Golfer Adam Scott “may have been marketable before” winning The Masters yesterday, but now he is "a sports marketer's dream,” according to Frank Chung of ADNEWS. M&C Saatchi Sport & Entertainment Sydney Head of PR & Events Jack Lamacraft said, “As the first Australian to win the Masters, he will become a household name virtually overnight.” Lamacraft added that while it was "hard to put a dollar value on Scott, 'whatever he was worth yesterday, he’s worth half as much again, if not double, today.'" Scott has been “notoriously selective in his brand partnerships.” Octagon Managing Dir Sean Nicholls said that this approach has “worked in his favour.” Scott is “currently sponsored by” Mercedes-Benz, Rolex, Titleist and Uniqlo. While a comparison “can be drawn” between Scott's win at The Masters and Aussie cyclist Cadel Evans becoming the first Australian to win the Tour de France in '11, Nicholls and Lamacraft agreed that Scott “would have broader brand appeal than Evans.” Lamacraft: “A lot of brands will want to use him. He’s a golfer but he’s not an old fat guy. He also embraces the Australian lifestyle, is into surfing and so on” (ADNEWS.com.au, 4/15). In Australia, John Stensholt notes Scott will “receive bonuses from his sponsors for his Masters win, worth about another” US$1M (AFR.com, 4/15).
PERFECT TIMING: The WALL STREET JOURNAL’s Daisuke Wakabayashi writes Scott’s victory was “also a big win” for Japan-based clothing brand Uniqlo, which signed Scott as brand ambassador last Tuesday, “just a few days before the Masters began.” Scott will wear Uniqlo “in all competitions and participate in promotions for the company, including the launch of a global polo shirt campaign in mid-April.” The timing “couldn’t be better for Uniqlo, which is trying to build its image outside Japan.” The company “already has athletic-wear sponsorship deals” with tennis players Novak Djokovic and Kei Nishikori (WSJ.com, 4/15).
As the WNBA ramps up preparations for its 17th season with its annual Draft tonight, State Farm tips off a new sponsorship deal with the league. The insurance company signed a multiyear deal to be the presenting sponsor of the WNBA Draft, with signage at the event hosted on ESPN’s Bristol, Conn., headquarters. State Farm also will be featured throughout the broadcast on ESPN, which begins at 8:00pm ET, and is participating in a Draft microsite to tout its presenting partnership. Other elements of the deal include State Farm becoming the halftime show presenting sponsor for all nationally televised games on ABC and ESPN2 as well as the presenting sponsor for the monthly WNBA Community Assist Award. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. State Farm has been a sponsor of the NBA since ‘10 and previously has had team-specific deals in the WNBA before brokering the league-wide partnership. State Farm sponsorship exec Justin Reckamp said, “We always kept an eye on the WNBA and we really saw the great work that the W was doing in communities and in their local areas. We saw it as an opportunity to align two brands that really supported the local community.” Reckamp sees the partnership advancing State Farm’s reach within each market. “Insurance can be a hard conversation to have, and if we can pass into this area that these people are interested in and enhance their experience or provide them some time in their exposure to basketball related items and improve that experience for them, we become more relevant," he said. "It opens the door for us to have an insurance conversation in a context that they’re excited about and familiar about.” The company will still look to sign separate deals on the team level.
NEEDING ASSISTANCE: State Farm late last year debuted its “Born To Assist” campaign starring Clippers G Chris Paul, and the company plans to take a similar tone with the WNBA deal. Reckamp said, “In the WNBA, you’re still going to see that theme of the assist in the context of how the players, the team, the State Farm agent assist people around them every day.” The company is still in the process of finalizing plans for activation throughout the season.
WELCOME TO THE SHOW: Tonight's Draft not only will serve as State Farm’s debut with the WNBA, but also as a platform for the league to refresh its identity. In addition to the formal launch of the league's new logo, the WNBA will welcome three high-profile college stars in Brittney Griner, Elena Delle Donne and Skylar Diggins. WNBA President Laurel Richie said, “This Draft class has the potential to be absolutely game changing for the WNBA.” She added the league's new identity is "all about reflecting the athleticism and the diversity of the current WNBA player." Richie: "What I like to say is rather than rebranding, we really just refreshed and updated our logo.”
All of the "controversy" surrounding the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series NRA 500 at Texas Motor Speedway "translated into very little" on Saturday night, according to Jim Utter of the CHARLOTTE OBSERVER. Since the NRA "didn't buy advertising during the race on Fox, announcers were only obligated to mention the sponsor name once per hour" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 4/15). Fox' pre-race coverage did not mention the sponsorship. At the end of the race, the footage of winner Kyle Busch firing the traditional six-shooter pistols was not shown (THE DAILY). The OBSERVER's Utter wrote TMS President Eddie Gossage is "likely correct in his belief that the NRA sponsorship ... is a good fit with this area." But NASCAR has a "bigger responsibility in its role in overseeing the entire sport, which races across the country and is watched by millions on national TV." That is why NASCAR "must look out for all of its industry partners when it comes to approving sponsorships." It is "not just about the folks buying tickets at one track." It is about what is the "best policy for everyone involved -- NASCAR, tracks, fans, advertisers and TV partners" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 4/13).
BAD TIMING: In Ft. Worth, Gil LeBreton wrote NRA Exec VP Wayne LaPierre was essentially saying "love NASCAR, love the gun advocate group" when his group announced the race sponsorship. It is the "same kind of not-so-subtle message that the NASCAR Cup Series’ original sponsor, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., tried to send." For Saturday night’s "gun advocate sponsors ... the timing couldn’t have been better." But LeBreton asked, "Why didn’t somebody at TMS have the sense to say, 'Well, maybe this is bad timing?'" This should be a "time for debate, for reflection. Not a time to let a powerful lobby come in and flex its muscle on a nationally televised sporting event." Was it a "savvy marketing decision by Texas Motor Speedway?" In the "NASCAR vacuum, some may say so." But it was a "callous one" (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 4/14).
