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Volume 24 No. 154

Marketing and Sponsorship

Thursday night's Patriots-Jets game on NBC, the first NFL game to be broadcast on primetime network TV on Thanksgiving, “could very well scare up [a] playoff-size rating,” and NBC Sports Group Exec VP/Sales & Marketing Seth Winter indicated that the network has “priced its commercial inventory accordingly,” according to Anthony Crupi of AD WEEK. Winter said every 30-second ad sold for the game "has a unit cost of $975,000." Winter: "There’s nothing that will air that will cost a dollar more or a dollar less.” Crupi reported the going rate for a regular-season game “is nothing short of extraordinary.” SQAD NetCosts estimates that a single 30-second spot in NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” flagship program “fetches around $500,000 while media buyers report paying around $535,000 a pop.” Winter said, “Given that we’re the last stop before Black Friday, we’ve seen significantly more interest from retail than we’ve had in the past.” He added that financial services, tech and auto “will also be well represented.” Crupi noted the “unique adjacency to the biggest shopping day of the year also helped justify NBC’s steep unit cost.” A TV buyer said, “The potential for a huge captive audience and the proximity to Black Friday and Cyber Monday made it hard to pass up, even at that price” (, 11/19).

THURSDAY GAMES NOT GOING ANYWHERE: This year is the first time the NFL has played Thursday night games beginning early in the season, and SI’s Peter King said he believes the NFL is "concerned" with the quality of the games, but "because the ratings are good, I don’t think they’re going to do anything about it.” King noted a "majority of players who play in the Thursday night game wish they had until Sunday,” but unless the "injury total and the percentage of injuries in the Thursday night games is higher than it is in the Sunday games, I don’t think the NFL is going to change” (“PTI,” ESPN, 11/20).

Chinese sportswear apparel company Li-Ning CEO Jin-Goon Kim said that the brand "is now in the midst of a major overhaul," aiming to increase "its China market share by as much as 40% in the next two years," according to Laurie Burkitt of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. The company is now "scaling back its plans for global domination in athletic shoes and apparel,” and is “embarking on a three-year transformation program to win a bigger slice on the home turf and improve profitability." Kim said that the Beijing-based company's goal "is to win the mass market in China by targeting consumers moving to big cities from the countryside." Kim said, "We want to be the leading brand in China, as opposed to the leading brand here and overseas." He added, "I don't think we're trying to compete with Nike." Kim said that Li-Ning will “create innovative products,” and cited “lighter running gear and tennis shoes that fight odor and fungus.” He said that the company “will likely cut prices on its basketball shoes to appeal to younger players.” Kim: "We see the growth market with the middle tier" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 11/21).

In Portland, Allan Brettman noted softball and baseball bat manufacturer DeMarini Sports announced Monday “it is now making apparel for those sports.” Under the "Game Day" line, the company will “offer compression and looser-fitting garments designed to be worn under a uniform.” The apparel will be “available starting Nov. 26 online and in retail stores Jan. 1” (, 11/19).

GAME TIME: In Boston, Scott Kirsner examined start-up Spogo’s iPhone app, which “serves up a string of real-time questions about the NFL game you’re watching, such as ‘What will be the result of this drive?’ or ‘How will the coaches greet each other at the end of the game?’" With each correct answer, users “earn points that can be cashed in for drinks or food at a bar or restaurant.” Co-founder Andrew Vassallo said that the company has “signed up more than 50 eateries in Boston and New York.” Kirsner noted if Spogo can “prove that it is bringing in new customers, the start-up may charge bars to advertise through the app and provide analytics about each campaign’s effectiveness” (, 11/19).

CHANGING TEAMS: In N.Y., Stuart Elliott noted the Cubs selected Schafer Condon Carter, Chicago, as the team’s ad agency of record. Billings “were not disclosed.” The account was “previously handled” by Brooklyn Brothers, N.Y. (, 11/18).