Sports marketers believe Colts QB and No. 1 overall NFL Draft pick Andrew Luck’s “awe-schuks persona will be as much a hit with corporate interests as with Hoosiers,” according to Anthony Schoettle of the INDIANAPOLIS BUSINESS JOURNAL. Luck already has deals with Nike and Panini America, and his corporate sponsorship deals “could triple his salary.” Marketing experts said that if Luck “is as good as NFL scouts think, his marketability could quickly match” that of former Colts QB and current Broncos QB Peyton Manning. Sports Business Group President David Carter said, “He appears to be marketer’s dream.” Luck’s opportunities “to cash in will be plentiful,” as marketers “expect him to follow Manning’s game plan and remain hyper-selective in whom he partners with.” Luck’s representatives at WMG said that interest in their client is building, but “no commercial or philanthropic deals are ready to be announced.” WMG VP/Corporate Communications & Marketing Stephanie Rudnick said that Luck “has had past involvement with Habitat for Humanity and Boys and Girls Club charities, and he could get involved with branches of those organizations” in Indianapolis. Colts Owner Jim Irsay said that despite Luck’s rising star, the team is "in no hurry to make Luck their poster child” and that he will “not be featured on one of the massive murals hanging from Lucas Oil Stadium” (INDIANAPOLIS BUSINESS JOURNAL, 5/7 issue).
LUCK GROUNDED: CBSSPORTS.com's Mike Freeman noted because NFL rookies are prohibited from attending workouts at the team facility other than rookie minicamp until they complete the college semester, Irsay offered Luck use of his private jet and helicopter so he “could work in different parts of the country with Colts players.” However, that is “against league rules.” The league “prohibits those types of things because they could lead to salary cap abuses.” Unless Irsay “wants a call from the NFL (and a potential fine) he had better allow Luck to go commercial” (CBSSPORTS.com, 5/7).
Callaway Golf President & CEO Chip Brewer said with the golf equipment industry recovering from some struggles due to the down economy several years ago, there now is an "opportunity for Callaway ... to regain past momentum." Brewer, speaking on Bloomberg TV's "Bloomberg Bottom Line" said, "We’ve been a leader in the industry for many years, one of the best brands. But over the last few years we’ve failed to hold some of that leadership position and sustain some of the moment that we really need.” He noted the company needs to be “more aggressive from a marketing perspective and from a product perspective.” Brewer noted that from a marketing perspective, having players endorse and perform on the PGA Tour “is essential in this business.” In regard to raising Callaway’s stock price, Brewer said, “We’ve got the right assets, we’ve got the brand, we have the resources and now we’ve got the organization in place and organization aligned to go deliver product marketing messages that really cut through in the marketplace and regain market share” (“Bloomberg Bottom Line,” Bloomberg TV, 5/7). Meanwhile, TaylorMade-adidas Golf President & CEO Mark King appeared on Golf Channel’s “Morning Drive” yesterday to discuss the state of the business. King said the company’s Q1 sales were over $500M, “which was more than a 30% increase." King: "Our profitability doubled. ... The numbers are just really outstanding and it’s in all of our product categories also. Footwear, apparel, golf balls are all really, really doing well. I think it speaks to the strength of the brands.” He said, “We believe that products don’t lie. Sales guys can twist things and marketing campaigns can twist, but at the end of the day the products don’t lie. We have such great success on the tour and it’s what’s driving our record sales” (“Morning Drive,” Golf Channel, 5/8).
Several NBA players, including Thunder F Kevin Durant, Knicks F Amar'e Stoudemire and Heat G Dwyane Wade, have adopted the "geek chic" fashion style, and the "professorial, downright dorktastic African-American NBA stars are defying the expectation that they wear an intimidating hood facade," according to Sean Gregory of TIME magazine. The players also are "changing how we view black athletes -- and how they view themselves.” Durant said that he “wanted his NBA peers to accept him -- backpack, horn-rimmed glasses, buttoned-all-the-way-up-to-the-collar plaid shirts and all.” Gregory notes in Durant, the NBA “has an ideal front man for the geek-chic craze: a humble, loyal superstar.” Durant “insists he’s not dressing to make a social statement ... but he’s aware that geek chic gives NBA players a cheekier image, and he embraces it." Durant said, “If people always see you upset, always see you with baggy clothes, see you wearing dark colors, it’s normal for a person to think, Oh if that’s how he looks, that’s how he is. When somebody sees me, I want them to think of someone who’s always smiling, always positive, always selfless.” Stylist June Ambrose sees a “playful rebellion against the NBA rule passed in 2005 that requires business-casual dress for players sitting on the bench because of injury.” Instead of going corporate, the players “went preppy.” Boston Globe film critic Wesley Morris said that President Obama “deserves some of the credit for this shift” in style. Morris: “Black men are breaking out of the hole we’ve been put in” (TIME, 5/14 issue).
NBC's Alli Sports and Red Bull Media House signed Casio G'zOne to be the first sponsor of the Red Bull Signature Series. The mobile device will be the official handset and presenting sponsor of five Red Bull Signature Series broadcasts: X Fighters USA (May 26), Wake Open (July 14), X Fighters Spain (Aug. 28), Amateur Nationals (Nov. 7), and Amateur Nationals (Nov. 10). The company will receive commercial time in 35 hours of programming on NBC Sports Network. It also will get onsite marketing rights and exclusive features during broadcasts. The Casio G'zOne Commando is a durable phone that the company claims can be immersed in water and survive being dropped. It is available exclusively through Verizon.