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Volume 24 No. 155

Marketing and Sponsorship

New racket-highlight spots from Wilson Tennis depict Roger Federer and Serena Williams "going undercover to aid seemingly hapless hackers on court," according to Jonathan Scott of Williams "dons a straw sun-hat and nerdy spectacles while Fed puts on a curvaceous faux-moustache that makes him look like Super Mario" (, 6/20). Federer in his spot says, "Howdy partner! ... You know, the Wilson Steam has Spin-Effect technology to get your balls spinning more than the wheels of my pick-em-up truck." wrote it is a "thoroughly amusing and dorky spot for Federer, but it suits him perfectly" (, 6/19). Meanwhile, the GUARDIAN's Jason Stone noted Federer in a new Nike ad is "unhappy when he gets home from work to discover an unwelcome visitor in his pristine house -- a housefly." His efforts to "squash the wee beastie come to naught until he utilises the extraordinary flexible soul of his Nike trainer" (, 6/21).

STAYING POWER: The ECONOMIC TIMES' Shakya Mitra writes it is Federer's "off-court persona as well [as] his elegant disposition and stylish play that endear him to audiences the world over." This has made him "as much of a star as he is a champion, which is rare." Much of Federer's "enormous stature as a marketing brand comes from his image as an athlete who has remained scandal-free." His marriage to Mirka Vavrinec has been "a largely untroubled one." This, along with the "aura, elegance and his serve-and-volley game, has helped Federer become a global brand that's a marketer's dream." Federer's earnings both on and off court last year were $71.5M (all figures U.S.), "second only to Tiger Woods among sportpersons." As much as 90% of the earnings -- $65M -- "have come from endorsements." His 10-year, $100M deal with Nike is "the biggest single deal in the history of tennis." Apart from other deals with the likes of Credit Suisse, his "endorsements with Rolex and Gillette have made him a prominent feature on Indian television." The Federer brand is "stronger than ever before." While he "may not be the dominant powerhouse he once was, whatever he is getting through his endorsements is a reflection of his achievements" (ECONOMIC TIMES, 6/24).

MARKING THE START: MARKETING magazine's Alex Brownsell notes a "host of brands including Gillette, Evian, Nescafe, Rolex and Lidl have rolled out print ad campaigns" to mark the start of Wimbledon. Rolex, an official Wimbledon partner, has "launched a full-page print ad with a large image of the All-England tennis courts, accompanied by the text, 'Rolex and Wimbledon. United by the pinnacle of excellence.'" Wine brand Jacob's Creek uses its ad campaign "to promote a Wimbledon ticket competition." Procter & Gamble-owned Gillette promotes its association with Federer, while Unilever's Elmlea brand "uses a tennis pun -- 'Singles or doubles?' -- alongside its products pictured in front of a tennis net." Evian's Wimbledon print activity features Maria Sharapova in an ad "placed alongside another featuring an Evian 'baby'" (, 6/24).

Chelsea and adidas have agreed to a 10-year contract extension of their kit deal worth $450M (all figures U.S.), according to the PA. Chelsea announced its "biggest deal to date" on Friday after CEO Ron Gourlay negotiated the agreement directly with adidas Chair & CEO Herbert Hainer. A source confirmed the deal was worth $45M annually, or around $447.4M in total through '23. It is significantly more than the reported $27.8M a season "received from Samsung for shirt sponsorship," which means Chelsea "are less reliant" on Owner Roman Abramovich and can adhere to UEFA's Financial Fair Play regulations (PA, 6/21). In London, Neil Ashton reported Chelsea’s negotiating power "has been strengthened by their increasing supporter base around the world after their Champions League final victory over Bayern Munich in 2012." The club has "huge support" in North Africa and the U.S., something that "proved to be a huge bargaining chip for the club" in its negotiations. Gourlay and Hainer "have been discussing the deal for months" (London DAILY MAIL, 6/21).

Procter & Gamble is "increasing its commitment to USA Gymnastics through a renewal that makes it the title sponsor of the sport’s marquee event, the U.S. Gymnastics Championships," according to Tripp Mickle of SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL. The deal, which sources "valued in the mid- to high six figures annually, runs through 2016 and makes the company USA Gymnastics’ biggest sponsor." The company will receive "more than 20 commercial spots during coverage of the event on NBC and NBC Sports Network and rights to use the USA Gymnastics logo in marketing materials ahead of the Rio Games." It also will "retain the title sponsorship of the Secret U.S. Classic." The company "has the ability to make one of its other brands the presenting sponsor of the P&G Championships." P&G has sponsored the NGB since '08, and the deal is "critical for USA Gymnastics." Visa "had been the title sponsor of the organization’s championships since 2004, but the company this year decided to cut back on its spending with national governing bodies." USA Gymnastics President & CEO Steve Penny said that the deal with P&G will "allow the organization to not only replace Visa but also hit its annual goal" of $3M in sponsorship revenue (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 6/24 issue). USA Gymnastics last week also extended its deal with Hilton HHonors.

