Group Created with Sketch.
Volume 24 No. 156

Marketing and Sponsorship

Gillette has renewed its endorsement deal with Capitals LW Alex Ovechkin through ’14, coinciding with the Sochi Games. Ovechkin will continue to serve as a global ambassador for the brand, a role he has held since first partnering with Gillette in '10. IMG Senior VP & Managing Dir David Abrutyn, who handles Ovechkin’s marketing, said, “They will really put the full weight of the Gillette marketing muscle behind Alex.” Ovechkin’s previous deal with Gillette required him to be clean-shaven throughout the NHL calendar with the exception of the playoffs, when many NHLers grow playoff beards. The same goes for this contract, Abrutyn said, but it also will allow Ovechkin flexibility during “Movember,” when some players grow mustaches for charity in November. Abrutyn noted that "Movember" could provide an opportunity for Ovechkin to showcase Gillette’s Fusion ProGlide Styler. Abrutyn said, “There could definitely be some times during the year where we do something that would demonstrate the benefits of using it.” Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but the contract includes TV, print, digital and social media components, which will debut in Russia. Abrutyn said that following their initial exposure, the ads will be integrated further on a global level. Several commercials already have been filmed in Ovechkin’s hometown of Moscow and will debut soon. Although Ovechkin has played for the KHL Dynamo Moscow during the NHL lockout, Abrutyn said that there was not any hesitance from Gillette to re-sign the Russian star. He said, “There was no worry at all. His popularity in Russia is really increasing.”

This is the next-to-last college football season in the current BCS structure, which means it also is the next-to-last season that title sponsors -- Allstate, Discover, Tostitos and Vizio -- will pay the current $15-20M a year for their bowl entitlements. Kantar Media projects that title sponsorships in the new playoff structure beginning with the '14 season will cost $35M, nearly double what brands are paying now and potentially the highest rights fee for any college sports property. It is believed that NCAA sponsors AT&T and Coca-Cola spend close to that much for their corporate champion status. It is expected that ESPN, which won the 12-year deal to carry the football playoffs for $5.6B, plus the Rose, Orange and Sugar bowls, will continue selling the entitlements. Kantar Media used one of its products called ImageTrack to measure the value of the branding on the broadcast and the advertising exposure received by the title sponsors to gauge what the future cost will be. The $35M annual figure for each title sponsor would include a season-long media buy across ESPN’s college football programming, Kantar said. To project the cost of title sponsors in the playoffs, ImageTrack analyzed the media exposure title sponsors received for the '11 and '12 BCS National Championship games. The advertising equivalent for the '11 Auburn-Oregon game was $83M, while last year’s Alabama-LSU game generated $104M in ad exposure. Richard Brinkman, head of Kantar Sport, said the numbers for next month's Notre Dame-Alabama matchup should be even higher. “The fair market value for the (playoffs) will be substantially higher than the current BCS sponsor packages,” Brinkman said.