After the Giants' victory in Super Bowl XLVI, companies “did not wait to seize” the popularity of WR Victor Cruz, but he is now balancing "an avalanche of demands from the news media, fans, endorsers and advertisers,” according to Zach Schonbrun of the N.Y. TIMES. To handle the demand, Cruz “signed with the marketing giant IMG,” and now has “endorsement deals with Pepsi, Campbell’s Soup, Time Warner Cable and Got Milk.” But he said that he has “turned down dozens of offers.” Cruz’ marketing agent Carlos Fleming “described his promotional approach with Cruz as ‘gradual,’ despite what seemed to be a flood of appearances.” Fleming said, “We’ve declined a lot of opportunities that either didn’t make sense strategically or just really we felt like it might take too much of his time and become too much of a distraction.” Schonbrun wrote Cruz has now “grown deeply conscious of his image.” Cruz: “I want it to be positive. I never want anything negative to come and infiltrate my image. As much as I’m human and things may happen, I want it to remain as positive as possible and just keep my nose clean” (N.Y. TIMES, 8/12).
Marketing and Sponsorship
Ravens S Bernard Pollard has "conceived and paid for" an app set to be released Friday called "Bourre," which will introduce fans to the card game "without their having to risk any real cash," according to Chris Korman of the Baltimore SUN. Pollard "hired former teammate Ryan Moats" to develop the app, and the two "hope Bourre is the first of many apps they will develop for professional athletes." Moats said, "This helps players access fans and gives them another point of view. It's important for them to stay connected, and that's really what I'm basing that part of the business on. It's really about people reaching other people and interacting." Korman notes, "Until now, the game was known mostly for sparking two famous intrasquad NBA disputes," one between former Wizards Gs Gilbert Arenas and Javaris Crittenton, another between Mavericks G O.J. Mayo and Grizzlies G Tony Allen. Pollard said that he "feels he's found a way to take the game mainstream without bringing any of that baggage along." Development of the game "took more than three months." The app is available for download on Apple products, including the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch (Baltimore SUN, 8/14).
ESPN.com's Darren Rovell noted the LSU football team's dismissal of CB Tyrann Mathieu last Friday will affect "shops in Louisiana that have made some nice money off the man they call the Honey Badger." Many stores that sell LSU gear "haven't received their Nike shipment yet," but Mathieu's No. 7 "was one of three numbers the company is producing on the advice of the school's athletic department." Nike "does not reveal how many jerseys it makes of each number and often doesn't even tell retailers how many they will be getting of each." LSU Associate AD & SID Michael Bonnette said that Friday was the "highest traffic day in more than four years on the school's official athletic website." Rovell noted it was higher "than the day of the national title game in January" (ESPN.com, 8/11).
SPIKE IN INTEREST: The MILWAUKEE BUSINESS JOURNAL's Rich Kirchen notes as GMR Marketing was retained by Northwestern Mutual to handle the company’s NCAA sponsorship, the first “non-March Madness event Northwestern Mutual and GMR are targeting is the Division I women’s volleyball championship in December in Louisville, Ky.” GMR Senior VP/Client Management Steve Dupee said that beyond the top 10 non-March Madness championships, the marketing firm will “create ‘activation kits’ for local financial representatives to set up hospitality sites at less high-profile sports and Division II and Division III championships” (MILWAUKEE BUSINESS JOURNAL, 8/10 issue).
RUMOR HAS IT: BOXINGSCENE.com's Rick Reeno noted Manny Pacquiao's publicist Fred Sternburg "has denied the information contained in a recently published report on MMA Weekly, where UFC President Dana White stated that sportswear giant Nike had dropped Pacquiao in favor of starting a multi-year relationship with UFC champion Jon Jones." Sternburg said, "It's 100% false. The relationship between Manny and Nike has never been better" (BOXINGSCENE.com, 8/13).
CONFLICT OF INTEREST? In N.Y., Phil Mushnick wrote ESPN's new "Monday Night Football" campaign starring Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones will "further compromise what little journalistic credibility it chooses to maintain." Jones is "certainly the kind of person who a sports network should assiduously, honestly cover -- as opposed to joining in bed" (N.Y. POST, 8/13).