Charlotte-based department store chain Belk has partnered with NFL Panthers QB Cam Newton to launch a men's apparel line called MADE Cam Newton. The line will debut in the Spring of '13 and will feature men's professional apparel, accessories and shoes (Belk). In Charlotte, Ely Portillo writes Newton yesterday "notched another victory in the merchandise arena" with his "first foray into clothing." MADE will "join Belk's 20 private brands." Belk President of Merchandising & Marketing Kathryn Bufano said that the company "will also consider adding areas such as children's clothing and women's watches under the 'Cam Newton umbrella.'" Portillo notes men's goods "made up 18 percent of Belk's $868 million worth of sales in its most recent quarter." Newton said that he and Belk "started working together in the offseason." Newton: "This whole fashion ordeal is ... something I've never done before. They did an unbelievable job of taking my ideas and my fashion and making it a brand." Portillo notes Newton has "landed endorsement deals" with Under Armour, Gatorade and Charlotte-based Carolinas HealthCare Systems (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 10/9). Also in Charlotte, Tom Sorensen writes, "The timing is terrible. But how could Belk or Newton anticipate when they set this up that the day before Newton would pass for 141 yards in a 16-12 loss to Seattle and the Panthers would be 1-4?" Sorensen: "Even if the option play the Panthers apparently are contractually obligated to run again fails, Newton will look good as he’s driven into the turf" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 10/9).
Marketing and Sponsorship
The Colts Pro Shop at Lucas Oil Stadium has nearly sold out of the "3,000 blue T-shirts -- with a simple message in white lettering: 'i am CHUCKSTRONG,'" according to Dana Hunsinger Benbow of the INDIANAPOLIS STAR. Today, those racks "will be filled again with the shirts honoring" Colts coach Chuck Pagano, who is battling leukemia. The demand has "a little to do with celebrating the Colts’ inspiring win Sunday over the Green Bay Packers in honor of the ailing coach." But mostly it has to do with "cheering on Pagano and the fight for a cancer cure." Proceeds from sales of the $20 shirts go to the Indiana Univ. Simon Cancer Center leukemia research "in honor of Pagano." After selling 3,100 by yesterday "in stores and online, $78,000 had been raised." Colts officials said that a "private match is taking place behind the scenes, in some cases putting more than $20 toward leukemia research each time a shirt is purchased." Colts execs and MainGate, the company that produces the T-shirts, "decided Monday to make 5,000 more ChuckStrong shirts." They will be in "by this afternoon." MainGate CEO Dave Moroknek said that it is "possible if the added 5,000 shirts sell out, his company will make more" (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 10/9).
FOR THE LOVE OF THE GAME: In Detroit, Rod Beard notes Tigers radio analyst Jim Price is in his 20th season with the team, and his voice is "strong as ever -- even in the midst of his second bout with cancer." Tigers Owner Mike Ilitch has "told Price he can take as much time off as he needs as he continues his battle, but Price has soldiered through the season." Tigers radio play-by-play announcer Dan Dickerson said, "I just admire what Jim has done because it's not easy. He's going on and off the chemo -- it's not like other chemo because it's oral chemo -- but it takes something out of him and the food doesn't taste good" (DETROIT NEWS, 10/9).
Taxslayer.com has signed a multiyear renewal with JR Motorports. The online tax service will increase the number of primary races it sponsors next year from 14 to 17 for the NASCAR Nationwide Series team and continue to feature team owner and driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. in national advertising and promotions. Terms of the deal were not available. Taxslayer.com President Jimmy Rhodes credited the company's sponsorship of JR Motorsports with increasing its business by 20% in ‘11 and ‘12. Rhodes said, "The results blew us away. Using (Earnhardt) and his image allowed us to get in front of a very loyal consumer base." JR Motorsports Co-Owner & VP Kelley Earnhardt said, "With the economy the way it's been, everything's been on a year-to-year basis. No one's stepped up with a long-term opportunity and you can't get ahead of activating. This program worked, and this (long-term deal) really gives us a chance to get out in front of it and maximize it." Dale Earnhardt Jr. will drive a Taxslayer.com branded car in the spring Nationwide Series race at Daytona Int’l Speedway in ‘13 and appear on the company's behalf at the Jan. 2 Taxslayer.com Gator Bowl. JR Motorsports plans to run two cars in ‘13 and still has more than 35 primary races to sell.
