One of Tim Pernetti’s "final acts" as Rutgers AD was to pay more than $7M "to end the school’s 13-year marketing relationship with Nelligan Sports Marketing," according to sources cited by Tim Luicci of the Newark STAR-LEDGER. One source said that IMG College "appears to be the frontrunner to land the contract over Learfield Sports to handle RU's radio and TV rights as well as sponsorship deals." The sources said that Pernetti "completed the buyout with Nelligan Sports the night of March 28, with the financial transaction completed the next day." RU's deal with Nelligan, "originally brokered" by former AD Bob Mulcahy, had four years remaining. One source said that Pernetti, in "anticipation of the school’s move to the Big Ten in 2014, asked Nelligan Sports Marketing last summer to re-work the deal in place." He envisioned a "financial windfall from a marketing standpoint with the move to the Big Ten," and it is possible Rutgers could offset the $7M it paid to Nelligan "with a signing bonus from its new marketing firm." Those signing bonuses can "easily approach" $10M for schools in major conferences like the Big Ten. Schools in that conference "routinely have $100 million marketing deals over 10 to 12-year periods." The deal with Nelligan generated around $40M -- with $30M "going to Rutgers -- during the 13 years it was in place" (Newark STAR-LEDGER, 4/11).
SUPPORTIVE AT FIRST: In Newark, Sherman & Heyboer cite minutes from a closed-door meeting in December between Pernetti and top Rutgers officials regarding the suspension of former men's basketball coach Mike Rice as showing that RU President Robert Barchi "commended Pernetti and his department for handling the matter 'appropriately.'" More than 20 Rutgers officials, trustees and board members also attended the Dec. 14 meeting in which the athletics committee of the university’s BOG "discussed the allegations Rice had shoved and kicked players and used homophobic slurs during practices." No one in the room "questioned whether Rice should have been fired or asked to view the video of the coach’s abuses themselves." Records also show that "no one bothered to mention the discussion of the Rice punishment at a public meeting of the full" BOG later that same day. The minutes show that BOG athletic committee Chair Mark Hershhorn -- remarking on the "stories of the suspension that had appeared that morning in The Star-Ledger and other newspapers -- did not argue that Rice should be fired." He "only asked Pernetti to explain the circumstances of the suspension." Much of the meeting "did not even focus on Rice." Among the issues on the table were "discussions about the university’s entrance" into the Big Ten and "concerns over the revenues being generated" through RU's deal with Nelligan (Newark STAR-LEDGER, 4/11).
LEND A HELPING HAND: In New Jersey, John Rowe writes Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany's influence is expected "to be all over Rutgers’ search for a new athletic director," and he is likely to have a hand in the "hiring of a men’s basketball coach, as well." RU officials reportedly have "decided to listen to Delany." He already has suggested Wisconsin Deputy AD Sean Frazier and Michigan State Deputy AD Greg Ianni for the position. Rowe: "Whoever gets the job must hit the ground running" (Bergen RECORD, 4/11).
The NBA today will kick off its postseason advertising campaign with the tag line “Now is BIG” for the playoffs and “Forever is BIG” for the Finals. The spots have an int'l focus with the game action in the playoff ads called in multiple languages. “We continue to evolve the way we engage our fans,” said NBA Exec VP/Marketing Jamie Gallo. “What you see is us trying to capture the experience around the world.” The NBA’s agency of record is Goodby, Silverstein & Partners. The NBA postseason begins on April 20. The “Now is BIG” ads feature two 30-second spots; one featuring Heat F LeBron James as he steals the ball and gets an alley-oop pass to score in Game 7 of the ‘12 Eastern Conference Finals, the other featuring Thunder G Russell Westbrook as he steals the ball and shoots during Game 5 of last year’s Western Conference Semifinals. One of the 30-second Finals spots features Lakers G Kobe Bryant suspended in the air as he dunks during the ‘02 Finals. The other Finals spot features Mavericks F Dirk Nowitzki suspended in time as he make a jump shot in Game 6 of the ‘11 NBA Finals. Both Finals spots then show how the suspended action is depicted all over the world through various ways. The campaign runs through June 20 on ABC, ESPN, TNT, NBA TV and across the league’s digital and social media channels.
