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Volume 24 No. 159

Marketing and Sponsorship

Buffalo Wild Wings, a major advertiser during March Madness, is taking the next step by becoming an NCAA corporate partner. The Minneapolis-based dining chain will have marketing, media and promotional rights to all 89 of the NCAA championships, most notably the men's basketball tournament. The restaurant will be one of 15 NCAA corporate partners and champions in the sponsorship program run jointly by Turner and CBS, the NCAA's rights holders. Buffalo Wild Wings, which also title sponsors a bowl game in Tempe, Ariz., will occupy the casual dining category in the NCAA's portfolio of sponsors. Meanwhile, Enterprise Rent-A-Car and Coca-Cola, whose NCAA sponsorships were set to expire after the '13 tournament, have extended their deals. Coca-Cola, a corporate champion whose relationship with the NCAA goes back 13 years, has agreed to renew, according to industry sources. Enterprise, the world's largest rental car company, has been around as a corporate partner since 2005. The rental car company manages the fleet of Buicks (another NCAA partner) at each tournament for NCAA officials.

Chase has signed a sponsorship deal with the Magic that makes the bank one of the team’s seven “Champions of the Community.” As the official financial services partner for the team, the deal also gives Chase naming rights to the Amway Center’s club level, the arena’s box office, and a super-suite to be branded with a to-be-determined Chase banking card. Magic CEO Alex Martins would not disclose specific terms of the deal, but said that deals at that level start at $1M annually and are for at least five years. The team will unveil the sponsorship during Friday night’s game against the Bobcats. In addition to the arena entitlements, the Magic and Chase will jointly refurbish 10 basketball courts throughout the Orlando area. Chase joins Disney, Geico, Florida Hospital, Harris Corp., PepsiCo, and Southwest Airlines at the “Champions of the Community” level (John Lombardo, SportsBusiness Journal). In Orlando, Richard Burnett reports the deal marks the Magic's first sponsor in the category "in more than a decade." Martins said, “This is larger and more comprehensive than any financial partnership we’ve ever had.” Burnett reports through the sponsorship, Chase will “offer its customers preferred seats, merchandise discounts and other benefits related to Magic games, concerts and other events at Amway Center.” The deal also would appear to make Chase “well-positioned to be one of the lenders -- if not the lead bank -- in the development of the Magic’s proposed $100 million sports-and-entertainment complex adjacent to Amway Center.” Martins said that the team “has not discussed the project with Chase” (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 1/18).

Several marketers, including Kraft Foods and Procter & Gamble, are "deciding they will share part -- but not all -- of their Super Bowl commercials before the spots are broadcast by CBS on Feb. 3," according to Stuart Elliott of the N.Y. TIMES. Their decisions stand in "contrast to what brands like Acura and Volkswagen did in the last two Super Bowls: offer consumers opportunities, days or weeks before the games, to watch online the entire spots or longer versions." The increasing "willingness of consumers to share information about Super Bowl ads on social media like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube has been encouraging sponsors to provide sneak peeks of the commercials." That "departed from what Super Bowl sponsors had done for decades: stay mum." Some execs indicated that they "see disadvantages to previewing Super Bowl spots in full because doing so could diminish ... the shock and awe." P&G Associate Marketing Dir Chris Lillich said, "We think doing the 'big reveal' in the game is going to do the best for us." He said that P&G is "scheduling a 'significant' teaser campaign" to begin next week for its 30-second ad for Tide. Elliott notes Kraft is running an ad for MiO Fit, and it will "run a teaser campaign for its spot but resist the full Monty until the game." Kraft VP/Refreshment Beverages Doug Weekes said that the "concern is that previews would make the MiO Fit commercial 'just a little bit less special.'" Other marketers said that they "considered the surprise-and-delight approach before determining the revelatory route would be more rewarding." Five teasers for Mercedes-Benz' ad that will highlight the '14 CLA small coupe will begin airing Sunday with the "Rolling Stones song to be heard in the Super Bowl spot, 'Sympathy for the Devil.'" Ten days later, a "preview of the Super Bowl spot, in the form of a 90-second version, is to appear on Facebook and YouTube." On Jan. 28, Taco Bell "plans a preview of its one-minute spot" (N.Y. TIMES, 1/18).

