Knicks G Jeremy Lin is “in talks on an endorsement deal" with Volvo, and an agreement “may be announced soon” for Lin to endorse the automaker in China, according to sources cited by Ying, Lin & Soshnick of BLOOMBERG NEWS. The sources added that the two sides are “in advanced negotiations after having reached a preliminary agreement.” The talks for Lin “may lead to one of his first endorsement contracts since his rise to fame last month.” The “only significant” deal he has is with Nike, signed when he entered the NBA in ‘10. Volvo is “betting Lin’s popularity may help the company make further inroads in China, the carmaker’s fastest-growing market, as it seeks to double sales to 800,000 vehicles in the 10 years to 2020” (BLOOMBERG NEWS, 3/12). The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Shirouzu & Chin cited a source as saying talks have been underway for about three weeks, with the deal including "the greater China market." Sources said that Lin is "being courted by dozens of companies but has yet to make a major nonsports endorsement." The sources also added that Lin has "struggled to capitalize on the wide range of deals at his feet ... partly because of overwhelming demand for his attention." Meanwhile, adidas is making plans to sell Lin's No. 17 jersey "across its network of 6,700 stores in China" (WSJ.com, 3/13).
Marketing and Sponsorship
Chevrolet is “developing a new car with a new name for its 2013 NASCAR entry, replacing the Impala used by Team Chevy, and plans to eventually market and sell the new model to consumers,” according to Chrissie Thompson of the DETROIT FREE PRESS. Chevy spokesperson Monte Doran said that the dealership and racing versions of the car “will be unveiled this year, after the New York auto show in April.” The new car “will use a nameplate not currently in Chevy's lineup.” Chevrolet VP/Performance Vehicles & Motorsports Jim Campbell said, "We are keeping the wraps on the new car for now and will continue to prepare for next season by testing camouflaged vehicles." Thompson notes the new car “may resemble the Chevy Caprice currently imported from Australia for U.S. police forces.” In addition, a “closely related, shorter vehicle called the Commodore, which doubled as the now-discontinued Pontiac G8, could also inspire the new car” (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 3/14). SCENE DAILY’s Bob Pockrass noted Chevy teams “have campaigned Impalas since 2007.” Campbell: “The Impala has been a critical part of Chevrolet’s success in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and we are confident the new race car will allow us to remain the most successful name in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series history” (SCENEDAILY.com, 3/13).
Cloudbreak Group's "New York Yankees" fragrance is hitting retail outlets next month, and the launch will be "backed by ads expected to reach 95% of New York males ages 16-34," according to Jack Neff of AD AGE. The ad campaign featuring "classic black-and-white shot-on-film photography and the slogan 'Past, Present, Forever,' will show up everywhere from one entire side of the No. 4 train that goes to Yankee Stadium to a bullpen sign and a 'Fragrance Day' event inside the ballpark." The seven-figure campaign also will include "billboards in the metro area, and national magazine, newspaper and internet ads." Cloudbreak Group Creative Dir Duncan Bird said that initial consumer "research and reaction to the fragrance among Yankee fans has been 'extremely positive.'" Bird: "I expected at least a level of resistance or negativity, but we received none." Neff noted Cloudbreak's deal with MLB "allows for other team fragrances too" (ADAGE.com, 3/13).
A spot in the NCAA men's basketball tournament can be a “huge boost for less-fancied schools,” as the “increasingly professional approach of athletic departments means a bump in merchandising royalties and licensing deals,” according to Sam Mamudi of MARKET WATCH. VCU “saw its royalties jump 219% after last year’s March Madness, when the 11th-seeded team reached the Final Four.” Royalty income during the fiscal quarter following the tournament “was larger than any full year in the college’s history.” IMG College found that VCU’s number of licensees “has risen to 163 today, from 126 before last year’s tournament run.” Robert Morris Univ. made the NCAA tournament in ‘09 and ‘10, losing in the first round both times. However, Pittsburgh-based Crons CEO Pat Cavanaugh, whose company is the apparel provider for the school, said that “despite the early defeats, the school’s merchandise sales jumped as much as 50% during March Madness.” Mamudi notes top sellers are “usually items such as fleeces, T-shirts and pants.” Crons this year has one team in the tournament, UNC-Asheville, and it is “launching a new design” today for the team to wear during the tournament. Last year was only the second time UNC-Asheville had made the tournament, and Cavanaugh said that merchandise sales “doubled this year … though that was also due to a new arena and on-site store” (MARKETWATCH.com, 3/14).
BIG JUMP IN APPAREL SALES: In Dallas, Steven Thompson reports collegiate apparel sales “increased 10 percent in the past two years.” Atlanta-based CLC Senior VP & Managing Dir Cory Moss said, “The fashion of college product has been on the rise recently.” CLC represents “around 80 percent of the market for sales of college products.” The company estimates that the total retail market for college-licensed merchandise “is about $4.3 billion, compared with $3.9 billion in 2010” (DALLAS BUSINESS JOURNAL, 3/9 issue).
In Vancouver, Brad Zimmer reports RBC and golfer Anthony Kim appear to have "parted ways.” Kim was a “prominent member of Team RBC at last summer's RBC Canadian Open at Shaughnessy.” But Kim, who is “struggling with his game, is no longer carrying an RBC golf bag [and] is not mentioned on the Team RBC web page” (VANCOUVER SUN, 3/14).
RETURN SHIPMENT: FedEx will return as the title sponsor for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Dover Int'l Speedway on June 3 for the FedEx 400 benefiting Autism Speaks. This is the second straight year FedEx has been the title sponsor for the race and the sixth straight year that the track will partner with Autism Speaks. Also returning this year will be the Autism Speaks puzzle piece decals for drivers to display on their cars during the June 1-3 NASCAR race weekend (THE DAILY).
GREEN DRIVE: The Celtics and Kia Motors America yesterday announced an extension of their partnership for the automaker to continue to serve as the official automotive partner of the team. As part of the multiyear deal, Kia will host the “Kia Performance Shootout Sweepstakes,” giving fans a chance to win a ’12 Kia Optima at select Celtics homes games and will continue to be the official sponsor of the Celtics Read to Achieve program (Celtics).