Citi is "finalizing an agreement" with the USOC to "return as the official retail bank of Team USA" for the '14 Sochi and '16 Rio Games, according to Tripp Mickle of SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL. The deal, which sources "valued at more than" $15M over four years, "ensures the USOC will retain both of the banking partners it signed prior to" the '12 London Olympics. TD Ameritrade last week announced that it "planned to return as the official brokerage of Team USA" for the '14 and '16 Games. Citi in '11 "signed a unique deal" with both the USOC and NBC. Citi "bought a package that included a Team USA sponsorship and advertising on NBC during the London Games that was valued at more than" $25M. Headed into the Sochi Games, the USOC and NBC "have found it difficult to offer a similar sponsorship and media package." But Citi, like TD Ameritrade, "saw enough value in its USOC partnership to return exclusively as a Team USA sponsor and buy its media separately from NBC prior to the Sochi and Rio Games." Sources said that Citi will "bring back the 'Every Step of the Way' program it developed for the London Games." The marketing program "allowed Americans to use Facebook and Twitter to direct $500,000 to nonprofit sport organizations selected by 13 athletes with Citi endorsement deals." The company is "expected to sign several winter Olympians to promote ahead of the Sochi Games." It also has "held talks with some national governing bodies about sponsoring their teams" (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 3/18 issue).
Marketing and Sponsorship
CHARLES IN CHARGE: CDW has launched an extension of its "People Who Get IT" campaign featuring TNT's Charles Barkley. The campaign is entitled "Winning on the Road" and features an ad that began airing this weekend through radio, print and digital media on top of national TV spots. The TV ads will be shown during college basketball games on CBS, TBS, TNT and truTV. Ogilvy & Mather, Chicago, developed the campaign (CDW).
A BILLION AND COUNTING: USA TODAY’s Horovitz cites data from research firm Kantar Media that shows total TV ad revenue for the NCAA tournament “surpassed $1 billion for the first time” last year. Kantar Media “expects it will only get bigger this year on CBS and TBS broadcasts.” No other league's postseason "has hit" the $1B plateau. Ad prices for the NCAA championship game this year "will hit about" $1.4M per 30-second slot (USA TODAY, 3/18).
Nike and its affiliated brands sponsor 52 of the 68 teams in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, equaling last year's tourney. THE DAILY's annual breakdown of the shoe and apparel brands worn in the tourney shows there are 48 schools that wear Nike shoes, while four teams wear Jordan Brand. Thirteen teams wear adidas shoes, one more than last year. Under Armour, which had four teams in last year’s tournament, has three this year. Russell Athletic supplies the jerseys for three schools, a decline from five last year. Schools in the chart below are listed by region in their seed order. The first round of the NCAA tournament begins tomorrow (THE DAILY).
|1) Louisville||adidas/adidas||1) Gonzaga||Nike/Nike|
|2) Duke||Nike/Nike||2) Ohio State||Nike/Nike|
|3) Michigan State||Nike/Nike||3) New Mexico||Nike/Nike|
|4) St. Louis||Nike/Nike||4) Kansas State||Nike/Nike|
|5) Oklahoma State||Nike/Nike||5) Wisconsin||adidas/adidas|
|6) Memphis||Nike/Nike||6) Arizona||Nike/Nike|
|7) Creighton||Nike/Nike||7) Notre Dame||adidas/adidas|
|8) Colorado State||Nike/Russell||8) Pittsburgh||Nike/Nike|
|9) Missouri||Nike/Nike||9) Wichita State||Nike/Jordan|
|10) Cincinnati||adidas/adidas||10) Iowa State||Nike/Nike|
|11) Middle Tennessee State||Nike/Nike||11) Belmont||Nike/Nike|
|11) St. Mary's||adidas/adidas||12) Ole Miss||Nike/Nike|
|12) Oregon||Nike/Nike||13) Boise State||Nike/Nike|
|13) New Mexico State||adidas/adidas||13) La Salle||UA/UA|
|14) Valparaiso||Nike/Nike||14) Harvard||Nike/Nike|
|15) Albany||Nike/Nike||15) Iona||Nike/Nike|
|16) North Carolina A&T||Nike/Nike||16) Southern||Nike/Russell|
|1) Kansas||adidas/adidas||1) Indiana||adidas/adidas|
|2) Georgetown||Jordan/Jordan||2) Miami||Nike/Nike|
|3) Florida||Nike/Nike||3) Marquette||Jordan/Jordan|
|4) Michigan||adidas/adidas||4) Syracuse||Nike/Nike|
|5) Virginia Commonwealth||Nike/Nike||5) UNLV||Nike/Nike|
|6) UCLA||adidas/adidas||6) Butler||Nike/Nike|
|7) San Diego State||Nike/Nike||7) Illinois||Nike/Nike|
|8) North Carolina||Jordan/Jordan||8) North Carolina State||adidas/adidas|
|9) Villanova||Nike/Nike||9) Temple||UA/UA|
|10) Oklahoma||Nike/Nike||10) Colorado||Nike/Nike|
|11) Minnesota||Nike/Nike||11) Bucknell||adidas/adidas|
|12) Akron||Nike/Nike||12) California||Jordan/Jordan|
|13) South Dakota State||UA/UA||13) Montana||Nike/Nike|
