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Volume 24 No. 116

Marketing and Sponsorship

NikeTown will “soon disappear” from S.F. as the “50,000-square-foot store, an anchor tenant in Union Square for the past 15 years, will be closing within the next 12 months for a complete remodeling,” according to sources cited by Andrew Ross of the S.F. CHRONICLE. When it reopens it “will be called NikeSF,” and sources said that the name change is “part of a nationwide rebranding exercise” by Nike. Sources also said that similar changes “are taking place at the NikeTown in Chicago, which closed for remodeling in March, and will be called Nike Chicago.” The S.F. NikeTown store opened in February ‘97 and “occupies three floors at 278 Post St. and has approximately 150 employees.” It is one of 10 NikeTowns in the U.S. Sources said that the timing of the S.F. store closing “is not publicly known, except that it will occur within the next 12 months.” The sources added that the renovation “could take six months to a year to complete” (S.F. CHRONICLE, 5/16).

BULLSEYE? DAILY FINANCE’s Barbara Thau reported Target will “make a play for fitness enthusiasts with the fall launch of an activewear store based on its C9 by Champion brand, marking the chain's first spin-off retail concept.” Target will open a C9 Active Apparel store in S.F., “dipping its discount-store toe into the booming athleticwear market occupied by expanding high-end retailers like Lululemon Athletica and Gap's Athleta chain.” The 3,000-square-foot store will open Oct. 14 “in a ground floor space in San Francisco's Metreon Shopping Center, where a 100,000 square foot CityTarget (the discounter's urban format) will also debut.” But C9 “won't bear the Target name, nor feature the iconic Bullseye logo.” Target spokesperson Jessica Deed said that there are “no plans per se to expand the C9 concept beyond that one store.” But industry analysts are “betting that if it does well, Target will do just that” (, 5/12).

CRAIN'S DETROIT BUSINESS' Bill Shea noted more than 110,000 boxes of "Fastball Flakes," featuring the image of Tigers P Justin Verlander, have been "sold since the limited-edition frosted corn flake cereal was launched in February." Pittsburgh-based PBL Sports Account Manager Doug Ritchart, whose company manufactures the cereal, said, "This has been one of our more successful products." Ritchart added that Verlander’s cereal is one of PBL’s "best-sellers over the past five years." The product will be on sale "until all boxes are sold, but he didn’t disclose how much inventory is on store shelves." The company’s most famous product is its “Flutie Flakes” cereal, created for former NFLer Doug Flutie in the late '90s. Ritchart said that PBL sold "more than 2 million boxes of 'Flutie Flakes' -- making it the company’s best-selling product" (, 5/14).

In Milwaukee, Don Walker noted the Brewers have "released the third of five promotional ads" featuring Packers QB Aaron Rodgers. The latest spot, called "Bad Reception," features a "special guest who calls Rodgers on his cell phone while he's on the mound." The ads were handled by 2-Story Creative and Metaphystico, and the shoot occurred "in late February in Arizona." The team plans to "release two more ads in the coming weeks" (, 5/14).

ALL ABOUT SOUL: SOUL Electronics has partnered with gold-medal winning sprinter Usain Bolt, who will be a development partner for his own special edition headphones, scheduled to hit the market this summer. Bolt also will be featured in the company's upcoming "SOUL of Greatness" video series (SOUL).

BLOOMBERG NEWS’ Panja & Browning noted Samsung's shirt deal with EPL club Chelsea's uniform "may hinge on the London soccer team's performance" in the May 19 UEFA Champions League final against Bayern Munich. Samsung VP & Head of Global Sports Marketing Sunny Hwang yesterday said that the company will decide whether to renew its deal "by the end of this month." The sponsorship, which began in July '05 and is worth about US$21M a year, "expires at the end of next season." Hwang said, "It's natural that Samsung should wish Chelsea could win. ... That will play an important role when we decide whether or not we renew the contract." However, Samsung in a statement said, “Our decisions do not rely on the outcome of a single event.” Data from German market research company Sport+Markt shows that the Samsung jersey sponsorship deal “is the fifth-highest in European soccer” (BLOOMBERG NEWS, 5/15).

SPINNING THE WHEELS: The Amgen Tour of California announced that Nissan has extended its sponsorship of the cycling race for two more years. The car maker will remain the official automotive sponsor through ’14. As part of the deal, Nissan will provide more than 40 vehicles for the event, including lead, operation and medical vehicles, as well as VIP cars included within the official race entourage and following the riders’ field on the course. In addition, Nissan will be featured as the sole presenting sponsor for Stages 3 and 7 (Amgen Tour of California).

GET YOUR RUN ON: In Boston, Chris Reidy reported Boston-based ad agency Arnold Worldwide is “launching new ads for New Balance” for the Minimus Ionix 3090 running shoe. The company said that the campaign “focuses on the sensory connection between a runner’s body and the environment the runner is in” (, 5/15).

NO MORE SLIPPERY SLOPES: The NCAA men's and women's basketball rules committees this week announced that they are “recommending a change that requires basketball courts be ‘of a consistent surface’ so that player safety is not compromised.”’s Gary Parrish noted the change “must now be approved by the playing rules oversight panel next month.” The recommendation comes after Michigan State F Branden Dawson slipped on the center-court logo during the Quicken Loans Carrier Classic in November (, 5/15).