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Volume 24 No. 155

Marketing and Sponsorship

MLS Sounders GM & minority Owner Adrian Hanauer said he hopes the team's one-year renewal of its Xbox jersey sponsorship "leads to something even longer term," according to Joshua Mayers of the SEATTLE TIMES. The deal was set to expire at the end of this season, but was renewed through '14. The Sounders last August announced that they were "exploring other options for a jersey sponsor, leading some to wonder if the relationship had soured or that the sides were far apart in a new agreement." Hanauer: "We wanted to explore the marketplace, but at the same time we always wanted to be with Xbox and Microsoft. I mean they’re the perfect partner. We stayed in contact and ultimately it made sense for both parties, at least on a short-term basis." The new "Xbox One" console will have labeling on the Sounders' interview backdrops, but Hanauer said that he "wasn't sure what the exact marketing plan was for the jersey" (SEATTLETIMES.com, 9/11). GEEKWIRE.com's Taylor Soper wrote, "You’d imagine Microsoft would want to slap 'Xbox One' on the front of the jerseys for the 2014 season with the next-gen console set to hit shelves this November" (GEEKWIRE.com, 9/11).

K.C.-area McDonald's restaurants have "signed a four-year sponsorship with the Chiefs and will be playing up the team’s logo in their print, TV, radio and outdoor advertising," according to Joyce Smith of the K.C. STAR. The team and the QSRs are "teaming up this season with several first-in-the-country food promotions," including a "super-size meal meant to be shared and a new McDonald’s food truck handing out free products at home games." The promotions "run through the end of the year." McDonald’s Dir of Marketing Randy Bates said that the company will "evaluate the promotions and adjust them as needed for the next season" (K.C. STAR, 9/12). The partnership includes a buy-one-get-one Big Mac offer if the Chiefs record at least one sack in any regular-season game, a first-of-its kind McDonald's Fry Truck selling french fries in the Arrowhead Stadium parking lot, a Chiefs-branded "Blitz Box" meal, and eight NFL Play 60 events in K.C. (Chiefs).

Thunder G Russell Westbrook's "presence as a front-row regular" at N.Y. Fashion Week "may have caught some of the other Fashion Week attendees by surprise, but the player believes he belongs among their ranks," according to Bee Shapiro of the N.Y. TIMES. Westbrook said when he arrived in the NBA in '08, "nobody was doing anything that would attract the fashion crowd" clothing-wise. Westbrook first "appeared on the fashion radar" during the '12 NBA Playoffs when he "chose a dizzying succession of unconventional prints." His new look "paid off" as January's issue of GQ showcased Westbrook in "a multipage spread wearing printed shirts." He also was the "first athlete to appear" on the cover of L.A.-based Flaunt fashion magazine. Levi’s in February "featured him in an ad campaign," and in March, he was featured in an interview with the Italian men's version of Vogue magazine. GQ Creative Dir Jim Moore said Westbrook is "part of a newer generation, players that take fashion as a real badge of cool," and he can "really run circles around you as far as knowing the latest Givenchy show." Flaunt Editorial Dir Matthew Bedard added that Westbrook "stands out for his daring color and original print selections." Designer Richard Chai said that Westbrook's style is "refreshing from a designer’s standpoint because he’s not afraid of tackling stereotypes." Vogue Entertainment Editor Jill Demling called Westbrook the "Kate Moss of the NBA." But Shapiro writes while some athletes "might be satisfied with a fashion show appearance or two," Westbrook has "greater ambitions." He would "like to have a line" one day (N.Y. TIMES, 9/12).

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