Jets QB Tim Tebow, whom the team acquired from the Broncos in a trade yesterday, "sparked a national craze while playing his home games in Denver last fall, so marketing executives can only imagine the possibilities with Tebowmania headed for the nation's biggest media market," according to Jim Baumbach of NEWSDAY. Execs said that Tebow's marketability reach is so strong that it "doesn't even matter all that much that he won't be the Jets' starting quarterback." East Rutherford-based 16W Marketing Partner Frank Vuono said, "This is a marketer's dream. You only need to look at [Knicks G] Jeremy Lin to understand the publicity that can be generated here." Tebow has been "selective about the companies he aligns himself with, having signed deals only with a handful, including Nike and Jockey." FRS CMO Matt Kohler, whose company also has a deal with Tebow, said, "He's not just an endorser for hire." Kohler said that Tebow's popularity is "so strong that when he wore a beanie sporting the company's name to a news conference last year, the company's web traffic subsequently increased" by 800% that day (NEWSDAY, 3/22). Fox Business’ Dennis Kneale said Tebow going to the Jets “is just amazing news for New York City.” Kneale: “The last time we truly had a world-class, amazing cultural icon it was quarterback Joe Namath who’s quite the opposite from Tim Tebow.” Tebow will “reap millions upon millions of dollars if he wants to in celebrity product endorsement in that New York market” (Fox Business, 3/21). In N.Y., Brian Costello notes the Jets "certainly will see a jump in jersey sales and popularity with Tebow in the fold" (N.Y. POST, 3/22). NFL Corporate Communications Coordinator Joanna Hunter said that "no officially-licensed green-and-white Tebow jerseys were released until the back-and-forth deal was completed, per league policy" (Newark STAR-LEDGER, 3/22). Tebow ranked fifth on THE DAILY's list of the most marketable NFL players. For the period of April 1, 2011, through Feb. 29, 2012, Tebow's jersey sales ranked No. 2 on NFLShop.com, behind only Packers QB Aaron Rodgers. QB Mark Sanchez was the only Jets' player in the top 25, coming in at No. 22 (THE DAILY). CNBC’s Darren Rovell said the marketing dollars for Tebow in N.Y. “could soar, depending on how much playing time he gets” (“Power Lunch,” CNBC, 3/21).
STEALING THE SHOW? N.Y.-based 5W Public Relations President & CEO Ronn Torossian said, "Tim Tebow can be the king. ... There is no bigger place to shine than in New York City and I think the Tebow brand is one that transcends sports. I think the guy can get unlimited sponsorships in New York City." However, N.Y.-based IF Management President & Founder Steve Herz said that Tebow "might not be embraced in New York as quickly as he was in Denver." Herz: "He will have a hard time being accepted for his outward religiosity. New Yorkers don’t wear their religion on their sleeves like they do in parts of Colorado." N.Y.-based Modell's Sporting Goods CEO Mitch Modell thinks that Tebow's religious fervor is something that will "enhance his popularity in the cultural melting pot" of N.Y. Modell said, "I think that’s what makes it so exciting. He’s like Linsanity of the Jets." Modell added that he will "work feverishly to get Tebow/Jets T-shirts and jerseys" into his N.Y. stores by tomorrow (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 3/22). NFL.com's Gregg Rosenthal wrote Tebow in N.Y. will make Lin's N.Y. run "look like an off-Broadway play" (NFL.com, 3/21).
Coca-Cola is “adding advertisements in Mandarin to its rotating courtside signs at Madison Square Garden, seeking to capitalize" on what NBA Commissioner David Stern called an "unprecedented international frenzy” over Knicks G Jeremy Lin, according to Scott Soshnick of BLOOMBERG NEWS. MSG Sports President Scott O’Neil said, “For us, those ads signify an open-for-business sign.” Coca-Cola North America spokesperson Susan Stribling said that an official at MSG “approached the company with the Mandarin-sign idea.” Stribling: “Given that the NBA is a global association for our company and that we do a lot of cross-cultural marketing around the NBA, we agreed.” Stribling said that the courtside signs “should debut in a couple of weeks,” and they will be “seen by television viewers as well as spectators in the arena.” She added that Coke “might also change advertisements in the Garden’s concourses.” Meanwhile, O’Neil said that Asian companies are “taking notice of the Knicks and the Harvard University-educated Lin.” Lin since his Feb. 4 debut has signed sponsorship agreements with Taiwan-based tire manufacturer Maxxis International and computer maker Acer. O’Neil said that he is “sending some employees to China in the next few weeks and will make the trip himself in April or May to solicit new sponsorship and marketing agreements.” He added that he “doesn’t foresee some of the pitfalls often encountered by companies seeking business partners in China.” O’Neil: “I don’t think anybody in the history of sports will have as easy a time getting in the door. Jeremy is our calling card” (BLOOMBERG NEWS, 3/21). In N.Y., Marc Berman writes Lin is “helping the Knicks make tons of money on merchandising.” A “for Her’’ Linsanity line was created two days ago (N.Y. POST, 3/22).
SCENE DAILY’s Bob Pockrass noted getting the NASCAR operations of Penske Racing and Roush Fenway Racing to co-exist “will be a challenge for both organizations and Ford beginning in 2013.” But Ford Racing Dir Jamie Allison said, “It’s not the number of entries that is a factor per se, it’s the number of teams that can act independently yet collaborate in some fashion to kind of raise the performance attributes. What we really like to see, as we’ve done with the announcement of Penske, is the addition of a team that brings independence, engineering excellence and involvement in other forms of motorsports, especially with the escalation of technology in the sport that we’re seeing” (SCENEDAILY.com, 3/21).
MANNING MONEY: Horrow Sports Ventures CEO Rick Horrow said regardless of whether new Broncos QB Peyton Manning “returns to his football MVP form after recovering from neck surgery, Manning will remain an endorsement MVP for the companies he works with.” Horrow said Manning “could be even more valuable to his sponsors when his playing career ends. Bottom line, like retired athletes Michael Jordan and Joe Montana before him, expect to see a lot more of Peyton Manning for years to come” (“NBR,” PBS, 3/20).
SERIOUS PLAY: MEDIA POST’s Tanya Irwin reported HSBC is “launching a new campaign as part of their co-title sponsorship of the 2012 Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens rugby tournament, which takes place March 23-25.” The effort, via JWT, London, includes “a 90-second spot, entitled ‘Serious Play,’ which will be shown in the Hong Kong stadium and online on HSBC's YouTube channel and on Facebook” (MEDIAPOST.com, 3/21).
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