Go Daddy on Thursday said that NASCAR driver Danica Patrick “remains a ‘valued asset’ and is far from being in limbo” as a company endorser, according to Brant James of ESPNW. Go Daddy CMO Barb Rechterman said that Patrick “still has a strong relationship and a future with the company.” Rechterman: "Danica is a valued asset to our organization. We have each grown our brands together with great success. We plan to continue with Danica for years to come.” IMG Senior VP/Business Innovation Mark Dyer, who reps Patrick, said that his client is “under consideration for more Super Bowl ads.” Dyer said Patrick "would like to continue her streak." Dyer refuted reports that Patrick's contract with Go Daddy “expires after 2013, stating that she has a multiyear deal in place as she begins her full-time Sprint Cup career next season with Stewart-Haas Racing.” Though her role as a TV spokesperson for Go Daddy “has been assumed by actors, Patrick was featured with IndyCar counterpart James Hinchcliffe in a series of ads this season in which they sparred in a nonexistent competition for the main presence on the Go Daddy home page” (ESPNW.com, 10/18). The AP’s Jenna Fryer noted Go Daddy first signed with Patrick “as an associate sponsor in IndyCar." Rechterman said that Go Daddy is “interested in discussing opportunities with Patrick for the Indianapolis 500 next season.” Patrick on Thursday said that she “wants to be in the Super Bowl spots but understands it's not her decision.” Patrick: "Obviously with an outside agency producing the commercials for the first time, there's a chance that I won't be in the spots. I'd like to be in the commercials but if not, that's OK.” She added, "The racing program is unaffected and Go Daddy is going to give me great support as they have for several years.” Fryer noted it is “possible this is much ado about nothing, and that Go Daddy used Thursday's announcement to create interest in Patrick's potential involvement” (AP, 10/18).
WHERE TO GO FROM HERE? SI.com’s Cary Estes asked, “Could this be the first sign that Danica-mania has run its course, and she could soon be heading toward Jeremy Lin territory?” There is “no doubt that Patrick remains one of the sport's few transcendent stars who can appeal to the non-NASCAR fan,” but how long “will that last if she doesn't start performing better on the track?” If Go Daddy “goes in a different direction, then it might be a sign that Patrick's clout with the company is slipping, and that her future in the sport might not be quite as secure as originally thought” (SI.com, 10/18).
The professional cycling world is "reeling" following an announcement that "giant Dutch sponsors Rabobank are to withdraw from the sport as a direct consequence" of the USADA's Lance Armstrong report and its contents, according to Brendan Gallagher of the London TELEGRAPH. The Netherlands-based bankers have been "stalwart supporters of the sport since 1996 and over the years their team has effectively become the 'national team' of one of the world's great cycling nations." The bank's withdrawal "sends out a strong message to the UCI that even the most loyal and committed sponsors have their breaking point and will not tolerate indefinitely a sport that is beset by a doping culture." Rabobank will end its sponsorship of both the men's and the women's professional cycling teams "at the end of this year but will continue its ties with amateur cycling as a sponsor, including the youth training and the cyclocross team." Rabobank CFO Bert Bruggink said, "It is with pain in our heart, but for the bank this is an inevitable decision. We are no longer convinced that the international professional world of cycling can make this a clean and fair sport." The Rabobank pro cycling team has "experienced a number of doping scandals in the past." Thomas Dekker was "banned for two years in 2009 after admitting doping in 2007" and in the USADA report, Levi Leipheimer "confesses to using EPO while with the team" (TELEGRAPH.co.uk, 10/19).
TIME TO RECONSIDER: REUTERS' Webb & Deutsch write in a nation "obsessed with both amateur and professional cycling, Rabobank is the biggest sponsor in Dutch professional cycling with total sponsorship" worth $19.64M a year. Another sponsor, SKINS, which is a partner of the Rabobank team, "said on Thursday it would reconsider its association with the sport if its UCI governing body failed to act on doping" (REUTERS, 10/19).
RIDERS REACT: In London, Sam Munnery reports Rabobank "immediately received criticism for walking away." Cyclist David Millar, "a reformed doper who served a two-year suspension after being caught in 2004, said the bank’s decision was 'sickening.'" Millar tweeted, "Dear Rabobank, you were part of the problem. How dare you walk away from your young clean guys who are part of the solution" (THETIMES.co.uk, 10/19).
Pepsi on Friday unveiled two more musical acts as part of its campaign to have rock stars write anthems for seven NFL teams. Aerosmith has released an anthem titled “Legendary Child -- Patriots Anthem” for the Patriots, and Lenny Kravitz is releasing “Like A Jet” for the Jets. The two teams play each other Sunday. The ad campaign for the anthems will start during their game, with TV spots featuring the anthems to air during the broadcast. Ads featuring the other anthems will roll out in additional markets and air throughout the remainder of the NFL regular season. Jets QB Mark Sanchez, Patriots LB Jerod Mayo, Lions QB Matthew Stafford, Cowboys RB DeMarco Murray, Raiders RB Darren McFadden, Giants WR Victor Cruz and Steelers LB LaMarr Woodley are part of the Pepsi ad campaign. The new anthems are available for free download at www.PepsiAnthems.com. Other anthems that were released in August were created by Kid Rock (Lions), Kelly Clarkson (Cowboys), Ice Cube (Raiders), Travie McCoy (Giants), as well as a Wiz Khalifa remix of “Black and Yellow” (Steelers). Pepsi is an NFL sponsor and for the first time will sponsor the Super Bowl halftime show.
The Colts on Friday will begin selling $2 orange ChuckStrong bracelets "through Colts Pro Shops at Circle Centre Mall and Lucas Oil Stadium" to raise money for leukemia research, according to Anthony Schoettle of the INDIANAPOLIS BUSINESS JOURNAL. The team began the ChuckStrong initiative after learning earlier this month coach Chuck Pagano has been diagnosed with leukemia. Indianapolis-based MainGate, which manages the Colts' merchandise operations, "hopes to have the items on sale online" Friday afternoon. The proceeds of the bracelet sales will benefit the Indiana Univ. Health Simon Cancer Center. MainGate "has made an initial batch of 10,000 wrist bands, and company officials think those could sell out quickly." More than 7,700 ChuckStrong T-shirts "have been sold, and Colts officials said more are being made as demand continues to be brisk." Sales of the shirts has brought in more than $125,000. MainGate is "making all the ChuckStrong items at cost for the Colts" (IBJ.com, 10/18).