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Volume 24 No. 112

Marketing and Sponsorship

A 90-second ad featuring a "roster of high-profile athletes" promoting the August 17 launch of Fox Sports 1 will "premiere in the fifth inning" of Fox' broadcast of the MLB All-Star Game next Tuesday, according to Anthony Crupi of ADWEEK. The ad was shot "over a period of 10 days in six locations" and includes Tigers 3B Miguel Cabrera, 49ers LB Patrick Willis, U.S. national women's soccer team F Alex Morgan and NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon. The ad, which was filmed by rap/pop music video director Joseph Khan, "ping-pongs between a number of iconic sports venues." Morgan "celebrates with her teammates in the rain at Gillette Stadium," while Willis tackles Ravens QB Joe Flacco in a "snow-blown L.A. Coliseum." The ad is "at once a bruising chiaroscuro of tough breaks and big hits and a celebration of the joy of winning the big one." Fox Sports Senior VP and Head of Marketing Robert Gottlieb said that the ad's "front end is 'slow, ethereal, dreamlike,' while the back half 'is kind of raucous; it’s a real kick in the stomach.'" Crupi noted the music is an "unexpected, but inspired, choice." It forgoes the "hip-hop swagger or the anthemic roar of a power chord," and instead "plays out to a retooled version of the old standard, 'Happy Days Are Here Again.'" Not only "does the song speak to the narrative action within the promo itself, but as Gottlieb acknowledged, it also functions as a playful elbow to the ribs of FS1’s competitors." Shorter versions of the ad "will appear on Fox and across other TV outlets" after its debut, but it will not "pop up on a certain rival network’s air." Gottlieb: "I don’t think you’ll see it on ESPN. They’re pretty good at walling off their air to competitors" (, 7/8).
ANCHORS AWAY: Fox Sports created a video and posted it on YouTube welcoming former TSN anchors Dan O'Toole and Jay Onrait, who are joining FS1 ahead of the net's launch. The video shows the two hosts arriving to the Fox HQs in L.A. and leading a group of employees in the singing of "O Canada" (THE DAILY).

Under Armour yesterday unveiled its new football spot, titled "Ready For August," coinciding with the start of a new phase in its "I Will" global marketing campaign. The ad represents UA's first preseason football campaign since '10 and gives a nod to UA's origin as a football-specific brand. ESPN NFL analyst Ray Lewis, an Under Armour endorser, does not appear in the 60-second spot, but served as Exec Producer. He helped script the creative, spent time on set and participated in editing sessions (THE DAILY). In Baltimore, Chris Korman notes UA considers the ad “its most ambitious football advertising campaign since 2006.” Lewis helped “expand on an idea originally floated” by Founder, Chair & CEO Kevin Plank to bring the company "back to its gritty football roots with a look at the lives of inner-city players.” UA Senior VP/Brand Steve Battista said, "Ray really added the raw, emotional feel that you see." Korman notes the ad is slated to debut during ESPN's broadcast of the MLB Home Run Derby next Monday. A 30-second version of the spot “and a longer video that tells more of the characters' story will be released next week.” UA hired L.A.-based filmmaker Eliot Rausch to direct the ad. Rausch, known for "evoking strong emotional responses with raw, sentimental works," previously directed the company's ad “for its line of women's exercise apparel.” UA "declined to disclose how much the spot cost to produce" (Baltimore SUN, 7/9).

Wimbledon champion Andy Murray is represented by Simon Fuller's XIX Entertainment, which “has also been responsible for a number” of David Beckham's key sponsorship deals, but experts believe that Murray is "unlikely to be as active as Beckham in terms of branding and sponsorship,” according to John Reynolds of the GUARDIAN. Experts "do not expect him to capitalise on his maximum sponsorship potential and instead to be cautious about choosing his commercial partners.” brandRapport Managing Dir Andy Kenny said, “My instinct is that he will have a few sponsorships, but will do more with them." Kenny believes Murray “could use his Wimbledon victory as a springboard to build long-term tennis legacy programmes in communities as opposed to ... trotting around the world fronting major advertising campaigns.” Murray has current sponsorship deals with adidas, racket supplier Head, RBS and Swiss watch brand Rado. Reynolds notes one opportunity for “potential sponsors is the available space on Murray's tennis shirt which has been vacant for 18 months” (GUARDIAN, 7/9).

MURRAY IN DEMAND: The GUARDIAN’s Esther Addley notes from the “moment he stepped off the court" at Wimbledon with the winner's trophy, every moment of Murray's time "has been accounted for, a bewildering round of tournament and sponsor commitments, press interviews and meetings.” After a "round of interviews with national and international media” yesterday morning, Murray attended an event for adidas where he "hit a few gentle balls at 100 members of the public” (GUARDIAN, 7/9).

Fans for this month's MLS All-Star Game have “a new way of voting for the 11th man in the lineup,” as EA Sports is “teaming up with the league” for the AT&T MLS All-Star "In the Game" Challenge, according to Xander Zellner of USA TODAY. Whenever someone scores during play of EA Sports’ “FIFA 13” videogame, the MLS player “who scored the goal receives one point toward being selected as the 11th man.” Voting began last Wednesday and continues through tomorrow morning. EA Senior Global Product Marketing Manager David Pekush said, "This year only players who are forwards can get votes, but in the future we can add defenders or goalkeepers.” MLS Senior VP/Global Sponsorship David Wright said that the “first 10 players have been selected by fans through other outlets, but the final spot creates a more innovative method for fans to vote.” Pekush said that there “had been tens of thousands of goals thus far, and those numbers are expected to increase until the promotion ends.” He said, "If this is as successful as we believe it'll be, I'm sure other sports leagues will take a look at the idea" (USA TODAY, 7/9).

