The Univ. of Wisconsin yesterday revealed new adidas football uniforms that the Badgers “will wear Sept. 29 for their prime-time game at Nebraska,” according to Adam Mertz of the WISCONSIN STATE JOURNAL. The white uniform is a “mix of old-school and futuristic,” and features “bright red shoulders and a red block ‘W’ -- and, notably, ‘Badgers’ on the back where the nameplate would go.” The helmet “carries over that bright red, with a block white ‘W’ and a black facemask.” The black shoes feature “red and white elements that are reflective.” Wisconsin CB Devin Smith said, "It's very unusual for Wisconsin to do anything out of the normal, traditional uniforms.” Mertz wrote the shock factor of a uniform deviation “at most schools is big, but especially so at Nebraska and Wisconsin, whose conservative look is both ingrained and incredibly similar” (WISCONSIN STATE JOURNAL, 8/7). ESPN.com’s Adam Rittenberg wrote the new uniforms are “not as jarring as Nebraska's, given the Huskers' iconic look during the years.” Rittenberg: “I actually prefer Nebraska's look to Wisconsin's. But the differences between the two uniforms aren't major.” The alternate unis for the teams “also are obviously linked” (ESPN.com, 8/6).
COUGAR TOWN: In Houston, Joseph Duarte noted the Univ. of Houston football officials yesterday unveiled “a few changes to their game-day look … including a redesigned football helmet and a patch to commemorate the final season at Robertson Stadium.” The new helmet features “a truer red -- with a metallic base -- and the Cougars’ interlocking ‘UH’ logo introduced in the spring.” In past seasons, the helmet featured the red used by the Chiefs “and metallic flakes embedded in the paint.” UH’s jersey “also includes an updated logo and more prominent ‘Houston’ across the front” (CHRON.com, 8/6).
TURTLE POWER: In DC, Dan Steinberg wrote the Univ. of Maryland football uniforms for ’12 have “names on the back, a change-of-pace from last year’s anonymity.” The state pride helmets “are also significantly different from last year’s models” (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 8/6). In Baltimore, Jeff Barker wrote the Terps' football team -- "which has more uniform combinations that fashion models have shoes -- may wear other jerseys that may not include individuals' names." Maryland DT Joe Vellano said that having players' names on jerseys "is probably a bigger deal to their parents than it is to the team" (BALTIMORESUN.com, 8/6).
Dodge is "expected to announce its withdrawal from NASCAR competition following the 2012 season," according to sources cited by Marty Smith of ESPN.com. The automaker is "expected to hold a Tuesday press conference to make the announcement." Dodge "was faced with a rebuilding phase beginning in 2013, after Penske Racing -- the lone NASCAR organization to field Dodges since 2009 -- chose to leave the manufacturer in favor of Ford Motor Company beginning next season." Penske has fielded Dodges since '03. Industry sources "question whether Dodge's parent company, Fiat, has any passion for NASCAR." Dodge previously pulled out of the sport in '77, returning in '01 (ESPN.com, 8/7). Dodge President Ralph Gilles in March said the automaker had "no plans to leave the sport" (THE DAILY). ESPN.com's David Newton on Sunday reported NASCAR Sprint Cup team Furniture Row Racing had been "prepared to switch from Chevrolet to Dodge in 2013 if the manufacturer chooses to go in that direction." Furniture Row GM Joe Garone on Sunday said that "there have been initial talks with Dodge about making a switch and adding a second team, potentially with 2004 Sprint Cup champion Kurt Busch." Garone: "If Dodge comes to us and says here's the right deal, we would do it. They're trying to figure out who they're going to do it with and how they're going to do it" (ESPN.com, 8/5).
Kraft Sports Group and Cross Insurance yesterday announced a sponsorship deal that makes Cross the official insurance broker of the Patriots, MLS Revolution and Gillette Stadium. The deal will include a visible presence at Patriot Place and Gillette Stadium throughout the '12 NFL and MLS seasons. Maine-based Cross is continuing a push into New England sports sponsorship, having reached a similar deal with the Red Sox in April for the 100th season at Fenway Park (THE DAILY). Cross Insurance Exec VP Jonathan Cross said that the agreement "was a multi-year deal," but he would not disclose exactly how many years it covered or the deal's total monetary value. Cross said, “We’re going to have some in-stadium signage and advertising opportunities with their various print materials and Internet, television and radio, as well as at Patriot Place.” He added, "We’ve been working with the Krafts now for a few years. It started with a small relationship and getting to know one another. As they’ve gotten to know us, they’ve been giving us more and more responsibility and business. ... They like our model and the way we do business" (BANGOR DAILY NEWS, 8/7). WABI-CBS notes Cross Insurance "also recently announced they purchased naming rights for the new Bangor arena" (WABI.tv, 8/7).
