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Volume 24 No. 156

Marketing and Sponsorship

The fallout from Kyle Busch's "road rage" at last Friday's Camping World Truck Series WinStar World Casino 350k continued today when sponsor Z-Line Designs "asked for him to be removed from the season-ending Nationwide Series race," according to sources cited by Jenna Fryer of the AP. Sources said that Z-Line asked this week that driver Denny Hamlin "replace Busch in next weekend's" Nationwide Series Ford 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Among the options "being considered is Aric Almirola replacing Busch in the final two Sprint Cup Series races of the season, as primary sponsor M&M's decides how it wants to proceed with Busch." Although NASCAR "has cleared Busch to race this weekend at Phoenix," Joe Gibbs Racing officials "have been silent on his status in Sunday's Cup race." Busch has been "off the track since he intentionally wrecked Ron Hornaday Jr. under caution in the early laps of last Friday's Truck Series race at Texas" (AP, 11/10).

The NBA canceled all November games, but ad spending on the NBA “is heavily back-loaded to the second half of the season and the playoffs, when ratings and fan interest surge,” according to Dan Hirschhorn of AD AGE. ESPN is “shifting early-season ad dollars into its menu of college football and basketball games,” while Turner is “eyeing avenues such as TBS and Adult Swim programming to keep the ad spending in-house.” Thus far, there is “no indication that advertisers are running much for the hills.” Peter Farnsworth, a former NBA exec who heads sports marketing firm Foxrock Partners and advises league advertisers, said, "There's not that many people lying awake at night worrying about this. With the NFL, people would have been rushing Capitol Hill." While major sponsors with integrated league-branding deals and RSNs are “more exposed to a long lockout, most advertisers have more flexibility, especially early in the season.” Wasserman Media Group Principal John Brody said, "Right now there's a lot of other content to purchase. There are other places you can get those ratings points back." Horizon Media Senior VP & Dir of Research Brad Adgate said, "The NBA just pales in comparison to the NFL, so that's why we're seeing a disparity in the reaction to a potential NBA lockout vs. an NFL lockout. You're not going to really feel the loss of the NBA until the Super Bowl is over" (, 11/9).

Sony yesterday named Red Sox 1B Adrian Gonzalez the cover athlete for "MLB 12 The Show" video game. The cover is Gonzalez’s first, and he will become the spokesperson for the franchise and assist in the consultation and integration of the marketing campaign (Sony). In Boston, Brendan Lynch notes Gonzalez is the “first Red Sox player to be featured on the game’s cover since” 2B Dustin Pedroia in '09. The new game “hits stores on March 6.” Sony Computer Entertainment America Sports Product Marketing Manager Tyler Vaught said that “the fact that Gonzalez is bilingual helps market the game toward Spanish-speaking markets.” Vaught: “A big part of our market is the Latin American market. We feel that should be represented on our cover” (BOSTON HERALD, 11/10).

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