49ers fever "has gripped the Bay Area, and merchants are poised to cash in" on the team's first Super Bowl appearance in 18 years, according to a front-page piece by Heather Somerville of the SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS. Niners gear was a "hot seller even before Sunday's NFC Championship victory," as S.F. was the "top-selling NFL team on Fanatics.com ... both last week and for the month of January." Fanatics.com spokesperson Mark Vasquez said that team sales are "up 240 percent compared with January of last year." Meanwhile, NFL Corporate Communications Manager Joanna Hunter said that on NFLShop.com, the team's sales "were up 85 percent from last year going into the playoffs." Sales last week "shot up nearly 70 percent compared with the same week a year ago." Somerville noted The Sports Authority yesterday "opened an hour early" to celebrate the NFC Championship. S.F.-based The Sports Authority Sales Manager David Vannatta said that the store has been "sold out of all" QB Colin Kaepernick merchandise "for days." NFLShop.com sold out of Kaepernick's jersey "last week and had to scramble to restock." Hunter said that the jersey is the "hottest-selling in the NFL, and Kaepernick accounted for 35 percent of the team's total merchandise sales last week." But Somerville notes the "surge in 49ers merchandise sales hasn't matched the shopping craze that swept the Bay Area when the Giants advanced to and then won the World Series" (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 1/22).
ALL IN THE FAMILY: ESPN.com's Darren Rovell wrote he does not expect 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh and Ravens coach John Harbaugh to "be doing much in the way of cashing in off the Super Bowl matchup." If there is an "opportunity for a company to associate itself with the brotherly battle, it might be through their mother, Jackie." If Jackie Harbaugh is "open to doing deals, natural partnerships would be the standard products that mothers buy for their sons" (ESPN.com, 1/21).
Cessna, the Kansas-based airplane manufacturer, and its parent company Textron signed a multi-year agreement with Ganassi Racing that will make them a co-primary sponsor of Earnhardt Ganassi Racing’s No. 1 Sprint Cup Chevy driven by Jamie McMurray. The deal, which is expected to be announced tomorrow at Concord Regional Airport in North Carolina, makes Cessna and Textron an official sponsor of Ganassi’s NASCAR and IndyCar teams. Terms of the agreement were not available, but sources familiar with the deal said it is a cash deal. Ganassi lost longtime sponsor of the No. 1 car Bass Pro last year when the company left for Stewart-Haas Racing. That left Ganassi with 18 races to fill on the No. 1 car. The combination of the new Cessna/Textron deal and a co-primary agreement with McDonald’s, which has sponsored the No. 1 car since '10, leaves Ganassi with only four races to sell on the No. 1 car. The Cessna agreement expands on the associate sponsorship the airplane company signed last August with Ganassi’s four IndyCar teams. Textron is publicly traded and has a number of subsidiaries including Bell Helicopter; E-Z Go, a golf cart manufacturer; Jacboson, a landscaping machinery company; and Kautex, an automotive supplier that makes engine camshafts and other products. Its market cap is $7.67B.
Goody's yesterday announced that NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. is joining NASCAR team Owner Richard Petty in a new multimedia campaign beginning early this year. Goody's Powder will be the title sponsor for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Goody's Fast Relief 500 on Oct. 27 at Martinsville Speedway in Virginia. In addition to a radio, TV and digital campaign, Goody's will bring Earnhardt and Petty together for personal appearances, and the campaign's retail component will include special events, in-store promotions and contests, and sampling of Goody's headache powders via a branded mobile unit (Goody's). ESPN.com's David Newton noted Petty has "represented Goody's" since '77. Earnhardt is being "brought on to help lure in a younger generation." While Earnhardt gets "approached by sponsors on a daily basis," he said that the Goody's offer was "too good to pass up because of the longevity and history Goody's has in the sport." NASCAR is the "only sport in which Goody's has a celebrity spokesperson." Earnhardt said, "You get excited about the opportunity to be around some of the guys that you watched build the sport. This is my chance to watch Richard" (ESPN.com, 1/21). Goody's Brand Dir Joseph Juliano said, "This partnership is unprecedented. It is the first time that these two NASCAR legends have worked together" (FOXSPORTS.com, 1/22).
