The AP’s Mark Long reported Sprint is “deep in negotiations with NASCAR to continue title sponsorship of its top racing series.” The current 10-year deal expires at the end of the 2013 season, but talks on an extension “have been ongoing.” Sprint VP/Corporate Marketing Steve Gaffney indicated that he “was pleased with the negotiations.” Gaffney yesterday said, "We're really hopeful we'll have some good news to announce soon." NASCAR Senior VP & CMO Steve Phelps acknowledged that renewal talks “are progressing.” Gaffney said that Sprint “has been thrilled with the title race between Carl Edwards and Tony Stewart, and felt the last month has increased interest in NASCAR” (AP, 11/20).
ROUNDIN' 'EM UP! In Houston, Ronnie Crocker reported Aramark’s sales of Texans gear “have been running more than 10 percent ahead of last year and likely will set a record if Houston reaches the playoffs for the first time.” Aramark manages the Go Texans shop at Reliant Stadium, and Retail Division Manager Chris Inouye in an email noted that he “expects strong holiday sales of team gear and other souvenir items.” He added that if the team were to “finish first in the AFC South, Aramark will roll out division-championship T-shirts and hats immediately.” At Academy Sports + Outdoors, the Texans’ official sporting-goods retailer, WR Andre Johnson’s No. 80 “remains the top-selling Texans jersey,” followed by RB Adrian Foster and QB Matt Schaub (CHRON.com, 11/18).
TAKING A STAND: The AP reported that Dubai-based airline Emirates, a “prominent” FIFA sponsor, is “speaking out against racism in football following uproar over President Sepp Blatter's comments.” Emirates yesterday said it "completely abhors racism" and that it supports efforts to abolish "all forms of discrimination in football." Emirates said that it is “watching developments within soccer's governing body closely, and notes it has ‘no role in the management of the organization’" (AP, 11/20).
ON THE HUNT: AD AGE’s Zmuda & Parekh noted Dick's Sporting Goods is “making the rounds with creative agencies.” The retailer is “having discussions with several shops about handling creative work,” and final presentations are “expected to take place before the end of the month.” Dick's declined to comment. It is a “marked shift for the sporting-goods giant, which has traditionally relied on a team of in-house creatives and partnered with production companies” (ADAGE.com, 11/18).