Pepsi is "returning as the title sponsor of the Super Bowl halftime show for the next four years," according to Terry Lefton in this week’s SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL. Sources last week said that terms "had been agreed to but that a deal was not complete." Driving the deal is Pepsi’s “desire to link its sports and music platforms with the biggest sports event in America.” The idea is a “season long music and sports platform that could be leveraged at retail throughout the season and would culminate in the usual Super Bowl halftime appearance by a major musical act.” Bridgestone has sponsored the Super Bowl halftime show since ‘08 and one source “put the deal at upward of" $7M a year. Pepsi was the “last Super Bowl halftime show sponsor prior to Bridgestone, underwriting a memorable 2007 set by Prince in heavy rain in Miami during Super Bowl XLI” (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 6/25 issue). Meanwhile, in this week’s SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, John Ourand reports CBS has sold 80% of the Super Bowl’s game ad inventory and "is moving into the summer with a handful of spots left to sell.” Sources said that CBS is “asking a record-high" $3.8M per 30-second spot for the game, "which has set U.S. television viewership records for the past three years.” CBS three weeks ago was saying that the game was 50% sold, so the latest figure "shows a lot of inventory moved in the ensuing weeks.” CBS last aired the Super Bowl in '10 and network Exec VP/Sports Sales & Marketing John Bogusz said, “The game has moved early. We’re certainly well ahead of where we were three years ago” (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 6/25 issue).
Marketing and Sponsorship
One of the "stumbling blocks" in negotiations between the Colts and QB Andrew Luck “is the proposed inclusion of marketing language that Luck and his representatives, at least so far, regard as strident,” according to Len Pasquarelli of the SPORTS XCHANGE. A source said Luck would "have to clear" marketing proposals with the club. Pasquarelli noted Broncos QB Peyton Manning “became the face of the NFL" as a result of the "huge volume of marketing and endorsement money” he earned while playing for the Colts. Some team officials, and “certainly players from other clubs, privately contend Manning was overexposed.” Another hurdle for the Colts in signing the number one overall draft pick is the “schedule for the payout of Luck's signing bonus” (THE SPORTS XCHANGE, 6/22). Colts Owner Jim Irsay took to Twitter on Saturday to refute Pasquarelli’s report that negotiations between Luck and the Colts "are being held up by the team's insistence to have control over the quarterback's potential endorsement deals.” Irsay tweeted, "Someone is being fed a big breaky of BS this morning!" He added, "the'One Source'is completely wrong/We're close on #12 n final details unrelated 2 marketing" (ESPN.com, 6/23). Irsay also tweeted, “It's ludicrous 2say we thought#18 was overexposed;he did a great job of focusing on football n 'Branding'incredibly positive Image4Franchise.” CBSSPORTS.com’s Josh Katzowitz wrote, "If all of this is true, it seems unfair for Indianapolis to try to limit Luck’s potential to make money on the side” (CBSSPORTS.com, 6/22).
With the Heat winning the NBA Championship, several marketing observers weigh in on the off-the-court opportunities facing the team. N.Y.-based sports marketing exec Robert Tuchman said the title win is going to lift F LeBron James “into the endorsement stratosphere where only [Broncos QB] Peyton Manning lives." AD AGE's Rich Thomaselli noted James reportedly makes about $30M in endorsements, but Tuchman said he could make a "minimum" 30% to 40% in addition to that amount. Baker Street Advertising Exec Creative Dir Bob Dorfman estimates that “nets out to somewhere between" $9M and $12M. Dorfman said that James' endorsement portfolio “still has room for a luxury automobile, telecom or financial institution, and that he will benefit greatly by an even higher-profile stage -- playing for Team USA in the London Olympics barely a month after winning the NBA title.” Dorfman: "He's about to expose his brand to an international market. China is booming right now; lots of money to be made there. I also think his team is looking at equity and ownership deals rather than standard pitchman opportunities" (ADAGE.com, 6/22). FORBES' Tom Van Riper noted James “rakes in about" $40M annually in endorsements. He ranked first among team sport players on Forbes’ recent list of highest-earning athletes, and fourth overall. But Dorfman “figures that James could easily add to his endorsement dough" by about $10M (FORBES.com, 6/22).
BREAKING BARRIERS: Nike on Thursday after Heat-Thunder NBA Finals Game Five “rushed out a spot” called "The Ring Maker." The 60-second ad “shows a jeweler crafting a championship ring” for James, while “highlights -- and lowlights -- of his career play on a TV in the background” (ADAGE.com, 6/22). On Long Island, Bobby Bonett wrote Nike “nailed the commercial" (NEWSDAY.com, 6/22). Meanwhile, the AP's Tim Reynolds noted James “ended a nearly two-month break from social media early Friday, posting a 50-second video to thank fans for both their support and their patience.” James now has “just over 5 million followers,” and is the “second U.S.-based athlete to cross the 5-million-follower mark” after TNT analyst and former NBAer Shaquille O'Neal (AP, 6/22).
