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Volume 24 No. 156

Marketing and Sponsorship

Golfer Bubba Watson on Tuesday announced that he will "join The Greenbrier professional staff and will represent the resort on the PGA Tour, joining the likes of Webb Simpson, Kenny Perry and pro emeritus Tom Watson," according to Ryan Pritt of the CHARLESTON GAZETTE. Watson, who is in the process of building a home at The Greenbrier and "even appeared in a commercial for the resort with Nick Faldo and Jerry West earlier this year," will play with the course's logo on his golf bag. Greenbrier Owner Jim Justice, who appeared alongside Watson, also announced that the course will have a "new feature to be added to the Old White TPC in honor of The Greenbrier's new partnership with Watson." The course's longest tee boxes "will now be referred to as 'Bubba tees' and any guest that can shoot a 90 or better from them will have his or her name entered into a raffle with three winners being chosen to play a round with Watson and Justice." Justice said of Watson, "We have a real, live relationship going. His values are rock solid and he's grounded and that's what I think The Greenbrier should be all about" (CHARLESTON GAZETTE, 8/28).

MAKING THE ROUNDS: In Hartford, Tom Yantz reported Watson "recently was at Westwood Golf Course in Farmington for an ESPN commercial shoot." The course was "closed for part of the day on Aug. 19 so that Watson ... could be filmed." Westwood GC pro Larry Graham said that Watson and the ESPN crew "went to the 215-yard sixth hole to shoot a promo" for "SportsCenter" that Graham said is "scheduled to start showing late next month." Graham said that "about 50 extras, 50 people on the production crew and Watson were on the course" from 7:30am-1:00pm ET (HARTFORD COURANT, 8/28).

ESPN concluded its "Nine For IX" documentary series on Tuesday night with "Branded," which examined how female athletes brand and market themselves. Co-Dir Heidi Ewing said "branding is all about controlling one's image and what we found making this film is no matter what sport the women play, branding themselves and creating a persona has become more and more important, especially in the Internet age." Co-Dir Rachel Grady said, "My assumption was always if you're at the top of your game, you can make a decent amount of money. But that's not the case so the branding and the endorsement deals they get are even more crucial. We're not talking about gravy, we're talking about survival."

CREDITS: The film featured interviews with former WNBAer Lisa Leslie, gymnast Mary Lou Retton, beach volleyball player Gabrielle Reece, tennis player Chrissie Evert, soccer players Hope Solo and Brandi Chastain and WNBA Mercury VP Ann Meyers Drysdale. From the business and media side, interviewed were ESPN's Darren Rovell, SI's Jon Wertheim, former SI For Women Editor Sandra Rosenbush, Leverage Agency Founder & CEO Ben Sturner, former player agent Leonard Armato and WME Senior VP Jill Smoller.

SEX SELLS: The film began with the "Battle of the Sexes" between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs, and what her victory meant for female athletes, as well as the rise of Evert to becoming a marketing icon. Evert said of her rise at the same time Martina Navratilova was playing, "Whether you like it or not, the feminine women athletes were the only ones that got the endorsements." Retton's marketing prowess after her dramatic Gold Medal-winning performance at the '84 Summer Games was also examined, as was former tennis player Anna Kournikova using her sex appeal to market herself. Wertheim said "other athletes before" Kournikova "had used sexuality, but not to the point where it really became the centerpiece of her whole marketing strategy." Wertheim: "We had never had a package like this." Smoller added that Kournikova "certainly got eyeballs on tennis that wouldn't have been there and that helped everybody." Sturner: "At that time, she was on the top of any sports marketers' list for an endorsement deal. Like the stock market, you get someone at the right time and Anna Kournikova could have been the next Google or the next Apple or the next any kind of company that would take off in a big way. But she lost (on the court). She lost a lot and she kept losing and that's tough." The documentary also examined the marketing of NASCAR driver Danica Patrick and U.S. hurdler Lolo Jones, with Ewing noting both "were criticized publicly for getting a lot of endorsements or for being in sexy ad campaigns." Ewing: "Most of the women had to make this decision between vixen or the girl-next-door."