|14) Northwestern State||adidas/adidas||14) Davidson||Nike/Nike|
|15) Florida Gulf Coast||Nike/Nike||15) Pacific||Nike/Nike|
|16) Western Kentucky||Nike/Russell||16) LIU-Brooklyn||Nike/Nike|
|16) James Madison||Nike/Nike|
UNIFORMS GOING TOO FAR? ESPN’s John Saunders said college sports' "old-school look began to fade recently," led by Oregon, but this year "we’ve gone over the top.” Baylor "started things with a uniform that looked like five highlighters making jump shots, and this week Cincinnati broke out the two-tone, non-matching red zebra skin." This look "popped up a few places, then Notre Dame ramped-up the ugly.” Saunders said, “If I can’t have lunch before I watch a game, we have a problem” (“The Sports Reporters,” ESPN, 3/17). ESPN’s Digger Phelps said Notre Dame’s uniforms “aren’t even Irish green, but the fact is if you win with them don’t change” (“PTI,” ESPN, 3/15). Notre Dame will play Iowa State in the second round of the NCAA tournament, and while analyzing the matchup, ESPN’s Jay Bilas said, “The biggest problem: if Notre Dame wears those uniforms. ... It could be very disorienting for any team. In a second round matchup, that’s almost unfair for Iowa State. I think the committee should have factored in the ugliness of those uniforms and the effect it can have on an opponent. I think the committee dropped the ball on this one. Do they know what color those uniforms are?” ESPN’s Rece Davis said, “I think you should behave yourself because those uniforms look a lot like Digger’s tie.” Bilas: “That’s right. They’re ugly!” (“Bracketology,” ESPN, 3/17).
ALL PRESS IS GOOD PRESS: ESPN’s J.A. Adande said adidas debuting its adiZero jerseys during the postseason was "not a good idea." Adande: "When you want people to buy your product, it’s not a good idea to have people saying how bad that product looked.” But columnist Kevin Blackistone said, “For someone who spends a lot of time at the University of Maryland, which had its football uniforms talked a lot about last year, made by Under Armour, I can tell you for a fact that it’s big for the school, but it’s bigger for the manufacturer -- in this case adidas” (“Around the Horn,” ESPN, 3/15).
NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon yesterday spoke about the reaction to his recent Pepsi Max viral video and said, “Everywhere I look -- on my Twitter account, Facebook, every place I've been this week running into fans or just people that maybe don’t follow racing -- [they] are going crazy over this video.” Gordon said the video was similar to “some of the fun things that they’ve done in the past like the Uncle Drew video and this is sort of a spinoff of that.” Gordon added, “When we were filming it we certainly hoped it would go viral like this and get this kind of attention” (“SportsCenter,” ESPN, 3/17). Gordon said of the video, which at presstime had garnered over 25 million views on YouTube, "I have never been a part of anything like this, a viral video that has gone to this level. … I never dreamed that this would (have so many) views and get this much attention." He said that a "stunt driver was used for much of the filming," but that he was "in the car for part of the filming." Gordon added that "some of the salesman's reactions were natural," and that much of what he did "was ad-libbed as far as getting in and out of the car" (SPORTINGNEWS.com, 3/15).
Electronic Arts is awaiting a ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit as to whether it infringed on Jim Brown’s and Sam Keller’s images by using them in video games, but attorneys for the company have pointed the court to a recent court victory for World Wrestling Entertainment in a somewhat similar case. EA filed that full decision with the appeal court late last week, arguing the case proved that EA had the right to use the public images of Brown and Keller. “Emphasizing the public interest in athletes and their accomplishments, the Somerson court granted a motion to dismiss a former professional wrestler’s right of publicity and related claims, which arose from WWE use of his name and likeness on its websites and on a DVD,” EA outside counsel Kelli Sager wrote in a brief for the Ninth Circuit. Douglas Somerson, who went by the ring name "Pretty Boy" Doug Somers, sued WWE, but his case was dismissed on March 7 by a federal court in Georgia. There appears to be at least one critical difference between the cases: WWE did not put Somerson’s image on merchandise. EA uses avatars similar to Brown and Keller in their games. The Ninth Circuit heard oral arguments in November in both the Brown and Keller cases. While the cases are related, Brown and Keller are separately suing EA over using their images in video games without their permission.