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Volume 24 No. 157

Marketing and Sponsorship

Vans has signed a three-year deal to replace Nike as the title sponsor of the U.S. Open of Surfing. The event, which is owned and operated by IMG, takes place in late July in Huntington Beach, Calif. Financial terms of the Vans deal were not available. Sources valued Nike's title sponsorship, which ran from '09-12, at $2-3M a year. This summer's event will take place July 20-28 and will be called the Vans U.S. Open of Surfing. In a statement, Vans VP/Marketing Doug Palladini said, "We are really looking forward to bringing the entire surf and skate industry back to the U.S. Open, leading by working with all of our peers, and inspiring a whole new generation of action sports fans. As we continue to grow our role in surfing, the U.S. Open and the City of Huntington Beach afford us one of youth culture's most powerful events to share our spirit of Off the Wall with millions of people" (Tripp Mickle, Staff Writer). In California, Laylan Connelly notes the event "in the past few years has drawn crowds nearing 1 million through its nine-day run." When Nike announced in September that it was "not renewing its contract with the US Open of Surfing, it sent shockwaves into the surfing community with many wondering who could fill such big shoes." Vans has spent the past decade "beefing up its presence in the surf world by adding big names to its surf team." The brand also is "no stranger to putting on surfing events, sponsoring the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing since the mid '90s, and the East Coast Surfing Championships in Virginia." While it is still "early to give detailed specifics of the event, Vans will no doubt have a strong presence of skateboarding at the event" (ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 2/7).

Flyers RW Claude Giroux topped the list of best-selling player jerseys for the month of January, retaining the No. 1 rank he held following the ’11-12 regular season, according to data from Compared to the end of the regular season last year, Penguins C Sidney Crosby held firm in the No. 3 slot, while Rangers RW Ryan Callahan dropped from No. 2 to No. 4 and Blackhawks C Jonathan Toews jumped from the No. 6 to No. 2 spot. While Penguins LW James Neal and D Kris Letang did not crack the top 25 last season, the duo vaulted to No. 5 and No. 6, respectively, in January. Also debuting on the list is Blues RW Vladimir Tarasenko who, despite only three career NHL games, landed at No. 10. Capitals LW Alex Ovechkin fell from No. 4 to No. 9. Among those falling out of the top 20 completely after last season are suspended Bruins G Tim Thomas (No. 7), Stars RW Jaromir Jagr (No. 10) and Flyers RW Danny Briere (No. 11). The only member of the ’11-12 Stanley Cup-winning Kings to make the top 25 is G Jonathan Quick.

Flyers RW Claude Giroux
Rangers C Brad Richards
Blackhawks C Jonathan Toews
Blackhawks LW Patrick Sharp
Penguins C Sidney Crosby
Red Wings LW Henrik Zetterberg
Rangers RW Ryan Callahan
Rangers G Henrik Lundqvist
Penguins LW James Neal
Capitals C Nicklas Backstrom
Penguins D Kris Letang
Lightning C Steven Stamkos
Sharks C Joe Thornton
Bruins RW Tyler Seguin
Bruins D Zdeno Chara
Blackhawks C Patrick Kane
Capitals LW Alex Ovechkin
Ducks RW Teemu Selanne
Blues RW Vladimir Tarasenko
Blues RW T.J. Oshie
Red Wings C Pavel Datsyuk
Kings G Jonathan Quick
Canucks C Ryan Kesler
Blackhawks RW Marian Hossa
Penguins C Evgeni Malkin

USOC sponsor Kellogg’s today announced a roster of nine former U.S. Olympians and hopefuls for the '14 Sochi Games that it will feature in marketing and promotions around the event. The company signed snowboarder Gretchen Bleiler, Gold Medal-winning figure skater Kristi Yamaguchi, '80 hockey team member Jim Craig, freeskier Torin Yater-Wallace, ice dancers Meryl Davis and Charlie White, slider Noelle Pikus-Pace, Paralympic snowboarder Amy Purdy and Paralympic skier Heath Calhoun. The announcement comes exactly one year before the official start of the Sochi Games. The endorsements follow a recent sponsorship Kellogg's signed with the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Association. Meanwhile, Liberty Mutual, the USOC’s newest sponsor, today is holding a one-year countdown event at its HQs and more than a half-dozen locations in Florida, Texas, Ohio and Arizona. The company has 15 U.S. Olympic and Paralympic figures making appearances at those locations. The biggest event will take place at its Boston HQs, where seven former Olympians will appear, including hockey player Mike Eruzione, figure skater Michelle Kwan and gymnast Aly Raisman. The company will post video from the Boston event on its intranet for its 50,000 employees worldwide.

TICKETS AVAILABLE SOON: CoSport, the Olympic ticket sales company known in the U.S. as Jet Set Sports, announced it will put individual tickets to the Sochi Games on sale Monday. Ticket prices will start at $22. Physical tickets will be available in January '14. Jet Set Sports is an official sponsor of the USOC and its authorized ticket seller. It also sells tickets in Australia, Bulgaria, Canada, Great Britain, Norway and Sweden. In addition to individual tickets, Jet Set sells corporate hospitality packages. Jet Set Founder Sead Dizdarevic said demand for those packages was slightly higher than what the company saw for the '10 Vancouver Games and five times greater than what it saw for the '06 Turin Games. Much of that demand is coming from Russia and Scandinavia. Dizdarevic said, “Corporate in Russia will be substantial. Corporate in the rest of Jet Set might be smaller.”

Soccer star David Beckham “appears in a new short, filmed by Guy Ritchie in Los Angeles to promote the latest collection of David Beckham bodywear at H&M,” according to the AFP. The 1:40 short “starts with Beckham waving off his family" on a sunny L.A. morning, then “losing his bathrobe which remains trapped in the door of the family Range Rover.” Beckham’s dilemma is “compounded as the front door shuts behind him, locking him out of the house as the car speeds away.” The spot has him “running through backyards, disrupting tennis games, soccer practices” as he “sprints to catch up with the car.” Beckham “swims the length of a pool,” and the spot ends “as a tourist bus of dazed celebrity spotters pulls up.” Beckham then "tweaks his boxers and is off in a flash!” (AFP, 2/6).’s Shira Lazar said, “Did they really need to spend Guy Ritchie money on directing that film because my mom could have shot that on her flip phone and he still would have looked amazing.” Lazar said the ad "worked." HLN’s A.J. Hammer said maybe Beckham “could go into real film and be the next big Hollywood action hero” (“Showbiz Tonight,” HLN, 2/6).

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