Rockets G Jeremy Lin and his alma mater, Harvard Univ., are “in talks to create a co-licensed merchandise line,” according to sources cited by Scott Soshnick of BLOOMBERG NEWS. The sources said that the line would be “created with Nike Inc., which has Lin as an endorser and which outfits the university's football and basketball teams.” Univ. of Oregon's Warsaw Sports Marketing Center Managing Dir Paul Swangard said that a Lin-related line “would be an economic and brand-building boon to Harvard," where "almost 18 percent of the 6,657 undergraduates are of Asian descent.” Swangard said, "To millions of Chinese children, the NBA and Harvard are separately 'aspirational brands' and Lin is uniquely positioned to align their messages.” Data from online retailer Fanatics.com showed that Harvard “ranks first among Ivy League schools in merchandise sales,” and 15% of sales “come from outside” the U.S. (BLOOMBERG NEWS, 10/2).
Marketing and Sponsorship
Heat G Dwyane Wade will “become the face” of Beijing-based footwear and apparel company Li-Ning, with the formal announcement “likely to come during next week's Heat preseason trip to China,” according to Ira Winderman of the South Florida SUN-SENTINEL. While Wade “declined to confirm" the deal, Heat F Shane Battier, "who has his own China shoe deal, effectively did.” Battier said, “I told him, 'Let the friendly competition begin, Peak vs. Li-Ning.’” However, Wade yesterday did confirm that he “no longer will endorse Nike’s Jordan Brand.” He said, “I did mutually part ways with the Jordan umbrella, with Jordan and Converse. I had a great nine years but we have mutually parted ways and I’m moving on.” Wade said that the departure “did not have anything to do ... specifically" with Bobcats Owner Michael Jordan. Wade was “careful to remove his sneakers following Tuesday's practice before meeting with the media.” Wade “posted a sneaker photo late Tuesday on his Instagram account next to the date 10/10, indicating his new shoe will be released next Wednesday when the Heat are in Beijing” (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 10/3).
SHOES TO CHOOSE: SOLECOLLECTOR.com’s Nick DePaula noted the industry is "awaiting word" on what move Thunder Gs Russell Westbrook and James Harden will make. Westbrook is “said to be making his decision -- between Jordan Brand or adidas -- this week” (SOLECOLLECTOR.com, 10/1). In Oklahoma City, John Rohde noted Westbrook “wore the Nike Air Jordan1 model at Thunder media day on Monday.” Rohde: “No way would Westbrook wear Nike on the biggest photo op day of the season had he already signed a new deal with adidas." Still, Nike officials "have yet to confirm Westbrook as a client.” Westbrook “became a sneaker free agent this summer after spending his first four seasons as a prominent figure in Nike’s Hyperfuse line” (NEWSOK.com, 10/2).
The Massachusetts State Lottery and the Celtics announced plans to expand their lineup of co-branded instant tickets with a new game that went on sale yesterday. The $2 ticket is the fourth Celtics-branded game offered by the lottery since the partnership was formed in '06. The ticket is emblazoned with an image of banners commemorating the team's 17 NBA championships (Massachusetts State Lottery). The BOSTON HERALD reports with a “print run of 15.1 million tickets, sales from the 2012 Boston Celtics Instant Ticket are expected to reach $30.2 million and generate more than $5.8 million in local aid revenues, which will be available for Massachusetts’ 351 cities and towns.” The game “features over $19 million in immediate ‘scratch and win’ cash prizes, including 15 top prizes of $50,000.” The new ticket will also “offer second chance opportunities through which players can enter their non-winning tickets to win unique game-night experiences, team-branded gear, authentic commemorative 'banner year' collectibles and more money -- up to $50,000 cash -- in a contest held during a Celtics home game” (BOSTON HERALD, 10/3).
EPL club Newcastle United will have a “new sponsor on their famous black and white shirts next season” after the club “called an early halt to a deal with Virgin Money agreed only in January,” according to Keith Weir of REUTERS. The contract with Virgin Money was “reportedly worth only [US$4.9M] per season, a modest amount by the standards of the Premier League.” Newcastle United Managing Dir Derek Llambias said, “We will be announcing a new sponsorship partner shortly which represents an excellent commercial deal for both parties.” Weir noted Virgin Money “took on the sponsorship in January after buying the banking business of previous sponsor, Newcastle-based Northern Rock” (REUTERS, 10/1). Virgin Money said that while it “respected the club’s decision, it had wanted to continue as the team’s main sponsor” (BBC.co.uk, 10/1).
One of the most "enduring sponsorships in British sport is set to end when Aviva's deal with UK Athletics expires in December," according to Simon Hart of the London TELEGRAPH. Aviva, which is the "title sponsor of the British athletics team as well as the six domestic televised meetings, has been the sport’s principal backer since 1999." But sources said that it "is 'very unlikely' that the company will be continuing its relationship because of a change in the way UK Athletics is selling its sponsorship rights from 2013 onwards." Hart notes instead of seeking a "single top-tier company, the governing body wants to move to a Champions League-style sponsorship arrangement with multiple commercial partners." Aviva is "said to be unhappy with having to give up its exclusivity and has no desire to accept a smaller slice of the sponsorship pie." Its current contract "began five years ago at a cost of almost" US$64.5M (TELEGRAPH, 10/3).