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Volume 24 No. 159

Marketing and Sponsorship

Jets QB Tim Tebow, who was officially introduced at a press conference yesterday, “is one of the top five most coveted celebrity endorsements,” according to a new marketing index cited by Janon Fisher of the N.Y. DAILY NEWS. Nielsen/E-Poll N-Score data shows that Tebow “trails only Oprah Winfrey, Adele and Kate Middleton as the personality who would most effectively shill your product.” Under its formula, Tebow scored a 180 and “moved up from the 40th spot he got last December.” The index puts him “at No. 6 as a trendsetter -- on par with Katy Perry and Beyonce” (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 3/27). However, 5W Public Relations President & CEO Ronn Torossian said that Tebow “will have to tread a fine line regarding his faith.” Torossian said, “He shouldn’t come on too hard, because New York is a different kind of place than before. The key is not to overdo it” (Bergen RECORD, 3/27). Deutsch Inc. Chair Donny Deutsch said of Tebow coming to N.Y., “He couldn’t have made a worse move. This will be his Waterloo. New York will take him down. We are a very tough, jaded city. They’re not going to buy this unconditional love. I wish I was advising him. He should have steered right to Jacksonville.” But TV personality Star Jones said, “If he is authentic, then it will be fine” (“Today,” NBC, 3/27).

MEDIA CIRCUS: In Toronto, Bill Lankhof reports yesterday around 200 "credentialed media showed up for Tebow’s introductory press conference,” and Tebow spoke “facing at least 35 TV cameras in the largest news conference in team history.” Jets Owner Woody Johnson “decided long ago that if he can’t own a Super Bowl, he can at least own the New York media." He wants the Jets "to be the No. 1 team in town” (TORONTO SUN, 3/27). YAHOO SPORTS’ Dan Wetzel noted the event “was so big the Jets moved it from the traditional interview room to their indoor practice field, where space wouldn’t be an issue.” There were some “aggressive marketing techniques by some of his sponsors -- for which he shouldn’t be held responsible, either.” A backup QB has "never had a giant Jockey billboard placed above the Lincoln Tunnel, either.” Tebow said of his new teammates, “Hopefully they know I had nothing to do with that. I don’t think that’ll have any effect to people in the locker room” (, 3/26). In Newark, Steve Politi writes this was “a great first impression under tough circumstances.” The Jets “insisted this entire show was done for our benefit, to meet the hundreds of media requests, but it’s clear they want it both ways with their new celebrity player.” They want “all the attention (and jersey sales), but want people to believe he’s just a backup” (Newark STAR-LEDGER, 3/27). NBC Sports Network’s Pete Najarian said, “The interesting thing is here we are in late March -- we're not talking about the Super Bowl champs, we’re not talking about the New York Yankees. We're talking about Tim Tebow and this press conference, which says a lot for who this guy is and what he does bring. This is a great business decision by the Jets” (“NBC Sports Talk,” NBC Sports Network, 3/26).

FIRST IMPRESSIONS: In N.Y., Bob Raissman notes Tebow “was likeable, an aw-shucks guy trying hard to make his points,” and “it worked” (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 3/27). In New Jersey, J.P. Pelzman writes Tebow “said all the right things and hit all the proper notes” during his introduction yesterday (Bergen RECORD, 3/27). On Long Island, Tom Rock writes the new QB “was calm, charming and charismatic.” Rock: “Tebow’s arrival may not be the biggest event in Jets history. Yet. But right now, it’s the most compelling story the team has had” (NEWSDAY, 3/27). In New Jersey, Tara Sullivan writes Tebow made “an admirable debut on the New York media market Monday, displaying the infectious joy, passion and sincerity that has catapulted him to a fame far beyond the reaches of his professional talent” (Bergen RECORD, 3/27). In N.Y., Mike Vaccaro writes Tebow “won the press conference.” Vaccaro: “It is impossible not to come away impressed, harder not to like him” (N.Y. POST, 3/27). In Boston, Gerry Callahan writes Tebow “hasn’t yet put on a Jets uniform and already he is the most fascinating man” in N.Y. Callahan notes the N.Y. Daily News is “considering assigning a full-time reporter to Tebow” (BOSTON HERALD, 3/27).

