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Volume 24 No. 115

Marketing and Sponsorship

Fox is seeking around $4M for a 30-second ad in Super Bowl XLVIII, a "slight tick up from the average price secured by CBS" -- between $3.7-3.8M -- in '13, according to sources cited by Brian Steinberg of VARIETY. Fox Sports Media Group Exec VP/Sales Neil Mulcahy said that the net has sold "approximately 85% of its Super Bowl inventory." Mulcahy did not say how many ad slots remain unsold, but he said Fox "should be sold out” before November. Steinberg noted that is when Fox "announced a sell out of Super Bowl inventory for its 2011 broadcast." One ad buyer "suggested Fox was getting" around $4M for a 30-second spot in the first half of the game and around $3.8M for a 30-second spot in the second half. The $4M does "not represent a record price tag," as CBS said that it "sold some ads" for $4M in its Super Bowl XLVII broadcast in February. But the figures "do suggest demand for what is arguably the premiere event on television continues as advertisers find it near-impossible to reach an audience as diverse and big as the Super Bowl’s." The slight rise in ad rates comes despite the fact that Ravens-49ers saw the "first ratings dip" for the Super Bowl since '05. It is "possible Fox may seek higher prices as it seeks to sell its remaining ad inventory" (, 8/22). Mulcahy said that the ad slots will be "90% gone by the time the NFL season begins" Sept. 5. Mulcahy: "It's selling the way the No. 1 show on TV should sell." He added that some slots "were sold as part of ad packages along with" FS1 and other sporting events. Mulcahy also said that there will be "new advertisers this go-round," though he did not disclose any of them (USA TODAY, 8/23).

NFL Mobile GM Manish Jha is restructuring the league’s “signature mobile app in an effort to turn this highly engaged mobile audience into a significant revenue stream," according to John McDermott of AD AGE. Jha said that NFL Mobile is "selling pre-roll inventory for its on-demand videos for the first time this year." The app also will be "serving fewer banner ads, instead opting to run more of the Interactive Advertising Bureau's 'Rising Stars' ad units, which are larger and more interactive." Jha said that inventory will be "sold directly as opposed to through an ad network." McDermott reported perhaps the "most important initiative has been making NFL Mobile accessible to all smartphone users." The league's flagship mobile app was "previously only available to Verizon customers." The consolidation "allows for more efficient way to serve ads and collect user data across different devices and operating systems." However, Verizon will "retain exclusive rights to live streaming of games on mobile devices" (, 8/22).

Lakers G Kobe Bryant is one of Lenovo’s "main international pitch men" and is featured in the company's "latest advertisement touting their place as the fastest growing mobile brand," according to Brett Pollakoff of The spot features Bryant "explaining how the brand always knows how to deliver incredible performance, before he takes to the piano himself to play a portion of Beethoven’s 'Moonlight Sonata.'” It is "arguably one of the worst ways to use an athlete or otherwise famous personality in a promotional spot, because after about 20 seconds it just becomes nothing more than a boring piano recital" (, 8/23). Bryant earlier this year signed a deal to endorse Lenovo smartphones in China and Southeast Asia (THE DAILY).

SIGN OF THINGS TO COME? Heat F LeBron James in Nike's new commercial celebrating 25 years of the "Just Do It" slogan participates in a slam dunk contest, and ESPN's Skip Bayless said James is "mocking more than he is marketing." James has been "teasing us for years" about participating in the dunk contest at All-Star Game. ESPN's Chris Broussard said James is not "mocking" the contest in his new Nike ad and the "commercial is what it is, they just happened to make it a dunk contest" ("First Take," ESPN2, 8/22).

The Dodgers enter play Friday with a 9.5 game lead in the NL West following a recent historic winning stretch, and Dodgers fans are “generating extra and unexpected sales business for Southland restaurants, sports bars and apparel shops,” according to Paresh Dave of the L.A. TIMES. L.A.-area sporting goods store Bling Circus Owner Coby Goodman said, “Demand just shot through the roof. We started calling vendors, 'Anything you've got. Send it. Whatever it is.'” Dave reports Bling Circus “sold about three to four Dodgers hats a day in early June, when the Dodgers looked awful and were in last place.” However, a month later, the Dodgers had “rocketed up the standings and Bling started selling 15 to 20 hats a day.” Vintage Brooklyn Dodgers merchandise has been “particularly in demand.” A handful of other apparel shops reported that anything with RF Yasiel Puig's name on it “has been swept off racks as soon as it arrives.” Official Dodgers stores in June said that Puig jerseys were “selling faster than anything else in the stores' history.” California-based retailer Fanzz Sports Assistant Manager William Galdamez said that Dodgers caps “were the chain's top-selling head wear.” He said that his store is “planning to order several dozen more jerseys and hats than usual" to meet demand. Meanwhile, Galdamez’ shop “hasn't had to order any batches of Angels merchandise since the season started” (L.A. TIMES, 8/23).

