Bass Pro Shops has formally signed on to become a co-primary sponsor of Tony Stewart’s No. 14 Sprint Cup car next year. The company, which Thursday announced the deal to employees in Springfield, Mo., will be on the hood of Stewart’s car for 18 races, including the Daytona 500. Financial terms of the deal, which was first reported last month by FoxSports.com, were not available. Mobil 1 will sponsor 11 races, leaving Stewart-Haas Racing with nine primary races left to sell. Bass Pro has had an endorsement deal with Stewart since '01, but the company has never had an opportunity to be a primary sponsor of Stewart’s car. Bass Pro Founder Johnny Morris in a statement said, “It’s an excellent opportunity for our company to be even more involved with who we consider to be the greatest all-around racecar driver of all time.” The company the last several years has been a primary sponsor of Earnhardt Ganassi Racing’s No. 1 car driven by Jamie McMurray. It plans to continue sponsoring the No. 1 car, but the number of races it sponsors likely will decrease. Bass Pro is also a sponsor of Richard Childress Racing’s Austin and Ty Dillon, who drive in the Nationwide Series and Camping World Truck Series, respectively. The company plans to continue to sponsor both drivers in '13 (Tripp Mickle, SportsBusiness Journal).
BREATHING ROOM FOR NEWMAN: Stewart-Haas Racing's Ryan Newman said he was “breathing easier” after he knew that Quicken Loans signed on to be the primary sponsor for 18 races next season. Newman said, “They're a unique sponsor because they don't just see it as advertisement. They see it as a way to connect with the fans, have some great sweepstakes. Their skip-a-year mortgage program that they're going to do for a sweepstakes is really amazing, things like that that really reach out and connect to the fans that sit in the grandstands and that are a big part of our sport.” Newman recently signed a one-year extension with SHR for '13, but he said it is not a “make or break” season. Newman: “What it really does is it just lines ourselves up with our primary sponsor of Quicken Loans for 2013. Their deal is one year as well. ... If we have the opportunity to put together a two- or three-year deal or even further with Quicken Loans, then that will match my contract. The economics have to make sense from a personal standpoint. I'd like something on paper that says I'm here for a long time, but financially it has to work for everybody” (“NASCAR Now,” ESPN2, 10/2). Stewart in a special to the DETROIT FREE PRESS writes after signing the Quicken Loans deal, "There wasn't any champagne being sprayed in victory lane, but there were plenty of high fives on the shop floor. ... Unlike stick-and-ball sports whose teams get to rely on ticket sales, a race team's only ticket is sponsorship. So when Quicken Loans ... not only renews with our team but doubles its investment, it's a big deal" (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 10/5).
The AARP Foundation has signed a one-year extension with Hendrick Motorsports that will take its 22-race co-primary sponsorship of Jeff Gordon’s No. 24 Sprint Cup car through '14. Financial terms of the extension were not available. The foundation’s previous deal covered '11-13. The AARP Foundation will continue to use the sponsorship to promote its Drive to End Hunger campaign, which is designed to raise awareness of and money for seniors who do not have enough food. AARP Foundation President Jo Ann Jenkins said, “We’re very excited about our initiative that we have. It’s turned out to be more than a contract for us. Both Rick Hendrick and Jeff Gordon have bought into our issue of solving senior hunger in this country.” Jenkins said that over the last two years, the Drive to End Hunger campaign has raised more than $17M in corporate sponsorship and individual donations. The AARP Foundation has used the money to serve over 13 million meals across the country. Jenkins said the foundation estimates that its Drive to End Hunger message has reached more than 1 billion people, which surpasses what the AARP Foundation expected when it signed the sponsorship in '10. Jenkins: “We’ve learned a lot about the sport. One of things we’ve just done is used some of the money we raised and funded 10 non-profits nationwide that believe they have a solution to hunger. We’ve funded some research institutions that are working toward solutions. We’re going to work with track owners to take food from races and donate it to local communities."
SUPERSIZE ME? Earnhardt Ganassi Racing is in discussions with McDonald’s about increasing the number of primary races it sponsors on the No. 1 car driven by Jamie McMurray. Earnhardt Ganassi Racing Teams President Steve Lauletta said, “We’re fairly confident that’s going to happen based on the discussions and their excitement on being able to take some of the races they’ve historically taken an associate role on like the Daytona 500, the Brickyard 400, the Bristol night race and some of the marquee events we haven’t been able to deliver to them.” Lauletta said he expects to have 10-12 primary races to sell on the No. 1 car next year, and he first will offer those open races to associate sponsors across Ganassi Racing’s seven cars in three different series (NASCAR Sprint Cup, IndyCar and Grand Am). Lauletta said, “There are folks that are part of the team that have asked about being a primary partner and we haven’t been able to do it. Now we can offer a different opportunity for them. Will all of them do it? Probably not but enough will that I’m not that concerned with how the car will look next year.”
