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Volume 24 No. 156

Marketing and Sponsorship

Skier Lindsey Vonn is "poised to make a sports-to-fashion crossover, which few female athletes -- with the exception of tennis stars Maria Sharapova and Serena Williams -- have been able to accomplish," according to Kirsten Fleming of the N.Y. POST. The summer of '13 has been "a whirlwind for Vonn." She "attended the Met Ball" in May, and the following month, designer Cynthia Rowley "dressed the skier for the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) awards. She currently is "in the new issue of Vogue." Rowley said Vonn's feeling toward fashion "is very natural and cool." Rowley added, "With the intensity of her sport, I think she just enjoys this. She seems to be entertained by it but not obsessed." Vonn's rep said that she "has not hired a regular stylist, hairdresser or makeup artist to amp up her image." But part of her comeback from a knee injury "involves experimenting with more sophisticated silhouettes and upscale designers." Vonn has "always been a sex symbol for lad-mag readers." In the past, she has "sported youthful form-fitting dresses with short hems." She also "posed for the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue" in '10. But now she is "going for elegance." Sports and entertainment lawyer Francis Cuttita said that Vonn's relationship with Tiger Woods "could be beneficial for her endorsement potential." He added, "Tiger is trying to resurrect his career, and I think their commitment to each other is showing stability, which is what any type of corporate endorser wants for their athlete." Vonn has deals with Under Armour, Red Bull and Rolex. Her "foray into the fashion world bodes well for Vonn’s brand, which could help her tap into another audience" (N.Y. POST, 7/25).

The Marijuana Policy Project, the nation's "largest pro-marijuana legalization advocacy group," has bought space outside Indianapolis Motor Speedway this weekend to air a "video that pushes the theme that marijuana is less harmful than alcohol," according to Bruce Horovitz of USA TODAY. IMS is hosting the NASCAR Sprint Cup Brickyard 400 on Sunday, and this is the "first time a pro-marijuana legalization ad will appear so close to an entrance gate of a major sporting event." The ad is "made to look like a beer ad," but the tone "sounds anti-alcohol." The video concludes with the tagline, "Less harmful than alcohol, and time to treat it that way." NASCAR has "no affiliation with the advertiser or the company selling the inventory, and the ad will not appear anywhere on track property." The ad was bought from Grazie Media, a company IMS President Doug Boles indicated the track is not affiliated with. He said the ad is not on track property "or on property over which we have any control" (USA TODAY, 7/26).

Reebok on Thursday announced the launch of the "Reebok Checklight skullcap, billed as a first-of-its-kind sports activity indicator designed to measure impacts to athletes’ heads," according to Donna Goodison of the BOSTON HERALD. The Checklight is "designed for athletes of all ages and skill-levels, and for use in all helmeted and non-helmeted contact sports and activities." Reebok said that the cap helps "determine impact severity by measuring direct accelerations that an athlete’s head is experiencing in real-time." The skullcap is "designed with multiple motion sensors that help assess whether an athlete should continue to play following a blow to the head via a display of red and yellow LED lights that indicate the level of impact." The Reebok Checklight is "being sold at for $149.98 and select Dick’s Sporting Goods" (BOSTON HERALD, 7/26).

U.S. women's national soccer team G Hope Solo was profiled on Thursday's edition of "Nightline," and ABC's Amy Robach noted Solo is "one of the single most recognizable and talented soccer players on the planet." She has "big-time endorsements from Gatorade to Nike" and participated on ABC's "Dancing With The Stars." Solo has gotten "all of this in part because she has an attitude," as she is a "tough-talking rebel in the world of women's sports." Solo said, "Think what you want about me, I am who I am. But at the end of the day, I'm an athlete that wants to win." Robach noted Solo led the U.S. to a Gold Medal in the '12 London Games, but "despite the team's success, turning U.S. women's soccer into a profitable sport has been an uphill battle." Solo said, "We're trying to evolve the women's game, and that means filling these beautiful stadiums that we're at, that means selling tickets." Robach noted that Solo has "learned selling tickets is more than just good sport when image is everything." Being known as the "bad girl of soccer hasn't hurt." Robach said, "Like her or not, her star power has helped bring women's soccer into the big-time, and with it cash and face recognition." USA Today's Christine Brennan said, "To be tough, to be strong, to not care what people think -- all of a sudden there are dollar signs after that. Big dollar signs, and that is what Hope Solo is all about." Brennan: "Get used to this, the strong female athlete with a recognizable personality. This is a trend that is just beginning" ("Nightline," ABC, 7/25).