EYE ON THE BIGGER PICTURE: AD AGE's Brian Steinberg wrote if CBS "has its way, TV fans who tune into the broadcast outlet to hear about all things Super Bowl will also start to consider some of the company's less popular properties." CBS "intends to hitch the wagon of several programs and assets to the grand event that is its Feb. 3 broadcast of Super Bowl XLVII." Not only will the company "tie its CBS News and daytime shows to the Super Bowl, but it will also use the gridiron classic to draw attention to its CBS Sports Network cable outlet and a new sports-radio network." Broadening "exposure of 'The Talk' and 'CBS This Morning,' among others, could help the network grow the audience for such programs, and, over the long run, charge higher advertising prices" (, 1/17).

MLS Sporting KC on Thursday announced a five-year deal to make Kansas-based asset management firm Ivy Funds the "first jersey sponsor in club history," a move that is "presumably satisfying a fan base that has long clamored for such a deal,” according to Tod Palmer of the K.C. STAR. During a live stream of the ’13 MLS SuperDraft, ESPN “reported the deal was worth $2.5 million per year.” However, team sources “disputed that figure without offering specifics.” The Ivy Funds logo will “soon adorn all Sporting KC team jerseys, including a new home uniform that will be unveiled Feb. 27.” The deal “also includes naming rights for the executive suite level at Sporting Park.” The last two years Ivy Funds had a “smaller sponsorship agreement in place, but the two organizations aggressively expanded that arrangement after the 2012 season.” Sporting KC CEO Robb Heineman said that the deal “came together in about 60 days.” Heineman: “It took us a long time to get to where we are around this, but the result is excellent.” Palmer noted Thursday’s unveiling “came two days after a naming rights deal for the stadium with Livestrong dissolved amid accusations of non-payment and distrust.” Heineman said, “We needed this day, and it couldn’t get here fast enough, quite frankly” (K.C. STAR, 1/18). Only two MLS clubs -- the Rapids and Earthquakes -- do not have jersey sponsorship deals (THE DAILY).

Chivas USA
Corona Extra
DC United
Greenstar Recycling
FC Dallas
Quaker Oats
Real Salt Lake
Red Bulls
Red Bull
United Healthcare
Sounders FC
Sporting KC
Ivy Funds
Alaska Airlines
Toronto FC
Bell Canada

Coca-Cola has opened an exhibit in Moscow called the History & Future of Olympic Torch Relay with Coke dedicated to the start of the nomination campaign of for the '14 Sochi Games torch relay. The exhibition opened Thursday and will close Jan. 24. The featured exhibits are the symbols of past Olympic torch relays including torches, torchbearers' uniforms, exclusive photos and unique exhibits of the '80 Moscow Games (Coca-Cola)....Grocery store chain H-E-B has signed a deal with Texans DE J.J. Watt and his foundation in which Watt will "serve as a spokesperson to promote some of his favorite H-E-B products." The chain has "worked with the Texans since 2002 and currently partners with the team for the 'Tailgater of the Year' and 'Sacks for Hunger' programs (, 1/17)....EPL club Manchester United has signed a three-year sponsorship with Kansai, a Japanese paint manufacturer. Kansai, which was founded in 1918 and currently ranks as the top paint brand in Japan and Africa, becomes ManU's first official paint partner (Christopher Botta, SportsBusiness Journal)....Golfer Robert Garrigus has signed with Adams Golf and began his season at this week's PGA Tour Humana Challenge "with an Adams hat, bag and hybrid deal." Garrigus joins Rich Beem and Jeff Overton "as new Adams staffers for the 2013 season" (, 1/14).