Citizen Watch Company announced that it has signed top-ranked tennis player Victoria Azarenka to endorse the brand in its "Unstoppable" media campaign. Print ads featuring Azarenka will break in late fall along with TV, digital and in-store activation. Citizen also counts tennis player Kim Clijsters among its athlete endorsers (Citizen Watch Company). SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL's Daniel Kaplan reports the three-year deal "does not require Azarenka to wear a watch while playing tennis but rather during social occasions." Azarenka, who is also sponsored by Nike, Wilson and Iovate, "did not previously have a watch deal, a key category for top tennis players" (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 8/27 issue).
ZERO'S HEROES: Coca-Cola announced that Bears LB Brian Urlacher and Blackhawks LW Patrick Sharp have signed deals to endorse the Coke Zero brand. New radio and in-store ads featuring Urlacher will appear in the Chicago area starting this weekend, while Sharp's ads will appear in stores later this fall. The deals also include merchandise giveaways, interactive banner ads and social media elements. Financial terms were not disclosed (Coca-Cola).
STAYING ON THE TEAM: In Charlotte, Erik Spanberg reports the NFL Panthers have re-signed realtor Allen Tate Co. to a multiyear deal, "extending a partnership that began in 2007.” That deal followed “recent news of a contract extension with Pepsi as the team’s soft drink and the addition of Buick/GMC as an auto sponsor.” The Buick/GMC deal “explains the sudden proliferation of Buick displays at the stadium for the first two exhibition games.” In addition, WCCB-Fox “completed a three-year extension with the Panthers” to air pre-season games and coaches’ shows (CHARLOTTE BUSINESS JOURNAL, 8/24 issue).