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Volume 24 No. 159

Marketing and Sponsorship

Redskins QB Robert Griffin III topped all NFL players in jerseys sold from April '12 through March '13, while also setting the all-time record for jersey sales in the league's business year. Griffin supplanted Packers QB Aaron Rodgers, who led the league in sales for '11-12 following the team's win in Super Bowl XLV. Rodgers dropped to No. 7 on the list, which is based on sales from NFLShop.com. Broncos QB Peyton Manning made the biggest jump in '12-13, moving from the No. 18 spot to No. 2 this year. Jets QB Tim Tebow fell from the second spot to 13th this year. QBs make up 10 of the top 25 sellers, including seven of the top 10. Meanwhile, the 49ers took the top spot for team merchandise sales for the first time since at least '79. The Steelers dropped from first to fifth (THE DAILY).

HAIL, VICTORY: In DC, Rich Tandler wrote Griffin is "so good that he can set records even while he is rehabbing from reconstructive knee surgery" (CSNWASHINGTON.com, 4/9). Also in DC, Dan Steinberg noted former NFLer Brett Favre's sales in '09 and '08 put him in "second and fourth all time," while Manning in '12 "is third." Favre has the "most total jersey sales of any player." The NFL has "only tracked individual player jersey rankings since 2001." No Redskins player has "ever finished No. 1 in that span" (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 4/9). In Portland, Erik Siemers wrote the sales data is a "strong barometer of RGIII's popularity as a celebrity, and that's good news" for adidas, which sponsors Griffin (BIZJOURNALS.com, 4/9).

TOP-SELLING PLAYER JERSEYS ON NFLSHOP.COM FOR '12-13
RANK
PLAYER
RANK
PLAYER
1
Redskins QB Robert Griffin III
14
Seahawks QB Russell Wilson
2
Broncos QB Peyton Manning
15
Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch
3
Ravens LB Ray Lewis
16
Packers LB Clay Matthews
4
49ers QB Colin Kaepernick
17
Steelers S Troy Polamalu
5
Patriots QB Tom Brady
18
Ravens RB Ray Rice
6
Colts QB Andrew Luck
19
Saints QB Drew Brees
7
Packers QB Aaron Rodgers
20
49ers RB Frank Gore
8
Giants WR Victor Cruz
21
Cowboys TE Jason Witten
9
Giants QB Eli Manning
22
Cowboys DE DeMarcus Ware
10
49ers LB Patrick Willis
23
Vikings RB Adrian Peterson
11
Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski
24
Broncos LB Von Miller
12
Texans DE JJ Watt
25
Lions WR Calvin Johnson
13
Jets QB Tim Tebow
 
 
 
TOP-SELLING TEAM MERCHANDISE ON NFLSHOP.COM FOR '12-13
RANK
TEAM
RANK
TEAM
1
49ers
6
Patriots
2
Ravens
7
Cowboys
3
Giants
8
Broncos
4
Redskins
9
Packers
5
Steelers
10
Bears

Dick’s Sporting Goods Senior Community Marketing Manager Tom Osborn said that when the company’s store in Louisville opened at midnight Tuesday, just after the men's national championship game, "about 50 people were waiting outside the store" to be the first to get official Univ. of Louisville championship merchandise, according to Chris Otts of the Louisville COURIER-JOURNAL. But one fan was “disappointed not to find any shirts celebrating the women’s team’s run in the NCAA Tournament.” Sarah Chandler said, “That has been my beef, that we have not seen any women’s shirts at all.” Osborn “couldn’t say why the store didn’t have Final Four merchandise specific to the women’s team” (Louisville COURIER-JOURNAL, 4/10).

SCHOOL FEVER: MARKETING DAILY’s Karl Greenberg cited Collegiate Licensing Company data that showed that last year saw $4.62B in "retail sales of collegiate licensed merchandise, which the organization says is an all-time high, beating every sport but” MLB. Of that figure, March Madness generates about $10M. Leading the “merchandising game" is Univ. of Kentucky men’s basketball with $1.2M in gross royalties in '12. CLC Senior VP & Managing Dir Cory Moss said that schools “make the final decision on licensees, with universities splitting royalties with manufacturers.” He added that agencies like CLC “do a lot of the heavy lifting to create lasting interest and brand value around -- and especially after -- events like The Final Four.” Moss said that the biggest growth trend “is the women's category” (MEDIAPOST.com, 4/8).

