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Volume 24 No. 156

Marketing and Sponsorship

Bass Pro Shops is “expected to be a co-primary sponsor for Tony Stewart’s NASCAR Sprint Cup effort next season,” according to Lee Spencer of Mobil 1, which was a "co-primary with Office Depot this season, will continue in that role in 2013" for the No. 14 car. Office Depot has sponsored Stewart "since the inception of Stewart-Haas Racing in 2009" but is ending its deal after this season. Bass Pro Shops “has enjoyed a long relationship with NASCAR.” The company began sponsoring Martin Truex Jr. in '04 when the driver was in the Nationwide Series with Dale Earnhardt Inc. When DEI merged with Chip Ganassi Racing prior to the ‘09 season, Bass Pro Shops “accompanied Truex and then remained with the team with Jamie McMurray when he returned to Ganassi in 2010 and has been with McMurray since” (, 9/13).

INSURANCE PLAN: SPORTING NEWS’ Bob Pockrass noted Geico “will sponsor Casey Mears and Germain Racing for the majority of the Sprint Cup races in 2013 and 2014.” The number of races was “not specified, but Geico sponsored Mears for about two-thirds of the 38-race Cup schedule this year” (, 9/13).

Best Buy on Friday announced it will return as a primary sponsor of Roush Fenway Racing's No. 17 Sprint Cup Series car driven by Ricky Stenhouse Jr. next year. The electronics retailer will expand its deal to become the primary sponsor for 17 races in '13. The deal it signed for this season was only for nine races. Financial terms of the one-year deal were not available. Best Buy paid approximately $10M in '10 for sponsorship of Richard Petty Motorsports' No. 43 car. Matt Kenseth, who drove the No. 17 this year, gave Best Buy six top-10 finishes and put it in victory lane at the Daytona 500. Kenseth is leaving RFR at the end of the season to join Joe Gibbs Racing, and Stenhouse, the defending Nationwide Series champion, is replacing him. CAA Sports negotiated Best Buy's deal. In addition to an expanded deal with Best Buy, RFR Friday announced the other two sponsors on the No. 17 car -- Zest and Fifth Third Bank -- will return in '13. Both sponsors signed four-race deals for this year that included options to extend. RFR President Steve Newmark said that the three extensions mean the No. 17 car is 70% sold for '13. Newmark said, "Although we have some open inventory, we're thrilled to have three new partners who saw significant positive returns on this year decide to return and expand their investment." Newmark said the team is in discussions with some potential sponsors about its remaining open inventory.

PEAK POSITION: Peak Motor Oil, a division of Old World Industries, has signed a three-race deal with Michael Waltrip Racing for the No. 15 Sprint Cup car driven by Clint Bowyer. The multiyear agreement makes Peak Motor Oil an associate sponsor throughout the '13 season on all three MWR Sprint Cup entries and a primary sponsor for three races on the No. 15 car. It also will have the ability to incorporate team Owner Michael Waltrip into marketing materials. Peak Motor Oil claims approximately 6% of the motor oil market. Old World Industries VP/Marketing & CMO Bryan Emrich said the company explored opportunities with other NASCAR teams but signed with MWR because it had a similar culture and shared a desire to increase Peak’s brand awareness at the same time Peak helped expand the race team. The deal is designed to help Peak Motor Oil raise its brand awareness among do-it-yourself consumers.

The Oregon State Univ. athletic department is "in the middle of rebranding" in collaboration with Nike, and while the entire project does not have a completion date, the plan is to "debut the rebrand -- which is thought to involve a new logo -- sometime in fall 2013," according to Lindsay Schnell of the Portland OREGONIAN. OSU AD Bob De Carolis said the rebrand's goal is to explore "potential new options for how we might be able to improve the marketing of our programs." He added, "The review will look at all parts of the identity package from color schemes to the OSU font and Beaver logo." Nike VP/Innovation Design & Special Projects Tinker Hatfield said, "We wouldn't attempt to rebrand Alabama or Texas or Miami, for example, because they're already super strong and visible. But other schools -- the University of Oregon has been one in the past, and now Oregon State -- would love to improve their success rate in recruiting all students, and that can happen with rebranding." When he proposed a rebrand three years ago, Hatfield said that OSU "was hesitant to change." Schnell writes, "Billed as a unique, interlocking-system, the 'OS' brand in 2007 was designed to distinguish Oregon State from the 'other' OSUs of the world, most notably Ohio State University and Oklahoma State University." With the '07 rebrand came a "streamlining of all Beaver sports, which meant the same font could be found in all OSU athletics marketing, from posters to jerseys." Though meetings "have been in the works for months, Nike and Oregon State officials are tight-lipped on the details." Rumors of "going with a 'throwback theme' have popped up on message boards" (Portland OREGONIAN, 9/14).

KNIGHT & DAY:'s Brandon Helwig reports the Univ. of Central Florida's athletics logos "are being streamlined." There were "more than a dozen variations when the new look was introduced in May 2007 and that's led to a lack of uniformity in merchandising and branding." There will be "two primary logos and two secondary logos" going forward. Other versions "will be phased out." UCF VP & AD Todd Stansbury said that the "stacked" UCF logo featured on football helmets "would serve as a primary logo as well as the 'across' UCF logo, which is currently seen on the front of several jerseys, including those for basketball." Stansbury "did not elaborate on which two logos would serve as secondary marks, though presumably the 'Knight head' logo would remain in some fashion" (, 9/14).

The popularity of gloves among football players "has never been greater," and it has "become big business," according to a Money section piece by Jeffrey Martin of USA TODAY. A pair of gloves typically cost $20-50, and SportsOneSource analyst Matt Powell said that retail sales were "at $200 million in 2011, up from $160 million in 2010." Nike "dominates the landscape, finishing with 57% of sales in 2011." Under Armour "was second with 21%, followed by Cutters (15%), the only non-shoe and apparel company in the top four, and Reebok (6%)." adidas is "lagging" in the market, but under Dir of Football Mark Daniels' direction, the company "has unabashedly tried to force its way into the conversation with its bold re-issue of classic uniforms." Michigan wore "a commemorative jersey in its season opener against Alabama, but it was the gloves -- lyrics to the university's fight song, 'The Victors,' scrawled on the underside -- that sparked the most conversation." Nike North America Senior Communications Manager Brian Strong said, "Your favorite player has the option to represent the logo, the spirit and tradition of your team -- right on the palm of their gloves. That's where we are in the evolution." Daniels said, "They're a great billboard for the goals we're trying to achieve." Martin notes despite "not being one of two NFL-approved brands," Cutters has "gained an incredibly loyal and devoted following." To "avoid censure, players tape over the Cutters logo or fold over a flap on the glove to conceal it" (USA TODAY, 9/14).