ALL OR NOTHING: The success of the U.S. Women's Soccer team at the '99 World Cup and the momentum it created for female sports in the U.S. was also examined, but Rovell noted of the WUSA, "It just didn’t work." Rovell: "They got the mothers and daughters but they didn’t get the sons and fathers. In order for women's sports to survive, you need men to be into it." This school of thought gave rise to the Lingerie Football League, with Rosenbush noting, "You cannot put the common denominator low enough when you're talking about the American public. It's a white male world. We're just living in it." Armato said a female athlete's "currency" is "how attractive she is, that's really the bottom line."

ROUND BALL, SQUARE HOOP: In looking at the state of the WNBA, Armato said, "Our press doesn't give women full credit for being great athletes. For example, women's basketball. It doesn't fit squarely within the way our society wants to view women." Wertheim said the WNBA knows their "niche audience and their niche audience would not respond well to sort of sexing-up this league." Leslie said of the WNBA, "At the end of the day, it’s about business. It’s about getting sponsorship and it's about having enough money to be able to pay players, to be able to raise salaries, to be able to play the game. So people have to realize that we are a product, we're selling something. We're selling our sport and how we look is just as important as how we play." Sturner said of changing the uniforms for WNBA players to maximize their sex appeal, "Tennis players and beach volleyball players and track-and-field players, they wear a little bit less and it kind of helps generate some more buzz and interest."

ODDS & ENDS: Retton said "there are two categories" female athletes fall into with their marketing: "Wholesome, all-American, squeaky-clean or sexy vixen." Retton added, "Why is our society today like that? Why do women have to be like that and the men don't?" Solo noted male athletes "can make their entire living based off their skill. For a female athlete, we make most of our money on the side." Solo: "For us as women, the only respect you get is if you shut your mouth and play the game." Armato said, "If you look at why the media focuses on women in sports, the sex appeal has to be part of the equation." Reece: "I don't think selling sex is ever going to be outdated." Armato added, "Don't shoot me for it, but if you want to be successful as a woman who's an athlete, sex appeal has to be part of the equation." Reece noted, "People get very nervous and upset when women are sort of like, 'Oh okay, exploiting's what we're doing? Then I'll do it myself.' They get very nervous about that. That's uncomfortable for all of us when a woman's like, 'Yeah, here it is.'" Smoller: "We in the sports business don't make the rules. It’s a cultural issue; it's not just a women in sport issue. That's the way it is" ("Branded," ESPN, 8/27).

FEEDBACK: NFL Giants Senior VP/Communications Pat Hanlon on his Twitter feed wrote, “What #ESPN has done with the "Nine for IX" series is incredible. The value of the mirror it holds up for all of us incaluable.” Pistons Director of Community Relations Heather Joy Collart: “Talk about something that's going to make me think for awhile! @30for30's #branded... Where are we as a society with women in the #SportBiz?” Florida Atlantic Univ. Associate Head Basketball Coach Mike Jarvis II wrote, “ESPN hits the mark once again with the Nine for IX Branded. Some great stuff, it is amazing how far women's sports have come.#espn#Branded."

: “Branded” finished with 633,000 viewers, marking the most-viewed documentary in the Nine for IX series. That audience ranked ahead of the net’s “30 for 30” premiere of “The 16th Man” in May ’10 (463,000) and just below the debut “30 for 30” documentary -- “King’s Ransom” -- which averaged 645,000 viewers. The Nine for IX doc with the second-best audience was “Runner” on Aug. 13, which averaged 548,000 viewers for a film about distance runner Mary Decker. For the entire series, ESPN averaged 446,000 viewers (Austin Karp, Assistant Managing Editor).

Second-year NFL sponsor Tide this morning is announcing it has inked a player from each NFL team to serve as a "photojournalist." The players, including Saints QB Drew Brees and Cowboys LB DeMarcus Ware, are dubbed Tide Team Captains. They will periodically throughout the season post on Twitter pictures of fans displaying team colors. Tide also will work with some teams to post images after big wins that capture the clubs' colors. Tide then will post the images to its Facebook page. Platinum Rye Entertainment cut the player deals (Daniel Kaplan, Staff Writer).

