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Volume 24 No. 156

Marketing and Sponsorship

MLS Toronto FC and Labatt Breweries of Canada have agreed to a five-year team and stadium sponsorship with Budweiser, the official beer sponsor of Toronto FC and BMO Field. Budweiser will have pouring rights at BMO Field, in-stadium signage and branded merchandise, among other deal points. The brewer has designed a Toronto FC-Budweiser aluminum bottle that will be available in four-packs starting Feb. 25. Labatt has committed to contributing more than $350,000 to MLSE’s Team Up Foundation over the duration of the deal.

2K Sports and WWE yesterday announced a multiyear agreement granting 2K Sports the exclusive rights to publish the WWE videogame franchise. "WWE '14" will be available for all consoles in the fall (2K Sports).'s Jon Robinson noted 2K parent company Take-Two Interactive acquired the WWE videogame license "for the next five years." THQ had held the WWE gaming rights since '99, but was "forced to sell its assets after the U.S. Bankruptcy Court struck down its potential sale to Clearlake Capital Group in January." WWE leaders were "particularly impressed by what Take-Two has done with the 'NBA 2K' franchise." 2K Sports VP/Marketing Jason Argent said, "We’ve looked at the WWE franchise with respect for a long time. There are a lot of similarities that we see, from the size of the franchise to the demographics of the franchise, and they fit in very well with what we’ve done with NBA in terms of development and marketing.” Robinson noted as part of the deal, Take-Two "has not only hired some of the key designers behind the WWE gaming franchise from THQ to work hand in hand with 2K Sports’ game design team at Visual Concepts, but has also agreed to bring back longtime WWE games developer Yukes from Japan to continue pushing ahead with the development" of "WWE '14," ensuring the game will hit its release date. Financial terms were not disclosed (, 2/20).

Car companies and dealerships are hoping NASCAR’s new Gen-6 cars’ “success on the track will lead to higher sales in the showroom,” according to Jeffrey Cassady of the Daytona Beach NEWS-JOURNAL. When Danica Patrick won pole position for the Daytona 500 “in her Chevrolet SS, Chevy dealers across the land -- at least in NASCAR country -- perked up.” Chevy Racing NASCAR Group Manager Pat Suhy said, "It's always been about making our cars on the track look like what's in the showroom." Daytona-area Chevy dealership co-Owner Jack Holcomb said that the Gen-5 car, or Car of Tomorrow, had a “perceived sameness [that] put a damper on fan enthusiasm for showroom models, even when a model made it to the winner's circle." Holcomb said, "It was like, 'My Chevy looks like your Ford, and your Ford looks like my Chevy.'" But he said that the new Gen-6 cars “could fix that -- and at a good time for auto dealers.” The production version of Chevrolet's Gen-6 SS stock car “will go on sale at Holcomb's and other dealerships later this year.” Still, Daytona Toyota Scion dealership Owner Gib Dannehower said that dealers should not “expect the new cars simply to convince fans to pack showrooms the day after races” (Daytona Beach NEWS-JOURNAL, 2/21).

BROADCASTING & CABLE’s George Winslow noted the co-presenting sponsors for NCAA March Madness Live “are NCAA Corporate Champions AT&T, Capital One and Coke Zero.” Buick, Capital One and Coke Zero “will sponsor the NCAA March Madness Live iOS app for Apple devices, while AT&T, Infiniti and LG Electronics USA will sponsor the Android app” (, 2/20). MULTICHANNEL NEWS’ Mike Reynolds noted Capital One is “sponsoring the official NCAA March Madness Bracket Challenge, featuring new designs and enhancements on smart phones and tablets, along with expanded social functionality across all devices allowing fans to join groups, share brackets and chat with friends and other passionate fans via Facebook” (, 2/20).

FOR PETE'S SAKE: USA TODAY’s Jon Saraceno reported former MLBer Pete Rose on Tuesday pleaded with MLB and Topps "to restore deleted references of his record achievements on baseball cards of today’s players.” He remains on the "permanently ineligible list and therefore cannot be included on any licensed MLB products." Rose said, "I am not asking for anyone to feel sorry for me. I am asking only that Topps/MLB not compound my punishment by deleting the truth of what I achieved" (USA TODAY, 2/20).

HOME OF THE BRAVES: Bradley Univ. and adidas agreed to a five-year deal for the company to be the official footwear, apparel and accessory brand of the school through the ’17-18 season. The partnership begins this fall for all 15 teams with the exception of men’s basketball and baseball, which will join during the ’14-15 season (Bradley/adidas).

RUSHING THE QB: ESPN’s Jalen Rose said of adidas’ new campaign around Redskins QB Robert Griffin III, “I love adidas … (but) for him to put Week One on it, that puts undue pressure on the entire situation.” Rose: “There’s nothing positive about glorifying an injury.” ESPN’s Hugh Douglas said adidas “gave this man a ton of money.” Douglas: “They have an ad campaign that they have to run. It was unfortunate that he got hurt, but I guarantee you when he shot that ad, he put a whole bunch of money in his pockets … and that’s what it’s all about” (“Numbers Never Lie,” ESPN2, 2/20).

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