Stewart-Haas Racing “still needs to sell roughly 20 race sponsorships for the Sprint Cup Series this season,” according to Nate Ryan of USA TODAY. The team learned over the summer “of the impending departures” of the U.S. Army from Ryan Newman's No. 39 Chevy and Office Depot from Tony Stewart's No. 14 Chevy. SHR's marketing department “recovered quickly, signing Quicken Loans and Bass Pro Shops to bridge large gaps on both.” But Stewart said that nine races apiece “remain on each of their cars, along with a three-race opportunity” on Danica Patrick's car, which “will be filled by primary sponsor GoDaddy.com if no takers are found.” Given that co-Owner Gene Haas “has filled the team's past funding voids through sponsorships tied to his personal businesses, it isn't a death knell.” Stewart is “buoyed by nibbles from sponsors -- enough interest that SHR is mulling an expansion to four cars next year," when Kevin Harvick is "expected to join the team” (USA TODAY, 1/22).USA TODAY’s Jeff Gluck notes NASCAR team Owner Richard Childress yesterday confirmed that Harvick will leave RCR for SHR. Childress yesterday said that he “did not know whether sponsor Budweiser would leave RCR along with Harvick.” Childress said, "They haven't made any comments on what they're going to do" (USA TODAY, 1/22).
BEER RUN? RCR’s deals with Budweiser, Jimmie John’s and Rheem, which sponsor the No. 29 car Harvick drives, are up at the end of this year. The team is in discussions with all three, but Budweiser is the most important deal. The A-B brand is the primary sponsor for 20 races on the No. 29 car. When news broke last year that Harvick planned to leave RCR for SHR, many in the NASCAR press assumed that Budweiser would go with him. However, the brand is evaluating its options. If it stays with RCR, it could have a chance to sponsor Richard Childress’ grandson, Austin Dillon, in the No. 3 car. The deal would give it both a young driver with the 22-year-old Dillon, who fits their demo, and and a legendary car number. The No. 3 has not been driven in a Sprint Cup race since Dale Earnhardt’s death in '01. If it goes with Harvick, it will be sticking with a driver who it has built equity in over the last two years through POS promotions and special events like the roast it hosted on Speed in '11. Sources said A-B VP/Media, Sports & Entertainment Marketing Blaise D’Sylva will oversee the brewer's evaluation of its NASCAR sponsorship options. A decision is expected by late this summer or early in the fall (Tripp Mickle, SportsBusiness Journal).
Bob Evans Restaurants and the Blue Jackets yesterday announced an expansion of their corporate partnership. Bob Evans will present the “Chili Chant” during Blue Jackets games that allows ticket holders to redeem their game tickets for a free cup of chili at a Bob Evans location the day following a game in which the home team scores at least three goals (Bob Evans/Blue Jackets).
COMMUNITY FIRST:In Raleigh, David Bracken reported Lenovo “has signed a new three-year sponsorship deal” with the Hurricanes. Lenovo as part of the deal “will sponsor a new Lenovo Community Champions program that will identify people who have given back to the community through service or support of a nonprofit.” The champions “will be recognized during 15 games throughout the season” (NEWSOBSERVER.com, 1/21).
TOP DOG:In Ft. Worth, Barry Shlachter noted the MLB Rangers “ignited something of a bidding war” over who would be the club's official hot dog purveyor after the contract with Ft. Worth-based Classic Foods and its Sheriff Blaylock hot dogs expired. But the club last week announced that Nolan Ryan Beef “had won the hot dog contract.” The team insists that the entity “was given no breaks during negotiations because of the boss's role.” Rangers Exec VP/Ranger Enterprises, Customer Relations & Sales Jay Miller said Nolan Ryan Beef outbid Classic "by more than 10 percent." Neither side would say how much the winning bid was, but Nolan Ryan Beef CEO Charlie Bradbury said it was "six figures" (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 1/19).
ROUNDUP:Magic CEO Alex Martins said that the team's recent Chase deal is its “third-largest” sponsorship agreement and “pushes the team to an all-time high in annual sponsorship revenue.” In Orlando, Josh Robbins noted the “terms and length of the deal were not announced” (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 1/20)….In Korea, Kang Seung-woo reported Nike Golf signed Korean golfer Noh Seung-yul, who is entering his second year on the PGA Tour, to "try and turn Nike Golf’s fortunes in Korea around" (KOREA TIMES, 1/20).