Mountain Dew has negotiated a new title sponsorship deal for its Dew Tour, run by NBC's Alli Sports, that will "result in a wholesale reinvention of the property and give the sponsor a management voice in its operation," according to Tripp Mickle of SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL. Under the deal, the Dew Tour will "shrink from a seven-stop series with four summer events and three winter events to a three-event series with stops at a beach town, a city and a mountain resort." Ocean City, Md.; S.F.; and Breckenridge, Colo. "signed on as the host cities this year and next year." Sources put the renewal at $8-10M a year, which means Mountain Dew will "pay slightly more for a smaller series than it paid for the seven-stop tour." It also will have a "seat at the management table alongside Alli Sports executives, which will allow it to weigh in on everything from the quality of TV production and the design of the athlete lounge to the layout of the festival village and whether Alli signs an associate sponsor." Each stop on the tour will go from three-day to five-day events and will be "designed to create more of a festival atmosphere by including more concerts, eliminating general admission tickets and consolidating the sponsor village." There will be "more hours per stop on TV as NBC and NBC Sports Network air" 11 hours for each weekend, up from six hours per weekend in '11. There will be 12 hours "total on NBC over the three events, three times what aired" in '11, and 12 hours "total of prime-time programming on NBC Sports Network." But the "total number of hours of Dew Tour programming will fall from" 41.5 hours in '11 to 33 hours this year. At its "peak, the Dew Tour" had 12 sponsors, but the three-stop series will "cut that number" to seven or eight. Associate sponsors Ball Park and Sony "will not be returning" (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 4/16 issue).
Marketing and Sponsorship
The Univ. of Missouri Saturday during halftime of the football team's spring game unveiled the "new Nike uniform" for the soccer, volleyball, basketball and football teams, according to Joe Walljasper of the COLUMBIA DAILY TRIBUNE. The uniform change was an 18-month process that began when MU AD Mike Alden "met with Nike representatives over lunch" in N.Y. Alden "just wanted to come up with a standard color of gold," but he "signed up for the full makeover." Nike "calls the color 'Gold Dart' and created a typeface with a serif meant to imitate a Tiger ear." The "biggest change" to the football uniforms is that the "'M' on the side of the helmets ... has been replaced by the Missouri Tiger logo." There are two helmet choices, and "both are black." The main one is "glossy with an oval Tiger logo, and the alternate one has a matte finish and a bigger Tiger logo without the oval." There are three jerseys -- black, white and gold -- and four pants -- black, gold, white and anthracite -- which can be mixed 24 ways. MU Equipment Operations Dir Don Barnes said that the plan is to "wear the alternate helmets once a year." Alden said that he told Nike he "wanted uniforms that reflected Missouri's 'understated conservatism.'" But he also "wanted, you know, some cool tiger stripes thrown in, too." Barnes: "On a scale of 1 to 10, we're not that 10 like the West Coast school. Penn State might be a 1. Maybe we're a 6 or a 7." Alden said that he "recently met with representatives of the Collegiate Licensing Company who told him that in the first ninth months of the fiscal year Missouri has sold more merchandise than it has in any other full year and that a 'significant jump' is expected when people start buying the new gear." Another "perceived benefit of new uniforms is they appeal to recruits." Walljasper noted the "most noticeable difference in the basketball jerseys is a tiger stripe pattern on the back" (COLUMBIA DAILY TRIBUNE, 4/15).
PLEASED WITH THE LOOK: In K.C., Terez Paylor reported Alden was "pleased" with the uniforms and "considers the brand change a success." Alden said, "At a minimum, I think we’d take a look at this being an eight-year type of look. Those things can evolve regularly, but I think right now, we’ve found a great foundation, a great look that’s gonna stay with us for a long, long time." MU "recently agreed" to an eight-year contract with Nike. (K.C. STAR, 4/15).
Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts has launched a multimedia ad campaign featuring golfer Rickie Fowler. The hotel signed Fowler for the '12 PGA Tour season, and he will appear in TV, print and online ads. A 30-second spot titled "It's Good To Be Rickie," which debuted during Saturday's coverage of the PGA Tour RBC Heritage Open on CBS and Golf Channel, reveals Fowler's stay at a Crowne Plaza prior to tournament play. The ad also stars CBS golf analyst Ian Baker-Finch following Fowler during his morning routine and providing play-by-play color commentary (Crowne Plaza). MEDIAPOST.com's Tanya Irwin noted the Fowler ads will run through July 15 "in support of the brand's PGA Tour's title sponsorship of the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial." The ads also will "highlight the brand's 'Travel Bonus' promotion which offers guests $50 back when they stay two consecutive weeknights." InterContinental Hotels Group VP/Brand Delivery Gina LaBarre said, “Rickie brings a really fun and colorful energy to the game of golf, and he certainly knows how to catch your eye with his unique sense of style. He's widely regarded as one of the new faces of golf and has the distinctive star power that you want in a spokesperson" (MEDIAPOST.com, 4/13).
