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Volume 24 No. 157

Marketing and Sponsorship

USA Basketball today announced Jeep as its newest sponsor and the Jeep Wrangler as the official vehicle partner of USA Basketball. Jeep formed a global partnership with USA Basketball to support the men's and women's national teams. Jeep will launch a full advertising and marketing campaign scheduled to begin Saturday featuring Clippers and USA Basketball G Chris Paul. Paul will appear in a series of video vignettes that will give viewers a behind-the-scenes look at various facets of the partnership with USA Basketball (NBA). In N.Y., Tanzina Vega noted Jeep will introduce the '12 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Altitude during the "Power Within" campaign. One of the TV ads featuring Paul will "include a voice-over and music by" rapper Common. Revenue from the partnership will be "used to finance USA Basketball programs, including junior programs for boys and girls." A kickoff party featuring Paul, Common and musician Biz Markie was held Sunday in L.A. USA Basketball has 10 other sponsors, including AmEx, Gatorade, Nike and Cisco Systems (, 4/22).

5-hour Energy began the year planning to sponsor NASCAR driver Clint Bowyer's No. 15 Michael Waltrip Racing Sprint Cup entry for “about two-thirds of the season," but the company announced Friday it "would pick up the remaining races of the year," according to Jim Utter of the CHARLOTTE OBSERVER. The energy drink “will now sponsor Bowyer in 37 of 38 Sprint Cup Series events.” 5-hour Energy President Scott Henderson said, “We have measured real growth through our retail partnerships, in-market activation, sales growth and brand awareness. The numbers show we’ve exceeded all expectations. This increase allows us to target even more markets. It was kind of a no-brainer” (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 4/21). Henderson said that his company, which sponsored Steve Wallace in the Nationwide Series last year, will “now spend up to three times what it spent last year on its NASCAR sponsorship.” Henderson said that the Cup sponsorship “has resonated more with retailers nationally than the Nationwide deal and that more TV exposure in the Cup series has had significant benefits as Bowyer has run well.” Bowyer currently sits 11th in the points standings. The lone Cup race 5-hour Energy will not sponsor will be the Aaron's 499 at Talladega Superspeedway on May 6. Bowyer's car will feature “Aaron’s sponsorship with a University of Alabama football championship paint scheme" for that race (, 4/20).

POSITIVE MOMENTUM: USA TODAY’s Nate Ryan wrote the 5-hour deal “could foreshadow more good news for MWR, which is seeking to resign both the driver (Martin Truex Jr.) and sponsor (NAPA) of its No. 56 Toyota.” Team Owner Michael Waltrip said that the “surge is perfect timing as talks have started about keeping both NAPA and Truex in the fold beyond this contract year.” Waltrip said, "There's no need to worry about (an extension). Just race, let some time pass and try to get the details worked out and be able to hopefully put something together for years to come. NAPA has been the greatest partner. We were able to extend Aaron's last year, and they've been overwhelmed with all the success and the positive vibe around the 55 as is NAPA, and hopefully use that momentum to continue that relationship" ( 4/21).

The U.S. Open Series will “get a shot in the arm this week with title sponsorship deals from three financial institutions,” according to Daniel Kaplan of SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL. The ATP World Tour event in DC plans to announce tomorrow Citi "as its new title sponsor for the next five years.” Also being announced is the fact the smaller WTA Tour Citi Open previously held in College Park, Md., is “merging with the men’s tournament.” Legg Mason had backed the men’s event for 18 years. The Citi deal also means that U.S. Open Series sponsor AmEx will have a “minimized role" at the DC event, given the companies’ "business overlap.” BB&T is also “putting its name” on the ATP’s Atlanta event, which “has not had a title sponsorship” since moving there in ’10 from Indianapolis. Meanwhile Western & Southern Financial Group, which has been title sponsor for the men's and women's combined tournament in Cincinnati since ’02, is “renewing as title sponsor” though '14. Financial terms of the deals were unavailable, “but it is customary in tennis that title sponsors are expected to cover event purses.” The three deals “are a signal that tennis, while not as popular in the United States as elsewhere globally, remains strong enough to draw significant corporate interest” (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 4/23 issue).