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Volume 24 No. 159

Marketing and Sponsorship

Chicago-based deep dish pizza company Giordano's today announced that Bulls G Derrick Rose "has become an equity partner in the restaurant franchise," according to Darren Rovell of Giordano's, which is "looking to branch out from the Chicagoland area, will lean on Rose to give it a boost as it moves outside of its comfort base." The brand has 43 restaurants, "only three of which are outside the state of Illinois." Victory Park Capital Advisors Managing Partner Richard Levy, whose company bought Giordano's last year, said that Rose "paid for his undisclosed piece of the pie, which will entitle him to the share of the profits as the company seeks to branch out." The company's plans include expansion "first to the Midwest and in 'Big Ten' college cities and eventually to other states notably California and Texas, the two top states where Giordano's says it ships the most frozen pizzas to." Giordano's President & CEO Yorgo Koutsogiorgas said that the company "will use Rose by putting his image on a special takeout box." Giordano's will "not be allowed to use official Bulls trademarks in any of it's advertising or promotional material involving Rose." The Bulls have "sold its official pizza designation to supermarket brand DiGiorno" (, 9/5). Rose is the first pro athlete and celebrity spokesperson to align with the pizza company. Beginning later this month, he will appear in Giordano's advertising, consumer promotions and charitable efforts (Giordano's).

SPORTING NEWS' Bob Pockrass wrote NASCAR driver Matt Kenseth "appears to be a better fit for sponsor The Home Depot" following his signing with Joe Gibbs Racing. Kenseth replaces Joey Logano at JGR, and "it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that a 40-year-old family man -- the father of a grown son and two young girls -- is a better fit with the home improvement chain than a 22-year-old single guy." Meanwhile, Logano "needs to reach his potential not only for himself and Penske but also for sponsor Shell/Pennzoil." The longtime NASCAR sponsor has "gone from perennial Chase contenders in Kevin Harvick and Kurt Busch to struggling AJ Allmendinger and now Logano" (, 9/5).

LET'S KICK IT: In London, Matt Hughes notes the FA on Monday formally "announced a new five-year deal with Nike" to replace Umbro as the official kit supplier for the England men's national soccer team. The deal also "includes sponsorship of St. George's Park, the new National Football Centre in Burton upon Trent, and a partnership with Wembley Stadium." Under the terms of the deal, Nike "will launch new home and away England kits next April as part of a series of events to mark the FA's 150th anniversary, although both will be worn by the national side for only one year." Two more new kits "will be unveiled in April 2014 and will be worn in that year's World Cup in Brazil, after which the home shirt will change every two years, with the away shirt on an 18-month rotation" (LONDON TIMES, 9/4).

NO PLAY FOR MR. GRAY: In N.Y., Richard Sandomir noted SportsNet N.Y. Mets analyst Keith Hernandez last week during a telecast "announced the possibility" of shaving his mustache. Hernandez was previously "a paid company endorser" for Just For Men gel, but brand "ended the campaign early this year." He once "kept a stockpile of Just for Men to comply with his contract, which said he had to appear on-air fully dyed." Two company execs "monitored Mets games to be sure he did not turn into Mr. Gray." Hernandez "still has a few boxes left, but he isn't using it" (N.Y. TIMES, 9/4).

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