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Volume 24 No. 157

Marketing and Sponsorship

Some Broncos fans are customizing their No. 15 jerseys of QB Tim Tebow by putting the "name 'JESUS' on the back," according to Mike Klis of the DENVER POST. The jerseys have "created a little more controversy than 'Tebowing' because it has been viewed by some Christians as a clear transgression of the first commandment that prohibits idolatry." But others said that fans are "honoring their faith in the Son of God by using the jersey of Tebow, an unabashed believer, as sort of a billboard." Klis noted the "Jesus" jersey has "grown from one by one to nationwide fad." GameDay Merchandising COO Marty Garafalo, whose company operates three Broncos stores, said, "I haven't seen any of these jerseys in our stores. But I guarantee you we will have people go in the store tomorrow and ask for them" (DENVER POST, 11/17). In Ft. Lauderdale, Craig Davis notes the jerseys have "become a big seller on since Tebow engineered the Miracle in Miami last month in leading the Broncos to a comeback from a 15-point deficit against the Dolphins." But some Christians are "taking exception to the devoutly pious quarterback being linked to The Savior" (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 11/18). YAHOO SPORTS' Matthew Darnell noted the NFL "prevents customers from putting a lot of things on the back of their customized jerseys ... but 'Jesus' isn't one of them." "JESUS CHRIST" and "JESUSCHRIST" "are on the prohibited list, but at least for now, 'Jesus' is in the clear" (, 11/17).

FAITH NOT HURTING BUSINESS: Fox Business' Chris Cotter reports many analysts do not believe Tebow’s overtly religious beliefs affect his marketability, because “there's always a segment of the population that will like a certain athlete and will follow him." Robby Tebow, Tim's brother, "manages a marketing company that handles all his endorsement requests," and Robby gets 300-500 "solicitations per month from companies and speaking engagements and everything." Cotter: "They want a piece of Tebow, and his brother filters all of it and he says we probably turn down 98 out of 100 in terms of the requests.” Tebow currently endorse Nike, Gatorade and Jockey, among others, and a potential endorser has “to support his beliefs and you also have to donate to his foundation if you want to have him as endorser” (“Varney & Company,” Fox Business, 11/18).

IN SELECT COMPANY: In Milwaukee, Bob Wolfley noted a Public Policy Polling (PPP) survey asked American voters “about some historical figures, and about themselves, to see if any of them surpassed” Packers QB Aaron Rodgers' popularity in Wisconsin. The poll found that “only Abraham Lincoln, with a 93% favorable vote, and Jesus Christ with 90%, surpassed Rodgers' 89% favorable.” At the top of the list “were the respondents themselves.” A total of 93% of those polled “viewed themselves favorably.” But Rodgers' popularity “sailed over the heads of people like George Washington and Mother Teresa” (, 11/17).

NHL Jets Owner True North Sports & Entertainment “opened its second Jets Gear retail outlet Wednesday,” according to Goeff Kirbyson of the WINNIPEG FREE PRESS. Team co-Owner Mark Chipman said that the nearly 2,000-square-foot location at St. Vital Centre in Winnipeg “follows the one opened several months ago at the MTS Centre and it may not be the last.” Chipman: “We have a smaller in-arena store than the average in the league, so it was easy to make the case for an additional store. Depending on how it goes, we'll determine if we can grow beyond that.” He added, "The majority of Jets merchandise isn't sold by us. We only benefit from the merchandise sold out of the (Jets Gear) store, not from the retail sales of Jets-logoed merchandise anywhere else.” Kirbyson noted traffic at the new Jets Gear location “has been brisk to say the least.” In addition to selling “pretty much anything with a Jets logo on it, the St. Vital store is also expecting its first shipment of game-used equipment, including sticks and gloves, that won't be available anywhere else in town” (WINNIPEG FREE PRESS, 11/17).

In Memphis, Jason Smith noted the “classic white 1972-73 throwback uniforms” the Univ. of Memphis men’s basketball team wore in its season-opening win over Belmont Tuesday were “part of the school's centennial celebration.” Coach Josh Pastner said, "I hope Nike has plans to sell them. I've had people from all over -- not only in Memphis -- but all over the country going, 'Coach, those were the hottest things. How do we get a jersey like that? We'll buy it. Whatever it costs. We'll buy it.'" Pastner added, "My recommendation is for everyone, anyone who wants one, send every e-mail you can to the university and whoever is in charge in terms of that area of sports licensing. Or if you want to send it to (Memphis president) Dr. (Shirley) Raines' office” (, 11/17).

NEW GEAR: In Portland, Allan Brettman reports Nike Thursday “unveiled the SPARQ Vapor Strobe Eyewear -- a pair of wraparound sunglasses that re-create the effect of an intense strobe light show at a rock concert.” Nike officials said that the effect is “intended to help athletes better interpret information on a playing field and the glasses … have been part of Oregon quarterbacks on-field practice arsenal for about four years.” The company also “introduced a series of video vision tests that could be characterized as elaborate, high-tech versions of whack-a-mole” (Portland OREGONIAN, 11/18).

TEEING IT UP: Golfer Ryann O’Toole has signed an endorsement deal with Kentwool performance golf socks and will wear the gear during LPGA play. In addition, O’Toole will wear the company’s logo on her shirt collar, be featured in Kentwool marketing and its newly relaunched website (Kentwool).