In Birmingham, Doug Demmons reported NASCAR yesterday announced that it is “once again changing the rules for who is eligible to drive in the annual season-opening Bud Shootout exhibition race.” The change “likely means the end of Budweiser's sponsorship of the Shootout.” The announcement from NASCAR “did not mention sponsorship but referred to the race as the 2013 Shootout with no mention of Budweiser.” The field will consist of those drivers “who win a pole during the season and former Shootout winners,” the way it was done from ’79-‘08, when Budweiser “decided not to renew its sponsorship of the weekly award given to the driver who wins the pole.” That sponsorship “was picked up instead by a competing beer company -- Coors” (AL.com, 2/19).
UP TO BAT: In Boston, Greg Turner reports Reebok has “reaffirmed its commitment” to Red Sox DH David Ortiz, although the Massachusetts-based company “declined to provide details of its sponsorship contract.” Ortiz during the offseason also “inked another equity deal with Fuse Science, a Florida firm peddling a pain relief product called EnerJel.” In addition, Ortiz will “re-launch his salsa product soon under the ‘Big Papi’s Kitchen’ brand, and No. 34’s marketing team has not given up on reviving Big Papi’s Grille, a steakhouse that lasted only two years in Framingham but could find a new home in Boston.” Ortiz earns $3-5M "from his off-field sponsorships and investments” (BOSTON HERALD, 2/20).
NEW THREADS: In Missouri, Didi Tang reported Missouri State Univ. “will purchase athletic gear” from adidas. MSU interim President Clif Smart said that the MSU BOG on Friday “unanimously approved the five-year, $625,000 contract” with adidas. MSU AD Kyle Moats said that adidas “offered the best deal, in which the university agrees to buy at least $125,000 worth of products from Adidas every year, with a discount of 45 percent for footwear or 50 percent for apparel, accessories and equipment.” Moats added that as part of the contract, adidas “agrees to an in-kind donation of $180,000 in merchandise each year.” He said that offers from Nike and Under Armour “were not even half as generous.” The contract makes adidas the “exclusive supplier of athletic gear for MSU’s sports teams, except men’s basketball, which has a separate contract with Nike until August 2014” (Springfield NEWS-LEADER, 2/18).