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Volume 24 No. 117

Marketing and Sponsorship

EPL club Manchester United "left Nike under no illusions yesterday that the sports merchandising giant will have to increase the value of its kit deal dramatically if it is to remain in partnership," according to James Ducker of the LONDON TIMES. Nike, whose US$480M, 13-year kit deal with ManU expires in '15, has "an exclusive six-month window from February in which to negotiate a new contract with the club." ManU is "confident of securing a new kit deal that will be unprecedented in its scale" for a soccer club. ManU Vice Chair Ed Woodward has "made no secret in recent months of his belief that the present Nike deal is substantially undervalued." Woodward "would not be drawn on the sort of figure United are seeking," but previous estimates that put it at about US$1.58B would "not appear to be an unrealistic target." Woodward said, "We feel we know, with some clarity, the value of our rights, and we are bullish about the abundance of opportunities available to accelerate the growth of this business" (LONDON TIMES, 11/15).
SEEKING FAIR DEAL: In London, Ian Herbert writes, "When the present deal was negotiated in 2002, United were a publicly floated company and preferred to take as much risk as possible away from any sponsorship tie-up." It meant a profit-share arrangement was "put in place which ensured United received only a proportion of the cash generated from worldwide shirt sales in exchange for a guaranteed sum" (London INDEPENDENT, 11/15). The FINANCIAL TIMES' Roger Blitz notes ManU is "backing plans for the Premier League to adopt its own version of Uefa's financial fair play regulations to improve the finances of English football's top-tier clubs." EPL clubs today will "renew discussions on options to introduce cost controls across all 20 clubs." ManU is "unlikely to support measures being mooted among some clubs to control wages" (FINANCIAL TIMES, 11/15).

The continuation of the LPGA tournament at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail in Prattville, Ala., is “in jeopardy after Navistar, the event’s title sponsor the last six years, withdrew from the event,” according to Brad Zimanek of the MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER. The golf tournament has been held on the Senator Course at the RTJ Capitol Hill facility “from 2007-2012.” LPGA Chief Communications Officer Kraig Kann said that the tour is “working on continuing the event” in the area for next year. The SunBelt Golf Corp. and the Robert Trent Golf Trail “is in search of a new event sponsor.” When asked what the deadline would be to have a title sponsor for an event to be played in ’13, SunBelt Golf Corp. President John Cannon said, “You would get a different answer from several people depending on who you asked.” Cannon: “In an ideal world, the LPGA would like some answers now.” The LPGA “traditionally announces its partial or full event schedule for the upcoming year in November.” SunBelt Golf Corporation Business Development Dir Jonathan Romeo said that the event “costs about $3.5 to $4 million annually” (MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER, 11/14).

SUNNY-SIDE UP: In Florida, Craig Handel noted the LPGA season finale CME Group Titleholders “has accomplished what it wanted the past two years,” and that is to “create a buzz.” CME officials “wanted the event” in Fort Myers because there is a “CME leadership conference in Naples this week.” LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan said, “We booked it for Orlando in 2011.” But Whan said CME Exec Chair Terry Duffy “said, ‘I want to bring it to my place in Naples. This is where we really want to be.’ So we brought it here this year” (Ft. Myers NEWS-PRESS, 11/13). Also in Florida, Greg Hardwig notes since the former Futures Tour became the Symetra Tour a year ago, the “title sponsor, a financial services company in Bellevue, Wash., has increased its role.” The Symetra name will “be added to the season-ending Tour Championship in Daytona Beach, and that event will go from a three-round to a four-round tournament.” The company “already had the naming rights of a tour event in Charlotte.” Symetra also will “offer two players from the tour who earn their LPGA Tour cards … $25,000 endorsement deals” (NAPLES DAILY NEWS, 11/15).

In St. Paul, Ray Richardson notes the T’Wolves' “surprising” 5-3 start to the season has “led to a significant jump in merchandise sales for the team.” sales showed that the T’Wolves “experienced a 96.9 percent increase in merchandise sales for the week of Nov. 5-11.” The increase over the one-week period is “third-highest in the NBA” behind the Nets and Clippers (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 11/15). Meanwhile, Fanatics reported leading up to the “start of the season, Bulls merchandise sales nationwide were up 70 percent … ranking fourth” behind the Heat, Lakers and Celtics. Fanatics reported the “top 5 merchandise-selling NBA players in October" were Heat F LeBron James, Lakers G Kobe Bryant, Bulls G Derrick Rose, Lakers C Dwight Howard and Celtics G Rajon Rondo (, 11/14).

COMEDIC TIMING: In Milwaukee, Bob Wolfley noted a Packers fan asked QB Aaron Rodgers on his radio show “if he would ever consider doing a TV commercial like the DirecTV spots” done by Giants QB Eli Manning and Broncos QB Peyton Manning, or the Pepsi ad in which Saints QB Drew Brees “sings and dances.” Rodgers said, "I think I have a dry sense of humor, and I understand that in order to be funny you have to be able to laugh at yourself. That’s why I have always appreciated the State Farm ads.” He added, "I think Peyton Manning set the standard for commercials. I think he consistently is -- he’s got another one out where he’s in the car (for Buick). He’s very, very good at what he does. I think we are all just trying to stay in the same ball park as him" (, 11/14).

LIGHTS, CAMERA...:’s Zach McCann noted Cavaliers G Kyrie Irving “stars in a new Foot Locker commercial that spoofs the cinematic, slow-motion dunks seen on so many NBA films and advertisements.” Irving said of the spot, “That took about 9 hours of shooting, so I had to do like three different angles and everything over again. I enjoyed doing it, but you really get to appreciate what it takes to do film work” (, 11/14).

WHAT TIME DO YOU HAVE? Watchmaker Breitling named MLS Galaxy MF David Beckham the face of its Transocean Chronograph Unitime watch. As part of the partnership, the brand will release a new ad campaign featuring Beckham (Breitling).