Tech company Belkin today announced that it has signed an agreement to become title sponsor of the Blanco Pro Cycling Team through '15. The team will be renamed the Belkin Pro Cycling Team and begin competing under its new name and logo at the '13 Tour de France. The company wants to elevate brand awareness on a global scale for both Belkin and the Linksys brand, which it acquired earlier this year. The team's bibs will be black, white and Belkin green, and will feature both the Belkin and Linksys logos (Belkin). REUTERS' Keith Weir notes the Blanco team, which "formerly raced as Rabobank, has been seeking a new title sponsor since the Dutch financial group announced its plans to withdraw last October, frustrated by cycling's damaging series of doping scandals." Rabobank, which had been spending $19.7M a year on cycling sponsorship, had "already removed all of its branding and was only providing funding until the end of the current season." Big global companies have been "wary of getting involved with a sport" that has been linked with cheating. Belkin Founder & CEO Chet Pipkin said that he "believed his new team was committed to competing fairly" (REUTERS, 6/24). The AP's John Leicester reports Pipkin "wouldn't give a dollar figure but said Belkin's sponsorship of the team is 'the biggest one we have ever made in the marketing arena'" (AP, 6/24).

Heat fans "returned to stores Friday morning in search of 2013 NBA Championship merchandise," according to About two dozen customers "showed up just before 6 a.m. at the Sports Authority in Midtown Miami, hours after the Heat won the championship." Lines "looked like Black Friday at stores across South Florida" (, 6/21). In Ft. Lauderdale, Doreen Hemlock reported Heat fans "swarmed sports shops, department stores and websites to snap up NBA Championship gear" on Friday. Data from research firm SportsOneSource shows that Heat gear has been "selling at a torrid pace this year, faster than NBA merchandise as a whole." Data also shows that Heat merchandise sales from February through May rose about 50% "from the same time last year, while NBA sales slipped." SportsOneSource analyst Matt Powell said that the Heat sold about $770M in retail merchandise in FY '12, up from $535M in '11 (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 6/23). Meanwhile, 5,000 Heat NBA championship basketballs -- "officially licensed by the league and Spalding -- are being sold to fans to help get wishes granted for South Florida Make A Wish children." Each ball "has the NBA Finals logo on it" and retails for $99. The basketballs are "full sized and have several white panels that contain historical information and salute all three of the Heat’s NBA titles" (PALM BEACH POST, 6/24).

KING DOM:'s Darren Rovell reported the Heat's championship celebration Thursday night "provided quite the visibility for French winery Moët & Chandon." Not only was its Dom Perignon brand being "imbibed by the Heat party at the club, but its Moët Ice Imperial champagne was being spritzed in the locker room on television." However, that "wasn't free," as the company "paid to be the official champagne of the Heat's playoff run" (, 6/22).

FASHIONABLE FOOTWEAR: ESPN’s Rovell reported Nike this year issued more color variations of the LeBron X “than of the previous shoes,” with about 20 different colors. Rovell: “They’re obviously going to do more. They’re already doing a championship box of two pairs of shoes. I would expect with the LeBron XI's they're going to continue to do, every week of the basketball season, they'll do a different look, limited edition because people just don’t want the mass, one release a year” (“Outside The Lines,” ESPN, 6/21).

CytoSport, the maker of Muscle Milk, on Friday "yanked its endorsement deal" with Patriots TE Aaron Hernandez "as police continue to probe the homicide of a man found less than a mile" from his home, according to Marie Szaniszlo of the BOSTON HERALD. The company said in a statement, "In light of the investigation involving Aaron Hernandez, CytoSport is terminating its endorsement contract with Mr. Hernandez, effective immediately." Puma, which "also has an endorsement deal with Hernandez, did not return phone calls or emails seeking comment" on Friday. Marketing Evaluations Exec VP Henry Schafer, whose company publishes Q-Score results, said, "Any athlete who gets into this kind of situation and does not give some kind of statement runs the risk of their image and emotional connection with their fans being negatively affected, and that could affect the way they’re perceived as an endorser for products or services" (BOSTON HERALD, 6/22).

LOST ON THE WAY: ESPN’s Jemele Hill said the Hernandez investigation is "kind of an indictment" of the Patriots. Hill: "Here’s an organization that’s considered to be one of the class organizations in all of sports. They pride themselves on having guys on their team of very high character, and lately we’ve seen them take some gambles with Albert Haynesworth, with Chad Ochocinco." While those situations are "completely different" than the one surrounding Hernandez, people are "going to look back and say, ‘How come you didn’t see any of the warning signs?'" (“The Sports Reporters,” ESPN, 6/23). In Providence, Bill Reynolds wrote, "Can we have a moratorium on the so-called Patriot Way, the thinking that somehow the Pats are more concerned with character and doing things the right way than other NFL teams? ... This is not to say that the Aaron Hernandez situation by itself tarnished the brand. It is to say that the Patriots do not exist on some moral high ground. It is to say that they are an NFL franchise whose sole mission is to win football games, and sometimes they take chances that blow up on them" (PROVIDENCE JOURNAL, 6/22).