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Volume 24 No. 156

Marketing and Sponsorship

Heat F LeBron James reclaimed the No. 1 spot in NBA jersey sales and the Knicks overtook the Bulls as the top-selling team. The list is based on sales at the NBA store on Fifth Avenue in N.Y. and on from April 1 through the record-breaking Thanksgiving holiday weekend ending Nov. 26. James last held the top spot in April '11, while the Bulls dropped from the top spot to No. 4. had its largest Cyber Monday in history, with sales up double-digits over '11 (NBA).

1) Heat F LeBron James 9) Lakers C Dwight Howard
2) Thunder F Kevin Durant 10) Clippers G Chris Paul
3) Lakers G Kobe Bryant 11) Nets G Deron Williams
4) Knicks F Carmelo Anthony 12) Thunder G Russell Westbrook
5) Bulls G Derrick Rose 13) Lakers G Steve Nash
6) Celtics G Rajon Rondo 14) Celtics G Paul Pierce
7) Heat G Dwyane Wade 15) Mavericks F Dirk Nowitzki
8) Clippers F Blake Griffin  
1) Knicks 6) Thunder
2) Heat 7) Nets
3) Lakers 8) Clippers
4) Bulls 9) Spurs
5) Celtics 10) Mavericks

Heat G Dwyane Wade said his job as a Li-Ning endorser is “just to try to, over the course of time, bring something new, and exciting,” because there is “a part of the world that likes to be different, and they like to be a part of something new and different,” according to David Aldridge of Wade spoke with Aldridge about his decision to leave Jordan Brand and sign with the Chinese shoe and apparel company earlier this year. The following is an excerpt from the Q&A:

Q: Do you think your decision will start to break the stranglehold that Nike and Brand Jordan have on the shoe game?
Wade: No, nothing dramatic right now. ... We just want to make an imprint, and prove, obviously, that our brand is just as good as any other brand.

Q: You had total control over design, construction, colors?
Wade: Yeah. It was tough. I had a short period of time to do everything. ... Normally you need a whole year, or a year and a half, or so more to create something. ... They did a great job of listening to kind of what I was saying I look for, and tried to create that with the first shoe. Obviously it'll get better as we go on.

Q: Did you get any resistance from your camp -- your agent, or anyone else -- to doing this?
Wade: They let me make the decision. They brought it to me. Once they brought it to me, obviously I've been with the Nike umbrella my whole career, college, etcetera. So that was my first feeling was, I have to give them (Brand Jordan) a shot to see if they really want me. ... I listened to them and gave them the first chance, and I decided it was time to move on.

Q: Did the Li-Ning people do anything to blow you away?
Wade: I've met and talked with Mr. Li Ning on many occasions, so many different times, and him telling me the importance of me being a partner, and not just an endorser. ... When I first went over to Jordan, it was cool, it was something I wanted to do. And once you realize what's the cool thing about it was, I wasn't a part of. The cool thing about Jordan is retro. And I'm not a part of that. Once I was in there, and it became, OK, now this is where you're at and this is the business of it, I seen some things that I felt probably wasn't good for me (, 11/26).

Commuters and tourists making their way through Times Square this week can expect a blitz of boxing, as promoter Top Rank puts the massive screens of the NASDAQ and Reuters buildings to work touting the upcoming Manny Pacquiao-Juan Manuel Marquez PPV. The video promotions will climax with an unprecedented live, hour-long Pacquiao training session that airs during the afternoon rush hour on Friday. The workout, which will feature Pacquiao prepping with popular trainer Freddie Roach, also will stream online beginning at 5:00pm ET, both on and through linked banner ads that will appear on various web sites, including that of the Wall Street Journal. Those sites will begin promoting the show with a countdown clock Friday morning. Viewers can access the five-camera shoot of the live workout with a single click or rollover. Top Rank yesterday began airing Pacquiao-Marquez IV commercials four times per hour on the giant screens in Times Square. It will continue to feed programming -- including live weigh-in coverage -- to the LED boards all the way up to the fight on Dec. 10. The NASDAQ board stands seven stories tall and offers about a quarter acre of screen space at the southwest corner of Times Square. The Reuters board, with its slightly smaller screen, faces Times Square from across Broadway.

LET'S GET DIGITAL: Top Rank President Todd duBoef said, "On Friday at 5:30 Times Square will be buzzing like no other place in the world -- and we've bookended it." He added, "It's another platform that connects the audience to our content. It was only five years ago that we were looking almost entirely at 30-second spots and print ads -- in color if we were lucky. Now we're streaming live in Times Square. We're going digital and we're going big." Top Rank will produce the broadcast in conjunction with online streaming host MLBAM, which it signed on with in May. The deal includes a redesigned website that will roll out in time for the upcoming pay per view, with content expanding next year, likely tied to a subscription model. duBoef said that Top Rank will put more than $1M into digital advertising for this fight, shifting dollars away from broader traditional media. It will put almost half its marketing budget for the fight into digital assets, he said, up from about 25% two years ago. duBoef said, "I'm in targeted traditional mediums. And I've broadened it to the general fan base with the digital attack. It's almost the reverse of what we used to do."

Nike yesterday "folded its surf products into its Hurley division," according to Connelly & Liddane of the ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER. Nike last night said that it "will focus its efforts on skateboarding and snowboarding, while leaving Hurley to focus on surf gear and 'partnering with some of the world's top surf athletes.'" After Nike bought Hurley in '02, the "sports giant launched Nike Surfing, a surf apparel line primarily focused on men's boardshorts, T-shirts, hoodies and sweatshirts." Orange County-based Board-Trac Managing Dir Marie Case said that Hurley "is a well-known brand among surfers, but Nike Surfing isn't." Case added that Nike's decision "is a smart move because it's likely a consolidation of resources." The changes "point to the difficulty that major action sports brands have gaining traction in the tight surf industry." Dino Andino, the father and manager of Nike Surfing team member Kolohe Andino, said, "It is very difficult to enter into the realm of being an authentic surf brand when you're a big mainstream company. I think that's why they are putting their money into Hurley" (ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 11/28).

The Univ. of Washington has “severed a sports-apparel contract with Adidas after a nearly yearlong campaign by students, who say the company has violated the labor rights of overseas workers,” according to Katherine Long of the SEATTLE TIMES. UW Trademarks & Licensing Dir Kathy Hoggan said that the contract with adidas “returned about $3,000 in royalties" to the school last year. The licensing agreement allows adidas to "make sports apparel with the UW logo, which is sold in stores around campus.” UW student Katy Lundgren, who is a member of the school's chapter of United Students Against Sweatshops, said, “A large part of this decision was definitely student action.” Long notes Cornell Univ. also has “severed its contract with Adidas, and Oberlin College decided not to renew its contract.” The Univ. of Michigan's $60M contract with the company is “also under review.” Hoggan said that UW's contract with the company is “one of its smallest licensing contracts” (SEATTLE TIMES, 11/28).