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Volume 24 No. 155

Marketing and Sponsorship

Molson Coors has "renewed and strengthened its agreement with the Canadian Olympic Committee for the next four years, which will take the deal through Sochi 2014 and Rio 2016," according to QMI AGENCY. The deal includes an initial C$10,000 "donation to the Canadian Olympic Foundation, a significant contribution toward helping athletes with their final push to get to Sochi, Russia for the Olympic Winter Games next February, and will continue to benefit athletes financially throughout the life of the agreement." Molson Coors has been "elevated to the level of Official Supporter of the Canadian Olympic Team." COC CEO Chris Overholt said, "The level of continuing support on the part of our marketing partners for our Olympic team has just blown us away. It’s really record-setting in every regard." Molson Coors Senior Dir of Public Affairs Gavin Thompson said that it is "especially important for sponsors to get behind the Olympic team right now." He added, "The fact that it’s going to be overseas in 2014 and 2016 means it’s going to be quite a drain on financial situations. We want to make sure we get behind the ones that have the greatest needs" (QMI AGENCY, 7/2).

Bridgestone Americas has named Publicis, Dallas, as its "lead creative and strategic agency," ending a seven-year relationship with The Richards Group, Dallas, according to Rupal Parekh of AD AGE. The Richards Group "was responsible for numerous Super Bowl ads for the tiremaker." Bridgestone Americas CMO Philip Dobbs indicated that the relationship with The Richards Group "isn't totally over," as Haymaker, the agency's sports marketing arm, will "continue to help on certain aspects of the account." Dobbs in a statement said, "Sports marketing is an important part of our brand building strategy, and we are pleased that Haymaker will continue to support us in this area." Parekh noted Bridgestone is the official tire of the NFL and is "likely to continue being a Super Bowl advertiser" (, 7/2).

The N.Y. TIMES editorial board weighs in on the Obama administration’s efforts to urge sports leagues to help promote Obamacare under the header, "A Chance For Pro Sports To Help On Health Care." It criticizes GOP leaders for trying to "hinder reform by preventing people from even learning about it, citing the divisiveness they caused." The NFL, given its "struggle with on-field injuries," would "do well to help 25 million people receive the health insurance to which they are now legally entitled." However, so far "it seems the intimidation" from U.S. Sens. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and John Cornyn (R-Texas) "is working." The NFL last week said that it has "no plans to help out, and the other leagues have yet to sign on." The editorial: "Apparently, when confronted with bullying and misinformation, a bunch of professional tough guys are nothing but pushovers" (N.Y. TIMES, 7/3). YAHOO SPORTS' Jay Busbee wrote the Obama administration "has learned a lesson already obvious to other sports leagues, corporations and fans: One does not simply tell the NFL what to do." Promotion of Obamacare on its face "seemed a curious stance for the NFL to take." For a league "interested in appealing to the widest possible fan base, aligning with one political point of view -- any point of view -- would effectively tick off up to half your audience." The NFL and other leagues historically have "preferred to remain politically agnostic, supporting social causes." As "popular as the NFL is, the league could advocate anything this side of puppy-kicking and still retain a significant segment of its viewership." But fans "aren't the only consideration here." The NFL could have "plenty of issues in front of Congress in coming sessions, from health and concussion concerns to ongoing antitrust matters." From the league's perspective, there is "no advantage in riling up members of either party that could make life more difficult with the stroke of a pen" (, 7/2).'s Ed McGrogan noted Prince has a "new tennis shop" in Wimbledon Village. Prince Global Sports CEO Mike Ballardie said, "We started thinking about it at the back end of last year. Right time, right place. If it’s successful for us, I think it’s something we could look at extending to the other Grand Slams." When Wimbledon ends on Sunday, it will be "business as usual" at the store, "with racquets, shoes, apparel, and other tennis gear available" (, 7/1).

OPEN INSURANCE: The USTA announced Esurance has extended its sponsorship of the U.S. Open. The company has sponsored the U.S. Open since '10 and will continue as the official car insurance sponsor of the event through '15. The deal features increased digital activation, as Esurance will be one of three sponsors of the "U.S. Open Social Wall" at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, as well as presenting sponsor of the U.S. Open iPad app. It also will sponsor six Emirates airline U.S. Open Series events (USTA/Esurance).

:'s Jon Levey reported retired player Andy Roddick has joined Calif.-based apparel company TravisMathew "as investor and brand ambassador." The label "made its reputation in the golf world," and has been "expanding into lifestyle wear and accessories and sees aligning with Roddick as a further step in that direction." Roddick joins player James Blake in repping the brand (, 7/2).

The NHRA on Tuesday announced that Chevrolet will become the title sponsor of the U.S. Nationals race at Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis. The Labor Day weekend event is one of the NHRA’s signature races and serves as the final event in the 18-race NHRA regular season. The NHRA receives 11 hours of coverage on ESPN2 for the event, and Chevrolet will get commercial inventory during the broadcast as well as on-site signage and display space at the venue. Mac Tools sponsored the race last year (Tripp Mickle, Staff Writer).

HELPING HAND:'s Marshall Pruett noted IndyCar driver AJ Allmendinger's continued participation in the series "will require outside assistance." Penske Racing President Tim Cindric said, "It's a difficult thing to continue without a sponsor to make happen. Would we like to keep going (with AJ)? Absolutely. Is it realistic without a sponsor? Probably not" (, 7/2).

NOTES: Philadelphia-based Barbera's Autoland has agreed to become the title sponsor of the ARCA Racing Series race in Millville, N.J. It is the first partnership between New Jersey Motorsports Park and Barbera's Autoland (NJMP)....Faucet brand Moen will sponsor Cole Whitt's No. 44 Toyota Camry during Friday night's NASCAR Nationwide Series Subway Firecracker 250 at Daytona Int'l Speedway (TriStar Motorsports).