Now-bankrupt company Spongetech racked up more than $9.5M in unpaid sponsor and advertising bills to nearly three dozen sports entities during the mid- to late-2000's, according to a SportsBusiness Journal/Daily analysis of court documents in the pending Madison Square Garden LP v. Spongetech Delivery Systems case in N.Y. Civil Supreme Court. In May ‘10, the federal government alleged that 99% of Spongetech’s reported sales were fake. Spongetech filed for bankruptcy soon after. The company's next scheduled sports-related court date is Oct. 24, when its biggest sports creditor, the Mets (Queens Ballpark Co.), will continue its suit in Queens Civil Supreme Court (David Broughton, SportsBusiness Journal).
Citi Field (Mets)
Madison Square Garden
Sun Life Stadium
ANC Sports Enterprises
Levy Restaurants / Billy Jean Tennis Center
AT&T Park (MLB Giants)
Long Island Ducks (independent baseball)
Van Wagner Dorna
HOW IT WENT DOWN: CRAIN'S N.Y.’s Aaron Elstein wrote MSG execs “didn’t know it at the time, but theirs was the latest sports operation about to get soaked by a sponge company.” The Mets were also “stiffed out of nearly" $3M by Spongetech. The Yankees, NFL Giants, Red Sox, Bears and Blackhawks also were “left in the lurch after carrying ads in their stadiums.” Spongetech's ads with sports teams and venues were a “key part of the 2009 hype campaign for the stock.” The Mets were the “first team to carry Spongetech ads, and the company signed a three-year advertising deal shortly before the team moved" into Citi Field in '09. Spongetech also “rented a luxury suite behind third base for five seasons, starting at $250,000 per year.” The ads with the Mets “caught the attention of MSG officials, who were impressed that the little-known company had secured a licensing agreement” for Nickelodeon's SpongeBob SquarePants character. Spongetech COO Steven Moskowitz “signed a three-year contract with MSG on June 15, 2009," agreeing that the company would pay $3.2M a year to advertise during Knicks, Rangers and WNBA Liberty games, "including a prime spot on the Rangers’ Zamboni machine.” Included in the fee was a "suite for six Knicks and Rangers games two concerts and two other events.” The company “got its ad space at a 67% discount because other sponsors, such as Lehman Brothers or Citigroup, were going bust or scaling back dramatically” (CRAIN'S N.Y. BUSINESS, 8/6 issue).
The Ravens and the Maryland Lottery are creating the “Ravens Cash Fantasy” scratch-off for the fourth consecutive year. The game offers more than $11M in instant cash prizes, a second-chance contest with a $1M prize and several experiential prizes, as well as a new “Fan of the Game” feature. The $5 scratch-off tickets also has five $250,000 instant top prizes (Maryland Lottery).
MODEL BEHAVIOR: The AP’s Samantha Critchell wrote former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, socialite Melania Trump and tennis player Serena Williams “are among the NFL fans who’ll be appearing in ads promoting team-themed apparel and gear next week in a campaign called ‘It’s My Team.’” In Williams’ ad for the women's line, she “wears her colors in a graphic T-shirt paired with a dressy little black jacket.” The image “makes its debut in September magazines” (AP, 8/3).
BACK FOR MORE: EPL club Everton has renewed its partnership with EA Sports after beginning its partnership last season. The one-year renewal keeps EA as the club’s official gaming partner for the ’12-13 season. Everton fans also will be able to download a special Everton “FIFA 13” video game cover sleeve when the game launches on Sept. 28. Exclusive digital Everton content will be available throughout the season (Everton).
THE JUICE IS LOOSE: YAHOO SPORTS’ Eric Freeman reported Raptors G Kyle Lowry “has developed a juice called Famjuice.” For the time being, the drinks “appear to be available only in Lowry’s native Philadelphia, although he presumably has the hopes of making the drinks go national -- or international, if he manages to sell them at Raptors games” (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 8/6).