DON'T BLAME ME: Tebow said yesterday during the press conference that “he was not to blame for Monday’s media gathering.” He said, “The reason we are here is because I have bosses, too, and they made me do it” (, 3/26). N.Y. Daily News’ Kevin Armstrong said, “I thought he came across great. Anytime that you blame management for holding a press conference you will win over reporters. ... There was a genuine aspect to it, putting the message out to his teammates and saying, ‘You know, this wasn't my idea to have the press conference, but here I am and I will put a good face on it any way you want’” ("Daily News Live," SportsNet N.Y., 3/26). ESPN’s Michael Wilbon said Tebow, “through no fault of his own, has become the most over-discussed person in the modern history of sports in America." Wilbon: "It’s obscene now what attends this kid’s every move.” ESPN's Tony Kornheiser noted not just sports media attended Tebow’s presser, but “op-ed guys, gossip guys, style writers.” Kornheiser: “He’s already the biggest thing in New York City.” Wilbon added, “This is an indictment of the mass media in the United States” (“PTI,” ESPN, 3/26).

KHAN SURPRISED: Jaguars Owner Shahid Khan said he was “surprised” by Tebow’s decision to play for the Jets. Khan: “Frankly, I thought he would be picking Jacksonville because of the chance to play in his hometown. But this is a free country, and he has the right. I would be disappointed if he was in (Jacksonville) but didn’t want to be here” (N.Y. POST, 3/27).

The Maryland Jockey Club announced yesterday that Kegasus, “the tweeting centaur, would return as the official mascot of the Preakness Infield,” according to Erik Maza of the Baltimore SUN. The mascot will be “making his grand appearance March 30 at Pimlico Race Track and later at the Orioles' Opening Day April 6.” This year he will “also have a side-kick: UniCarl, a half-man, half-unicorn.” Bringing the Kegasus character back “was a logical step” as it “gives the principals a strategy that has already delivered.” Maryland Jockey Club President & COO Tom Chuckas “credits Kegasus with helping ticket sales last year” (, 3/26). In Baltimore, Ryan Sharrow reported Kegasus will be in "television, radio, outdoor advertising and online marketing campaigns.” The mascot will “make appearances at various events” across Baltimore and DC. Kegasus “did not appear in DC last year.” For the “third straight year, the Preakness campaign was developed by Washington, D.C.-based Elevation Ltd.” The agency created the “controversial slogan ‘Get your Preak on’ for the 2010 event” (, 3/26).

STAY CLASSY, BALTIMORE: In Baltimore, Kevin Cowherd wrote under the header, “Kegasus To Mortify Preakness Race-Goers Again.” Cowherd: “Nice to see the MJC take the high road in its ad campaign -- again. Classy way to sell the fabled middle jewel of racing’s Triple Crown” (, 3/26).

The NFL from April 2-30 will open a pop-up store in N.Y. to mark the launch of its new apparel partnerships, with Nike and New Era, and the '12 NFL Draft. The 10,000-square-foot NFL Shop At Draft will sell merchandise from NFL licensees including Nike, New Era, Under Armour, GIII, VF and Wilson. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell along with current and former NFLers will participate in a ribbon-cutting event on Monday at 10:45am ET. Goodell will then work as a store employee from 11:00am-noon (NFL). AD AGE's Rich Thomaselli noted on April 3 in Brooklyn, Nike will "unveil all 32 team NFL jerseys at an invitation-only event." Several execs familiar with the NFL-Nike deal, finalized in Oct. '10, said that Nike is "paying between $1 billion and $1.5 billion for its five-year agreement to be the league's official uniform and on-field apparel provider, as well as to produce sideline-personnel apparel and fan gear." SportsOneSource analyst Matt Powell said that Nike "could make half of that back in year one." Powell: "Reebok did about $500 million (annually) at wholesale at the height of the deal, and last year did probably half of that, what with retailers winding down and nobody wanting to get stuck with product. With the new uniforms, and refilling the pipeline, Nike could do as much as $750 million this year." Meanwhile, New Era "took to social media to launch its new affiliation with the NFL, creating a Facebook page that asked fans to like the page in order to see the new NFL Draft caps that players will wear to the podium after being selected." The page "has more than 1 million likes" (, 3/25).

The PGA Tour announced yesterday that PNC Bank will title sponsor the Father/Son Challenge, which returns this fall after a three-year hiatus. As part of the multiyear agreement, Arnold Palmer will serve as PNC Father/Son Challenge ambassador (PGA Tour). In Jacksonville, Garry Smits noted Palmer, PNC Bank Chair & CEO Jim Rohr and IMG Vice Chair Alastair Johnston “made the announcement Saturday at the Bay Hill Club and Lodge,” the site of last week's Arnold Palmer Invitational. IMG will run the tournament, as “it did in the past, and it will be Dec. 15-16 at the Ritz Carlton Golf Club at Grand Lakes Resort in Orlando.” NBC will televise the event, which “ran 14 years before losing its title sponsor” after the ‘08 event. The field will consist of 18 two-player teams. The tournament will also “raise funds for the Arnold Palmer Children's Hospital” (FLORIDA TIMES-UNION, 3/25).

