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Volume 24 No. 116

Marketing and Sponsorship

TNT is "launching a major marketing campaign ahead of the NBA's Christmas Day tip-off for its lockout-shortened season," according to Dan Hirschhorn of AD AGE. The net's three new TV spots feature retired NBAer and new TNT analyst Shaquille O'Neal. The campaign started "last weekend with a spot on CBS's NFL broadcast but adds heavier national advertising on TNT and elsewhere this weekend." The campaign places a "heavier emphasis on digital and social media than in previous years, fueled in no small part by Shaq's 4.6 million Twitter followers." It also includes "print ads in The New York Times starting Dec. 23 and TNT is in talks with national retailers about in-store holiday promotions." Unlike previous promo efforts that "focused more on the actual team match-ups, this year's puts the spotlight on Shaq and his larger-than-life persona." That, combined with the Christmas Day opening that "resulted from the lockout, has the network hoping to draw more casual fans into the mix." Meanwhile, ESPN started "promoting its Christmas Day games Tuesday night with a spot highlighting some of last season's key storylines." The net is "shooting more spots this week that will include both ESPN talent and current and former NBA players" (, 12/7).

The AFP's Robert Saiget reported former NBAer Stephon Marbury has "reinvented himself in China" with the Chinese Basketball Association's Beijing Ducks, and the "sudden rise in fortunes is well-timed for Marbury, whose brand of low-cost 'Starbury' basketball shoes are expected to hit Chinese stores in time for Christmas." Marbury, who is in his third season in the CBA, signed with the Ducks this offseason, "bringing his game to a major Chinese city that also serves as a base to market his footwear." Marbury has "long said he hopes to bring his Starbury shoes, which retail for as little as US$15 in America, to China's estimated 300 million basketball fans" (AFP, 12/7).

KEEPING IT CONSISTENT: Images of the possible NHL All-Star jerseys have popped up online, and YAHOO SPORTS' Sean Leahy wrote if they "are indeed what the NHL will be selling," the only difference from the '11 jerseys "will be a different All-Star Game logo patch." Leahy: "What would be interesting is the league keeping the same design for another year. Remember, we're in the age of teams changing jersey designs on a regular basis so you can plunk down your $150 every few years because your favorite team added a stripe or jersey piping" (, 12/7).

SHOE HORN: Citigroup Dir of Apparel/Footwear Manufacturers and Retailing/Hardlines Kate McShane talked about Under Armour's efforts to challenge Nike for market share, and McShane said, "I definitely think Nike views Under Armor as competition, but Nike is a much bigger company at this point in time." McShane: "They have a few more marketing dollars in their pocket than Under Armor does at this point in time. I do think where Nike excels is in innovation, and that's what they're focused on and that's what is differentiating their product from the rest of the group” (“Street Signs,” CNBC, 12/7).

TIME TO SHRED: Burton Snowboards this week launched "White Christmas," an eight-day gift-giving initiative in which Gold Medal-winning snowboarder Shaun White will be giving away products from his '12 White Collection. A grand prize will be given away on Dec. 12, the last day of the campaign. The entire campaign is integrated with Facebook (Burton).