The WNBA will hold its '12 Draft today at 2:00pm ET on ESPN's campus in Bristol, Conn., and several league sponsors will help mark the event with new activations. Boost Mobile, the WNBA's Marquee Partner, will serve as the presenting sponsor of the Draft. After signing on as a league sponsor midway through last season, Boost will have a presence at the Draft for the first time. In addition to traditional media and integration during the broadcast, Boost will have a presence on the WNBA website via the Boost Mobile Draft Board, which allows viewers to see updates on draftees, team picks and trades as they happen. The company is also sponsoring the Boost Mobile First Call Room, where newly-drafted players will go to make their first phone call to share news on which team they'll be suiting up for this summer. The league will film the phone calls and will air several vignettes on its website later this week. Jamba Juice has also signed on as an associate partner for the draft, and will sponsor some traditional media during the broadcast. In addition, the company is sponsoring WNBA.com's Prospect Profiles and will have some product sampling during this afternoon's event. Jamba Juice is returning as a full-season sponsor and plans to increase its partnership with the WNBA with activations at the league and team level throughout the season. The WNBA is coming off a strong sponsorship year, having welcomed eight new marketing partners during '10-11. WNBA COO Christine Godleski said, "It's too early to tell how much sponsorship has increased from last year to this year. Boost came on halfway through last year, we have people that come on for the start of the season and people that continue to come on as the season moves forward. ... [But] we believe we're on track to replicate that growth again." Godleski added, "At the team level, one of the things we’ve had some great success with is our marquee partners for the team. Boost is our league marquee and five of our teams have marquees. DC Mystics were the fifth one to join with a marquee -- Nova Health Systems in DC. That’s the big driver for last year."
GETTING TO KNOW YOU: Draft events began on Friday with rookie orientation at a hotel near ESPN's campus. The league and ESPN yesterday held a Fitness Day, which included two sets of clinics for ESPN staff, rookies, current WNBAers and their families. The morning "Rookies and Families Session" provided an opportunity for ESPN staff to meet and get to know the '12 Draft class. The program included a Q&A session moderated by ESPN's Cindy Brunson. The afternoon "All-Stars" session saw participants squaring off against current WNBAers for several basketball activities and fitness drills. The league and ESPNW this morning hosted an Inspiring Women brunch, attended by a number of ESPN content execs. The highlight of the event was the WNBA's "Draft Cab" game, modeled after Discovery Net's show "Cash Cab," which allowed network execs to get to know the draftees and their backgrounds. Brunson also emceed the brunch.
In Milwaukee, Don Walker reported Wisconsin-based T-shirt company Oppermacher “has been marketing a T-shirt online that attempts to cash in on the drug-testing furor” over Brewers LF Ryan Braun. However, shortly after the company was asked "whether the shirt's design and sale violated Major League Baseball's infringement rules,” it “took the Braun shirt off its website.” The shirt had the word "Innocent" and “used script that is very similar to the Brewers script on jerseys.” It also "included the No. 8, which is Braun's number.” A Brewers spokesperson, who was made aware of the T-shirt, said MLB is also aware of the shirt and "will address it as a trademark infringement" (JSONLINE.com, 4/13).
FASHION FAUX PAS: RBC “may have made a slight Heritage fashion faux pas when asking fans to compete to design a golf bag for PGA Tour player Matt Kuchar” as there is “no plaid in the winning design.” IMG Live Dir of Show Services Ryan Smith said, “We tried to work with the manufacturer, but we couldn't get that tartan in there.” The winning bag will be used by Kuchar “during the practice round of next year's RBC Heritage.” The golfer will “pick a winning design from a list of final finalists” today (Hilton Head ISLAND PACKET, 4/14).
COMBINING FORCES: Perry Ellis International announced that it has “expanded its agreement with Callaway Golf Co. to design, make and distribute Callaway-branded apparel and related accessories.” The company said that it will “take over distribution” for Callaway in the Western Hemisphere. This includes “supplying sporting good and specialty golf stores, tournaments and e-commerce” (NCTIMES.com, 4/13).
THE FUTURE OF FOOTWEAR: adidas announced Friday that it “will sponsor a dozen students in a three-week footwear design class" taught by former Nike designer D’Wayne Edwards. In Portland, Allan Brettman noted the classes will be June 4-22 at Pensole, the "footwear design school” Edwards opened this year in Portland. Brettman noted “creating such a [partnership] has been a goal of Edwards since he started Pensole in 2010.” It also “falls in line with his vision of creating the equivalent of baseball's minor league farm system for the next generation of footwear designers” (OREGONLIVE.com, 4/13).
REMEMBERING A LEGEND: MLB.com’s Ton Singer noted Pirates CF Andrew McCutchen yesterday wore "special UCLA baby blue-and-gold spikes" in honor of Jackie Robinson Day. The specially-created Nike cleats had "JACKIE" spelled out on the inside and "42" on the outside (MLB.com, 4/15).