Latin America is “quickly turning into one of the hottest sports markets” and that is why Under Armour “is looking to increase its presence in that market by signing Latin American athletes and outfitting professional teams in the region,” according to Jack Lambert of the BALTIMORE BUSINESS JOURNAL. Under Armour VP & GM for the Americas Matt Shearer said that the company “is currently focused on four main countries in Latin American marketing -- Mexico, Venezuela, Argentina and Brazil.” UA announced March 12 that it had “signed Mexican boxer Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez to its roster of athlete endorsers.” Other Latin American athletes include Hornets G Greivis Vasquez, a native of Venezuela, and Mexican national soccer player Alfredo Talavera. Shearer said that the company’s “emphasis will be on individual training.” UA also will sponsor “some of the top teams in Latin America in order to increase the popularity of its brand in the region.” The brand currently sponsors Mexican Primera Division club Toluca and the Venezuelan men's national basketball team (BALTIMORE BUSINESS JOURNAL, 3/23).

GOING SLEDDING: In Baltimore, Candus Thomson wrote as part of its efforts “to expand beyond its base in traditional U.S. sports … and into overseas and niche markets,” UA has provided “sponsorship dollars and put its logo on athletes' clothing and equipment in a deal” with the U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton Federation that lasts through the’14 Sochi Games. UA Dir of Sports Marketing Tori Hanna said, “For us, it was taking a look at bobsled and the international possibilities ... as we're becoming more of a global brand.” She added bobsled may not be "mainstream and important in the U.S., but they're mainstream and important in Europe and other parts of the world." Thomson noted it is “a growth move for Under Armour.” The brand has also “added the Canadian snowboard team, the Polish bobsled team and the U.S. speed-skating squad.” Hanna said that “other announcements are coming” (Baltimore SUN, 3/25).

FOSTER THE PEOPLE: Under Armour announced Friday it has added Texans RB Arian Foster to its roster of athletes. As part of the multiyear deal, Foster will be featured in ’12 national marketing campaigns for the brand’s performance apparel, footwear and accessories (Under Armour).

In Cincinnati, Dan Monk reports Procter & Gamble will "launch Olympic-themed packaging for about 600 products in the U.S. this spring, including a moisturizing shampoo in which the Pantene brand will play up its sponsorship" of U.S. Gold Medal-winning swimmer Natalie Coughlin. Pantene Brand Manager Vahe Ayvazian said, "She is the perfect fit for our brand, a beautiful woman with healthy hair. We've begun to think about this idea of healthy being the new beautiful." Pantene is "one of 34 brands involved in Cincinnati-based P&G's most aggressive Olympic marketing campaign ever" (CINCINNATI BUSINESS COURIER, 3/23 issue). Meanwhile, in Baltimore, Jill Rosen wrote it seems "everyone wants to talk" about U.S. Gold Medal-winning swimmer Michael Phelps’ new shampoo commerical for Head & Shoulders. His Subway spots "didn't generate this much buzz," but he "had clothes on in those” (Baltimore SUN, 3/26).

SURF'S UP: MARKETING magazine's John Reynolds reports Pepsi has launched its '12 "Football" campaign for its Pepsi Max brand, which features FC Barcelona MF Lionel Messi and EPL club Chelsea F Didier Drogba, among others, "crowd surfing at an outdoor music festival." The ad was created by CLM BBDO, N.Y. The campaign is "initially launching online before a global TV campaign kicks off on April 4" (, 3/27).

REACHING THE GREEN: Security company IdentityX, Clune Construction and Ireland-based will sponsor golfer Padraig Harrington for three weeks, raising funds through the Padraig Harrington Charitable Foundation for Gerard Byrne who was recently paralyzed from the waist down in a car accident. The three sponsors will each appear on Harrington's apparel during the Shell Houston Open, The Masters and the RBC Heritage, with IdentityX also featured on his headwear (IMG).

IRON MIKE: Former boxer Mike Tyson has signed a deal with Upper Deck and will appear in new Upper Deck trading card releases. Tyson's trading card debut will come with the release of Upper Deck's '12 Goodwin Champions. The boxer will appear in several other trading card releases this year, some of which will contain signed versions of his cards.  Upper Deck Authenticated will soon hold a signing session with Tyson and sell a variety of items signed by him (Upper Deck).