Russell Athletic yesterday announced endorsement deals with Redskins WR Pierre Garcon and Saints RB Mark Ingram. Both players will be designated as Russell ambassadors and play a role in product development. They also will appear in-store and in consumer and trade advertising in addition to participating in fan meet-and-greets, social media activity and youth sports camps for the brand (Russell Athletic).
ANOTHER MAN'S SHOES: In South Florida, Craig Davis reported an announcement of Heat G Dwyane Wade’s new deal with Chinese sneaker company Li-Ning is expected tomorrow “during the Miami Heat’s exhibition tour" in China. But photos of Wade’s new signature shoe are “already popping up around the Internet after Chinese sneaker site Kenlu posted them over the weekend.” No Li-Ning branding "is visible” on the shoes (SUN-SENTINEL.com, 10/8).
BURGERS FIT FOR A KING? Burger King said that it sent a package including “a letter, three paper crowns and a $100 gift card” to Tigers 3B Miguel Cabrera after he became the first player in 45 years to win the Triple Crown. ESPN.com's Darren Rovell noted Cabrera “does not have a fast food endorsement deal” (ESPN.com, 10/5).
OFF THE HIGH DIVE: Lafayette Savings Bank announced an endorsement deal with Gold Medal-winning U.S. diver David Boudia, who is still a student at Purdue Univ. Boudia yesterday was to "sign a four-year contract with the bank." He will appear "in the bank's print advertising and social media, and will make public appearances representing the bank, which is owned by LSB Financial Corp." Boudia is represented by PMG Sports (Lafayette JOURNAL & COURIER, 10/8).
In Milwaukee, Don Walker reported MillerCoors, the Bucks and the BMO Harris Bradley Center yesterday “announced a 10-year sponsorship renewal that keeps the brewer as the team's exclusive beer sponsor.” MillerCoors and the old Miller Brewing Co. have “had a relationship with the Bucks dating back to 1968.” Coors Light and Miller Lite are “expected to be the major players in the deal.” Coors Light will be “at the center of external marketing efforts in support of the Bucks,” while Miller Lite will be the “focus for in-arena advertising at the BMO Harris Bradley Center” (JSONLINE.com, 10/8).
DRAWING IRE: In London, George Caulkin notes EPL club Newcastle United has been “criticised by supporters and politicians" after the club reportedly agreed to a shirt-sponsorship deal with short-term loans company Wonga. Ian Lavery, the Labour Member of Parliament for Wansbeck, Northumberland, and a season-ticket holder, said, “Newcastle United will be sponsored by the money of deprived people up and down the country" (LONDON TIMES, 10/9).
PROFITS ICED OVER? The GLOBE & MAIL’s Bertrand Marotte noted the NHL lockout’s “potential impact on business is likely to be top of mind when Bauer Performance Sports Ltd. reports first-quarter earnings” today. Bauer President & CEO Kevin Davis is expected to “reassure investors that the lockout will have minimal impact on the bottom line because sales to NHL players actually represent a small part of revenues.” Bauer also “has an ambitious game plan to expand its presence in lacrosse" (GLOBE & MAIL, 10/7).
REV IT UP: IndyCar and NASCAR team Owner Roger Penske on Sunday said that his “priority is securing sponsorship for a third IndyCar entry.” The AP’s Jenna Fryer noted options have “already been picked up" for drivers Will Power and Helio Castroneves. Penske said, "I am either going to have one or I am not, and I don't know at this point" (AP, 10/7).