UFC light heavyweight champion Jon “Bones” Jones “signed a sweeping, worldwide sponsorship deal with sports apparel giant Nike,” according to Mike Chiappetta of MMAFIGHTING.com. The two sides have “agreed to a multi-year contract that will see Jones decked out in Nike gear for the foreseeable future,” beginning with his Sept. 1 bought against Dan Henderson at UFC 151. Sources said that as a part of the deal, Jones will be “featured on worldwide Nike advertising and receive his own signature line.” Details of the line are “expected to be announced within a week.” While MMA fighters Anderson Silva and Yoshihiro Akiyama have “inked deals with Nike subsidiaries in their respective countries, Jones’ deal makes him the first to land a global pact” (MMAFIGHTING.com, 8/8). On his Twitter account, Jones wrote, “Blessed to be signed by the biggest sports apparel company in the world." In Canada, Dave Deibert noted Jones’ manager Malki Kawa, who also confirmed the signing via Twitter, “travelled to Nike headquarters soon after Jones’s win in April over Rashad Evans” (THESTARPHOENIX.com, 8/8). In N.Y., Marc Raimondi wrote, “Getting such a large sponsorship had been a goal for Jones. In his last fight, without a bluechip endorser like Nike, he was actually sponsored solely by the UFC itself” (NYPOST.com, 8/8).
Marketing and Sponsorship
Livestrong needs the “popularity of its mission to transcend the reputation of its founder” Lance Armstrong in order to “thrive regardless of how the doping allegations are resolved,” according to a sports section cover story by Brent Schrotenboer of USA TODAY. Two years after federal prosecutors opened an investigation into doping allegations against Armstrong, the charity “forges on, striving to keep the focus on its massive mission: supporting cancer survivors.” But now Livestrong “must deal with questions about how it can unglue itself” from Armstrong. Q Scores found that after “years of rumors and accusations, nearly three times more Americans dislike Armstrong than like him.” Livestrong “took a hit in June when USADA outlined its charges in a letter to Armstrong.” The charges “put his deal with the World Triathlon Corporation in jeopardy -- a one-year agreement that was to pay $1 million to the foundation in exchange for Armstrong's appearances.” So far, the WTC “has paid Livestrong $250,000.” Livestrong CEO Doug Ulman said, "The good news is the organization is as strong as ever. It continues to serve our mission.” But he added, “That said, we do see an impact. One is the constant barrage of media attention, even though it has nothing to do with the mission (of the foundation)." Schrotenboer writes it is a “fine line for the foundation to walk.” Livestrong “wants to support its founder, though it only can do so to a point, lest it breach ethical boundaries” (USA TODAY, 8/9).
Emirates Airline, a major sponsor of golf on the European Tour and in Asia, is making its first spend in the U.S. with a sponsorship of the Boeing Classic, a Champions Tour Event in the Seattle area. Emirates, which launched a non-stop service from Seattle to Dubai earlier this year, is the largest operator of Boeing 777s in the world. The airline last year signed an agreement for an additional 50 Boeing 777-300ERs worth $18B at list price. Emirates currently flies to six U.S. cities: Dallas, Houston, L.A., N.Y., S.F. and Seattle, and will launch a non-stop service to DC next month. The airline's sponsorship, a secondary position to Boeing's entitlement, provides a platform for the airline to raise awareness and engage with existing and potential customers. The centerpiece of Emirates' program at the Boeing Classic will be the Emirates Youth Clinic on Aug. 21. The youth clinic will be hosted by two-time major champion Sandy Lyle and will entertain kids from local organizations including The First Tee, Encompass, and the YMCA.