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Volume 24 No. 156

Marketing and Sponsorship

The Bobcats signed a multiyear sponsorship extension with Blue Cross & Blue Shield of North Carolina that includes "rights to put the Blue Cross and Blue Shield logo on Bobcats practice jerseys during training camp and make the company the presenting sponsor of training camp," according to Erik Spanberg of the CHARLOTTE BUSINESS JOURNAL. The deal covers the '13-14 and '14-15 seasons. Financial terms were not disclosed, but industry experts "estimate the company’s investment to be in the range of $500,000 to $750,000 annually." The Bobcats' training camp runs Oct. 1-7 at UNC-Asheville’s Kimmel Arena. Blue Cross also will "be the presenting sponsor of training camp and exhibition games in Asheville (Oct. 8) and Greensboro (Oct. 19)." The Bobcats "have not sold corporate advertising on their practice jerseys beyond training camp." Other elements of the sponsorship include "community health clinics, a VIP dinner for company executives with members of the Bobcats' front office and meet-and-greets with the team." Bobcats Exec VP and Chief Sales & Marketing Officer Pete Guelli said that the team "thinks it is the first in the NBA to have a corporate partner sponsoring training camp" (, 8/21).

Wells Fargo has signed a five-year extension of its sponsorship for Univ. of North Carolina athletics that will see the bank continue as UNC’s exclusive financial services partner. Wells Fargo VP/Sponsorships Nick Carey did not disclose financial terms of the deal, which continues a relationship that began in '03 with Wachovia. Negotiations on the deal were handled directly by Wells Fargo. Carey said that the deal will not include on-court branding at the Dean E. Smith Center, but the bank will be showcased prominently on court-side rotational boards as well as LED ribbons throughout the arena. Wells Fargo also will have new signage inside Kenan Stadium, Fetzer Field and Boshamer Stadium, Carey said. Additionally, the bank starting this year will provide a pair of post-graduate scholarships for athletes pursuing a degree and will partner with UNC to provide financial education to athletes through the Baddour Carolina Leadership Academy. The athletes’ financial education program will include learning basic functions like managing credit or balancing a check book. Carey said, "This is something we’re really excited about. We're just trying to think outside of this traditional sponsorship box here."

New Jersey-based developers Gary Reidy and Leslie Adelman Banks have "entered into a licensing agreement" with the NFL Giants, which will help promote the HackensackUMC Fitness & Wellness Center Powered by the Giants, and "provide trainers and staff to teach exercise classes," according to Richard Newman of the Bergen RECORD. Giants Senior VP & CMO Mike Stevens said that the NFL has been "encouraging teams to get involved in community fitness initiatives." Stevens "declined to discuss terms of the deal." The center is scheduled to open "around the first" of next year. Stevens said, "This is the first time in the Giants' 87-year history that we have put our name on someone else's business." Reidy "hopes to build several more" such centers in the N.Y. metropolitan area in partnership with HUMC and the Giants "over the next few years" (Bergen RECORD, 8/22).

Red Bull's marketing strategy was examined on HBO's "Real Sports" on Tuesday night, with host Bryant Gumbel noting the brand "spends nearly all of its advertising dollars sponsoring daredevil athletes eager to push the bounds of both safety and sanity." Gumbel added, "It's an unconventional strategy, but one that's also been wildly successful." HBO's Jon Frankel said after 20 years, Red Bull is "still trying to keep people interested" by sending "athletes across the globe to defy gravity in the most spectacular ways." Frankel added, "They film every second of it, making sure the Red Bull logo is right in the middle of the action, then spread the footage far and wide." Frankel noted extreme sports athlete and current NASCAR driver Travis Pastrana was "one of the first athletes" to sign up with Red Bull. Pastrana said that "every year, Red Bull goes to every athlete asking, 'How can we help you progress your sport and in doing so, how can you help us take something and make it bigger than it's ever been done? Not just by a little bit, but by a lot.'" Pastrana: "Red Bull's whole branding strategy is, 'Hey, let's do the coolest stuff. Let's have the most fun.'" Frankel noted, "Red Bull's revolution in extreme sports is just a happy by-product of the company's actual goal: Selling cans of energy drink."

