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Volume 24 No. 156

Marketing and Sponsorship

The Int'l Cycling Union (UCI) BOD on Friday at a meeting in Geneva “asked Lance Armstrong to return the nearly $4 million the disgraced cyclist earned from the seven Tour de France victories that were stripped because of doping,” according to Michael O’Keeffe of the N.Y. DAILY NEWS. UCI’s Management Committee said that it "will not award the Tour de France titles stripped from Armstrong to any other riders, acknowledging in a press statement that a ‘dark cloud of suspicion’ remains over the period between 1999 to 2005, when Armstrong dominated the sport” (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 10/27). In N.Y., Paul Sullivan noted Armstrong has an “estimated net worth" of $125M. Independent advisers and lawyers said that he is “likely to hold on to most of that wealth -- though he may have to give up" his Tour de France prize money. Boston-based law firm Day Pitney partner David Newman said that a sponsor who “wanted to test the contract could demand its money back.” Newman: “They’d have to spend a lot of money to prove these allegations. From a return on investment, you’d spend a lot of money on lawyers and lawsuits, and more publicity can’t help your product.” When asked what Armstrong would do if his sponsors sued him for damages, Armstrong’s lawyer Tim Herman said, “We don’t have a plan for that, because I do not expect that to happen.”

SPINNING OUT: Sullivan noted for a “big company like Nike,” the loss of Armstrong “is no big deal.” Sullivan: “But I expected more anger from smaller companies like FRS, which makes an energy drink that was closely associated with Mr. Armstrong.” Armstrong’s image, until “recently, was featured prominently in the company’s advertising.” FRS CEO Carl Sweat said, “It’s awfully difficult to not be very disappointed, having believed in all aspects of the relationship. Two years ago, before any of this was out, it would have been a different conversation. He helped us build our brand.” Sweat said that the company was now using Jets QB Tim Tebow, who has a “squeaky-clean reputation, as its main pitchman.” Sullivan wrote there are "two areas, though, where Mr. Armstrong is at risk of losing a little or a lot of money.” The case against him that is “getting the most attention is being pursued by SCA Promotions, a company in Dallas that insures potentially costly but unlikely events.” SCA Corporate Counsel Jeffrey Dorough said that the firm was “sending a letter to Mr. Armstrong demanding that he return $12 million -- the $7.5 million and an additional $4.5 million it paid for a previous victory." Meanwhile, Sullivan wrote, "The biggest threat to Mr. Armstrong’s wealth is a False Claims Act lawsuit against him and Tailwind Sports, the limited liability corporation that owned his team” (N.Y. TIMES, 10/27). In Boston, Bob Ryan wrote, “Over and above the personal prestige and financial damage he has done to himself, Armstrong has besmirched the entire sport of cycling” (BOSTON GLOBE, 10/28). 

Marketing Evaluations Exec VP Henry Schafer said that NASCAR driver Danica Patrick "has not lost her fastball," and that she "remains one of the most known and liked figures in sports," according to Brant James of Patrick's Q Score, which measures awareness and likeability in sports figures, has "slipped from its peak of 29 in 2010 to 19 this year." Schafer said, "She's maintaining her awareness out there. I mean, she was really high a couple years ago, so despite some erosion in her appeal, she's still above average. The unique thing about her, as a spokesperson particularly in the sports world, is she was and still is able to maintain a good balance of appeal between male and female consumers, which I believe is an important ingredient to her profile for representing GoDaddy. So that part of it would be hard to replace, to find another female sports spokesperson -- if that's what they want to do -- with that kind of balanced appeal." James noted Patrick's awareness score of 76 "dwarfed the group average of 40 among female athletes assessed by the company this year." Patrick's "overall score of 19" was even with, and one point better than, the scores of tennis players Venus and Serena Williams, respectively. Schafer said Patrick is "right up there with Dale Earnhardt (Jr.), Jeff Gordon, in terms of awareness and in terms of likability, she's pretty much where they are at this point" (, 10/26).

Taco Bell Chief Marketing & Innovation Officer Brian Niccol said the QSR anticipates giving away a "couple million" Doritos Locos tacos as part of a promotion with MLB. The QSR agreed to give the tacos out for free if any player stole a base during the World Series. Giants CF Angel Pagan fulfilled the promo by stealing second base in Game 2. Fox’ Chris Myers spoke to Niccol during Game 3 Saturday night, and he said, "We’ve sold about 250 million so far so we’ll probably do a couple million.” Myers said, “To give something for nothing is great. I hope this isn't coming out (of) your pocket personally.” Niccol answered, “Not my pocket personally, I’m still going to make it through Tuesday.” Wrapping up the interview, Myers handed Niccol a taco and a packet of mild sauce. The tacos are available tomorrow from 2:00-6:00pm local time (“World Series Game 3,” Fox, 10/27). Fox Sports Senior VP/Communications Lou D'Ermilio said the interview with Niccol, which took place in the stands during the game, “was planned” and “was part of the promotion” with Taco Bell. D’Ermilio noted that a “similar interview was conducted the first time Taco Bell executed the promotion.” D’Ermilio: “Taco Bell is a great, longtime supporter of Fox Sports and an MLB sponsor, so we're happy to work with them and our World Series production team to make it happen” (THE DAILY).'s Rex Hoggard wrote golfer Rory McIlroy at the end of this year is "poised to sign a 10-year deal" with Nike worth a reported $250M, and McIlroy "deserves whatever mega-deal his management team can conjure up." However, this is "delicate ground." The game of golf's "historical footnotes are filled with players who made ultimately harmful equipment decisions based on money and not competitive necessity." A PGA Tour player said, "He needs to ask himself if this is best for his game? Maybe it is, but that has to be the ultimate reason, not the money" (, 10/26).

AIMING FOR THE GUNNERS: In London, Matt Scott reported EPL club Arsenal’s "long-promised sunny commercial uplands appear to be taking shape as adidas prepares a blockbuster bid" to take over the club's kit deal from rival Nike. The Nike shirt deal expires in '13-14, and adidas’ interest is "set at least to double" the US$21M per year Arsenal earns from its Nike contract (London TELEGRAPH, 10/26).

JUST DO IT FOR CHARITY: In Portland, Allan Brettman noted this year marks the ninth time that Nike has partnered with Oregon Health & Sciences Univ.'s Doernbecher Children's Hospital to "create one-of-a-kind shoes, in limited quantities to raise money for the Portland hospital." The partnership has "raised slightly more than $4 million since it began and all sales proceeds benefit programs at Doernbecher." Nike and Doernbecher on Saturday night "came together for a fundraiser auction at the Portland Art Museum to unveil the shoes." If history "is any guide, the limited quantity shoes ... will be gone shortly after they become available" Nov. 30 nationwide online (Portland OREGONIAN, 10/28).

COLD PIZZA: In DC, Sarah Kogod reported local restaurant Paisano's Pizza filmed a TV commercial with Redskins WR Pierre Garcon "to advertise a buy-one-get-one promotion for every Garcon touchdown." But it "looks like Garcon isn't going to be holding up his end of the deal," as he is sidelined with a foot injury. Kogod wrote of the ad, "I haven’t seen it aired, so it’s possible the pizzeria didn't intend it for the public just yet" (, 10/26).