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Volume 24 No. 116

Marketing and Sponsorship

Suspended Brewers LF Ryan Braun yesterday was "pulled" as an endorser for convenience store chain Kwik Trip, a privately owned brand with more than 400 stores in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa, according to Darren Rovell of The company "has stopped all television commercials" and will no longer use Braun as a spokesperson. Braun had been linked to the company for four years, and the chain "was running a Ryan Braun Luncheon promotion" (, 7/23). Ad agency BVK Exec VP & Creative Dir Gary Mueller said that Braun's image rehab "will take time but is not a lost cause." Mueller said, "As a spokesman, he's definitely done for a while. I don't think anybody's going to touch him with a 10-foot pole." Mueller said that Braun "most likely will take a page out of the Tiger Woods post-scandal playbook and lay low for a while, remaining out of the public spotlight." Mueller added that Braun "should resurface at some point with a new public-service message" (, 7/23).

: Milwaukee-based WISN-ABC yesterday noted that it will "no longer air its 'One on One with Ryan Braun' segment." In Milwaukee, Duane Dudek reported through a contractual agreement with Lammi Sports Management, WISN is "given access" to a Packers and Brewers player. WISN President & GM Jan Wade in an e-mail wrote, "Due to these unfortunate circumstances, our Brewers player will change. Although at this time I am not certain as to who that player will be" (, 7/23).

Timex is out as sponsor of the NFL Giants’ training facility after a four-year run. The deal was announced in ‘09 as a four-year deal, which included branding on the Giants’ practice jersey and practice bubble. Industry sources have been buzzing about Timex wanting out of that deal for some time. A new sponsor from the health-care category will be unveiled tomorrow, and that deal is also likely to include sponsorship of the Giants’ training camp, which opens this week. Other Giants health-care sponsors include N.Y. Presbyterian and Hospital for Special Surgery. However, one intriguing possibility badly in need of branding is Rutgers, newly merged with seven of the Univ. of Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey’s schools in what was billed as the largest academic merger in U.S. history. Many health-care provides sponsor NFL training camps and practice facilities, including NovaCare (Eagles' training facility) and Bon Secours Health System (Redskins' practice center). NorthShore Univ. Health Care also sponsors the Bears and has branding on their practice jerseys. The Giants did not immediately respond for comment.

Indianapolis-based MainGate has won the contract "to sell merchandise at 40 NFL-sanctioned hotels during the 10-day festivities leading up to and including" Super Bowl XLVIII next February, according to Anthony Schoettle of the INDIANAPOLIS BUSINESS JOURNAL. MainGate also will sell merchandise during Media Day. The company "beat out 14 other bidders" and is the "only firm selected by the NFL to sell merchandise in each of the last three Super Bowls." Delaware North won the bidding "to sell merchandise at MetLife Stadium." Sources said that MainGate's performance at Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans earlier this year, where it "helped the NFL beat sales forecasts despite a power outage at the stadium, helped the ... firm secure the deal for the 2014 Super Bowl." Schoettle noted when the power at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome went out, MainGate employees "sprung into action with battery-powered hand-held scanners and credit card processing machines." MainGate CEO Dave Moroknek did not indicate how much the company will make from the Super Bowl contract, but he said, "It should be the single biggest event we've ever done." The company will be paid "on a percentage of sales the company makes." Sources said that the percentage of sales "likely will reach into the seven figures" (, 7/23).

Nike earlier this week hosted "The Ride" -- an "invitation-only event for the nation's top-ranked boys and girls high school lacrosse players" as the company "is thinking about the growing popularity of the sport in the United States, its wealthier demographic and yet another opportunity to find its way into the nation's high school hallways," according to Allan Brettman of the Portland OREGONIAN. The two-day event was "patterned after similar events Nike holds for football, basketball and soccer players." Nike "pays for participants' transportation and living expenses." The company in return can "reasonably expect to have a brand convert or even a youngster -- 'an influencer'-- wearing Nike brand clothing and shoes in the schools." Nike "boosted its presence in lacrosse about five years ago." MLL N.Y. Lizards MF Max Seibald, who is sponsored by Nike, said, "It's important for a brand to be authentic to a player. In our little community you can sniff out who's trying to be a poser. It's important to take the time to understand the athlete's needs." SportsOneSource analyst Matt Powell said that when it "comes to lacrosse shoes, Nike is gaining on the Warrior brand, the category leader owned by New Balance." Powell added that lacrosse "annual footwear sales in the U.S. total about" $10M. Inside Lacrosse Managing Editor Terry Foy said, "The growth rates are pretty exceptional. It's a very socio-economic appealing demographic -- your brand is in front of a lot of professional people" (Portland OREGONIAN, 7/24).