MISSING IN ACTION: An EA spokesperson yesterday said that former Patriots TE Aaron Hernandez “has been removed” from both “NCAA Football 14” and “Madden NFL 25.” Hernandez' image briefly appeared online yesterday prior to today's release of "NCAA Football," but he “only showed up temporarily because of the timing involved” in publishing the game. The spokesperson said, "We made a decision to remove Aaron Hernandez from ‘Madden NFL 25’ and ‘NCAA Football 14.’ Because ‘NCAA Football 14’ was finalized prior to our decision, Hernandez' image still appears in the Nike Skills Trainer. ... The image of Hernandez will be removed via a Title Update in the near future."’s Will Brinson noted EA execs are “going to have Hernandez out of the NFL version of the game by the time it's released.” He “wouldn't be on a roster anyway,” but the “smart move for EA is to simply remove him completely” (, 7/8). EA Sports Communications Specialist Brad Hilderbrand said, “To the best of our knowledge, this is the first time we’ve ever had to remove a player from the game. When the news came out, he was removed.” Hilderbrand added that the title update “including the removal of Hernandez’ image requires the approval of gaming console makers Microsoft and Sony, because the game’s artwork was finalized before his arrest last month” (BOSTON HERALD, 7/9). CBS Sports Network’s Doug Gottlieb said, “I don’t think EA Sports was left with a choice. I do think it shows they're ability to react on the fly and pivot right before this game is set to be released” (“Lead Off,” CBS Sports Network, 7/8).

IT'S REALLY IN THE GAME: In N.Y., Chris Suellentrop in an Arts section cover story discusses the ongoing Ed O'Bannon lawsuit and notes it began as a dispute among former college athletes, the NCAA and EA "over whether players deserve to be paid for the use of their likenesses in games like NCAA Football 14 from EA Sports." Suellentrop: "Sports games will always be with us, no matter what happens with the lawsuit against the NCAA. Next month, the 25th anniversary edition of Madden NFL will be released, and no lawsuit is going to force that juggernaut to retire. ... But if the lawsuit succeeds, one day a father in Alabama may want to show his children what the sport looked like before everything changed. In that moment, an Xbox 360, a controller and a copy of NCAA Football 14 -- part historical documentary, part deranged-fan wish fulfillment -- may be the best exhibit in evidence" (N.Y. TIMES, 7/9).

The NHRA signed Toyota to a multiyear title sponsorship of its fall event at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The event, which will be called the Toyota Nationals, will be held Oct. 24-27. Toyota receives on-site visibility and commercial inventory in ESPN2's coverage of the event. It will take place a week prior to SEMA, one of the largest automotive trade events. Toyota National Manager of Motorsports & Engagement Marketing Keith Dahl in a statement said, “With the combination of the key round in the Countdown, the lead-in to SEMA the following week and the overall excitement of Las Vegas, the NHRA Toyota Nationals is a guaranteed winner.” Toyota has been involved with the NHRA since '02. It currently sponsors three Top Fuel teams and four Funny Car teams.

In Nebraska, Kevin Cole noted the USGA opened its merchandise tent at Omaha Country Club Sunday in advance of the U.S. Senior Open, and Bruno Event Team Senior Dir of Merchandise Nick Piccirilli said that this "marks the first time the USGA has ever offered merchandise for sale to the public before a championship event began." Piccirilli: "This is probably the largest Senior Open (merchandise) tent that we've ever had. There's been such a large interest for everything here in Omaha that we decided to experiment and have a pre-championship grand opening for the public." Piccirilli said that the USGA is not selling clubs because it "doesn't want to play favorites ... but just about everything else a golf fan can imagine is under the big top, all stamped with the event logo" (OMAHA WORLD-HERALD, 7/8).

LET'S GO: USA TODAY's Gary Mihoces notes the USGA "got permission" from Warner Bros. and the family of late comedian Rodney Dangerfield to launch its recent "While We're Young" pace of play campaign. Dangerfield's widow, Joan, said, "They were so respectful. I thought the idea was pretty bold for such a conservative organization, but super fun." Dangerfield said that she contacted "Caddyshack" Exec Producer Jon Peters to "confirm Rodney had come up with the 'While we're young' line" (USA TODAY, 7/9).

HOLDING ALL THE CARDS: China's Shanshan Feng, the world's No. 6 ranked female golfer, has signed an endorsement deal with the Commerce Hotel & Casino. The deal was negotiated on Commerce's behalf by Raleigh-based marketing agency PSE-3. Feng last year became the first golfer from mainland China to win a women's or men's major at the Wegmans LPGA Championship. The Commerce, located outside L.A., touts itself as the world's largest poker casino. In addition to displaying the Commerce brand on her clothing, Feng will make several personal appearances for Commerce during the '13 season (Michael Smith, Staff Writer).

PREPPING FOR HIS DEBUT: Nashville-based 1 Degree Management signed former Univ. of Florida golfer TJ Vogel, who will make his PGA Tour debut at this week's John Deere Classic. Vogel has a multiyear endorsement deal with Acushnet brands Titleist and Footjoy for clubs, ball, glove, shoes and bag, and is outfitted by Ralph Lauren. Vogel also has a deal with financial firm The Annexus Group and private aviation provider Tempus Jets. Vogel is repped by Matt Cullen (1 Degree).