Mercedes-Benz confirmed that it "will return" to the list of Super Bowl advertisers this year after it “dropped the event from its marketing plans" last season, according to Brian Steinberg of AD AGE. Super Bowl XLVII is set to be broadcast by CBS on Feb. 3 from the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, and Mercedes Manager of Corporate Communications Donna Boland said, "It's a big product year for us next year and the game will be played in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, so all the planets are in alignment." Coca-Cola and Best Buy execs also confirmed that they are “returning to the game.” Steinberg reports Coca-Cola has purchased “three 30-second spots.” The three advertisers “join Anheuser-Busch InBev, PepsiCo.'s Pepsi and Frito-Lay divisions, Audi of America, Hyundai/Kia, Cars.com and GoDaddy.com as advertisers who have confirmed their presence in next year's gridiron contest” (ADAGE.com, 10/4).
COOKIE BREAK: AD AGE’s E.J. Schultz reported Oreo is “poised to end the big bash” for its 100th birthday “with a Super Bowl ad.” Kraft Foods North America Corporate & Government Affairs Regional Dir Laurie Guzzinati “declined to provide details, such as the time slot, length of the ad, or which ad agency would handle the spot.” The brand's current agency “is Interpublic's DraftFCB.” The last time Kraft was in the Super Bowl “was in 2008, with a Planters spot” (ADAGE.com, 10/4). Oreo sponsors Broncos QB Peyton Manning and Giants QB Eli Manning, among other sports figures (THE DAILY).
The newly formed nonprofit Heart of Dallas announced Thursday that it is "replacing TicketCity as the title sponsor of the Jan. 1 college football bowl game at the Cotton Bowl Stadium," according to Matt Joyce of the DALLAS BUSINESS JOURNAL. The bowl will "continue the Jan. 1 game’s conference contracts for the next two years -- the Big 10 and a Big 12 team in 2013, and the Big 10 and Conference USA in 2014." Dallas-based PlainsCapital Bank is the game's "main presenter." The group plans to "organize sports and entertainment events in Dallas and invest proceeds in charitable and civic works." C-USA Commissioner Britton Banowsky, the founder of the nonprofit, said that the city of Dallas and the Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau "are civic partners in the new nonprofit group." Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings "also announced another new event at the Cotton Bowl" -- the Heart of Dallas Classic. Army and Louisiana Tech "have already agreed to play" in the '13 game, which will take place next September "during next year's State Fair of Texas" (BIZJOURNALS.com, 10/4). Banowsky said that Heart of Dallas will be a "year-round entity with corporate support that happens to have a bowl game." He added that a "concert series is also in the works and there will be other events to follow" (DALLASNEWS.com, 10/4).
Pandora Jewelry announced an endorsement deal with Gold Medal-winning U.S. gymnast Aly Raisman to be featured in the brand’s ‘13 print campaign and make select appearances at several stores during and following the Kellogg's Tour of Gymnastics Champions. Raisman's first public appearance for Pandora is expected to be Saturday from 11:00am-1:00pm CT in Frisco, Texas. She also will contribute to Pandora's social media efforts. Raisman has sponsorship deals with Poland Spring Water, Polo Ralph Lauren and Kellogg's, among others (THE DAILY).
SAFETY FIRST: In Boston, gossip columnists Fee, Raposa & Johnson note Patriots QB Tom Brady in a TV ad for NFLEvolution.com “touts the NFL’s game safety research program.” Brady in the ad “chats up a concerned mom” whose son Ray “loves to play football.” She wants to “know what the league is doing to make the game safer.” Brady “reassures her, then meets” the woman’s son, which turns out to be Ravens LB Ray Lewis (BOSTON HERALD, 10/5).
RIDING THE WADE: Leverage Agency Sports & Athlete Marketing Dir Keith Wan said of Heat G Dwyane Wade ending his Jordan Brand deal to ink a new sponsorship with Chinese brand Li-Ning, “This is huge for Li-Ning because it doesn’t have someone like a LeBron James or Michael Jordan who can carry a brand. It’s a positive for Wade too because he’ll be able to expand his international appeal to the Chinese market.” Marketing Evaluations Exec VP Henry Schafer said that Wade “could be a valuable asset to Li-Ning, depending on the strategy the brand chooses to promote him” (WWD.com, 10/4).
COSTUME CRAZE:The NBA on Thursday announced a new line of league Halloween costumes created by L.A.-based Leg Avenue. The collection features dance team costumes for a number of teams, including the Celtics, Mavericks, Heat, Knicks and Lakers. The costumes retail for $50-60 and are available nationally at Party City stores and on PartyCity.com (NBA).