Omega has signed Rory McIlroy, giving the world’s No. 2 golfer a watch deal to replace Audemars Piguet and giving Omega a giant win over one of its chief competitors in the luxury watch category. Switzerland-based Omega, also a PGA of America corporate partner, counts Greg Norman, Sergio Garcia and Michelle Wie among its ambassadors. Terms of McIlroy’s deal were not available, but industry insiders said watch deals typically range from the low- to mid-six figures, based on the stature of the player. McIlroy would be at the high end of that range, and the deal likely includes a combination of cash, product and incentive. He will be used year-round in Omega’s print and TV advertising and social media, said Omega President Stephen Urquhart. Omega keeps the momentum going for McIlroy, who signed a 10-year, $250M deal with Nike starting with the '13 season. The Nike agreement includes head-to-toe apparel and equipment. McIlroy’s play has suffered so far after switching clubs from Titleist to Nike this year as Tiger Woods overtook McIlroy atop the official world golf rankings last month, though McIlroy did finish tied for second yesterday at the Valero Texas Open. However, McIlroy remains a hot commercial property. Urquhart, who was in San Antonio this past weekend to complete the deal, described McIlroy as a player who is good for the sport. Urquhart and McIlroy enjoyed a private breakfast on Friday morning as they discussed their future plans. “There’s a certain sincerity with Rory. People genuinely like him. He’s very natural and he’s not the kind of guy to take success for granted”
NOT PUT OFF BY SHAKY START: Urquhart said he was not dissuaded by McIlroy’s playing problems or the incident earlier this year at the Honda Classic where he walked off the course and later apologized. Urquhart: “People say he’s No. 2 now and I just say, ‘Come on, get a life.’ Rory’s in his early 20s. In some ways, this will be good for him long term.” Urquhart added that McIlroy will make his first visit to Omega’s HQs later this year as part of the deal. Urquhart: “Rory is cutting edge and young and he brings a younger fan base. We have a print campaign that will launch (this week) and we will use him on a constant basis, not just when he wins.” Urquhart said the origin for the relationship with McIlroy began in '11, when the two played together in a pro-am. Even though Urquhart acknowledged that McIlroy was under contract with Audemars Piguet, the two began a friendship that ultimately led to the deal with Omega. Urquhart said, “You could say this is two years in the making. I continued to run into Rory at our tournaments (the Omega Dubai Desert Classic and the Omega European Masters) and at the Ryder Cup. You never know.”
Kellogg's is MLB's newest corporate sponsor, signing a multiyear deal that gives the food giant rights across the cereal and various snack food categories. With its new rights, Kellogg's will stage a national campaign that will see MLB logos on a total of 27 million packages of Frosted Flakes, Nutri-Grain Bars, Cheez-It crackers, Keebler cookies, Rice Krispies Treats bars and other products. The “Triple Play” promotion launches at retail this month, offering consumers a grand prize of tickets to a '13 World Series game, a '14 Opening Day game and the '14 All-Star Game. There also are 100 first prizes for a pair of tickets to regular-season MLB games. The promotion will be supported with point-of-sale ads, retail displays and free-standing inserts. Kellogg's also is making an ad buy on ESPN's MLB telecasts, and possibly with other MLB rightsholders. Additionally, Kellogg's will stage local-market promotions, and activate with team deals in a handful of MLB markets. An accompanying MLBAM deal will allow some text-to-win promotions.
EPL club Manchester United and HR company Aon today announced an eight-year extension of their sponsorship worth an approximate $240M (all figures U.S.). The renewed deal, which goes until '21, includes naming rights to the club's training facility, which becomes the Aon Training Complex. ManU players and coaches will wear Aon-branded training kits at matches and practice sessions, and Aon also will serve as presenting partner of all ManU preseason tours, including Tour 2013 presented by Aon in Asia Pacific. Aon is the club's current shirt sponsor but will be replaced in that role by GM's Chevrolet brand for the '14-15 season (THE DAILY). The FINANCIAL TIMES' Duncan Robinson reports Aon “replaces DHL” as the club’s training kit sponsor. The deal also “includes branding surrounding the club’s tours abroad.” It comes “within months of the club securing a record” seven-year, $559M shirt sponsorship deal with GM, “more than double its previous deal with Aon," whose contract ends next year. Aon’s new deal is "worth almost double" the $120M it spent on the four-year deal to sponsor ManU’s shirts in '09. Aon President & CEO Greg Case said that the two parties had “discussed renewing Aon’s shirt deal, but opted instead for the training ground deal.” As part of the agreement, Aon’s HR group will provide ManU with "advice on everything from player data analysis to risk management” (FINANCIAL TIMES, 4/8). The AP’s Rob Harris noted ManU bought out its previous training kit deal with DHL "early in a bid to secure more cash, with that agreement having been worth” around $65M over four years. Although the team is now selling the naming rights to its training center, ManU "has no plans to sell the rights to its main stadium” (AP, 4/7). In London, Simon Stone writes the fact that ManU has “added friendly matches” into the contract is “intriguing as it means from their 2014 tour, they will be wearing two different companies on their kit” (London INDEPENDENT, 4/8).
TAKING FLIGHT? In London, Mark Ogden reports ManU is “also understood to be close to announcing a deal worth” $153.2M with a "leading airline following the end of their agreement” with Turkish Airlines (London TELEGRAPH, 4/8).
Knicks G Iman Shumpert’s hair has been “shut down by the authorities” after he “shaved Adidas’ signature ‘three stripes’ logo into the left side of his hair earlier this week,” according to Ben Golliver of SI.com. Shumpert on Saturday “posted a photo of his head on his Instagram account ... with the logo removed and a wide, flat triangle in its place.” The photo’s caption read, “Banned. (Sorry) NBA, didn’t realize there were branding issues (with the) logo.” Golliver noted "sporting a corporate logo during games is indeed against NBA rules.” Shumpert recently appeared “in a nationally-televised ad” for adidas with Trail Blazers G Damian Lillard (SI.com, 4/7).
Panthers QB Cam Newton today “will debut his clothing line” with Charlotte-based Belk department store, according to Jennifer Thomas of the CHARLOTTE BUSINESS JOURNAL. The menswear collection, called MADE Cam Newton, will be “available at 133 Belk stores to start and through the company’s website.” Newton said, “For a person to be very fashionable as well as casual, that’s what I want this line to be about. I think this clothing line gives the buyer an opportunity.” He said that he “took an active role in helping to choose fabrics, color combinations and color schemes.” The Newton-inspired line “includes suits and related separates such as ties and blazers as well a sportswear collection with T-shirts, polos, shorts and pants.” Prices range from “$28 for a T-shirt to $500 for a suit.” Newton sees “opportunities for further expansion, with children’s clothing and different accessories on the radar” (BIZJOURNALS.com, 4/5).