49ers RB Marcus Lattimore Jaguars K Josh Scobee
Bears CB Charles Tillman Jets RB Chris Ivory
Bengals WR A.J. Green Lions RB Reggie Bush
Bills RB Fred Jackson Packers DT B.J. Raji
Broncos WR Eric Decker Panthers TE Greg Olsen
Browns LB Barkevious Mingo Patriots S Devin McCourty
Buccaneers RB Doug Martin Raiders CB D.J. Jayden
Cardinals CB Patrick Peterson Rams DE Chris Long
Chargers WR Danny Woodhead Ravens RB Ray Rice
Chiefs OT Eric Fisher Redskins RB Alfred Morris
Colts CB Vontae Davis Saints QB Drew Brees
Cowboys LB DeMarcus Ware Seahawks S Earl Thomas
Dolphins DE Dion Jordan Steelers LB LaMarr Woodley
Eagles TE Brent Celek Texans RB Ben Tate
Falcons LB Sean Witherspoon Titans CB Jason McCourty
Giants LB Mark Kerzlich Vikings TE Kyle Rudolph

LOADED BANDWAGON: Ravens VP/Corporate Sales & Business Development Kevin Rochlitz said that after the team's Super Bowl XLVII win, the sales department "increased its advertising inventory" by 10-12%. In Baltimore, Ryan Sharrow noted M&T Bank Stadium upgrades, including "two new video boards at Gates A and D, have presented the team with additional selling opportunities." Rochlitz said that the team "reached its sponsorship goal," but the franchise "continues to sell." The new sponsors include Ashley Furniture, Royal Farms, Burger King, McDonald's, Carroll Fuel Home Services, Cover Girl, Pandora Jewelry, T. Rowe Price, Thompson Creek Window, McCormick's Grill Mates, Southwest Airlines, and Dietz & Watson (, 8/28).

ENJOY YOUR STAY: MEDIA POST's Tanya Irwin noted Courtyard by Marriott is "kicking off its third year as the official hotel" of the NFL, and "the effort includes two football-centric TV spots with the NFL Network's Rich Eisen." On Sept. 5, guests in all 850-plus locations "will be greeted with a Pepsi Kickoff pack" that includes Pepsi NEXT, Tostitos and and instant scratch-off cards for thousands of prizes. Guests staying at one of seven Courtyards "will be treated to a VIP invite-only event featuring NFL legends, raffles and tailgate food." Guests checking into the hotel on weekday game nights this season "will receive an instant win scratch-off card that includes thousands of prizes such as Wilson Pee Wee Footballs, Madden NFL 25 video games, Pepsi Tailgate Chairs and gift cards" (, 8/28).'s Darren Rovell noted Andy Murray's first post-Wimbledon sponsorship deal came with Fuse Science, a "consumer products brand whose main products include a muscle rub and energy hydration shot." Rovell: "How did a company with such a short record at retail, with a total revenue in the past nine months of only $420,000, score Murray at this point in his career?" Murray said, "It's obviously important to pick the right companies to work with. But getting equity in a company like Fuse allows me to have a greater vested interest in its future, and to help them get to the next level." Murray, who "did not say how much his stake was worth, said when he was first introduced to the products in March, he was intrigued by the company's products in the energy and hydration arena." Murray "will appear on Fuse product packaging" (, 8/28).

RUNWAY MODELS: The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Stu Woo notes Open Racket surveyed fans at the U.S. Open to get "reaction to some of the notable outfits worn." Women loved Caroline Wozniacki's "daring if unusual Adidas by Stella McCartney blue-and-black cutout dress." Most "amateur critics found Venus Williams's bright pink hair and floral dress from her own brand, EleVen, to be too loud" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 8/29).'s Jon Wertheim noted Victoria Duval wore a dress from EleVen (, 8/28).

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