adidas believes that La Liga club FC Barcelona F Lionel Messi is "such a transcendent star, it would be silly NOT to try” to promote him in the U.S., according to Brian Shactman of CNBC.com. Messi is “the best soccer player in the world but he's virtually unknown” stateside. adidas America Soccer Dir Ernesto Bruce said, "Soccer in the U.S. has lovers, and it has haters." adidas just “launched a global retail brand of shoes and apparel that are all about Lionel Messi.” Bruce said, "Our goal with the Messi line is to make him globally recognized as one of the best ever -- and that includes the U.S." He added, "This is only the second time we've ever done a global line like this. David Beckham was the first." But Shactman wrote the “problem in America isn't just that soccer is fifth fiddle,” it also is that Messi “doesn't possess a star's persona.” Bruce: "We struggle with that at times because we want to use him in other disciplines. But what's great about it is that he's authentic." He added, "We are launching now because we think the 2014 World Cup will be historic for Messi” (CNBC.com, 4/1).
Marketing and Sponsorship
Wichita State Univ. Assistant AD/Marketing & Corporate Relations John Brewer said that the company that licenses WSU brands for T-shirts and other merchandise "estimated earlier that reaching the Sweet 16 would mean a bump, pushing the university’s typical annual revenue of $125,000 to about $200,000," according to a front-page piece by Dan Voorhis of the WICHITA EAGLE. However, Brewer said that the Final Four is a "whole different level." Brewer said that it is a "little early to know what this will mean for WSU merchandise sales." He added, "This is uncharted territory. I’m assuming there is one solid week for them to be on sale, but there will probably be some trickle effect after that.” School officials said that WSU would gain from "at least three sources: tournament-related earnings, increased merchandise sales and increased contributions from alumni and other donors." WSU Senior Associate AD/External Operations Darron Boatright said, "We're not out there shaking our buckets yet. It's like being in the middle of a tornado and somebody asking what the damage is." WSU will get about $450,000 "for its tournament run, plus another $367,500 to cover expenses for playing in three cities: Salt Lake City, Los Angeles and Atlanta" (WICHITA EAGLE, 4/2). In Wichita, Suzanne Perez Tobias noted WSU fans "lined up by the hundreds on Easter morning to get first pick of Final Four T-shirts emblazoned" with the WSU mascot WuShock's "distinctive scowl" (WICHITA EAGLE, 4/1).
GETTING YOUR MONEY'S WORTH: ESPN.com's Darren Rovell reported Ft. Myers-based music producer Charlie Pennachio on March 25 "filed for a trademark for the term 'Dunk City.'" Pennachio said that his son "goes to school" at Florida Gulf Coast Univ. and that he was "encouraged to make the business move by one of his clients." FGCU has licensed merchandise with its logo and "Dunk City" on it that has been "selling at local retailers, but the school itself has not yet made a formal claim to the mark" (ESPN.com, 3/29).
MARKETING MACHINE: In Portland, Allan Brettman wrote since "almost the moment" the NCAA Tournament field was announced, Nike's social media machine "has been cranking." One after another, Nike has "churned out magazine-quality ads with snappy slogans -- 'Don't Be Fooled By The Smarts Or Harvard Will Teach You a Lesson,' for example -- for some of the nearly 50 tournament teams it outfits in sneakers and uniforms." In another time, these are the "kinds of Nike ads that would have found a place on a billboard in each college's hometown or maybe even in New York City's Times Square." But these Nike ads have been "appearing on Twitter and Facebook." And as each team advances, the ads have been "appearing within hours of the game's final buzzer." Speed has "caught up with creativity as an essential element in building and maintaining a brand" (Portland OREGONIAN, 3/30).
The PGA Tour yesterday announced a new three-year, China-based partnership with Bose Corporation, making Bose the first company to acquire PGA Tour category rights outside of the U.S. Bose will be the Tour’s official marketing partner in the home theater system, home audio system and headphone categories in China. As an official marketing partner, Bose will have the rights to PGA Tour and Champions Tour marks to promote products in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macau. PGA Tour Global Commercial Officer Tom Wade said the sponsorship further expands the Tour brand in the Chinese marketplace. Bose’s subsidiary in Shanghai, Bose Greater China, will activate the sponsorship (Michael Smith, Staff Writer).
THE BEST A MAN CAN GET: The SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL's Terry Lefton reports Procter & Gamble’s Gillette brand has signed ATPer Roger Federer “to a three-year extension of the tennis star’s endorsement agreement.” Federer has been a Gillette endorser since ‘07, when he was part of the brand’s global “Champions” campaign. That effort was “dropped in 2011.” Federer is “scheduled to shoot some ads for Gillette under the direction of BBDO, France, this week in Zurich” (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 4/1 issue).
A BILL OF HEALTH: In Ft. Lauderdale, Michael Mayo notes Broward Health, which “collects nearly $150 million in property tax from Broward residents north of Griffin Road, has given" Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill an endorsement deal to "pump up its brand.” The three-year, $331,000 deal is “maybe too much, considering no other tax-assisted hospital district in South Florida pays for celebrity endorsements” (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 4/2).