GOING TO THE LIBRARY: The MLBPA and photo partner Getty Images recently shot Puig and P Hyun-Jin Ryu as part of their existing and now-growing photo library project. Formed two years ago, the union's stock photo library now includes more than 150,000 images and is used for a variety of endorsement, editorial, licensing and personal purposes. "It was a sort of a slow start where we were encouraging agents at first to make their players available for photo shoots. Now it's flipped around, and they're very often coming to us with ideas. The core mission is to offer a one-stop solution," said MLBPA Dir of Licensing & Business Development Evan Kaplan. Both Puig and Ryu have been in demand among companies for endorsements; Puig recently aligned with Rudy Project sunglasses, and Ryu earlier this year inked with Korea-based Hanmi Bank (Eric Fisher, Staff Writer).

The amount of money Penn State received in royalties from its licensed merchandise is "down more than $700,000" from last year and almost $1M "from the peak level two years ago," according to Mike Dawson of the CENTRE DAILY TIMES. The school this week released the figures "in response to a request last week after the Collegiate Licensing Co. issued its annual rankings that showed Penn State had fallen from No. 12 to No. 19 on its list of top royalty-earning universities." PSU from July 1, 2012, to June 30, 2013, earned $3.121M, compared to $3.86M a year earlier. PSU’s "peak numbers" were for FY '10-11, when the school had almost $4.1M in royalty revenues. PSU, which has been "mired in the Jerry Sandusky scandal, Freeh report and NCAA sanctions, has said the aftermath would make it impossible not to see a corresponding decline in merchandise sales." The football team also has been "banned from bowl games, and, as a result, the university will not see royalties from licensed bowl apparel." PSU's royalty revenues "hovered just under" $4M the two years before the peak in '10-11 (CENTRE DAILY TIMES, 8/20).

AdvoCare will end its sponsorship of the college football bowl game in Shreveport, La., following this year's game, concluding a "five-year run as title sponsor," according to Roy Lang III of the SHREVEPORT TIMES. The company ends its association with the former Independence Bowl "as the second-longest title sponsor in the game's history." This year's AdvoCare V100 Bowl will take place on Dec. 31. AdvoCare President & CEO Richard Wright in January unveiled a plan "to help the game move up the postseason pecking order" that included a "significant bump in dollars from AdvoCare if the city backed a hotel/motel tax that would, in part, benefit the Independence Bowl foundation." However, the plan "never made it through the Legislature in May after being opposed by local politicians." AdvoCare has a four-year deal to title sponsor the Texas Kickoff Classic in Houston, which this year will feature Oklahoma State-Mississippi State, and has signed to sponsor the NASCAR Nationwide Series entry driven by Trevor Bayne (SHREVEPORT TIMES, 8/23). 

In Indianapolis, Anthony Schoettle noted an "elaborate interactive Toyota display" will replace a Southwest Airlines display in the northwest corner of Lucas Oil Stadium. It includes "video walls showing factory highlights and vehicle footage, a 2013 Highlander with a digital wheel stand display; a pair of multi-dimensional monitors featuring Toyota products and Colts players; and an interactive player wall which also showcases the 11 central Indiana Toyota dealers." Colts officials said that Southwest "dropped its sponsorship deal due to a decreased presence in Indianapolis." Colts officials recently announced an "extended and expanded agreement" with Toyota, making it the "official team vehicle" through '17 (, 8/21).

ATLANTIC DRIFT: The Atlantic 10 Conference has entered into a comprehensive multimedia rights agreement with IMG College. The deal covers the league's digital platforms, sponsorship rights to the league's 21 championships, corporate sponsorships, at-event promotions, licensing and publications. IMG will develop A-10 sponsorship opportunities at the corporate partner level and at conference championships, including the men's basketball tournament at Barclays Center as well as the women's conference tournament. The partnership also will secure sponsorship for the league's digital assets, including the conference's live streamed events and the league website (IMG).

NEW ON THE SCENE: Mizuno on Thursday introduced the Mizuno Beach Volleyball apparel line and signed players April Ross, Casey Patterson and Jake Gibb (Mizuno).