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Volume 24 No. 156

Marketing and Sponsorship

The future of golf's World Cup was "thrown into doubt during Sunday's final round after the title sponsor labelled China 'too immature' a market to restore the event to global standing," according to Peter Simpson of the AFP. Omega President Stephen Urquhart said that he was "unhappy with the strength of the field because only a token number of top players opted to represent their countries in the 28-nation team event." Urquhart: "China is too immature a market to put the World Cup where it should be. It's too early for China to support by itself a tournament on this scale." Simpson noted the "stinging criticism is a blow for the tournament organisers, Hong Kong brothers Kenneth and Tenniel Chu and their Chinese government backers." The World Cup was launched in '53 and moved to China permanently in '07. Urquhart denied that Omega was "planning to pull out of the event it has sponsored since 2007, which now takes place every two years." But he said, "This is the last World Cup in this format which we are committed to ... I can't say now that ... in November 2013, we will be in this place or that place" (AFP, 11/27).

The Mavericks "have signed a five-year deal with Gameday Entertainment to manage the team’s merchandise operation," according to Don Muret of SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL.The deal "covers four fan shops at American Airlines Center, arena kiosks, a mall store in Dallas and online sales at" The Mavericks "previously ran retail in-house in conjunction with Center Operating Co., the joint venture of the Mavs and NHL Stars that manages the arena." Gameday President Alan Fey said that Center Operating Co. "will continue to operate arena retail locations during Mavericks games under Gameday’s supervision." The Mavericks are Gameday’s "fourth NBA client." The Denver-based vendor also has deals with the Grizzlies, Thunder and Suns as well as "handling merchandise for the NBA All-Star Game" (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 11/28 issue).

Taking over for Meineke Car Care as title sponsor of this year's college football bowl game in Charlotte, department store chain Belk has begun "soliciting advice from Atlanta-based Chick-fil-A on how to be an effective bowl sponsor," according to Erik Spanberg of the CHARLOTTE BUSINESS JOURNAL. So far, 40,000 tickets have been sold for the game on Dec. 27, and the participating schools have yet to be announced. Chick-fil-A President & COO Dan Cathy last week "spoke to Belk employees and told them how the bowl game became a catalyst for making the company a nationally recognized brand." Belk has 300 stores "spread across the Southeast and mid-Atlantic," and the store in recent months has "taken its first steps to make the Charlotte bowl more prominent." The company has launched a social-media campaign that "includes trips to the bowl game awarded to fans who send in pictures demonstrating their team loyalty." It has included the bowl "in newspaper and magazine ads." It is sharing a Twitter campaign with ESPN, and Belk has created a pregame concert "with Edwin McCain and Daughtry as headliners as part of a revamped fan festival." Current agreements with the ACC, Big East, Bank of America Stadium, Belk and ESPN "end after the 2013 game, but negotiations with all of the parties on an extension will start by next summer." Execs at Belk and Charlotte Collegiate Football "believe they can attract higher-ranked teams by upping the ante to secure a loftier position in the selection order for schools in the ACC and either the Big East or another conference that commits to the game for 2014 and beyond." Belk Exec VP/Sales Promotion, Marketing & E-Commerce Jon Pollack offered no specifics, but made it "clear the company would consider a large investment if it could lead to increased visibility" (CHARLOTTE BUSINESS JOURNAL, 11/25 issue).