HOT ON THE MARKET: In Ft. Lauderdale, Doreen Hemlock noted Heat fans “turned out in droves Friday to buy 2012 NBA Champions gear.” Dick’s Sporting Goods Marketing Manager Kim Freeman said, "We had a line out the door at Pembroke Pines. We had people traveling 60 miles to the store, just to get their T-shirts." Freeman said that Dick's Sporting Goods “opened its five South Florida stores right after the Heat won, stayed open until about 2 a.m. and then, reopened at 6 a.m. to meet demand from fans” (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 6/24). Online retailer Fanatics experienced its best NBA merchandise sales for NBAStore.com, Fanatics.com and FansEdge.com following the Heat’s win. In the first 12 hours after the championship game, sales of NBA merchandise equaled nearly all of last year’s total sales in the first 24 hours following the Mavericks' NBA Championship. Revenue from merchandise sales by the end of the day Friday surpassed seven figures, exceeding sales following the Lakers’ title in ’10. Fanatics shipped about 70% of orders to locations outside of Florida (THE DAILY).
SAY UNCLE: Meanwhile, in N.Y., Benjamin Hoffman wrote the “breakout star” of this year’s NBA Finals was Cavaliers G Kyrie Irving, who doubles as Uncle Drew in Pepsi Max commercials. More than 11.7 million people went online to “find out who Uncle Drew actually was.” The ads and video “became a viral phenomenon largely through word-of-mouth" and the effort has yielded a 98% like-rate on YouTube. Irving said, “I’m not even Kyrie Irving anymore. I’m Uncle Drew.” Hoffman noted other than a “takeover advertisement on ESPN.com, nothing is planned right now” for additional Pepsi commercials (N.Y. TIMES, 6/24).
Jockey launched a "Hot City Cool Down" campaign with Jets QB Tim Tebow, and on Saturday transformed an outdoor pavilion at Orlando Premium Outlets into a fashion show with male and female underwear models walking the runway. Tebow co-emceed the event in front of 300 guests. He also posed for photos with guests at the Jockey Outlet store (Jockey). Meanwhile, in Orlando, Alexandria Baca notes Tebow and Braves 3B Chipper Jones on Saturday also opened a D1 Sports Training and Therapy center in the Orlando suburb of Lake Mary. An estimated 300 people "attended a special afternoon training session Sunday with Tebow” at the 20,000-square-foot facility (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 6/25).
STRUTTING HER STUFF: In London, Neil Harman notes tennis player Maria Sharapova’s Nike collection “will be worn by her and six other players” at Wimbledon. But what Sharapova wears at this year’s championships -- a “white dress with lime green straps, and shoes with lime green flashes -- will be subtly different from the outfits worn by the other players dressed in her range” (LONDON TIMES, 6/25). CBS’ Mark Phillips said, “The women’s tennis circuit likes to market its top players like movie stars. It’s just as well some of them look the part, none more so than Maria Sharapova, six-feet two-inches of statuesque glamor off the court, the same measure of screeching power and determination on it” (“CBS This Morning,” CBS, 6/25).
SPICE UP YOUR LIFE: In Boston, Donna Goodison notes Red Sox DH David Ortiz today will relaunch his Big Papi’s Kitchen Fresh Salsa, opting for “a more health-conscious, all-natural fresh salsa.” The new salsa is “available at Hannaford, Whole Foods and Roche Bros. supermarkets and online at salsafy.com, and will be sold at Shaw’s and Star Markets starting July 1.” Depending upon his salsa’s success, Ortiz “may expand into other food categories” (BOSTON HERALD, 6/25).
GAME ON: EA Sports and Univ. of Central Florida officials on Friday “announced the opening of the EA Sports Innovation Lab at the UCF Center for Emerging Media in downtown Orlando.” In Orlando, Walter Pacheco noted the 3,000-square-foot lab, "with 14 computer stations, a conference room with two massive flat-screen televisions and an Ikea sense of style, will serve as an extension of EA Sports' Maitland headquarters.” The Florida Interactive Entertainment Academy’s lab “will house a mix of students from UCF's FIEA curriculum and EA Sports employees” (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 6/23).
TEE TO GREEN: In Vancouver, Brad Ziemer noted Canadian golfer Eugene Wong, who is expected make his pro debut at the Canadian Tour Players' Cup in Winnipeg, "appears to be headed" to IMG-Canada, which is now run by Managing Dir & VP Danny Fritz. Wong also is "expected to sign" a club deal with Nike (VANCOUVER SUN, 6/22).
CALL ME: In N.Y., Tanzina Vega looks at the marketing campaign for Sony’s new Xperia Ion smartphone, which includes "extensive media sponsorships and product placement opportunities.” Sponsorships include the ESPN All-Access event in Chicago in September, “where athletes will use the Xperia Ion to send messages from a social media center." The digital ad buy includes homepage “takeovers” on websites including ESPN.com and MLB.com (N.Y. TIMES, 6/25).