Frankel added with "extreme sports now on a mainstream stage, Red Bull is stepping on the gas and pushing out more content than ever." Red Bull North America Managing Dir Werner Brell said, "Red Bull has become a global lifestyle brand." Red Bull was filming a made-for-TV BMX event on a very challenging course, and Frankel noted, "Whether it's a sporting event or one big ad, well, that's in the eye of the beholder." Brell said, "At the end of the day, if it's marketing, if it's advertising, if it's a TV series, the lines are blurred. To the consumer, he just wants to enjoy and be inspired by good content and that's our mantra" ("Real Sports," HBO, 8/20).

Male and female athletes are "increasingly competing with one another for lucrative endorsement deals," according to Gerald Flores of WOMEN'S WEAR DAILY. Female sports stars are "beginning to make headway, particularly within the fashion industry." However, brand experts said that female personalities "still face tougher challenges in getting marketing partnerships than their male counterparts." Octagon President of Athletes & Personalities Phil de Picciotto said that one reason is the two genders are "on an unequal playing field when it comes to getting national exposure." He added that athletes who "don’t participate in team sports have more of an opportunity to be recognized by the general public." de Picciotto: "These athletes also tend to have more control over their own brands than in a team sport." Some experts said that there is "one major difference between male and female spokespeople." Engage Marketing President & Chief Solutions Officer Kevin Adler said, "You’d be hard-pressed to find a popular male athlete who doesn’t also have physicality and sex appeal. But that comes second to winning for guys, whereas for female athletes, looks come first." While a sports star's attractiveness is "one component of marketability, having a platform to build their brand message is just as important." Fifteen Minutes PR Founder Howard Bragman said, "In a sense, a female athlete has to be bigger than her sport." Bragman added that there are marketing opportunities for female athletes if they "look to partner with the right brand." Bragman: "Every athlete needs to understand their personal brand really well. There are a lot of opportunities besides fashion that they can explore" (, 8/19).

DONNE DEAL: In Chicago, Danny Ecker reported WNBA Sky F Elena Delle Donne has "played 'camera-ready' since her junior year of college, when she decided to wear eyeliner on the court." She and her older brother, Gene, who is her agent, now are "angling to work with a cosmetics brand, if the right opportunity comes along" (, 8/19).

Reese's Senior Bowl Exec Dir Phil Savage declined to reveal the value of the company's title sponsorship, but he did say that the new partnership "would have a wide-ranging impact on the game and its associated activities." Savage said, "With the financial impact on the game itself, I think it gives us a lot more flexibility to do more things in terms of making the game better, in terms of upgrades that are needed, equipment, A/V and all the different things that NFL teams need when they come here." Savage said that the pursuit of a title sponsor "really got in gear when the Senior Bowl retained MELT of Atlanta as its sales and marketing agency in October" (Mark Inabinett,, 8/21).

CRAMER! In Phoenix, Mike Sunnucks cites sources as saying that the Coyotes have picked Cramer-Krasselt as the team's new ad agency. C-K, which is based in Chicago but has an office in Phoenix, "beat out several other ad agencies." Sources said that these rivals included Moses, Owens Harkey Advertising, E.B. Lane and Anderson. The account was previously held by Anderson Advertising & Public Relations, Scottsdale, whom the Coyotes hired last year (, 8/21).

SHIRTS & SKINS: Redskins WR Pierre Garcon yesterday visited three DC-area high schools to present their football teams with new Russell Athletic uniforms. The schools won the new uniforms in a social media contest hosted by the Redskins earlier in the summer (Russell). Meanwhile, in DC, Lindsay Applebaum noted Redskins QB Robert Griffin III will be the subject of an hour-long documentary in partnership with NFL Films and ESPN and presented by Gatorade Productions that chronicles his rehab from knee surgery. The special, premiering next Tuesday on ESPN, will feature "gallons and gallons and gallons of Gatorade" (, 8/19).

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