Many golfers playing in The Masters, which began this morning, have released their playing outfits for all four rounds of the event, and GOLF DIGEST Fashion Dir Marty Hackel examined the sartorial choices of several top contenders. Keegan Bradley's Tommy Hilfiger look is “clean and it’s consistent.” The red, white and blue color scheme is "certainly Keegan’s calling card," and you can "practically hear people chanting ‘USA! USA!’” The combinations Luke Donald and RLX Ralph Lauren have “pulled together have great contrast with bold colors.” There is a “balance to what Luke is wearing, and that’s why these outfits work.” Rickie Fowler always has "something on that’s exciting and colorful,” and his Puma apparel is “fun, especially when you see how boring so many others look.” Under Armour’s approach for Hunter Mahan’s “purposeful wardrobe” is “forceful, bold, technical.” Graeme McDowell will wear Kartel, and “when it comes to blending looks together in an elegant, understated way, GMac is your man.” His choice of Nona Blue trousers for today is “bold,” as many players wear "bright shirts and sweaters, but few wear bright bottoms.” Hackel wrote of Carl Petterson’s Nike outfits, “We always say bold stripes don’t work on larger people, but look at what Carl is going to wear on Friday and Sunday.” His “outgoing, exuberant personality allows him to wear ‘the wrong thing’ and make it look right.” Ian Poulter wears outfits from his own IJP Designs, and “by now we expect to see Ian in plaid.” But there also is “a valuable lesson in the way Poulter puts outfits together,” as he makes “one unique choice per outfit.” His style is “very straightforward, not complicated.” Oakley’s designs for defending champion Bubba Watson are “graphic, technical and in a sense architectural.” The new look “suits his personality.” There is “nothing subtle about him or the clothes” (GOLF DIGEST STIX, 4/10 issue). SPONSORS' TIME IN THE SUN: FORBES.com's Kurt Badenhausen noted golfers featured on CBS and ESPN's broadcasts of The Masters "generate huge exposure for their sponsors with their branded gear." Tiger Woods is the "overwhelming favorite to win the event," meaning Nike is "sitting in the catbird seat." Ping last year sponsored both winner Watson and runner-up Louis Oosthuizen, and a Repucom analysis showed that the golf company generated $14.2M "in media value." Ping's exposure was "three times the next biggest brand, TaylorMade, which ranked second" with $4.5M (FORBES.com, 4/10).
A TRADITION LIKE ANY OTHER: In Cincinnati, Paul Daugherty notes Augusta National is the only place fans can buy Masters merchandise, so the “stuff is highly prized.” Items include a $395 “Masters cashmere sweater,” and a print of the 13th hole that will “set you back $250.” Even at the “rare-air prices, demand is insatiable.” A steady stream of patrons “negotiate the zig-zag entrance lines ... all day, endlessly, to max out credit cards for their piece of the Masters.” The Masters officials always have “been shrewd when it came to marketing their brand.” In so doing, they have “created their own little monopoly” (CINCINNATI.com, 4/11).
The Univ. of California yesterday “revealed the results of nearly two years of collaboration” with apparel provider Nike in an “attempt to achieve brand consistency across all sports,” according to John Crumpacker of the S.F. CHRONICLE. Along with the introduction of “a new, snarling bear and the color gray as a uniform option for the football team, the biggest takeaways from Cal's ‘visual identity project’ were that it's not costing the athletic department anything and it is not a reaction to Oregon's dizzying multiplicity of uniforms.” Cal LB Nick Forbes modeled a “blue-on-blue uniform featuring the new bear logo on the hip.” He said, "It's a nice, clean look for Cal. It sticks to our tradition. We're not trying to be flashy like some schools in the Pac-12." Cal AD Sandy Barbour said, "Our goal here is to create something that is universally recognized that will create more brand equity. Respecting the past, representing the future is about taking the Cal brand and honoring it." Crumpacker reports the script "Cal" will “remain as the school's symbol, along with the colors dark blue and gold.” Nike created a “customized alpha-numeric font for Cal that will be used on uniforms and performance gear across all sports.” For a school “decades away from paying off the $321 million retrofit of Memorial Stadium, the good news for Cal is that the new uniform design will not cost it anything.” Nike VP & Football Design Dir Todd Van Horne said, "It's part of our existing agreement." Cal football coach Sonny Dykes, who is entering his first season with the school, said, "I'm not a big uniform guy. This will hopefully be my first and last discussion about uniforms. Nike did a great job of designing them. I think they're traditional, which is important. At the same time, you have to have something that appeals to the young crowd. This is a marriage of the two" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 4/11). The uniforms will be “in place for the 2013-14 season” (AP, 4/10).
SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT: Barbour said that Cal has “sent a confusing message regarding its brand in recent years, with a variety of logos and visual marks.” Barbour said of branding, “It’s an expectation. It’s memories and relationships that are elicited by the visual representation of Cal athletics.” She said that the football team “first saw its new uniforms on Tuesday night and ‘went bonkers.’” In Oakland, Jeff Faraudo writes Barbour “knows there will be mixed reaction, especially to the new Bear logo.” Barbour: “I like it, I don’t expect everyone to love it” (OAKLAND TRIBUNE, 4/11). Cal in its official release noted many older marks, such as drawings of Oski the Bear, will remain available on a wide range of items, but the school's team uniforms and apparel will use the updated identity (Cal).
California-based energy bar maker Bonk Breaker has signed on as an official sponsor of the Brewers. The company will now produce a specially wrapped energy bar affixed with the Brewers logo that will be sold at Miller Park. Bonk Breaker also will be stocked in the team's clubhouse. In addition, Brewers Owner Mark Attanasio has become a minority investor and board member of Bonk Breaker, the official energy bar for the U.S. Ironman triathlon series. "Even beyond the money that's been put in, there's a huge advantage to have a guy like Mark Attanasio as part of your operation," said Bonk Breakers Chair & co-CEO Chris Frank. "He's a very accomplished businessman, very smart and very savvy, and we think he brings a lot to us." The seven-year-old Bonk Breaker has sought to forge a niche in the crowded energy bar category in part by developing a product without gluten, dairy or soy.
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