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Volume 24 No. 117

Marketing and Sponsorship

MillerCoors CMO Andy England would like the company "to sponsor every major sports property in Chicago," according to Danny Ecker of CRAIN'S CHICAGO BUSINESS. The company currently has deals with the White Sox and MLS Fire, and "recently renewed contracts" with the Bears and Chicagoland Speedway. But he will "make a play to snag a deal" with the Bulls, Blackhawks and the United Center "when their agreement with Anheuser-Busch InBev N.V. expires" at the end of '16. He also will seek to make a deal "more imminently" with the Cubs, whose contract with A-B "runs through the end of this year." Combined with the company's sponsorship of this summer's CONCACAF Gold Cup finals at Soldier Field in late July, the recently renewed deals are "part of its goal of maintaining a strong grip on local sports." England "likes the position he's in to target the Chicago Latino market through the Bears, White Sox and especially the Fire, which estimates that 40 percent of its fan base is Hispanic." He said, "If you're going to win, you're going to win with Latinos. It really is that simple" (, 4/17).

Emirates airline yesterday announced a five-year deal to sponsor the French Open, starting with the '13 tournament at Roland Garros. The deal, which designates Emirates as an Official Partner, includes branding at Centre Court Philippe-Chatrier, as well as panel signage on other courts. The airline will have a private lounge for corporate guests at Roland Garros Village and boxes along the courts, as well as a dedicated area at the entrance to the RG Lab fan area. Emirates earlier this week was announced as the new shirt sponsor for La Liga club Real Madrid. The airline also inked a five-year deal with F1 in February and was named the official airline of the ATP World Tour in December (THE DAILY). ARABIAN BUSINESS' Andy Sambidge notes Emirates’ sponsorship of Roland Garros is the airline’s "third tennis sponsorship in Europe after the Internazionali BNL d'Italia (Italian Open) announced last year and the Barcelona Open revealed in March 2013." Other major tennis competitions sponsored by Emirates "around the world include; the US Open, the Rogers Cup, BNP Paribas Open and the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championship." Emirates also is the "Official Airline of the ATP World Tour and sponsor of Emirates ATP rankings" (, 4/18).

Nike is "close to signing U.S. figure skater and Olympic hopeful Gracie Gold," marking the second figure skater to join the company's roster this year, according to Tripp Mickle of SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL. Nike earlier this year signed fellow Olympic hopeful Ashley Wagner, and she and Gold are slated to be featured in "public relations and marketing efforts aimed at driving the company's line of women's workout apparel." History has shown apparel and footwear brands traditionally have "refrained from signing figure skaters because the athletes wear costumes in competition rather than branded apparel." However, as the women’s apparel category "has expanded in recent years and become more competitive with retailers like Gap, and the yoga brand Lululemon appealing to new consumers, traditional sportswear companies have looked to broaden their appeal beyond the sports of running, tennis and soccer." The U.S. Figure Skating Association "helped connect Nike with Wagner and Gold." USFSA CMO Ramsey Baker said, "To have them use our athletes and feature them in marketing raises the profile of our athletes and that raises the profile of the sport" (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 4/15 issue).