken Loans Carrier Classic against Michigan State Univ. on the USS Carl Vinson. The UNC uniforms are a variation of the team's redesigned jerseys that were unveiled earlier this month. No player names will appear on the back of the jerseys and will be replaced by "U.S.A." Michigan State will also wear camouflaged green and white uniforms (UNC).'s Jeff Eisenberg wrote even though “tweaking the jerseys of two of college basketball's traditional powers is rarely popular, this is one instance that should be an exception.” The camouflage jerseys “certainly were introduced as a way of selling extra merchandise, but they're also a fun temporary change of pace and a fitting tribute to the troops” (, 10/26).

THE FAST & THE CURIOUS: In London, Kevin Eason writes companies from “telecommunications to carmakers and finance houses” have “lined up to get their piece of the action” with F1 competing in India this weekend. Bharti Airtel, one of Asia’s “biggest telecommunications businesses, rapidly identified Formula One as attracting the audience it wanted and reportedly dropped a sponsorship deal with Champions League Twenty20 cricket to sign a [US$8M], three-year deal with the grand prix instead” (LONDON TIMES, 10/27).

SPIN FORWARD: Experiential marketing agency MKTG INC has launched a community service arm called MKTGINC4GOOD, designed to give back and provide free marketing and event services. The department’s first partnership is with TopSpin, a ping-pong tournament and party for the professional sports industry that began two years ago in N.Y. and is now expanding to Chicago, L.A. and S.F. (MKTG INC).

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