The annual NASCAR pit crew competition, which has been a “staple of Sprint Cup All-Star weekend activities the past eight years in Charlotte, is going on at least a one-year hiatus due to a lack of sponsorship,” according to Jim Utter of the CHARLOTTE OBSERVER. The event “typically has been held on the Wednesday night prior to the all-star race.” With no sponsorship and time “running out before the typical date of the event at Time Warner Cable Arena, the decision was made to forgo the event this season.” NASCAR Senior Dir of Communications for Competition Kerry Tharp said that the league “hopes the event will return" as early as ’14. Sprint was the “most recent sponsor of the competition but elected not to renew this year.” Previous sponsors “included Motorola and Craftsman” (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 4/10). NASCAR.com’s Kenny Bruce reported Sprint in January “unveiled The Sprint Unlimited, taking over sponsorship of what had been” the Budweiser Shootout at Daytona Int’l Speedway. As a result, funding of the pit crew competition “would not continue” (NASCAR.com, 4/9).

BAD TIMING? In Orlando, George Diaz wrote the timing of the Sprint Cup Series NRA 500 at Texas Motor Speedway this weekend is “great if you are against gun control.” The timing is “awful if you are among the majority of Americans who believe some restrictions should be put in play.” TMS President Eddie Gossage said, “No one is going to force any NRA literature in your hands. No one is going to be making political speeches or anything like that. It’s going to be a race.” Diaz wrote it is “impossible to make the disconnect with the guns and politics while our nation’s leaders are caught in their own contentious crossfire over gun control” (ORLANDOSENTINEL.com, 4/9).

KEYSTONE PARTY: The June 9 Sprint Cup Series race at Pocono Raceway “will be named the Party in the Poconos 400 following the results of a fan vote sponsored by Walmart.” The winner was chosen after “more than 1,600” names were suggested (AP, 4/9).

EPL Sales & Marketing Dir Richard Masters said that the league is "seeking a new sponsor for its match officials' uniforms starting in the 2013-2014 campaign after its deal with Expedia Inc. expires this summer," according to Ravi Ubha of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. Masters added, "It's a different sort of sponsorship within football, and I think it represents value given the breadth of coverage." The annual cost of sponsoring the officials is "believed to be" just over $1.5M. Masters "wouldn't say how many potential sponsors" the EPL is currently talking to. FIFA "gave the green light to sponsor advertising for referees in domestic leagues in 2001, but it remains forbidden in FIFA competitions such as the World Cup." FIFA also has "strict guidelines on where branding can be placed -- only on shirt sleeves, as opposed to the chest region that many clubs sell to their primary sponsors -- and what kind of brands are permitted." Expedia Senior Marketing Dir for Europe, Middle East & Africa Andrew Warner said that the company's partnership with the EPL referees was "primarily a matter of latching onto the Premier League's broad exposure in Asian markets" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 4/10).

The NWSL Portland Thorns yesterday “unveiled their uniforms for the 2013 season and announced a sponsorship partnership with Providence Health & Services.” The Nike home jersey is “red with a simple white stripe with the Thorns FC crest,” while the away jersey is “solid white.” The Thorns said that Providence “will be the team's official presenting partner and primary jersey sponsor, and ‘Providence Health & Services’ features prominently on the jerseys, which also feature a secondary sponsor logo from local retailer Parklane Mattresses on the back” (Portland OREGONIAN, 4/10).

SEVEN UP: In DC, Dan Steinberg noted Papa John’s “introduced a Nationals-themed promotion last season, offering half-priced orders the day after the Nats won while scoring at least five runs.” But it “turned out this wasn’t exactly a rare occasion,” as the Nats “won while scoring at least five runs a whopping 62 times" in '12, nearly 40% of their games. And plenty of people “took advantage of the cheap pizza.” The deal this year “now only works when the Nats win while scoring at least seven runs” (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 4/9).

ROCKING THE WEAR: Cowboys WR Dez Bryant last week tweeted he is “officially with the Jordan brand.” In Dallas, Jon Machota noted Bryant is “rarely seen not wearing something with an Air Jordan logo on it” (DALLASNEWS.com, 4/5).