Dubai-based Emirates Airline is “set to sign a shirt sponsorship deal" with La Liga club Real Madrid worth up to $39.3M a year in the "latest high profile sports investment by the Middle East carrier,” according to a source cited by Rory Jones of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. The source said that the deal is “expected to be signed in the next three to four weeks and the Emirates logo will appear" on Real Madrid's shirts "for a duration of between four and six years.” Emirates has an agreement with the team to “advertise on its sign boards at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium, as well as some hospitality rights.” The airline also is the shirt sponsor for EPL club Arsenal, Ligue 1 club Paris Saint-Germain and Serie A club AC Milan. The source said that the sponsorship of Real Madrid's shirts “wouldn't affect the current deals with other teams around Europe” (WSJ.com, 4/14). ARABIANBUSINESS.com’s Daniel Shane reported the deal would “become one of the most expensive sponsorship packages in football history.” The Qatar Foundation pays nearly $40M yearly to sponsor La Liga club FC Barcelona, “although their logo will be replaced by Qatar Airways from next season.” Bundesliga club Bayern Munich “receives about" $35M annually from its deal with Deutsche Telekom, while EPL club Manchester United’s agreement with General Motors will be worth an estimated $60-70M annually (ARABIANBUSINESS.com, 4/14). Real Madrid's current shirt deal with gambling site bwin expires after this season. During a UEFA Champions League match last week in Turkey, Real Madrid actually had to go without bwin on its jerseys since the country has strict anti-gambling laws. Meanwhile, bwin has reportedly agreed to a shirt deal with La Liga club Atletico Madrid and is close to replacing BBVA bank in a league-wide sponsorship of the Spanish Professional Football League, which administers La Liga (THE DAILY).
Nike recently has had a "harder time standing out amid the clutter, bringing out fewer ads that are widely deemed hot, or cool,” according to Stuart Elliott of the N.Y. TIMES. Nike is now a “behemoth," with $24B in annual sales "rather than an upstart that famously used unconventional marketing tactics to gain attention and favor.” Univ. of Oregon Warsaw Sports Marketing Center Dir Paul Swangard said, “The maturity of the brand creates an inherent challenge because you’re no longer the new kid on the block.” Swangard added as a result, Nike execs “run the risk of being the victim of their own success.” The company’s “longevity as a top-flight marketer points to another struggle: demographics.” The consumers who “loved its products, and ads, in the 1980s and 1990s are now older, while consumers who are younger -- the age group most likely to discuss ads -- perceive Nike differently.” A recent loyalty engagement survey conducted by N.Y.-based Brand Keys showed that “among athletic-shoe brands, Nike ranks second with consumers ages 45 to 65, third with consumers ages 25 to 44 and fifth with consumers ages 18 to 24.” Another problem “facing Nike is that the way the brand speaks in ads is no longer that novel.” Interbrand Global CEO Jez Frampton said that it often appears Nike is “competing against itself.” Nike VP/Global Brand Marketing Davide Grasso said there is “tone-of-voice convergence” between Nike and other brands, making it “much more difficult to catch people’s attention.” Elliott notes if there is a “perception that Nike’s marketing efforts have lost some of their novelty," products like Nike iD, FuelBand and Flyknit shoes "have recently helped Nike improve its financial performance.” Nike, like all marketers, also is “coming to terms with the biggest shift in the landscape: the fragmentation of audiences, and media" (N.Y. TIMES, 4/15).
ON THE WATERFRONT: In Portland, Steve Duin wrote a “slobbering gaggle of bureaucrats” wants to put another $80M in Nike's "petty cash drawer, hoping to entice the company to expand into South Waterfront.” The idea is “unbelievable” and “utterly unrealistic.” Duin: “Hold out for $250 million, Nike. You might as well. … You have all the leverage.” If Nike “elects to expand into South Waterfront, imagine the restaurants, retail shops, marketing firms, and sports and apparel midgets that would follow the company to the water’s edge, eager to cater to its needs and feed off its charisma.” Nike, “as usual, is setting the rules” (OREGONLIVE.com, 4/13).
In N.Y., Phil Mushnick cited sources as saying that the Tri-State Ford Dealers Association "has parted company" with Yankees SS Derek Jeter, "ending an endorsement relationship" that began in '05. The separation has "nothing to do" with Jeter's "current state of health." In his current Ford spots, the "emphasis is all on the car." A source said, "It’s not unusual for a company to want to freshen things up and go in a different direction" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 4/14).
POOL PLAY: Tyr has signed a four-year sponsorship with USA Water Polo. The swimsuit company, which also has a sponsorship deal with USA Swimming, will replace Athleta as the official outfitting partner of the men’s and women’s national teams. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Tyr will provide apparel and competition gear ranging from water polo suits and caps to robes. USA Water Polo's sponsors include 24 Hour Fitness, American Pistachios, Intercontinental Hotels Group, Jamba Juice, Liberty Mutual, Mikasa Sports and others (Tripp Mickle, Staff Writer).
THE SAUCE IS BOSS: MLB.com's Dick Kaegel reported Royals DH Billy Butler "has his own brand of barbecue sauce, 'Billy's Hit It A Ton Barbecue Sauce,' now in area grocery stores." All the profits "will go to Butler's favorite charity, the Bishop Sullivan Center and St. James Place which feeds the hungry of Kansas City." In his "Hit It A Ton" campaign, Butler and corporate sponsors "finance one ton of food for every home run he hits and a half-ton for every double." The barbecue sauce is "made by Zarda, a local company" (MLB.com, 4/13).