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Volume 24 No. 113

Marketing and Sponsorship Chair, President & CEO David Brown said that the company signed a naming-rights deal for the PGA Tour’s developmental tour “to increase brand awareness,” according to Elizabeth Olson of the N.Y. TIMES. Brown said, “We have a great name, but the general market does not know we exist. I would be surprised if they had ever heard our name.” Olson reports the company, which “has three million customers, is stepping out at a time when more small and medium-size companies are relying on the Internet to attract customers, but few have the resources to employ internal technology experts.” Brown: “We are about to become bolder.” He outlined a strategy that combines the "tour sponsorship, an official marketing partnership with the PGA Tour and a series of television commercials.” Brown said that also plans to “tap golf fans by holding free forums for local small- and medium-size businesses to familiarize them with the company’s offerings, and to work with local charities.” He said that the company “was preparing a series of commercials, which will range from 30 seconds to two minutes, to tell stories of small-business successes with its services.” He added that “no date has been set for them to go on the air.” Olson notes’s “breakout move comes as it competes with such high-wattage companies” as GoDaddy (N.Y. TIMES, 6/29).

MORE THAN JUST AN UMBRELLA SPONSORSHIP: Golf Channel’s Alex Miceli said, “The umbrella sponsorship of what used to be the Nationwide Tour is really a brand-building exercise for them. They are trying to expand what they do out there in the business.” Miceli added, “They are involved with the Internet, that’s something the Tour is going to be much more involved with now because they’re taking their own website in-house.” Golf Channel’s Craig Perks said, “There's a nice synergy between and the Tour. I think is there to help small and medium businesses succeed online. I think it's a very much the same with these players. ... It's a great fit because this Tour is in a lot of smaller to medium markets” (“Golf Central,” Golf Channel, 6/27). Golf Channel’s Gary Williams: “They are going to be more than an umbrella sponsor, they're going to help us with our digital platform which is a big deal for them going forward in conjunction with the new TV agreement that they got done within the last year” (“Morning Drive,” Golf Channel, 6/27).

Nationals COO Andy Feffer said that the team's in-stadium merchandise sales "are up more than 60 percent year to year," according to Dan Steinberg of the WASHINGTON POST. The top-selling jerseys inside Nationals Park are LF Bryce Harper, P Stephen Strasburg and 3B Ryan Zimmerman, which means "a lot of people are investing in a jersey that wasn't previously available." Harper made his MLB debut this season, while Strasburg missed the majority of the '11 season due to injury. Feffer said, "People follow Strasburg and Harper. Kids really connect with Harper. Having those two players, along with the rest of our guys, has really helped to increase merchandise sales." Steinberg noted there also is "just the regular old excitement that comes with having a first place, playoff-contending team." Feffer: "You're seeing more Curly W caps than ever around town. It's kind of ubiquitous now throughout the area. The Nationals are "cool now, and everyone's wearing the gear." Feffer also cited the team's "new partnership with Gameday Merchandising, which took over the in-stadium merchandise operation in the offseason." Additionally, the Nationals became the first team in MLB "to create a New Era walk-in store on the main concourse." Feffer said that it is the "most successful in-stadium merchandise location after the main team store and the home-plate location" (, 6/28).

Target has taken over the billboards at L.A. Live this weekend to celebrate the 10th anniversary of its sponsorship of Shaun White. The Olympic snowboarder and X Games skateboarder has been backed by Target since '02, when he was 15. The company developed a line of White apparel and footwear in its stores in '10 and a line of skateboards this year. To commemorate the partnership, Target posted billboard ads featuring White holding a cake topped by the number 10 and "Ten Years Together." The ads will be visible at L.A. Live during this weekend's X Games, which White is not participating in this year. Target Dir of Events, Strategic Partnerships & Lifestyle Marketing Dan Griffis said, "The current out-of-home branding campaign at L.A. Live is a good representation of our evolving relationship and how we can continue to find new and fun ways to activate around Shaun. We are eager to see what exciting programs we can create together from this point forward. One thing is certain, there is no shortage of opportunity."

adidas has re-signed Tennis HOFer Stan Smith for another six years, extending a deal that stretches back to '72, according to Smith's agent, Donald Dell. Smith has his own signature adidas tennis sneaker line that Dell says has generated nearly $800M since its inception four decades ago. That makes it the most popular tennis sneaker ever made, said Dell, group president of Lagardère Unlimited. The new deal extends an expiring 10-year contract and is largely royalty based. Smith won Wimbledon in '72 and signed with adidas shortly after. Smith was on the verge of signing with Converse at that time, but adidas made a last-minute push to sign the champion, Dell recalled (Daniel Kaplan, SportsBusiness Journal).

TIME IS MONEY: During Thursday’s Lukas Rosol-Rafael Nadal second-round match at Wimbledon, ESPN’s John McEnroe noted that Nadal was wearing a RM 027 Tourbillon watch worth $525,000 and said, “It’s weird to see a guy wear a watch during the match, which Rafa’s been doing for a while. Talk about getting a lot of money.” ESPN’s Chris Fowler added, “It’s not just any watch, by the way. It’s a high-tech thing that’s worth like a half-million bucks. He’s had two of them swiped.” McEnroe said Nadal “got it back in Paris after he won (the French Open) for the mere seventh time” (“Wimbledon,” ESPN2, 6/28).

Anthony Davis, the top pick in Thursday night's NBA Draft, discussed his decision to trademark several phrases pertaining to his "unibrow." ESPN’s Mark Jones said to Davis, “It’s all about a little bit of capitalism now.” Davis said, “My agents and my parents talked it over and they came at me with the idea. I loved it. Who doesn’t love money?” Jones noted, “So every time that it comes out of my mouth or Rece Davis’ mouth or anyone else's mouth, you have to have someone cut the check. Is that right?” Davis: “You going to have to pay me. It’s coming out of you guys’ pocket” (“NBA Draft Preview,” ESPN, 6/28).

THE CARDINALS' RULE: StubHub has renewed its sponsorship at the Univ. of Louisville, signing a new deal extending to '15. StubHub will receive online and offline inventory, including social media promotions, radio spots, LED signage at all football and men's basketball games, and a "Move of the Game" promotion at all men's basketball games. Financial terms were not disclosed. StubHub, with Louisville since '09, holds sponsorship deals with 24 universities (Eric Fisher, SportsBusiness Journal).