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Volume 24 No. 114

Marketing and Sponsorship

Hartford Marathon officials yesterday said that ING is dropping its title sponsorship "after this year's race" on Oct. 12, ending a six-year association with the event, according to Kirsten Banta of HARTFORD BUSINESS JOURNAL. Race Dir Beth Shluger said that the Hartford Marathon Foundation is "already searching for a new 2014 title sponsor, which it hopes to have in place by the end of the year." ING first partnered with the race in '08, replacing Hartford-based United Technologies Corp. as the title sponsor. ING U.S. will rebrand as Voya Financial next year, and Head of Strategic Communications Phil Margolis said that the company is shifting its "marketing and sponsorship strategy, moving away from putting its name and logo on running events." The Hartford race joins marathons in N.Y. and Miami that have lost ING as title sponsor (, 9/30). Shluger said, "I've been talking to some other companies. I'm optimistic about the future. I have four companies that are very interested." Shluger did not disclose how much ING's sponsorship is worth, but she said it was "definitely six figures" (HARTFORD COURANT, 10/1).

Heat G Dwyane Wade last week spent eight hours inside a hotel meeting room for his "Brand Wade Summit," a "glorified strategy session" in which he was "surrounded by about 35 people representing most of the companies that he's currently aligned with," according to Tim Reynolds of the AP. The summit was "about as comprehensive as it can be, with both the companies he works with and the people who work for him coming together to talk about what's looming for Brand Wade." His Wade's World Foundation "provided an update on its goings-on," as did digital marketing agency Factory Interactive, his style director Calyann Barnett, his reps from CAA and PR firm Rubenstein Communications. Wade will make about $18.7M this coming season with the Heat, and is "estimated to make nearly as much each year off the floor." The list of companies he is "aligned with now is as diversified as his personal portfolio: He's selling $15 ties with one firm and socks with another, but also promotes high-end watches and luxury cars with South Florida dealer The Collection." Most consumers "would recognize some of the companies he has deals with, such as Gatorade, Pepperidge Farm and Dove," but others, like Mission and Hublot, "aren't perhaps as well known outside of their market reach yet." Those like Li-Ning, Tie Bar and Stance are "largely either waiting to break into the U.S. market or are up-and-comers." Wade has a line of socks "coming out later this year depicting last season's Heat championship run, and the company he's paired with there -- Stance -- says it's on track to triple its sales this year" (AP, 9/29).

LEBRON UNVEILS WATCH: WOMEN'S WEAR DAILY's Rebecca Kleinman reported Heat F LeBron James' limited-edition watch for Audemars Piguet, for which he has served as a brand ambassador since '11, launched last Friday "with an event in Miami for 350 guests." The watch "features an 18-karat pink gold case and oversize Arabic numerals offset by a gray patterned dial and interchangeable crocodile and rubber straps." There "really isn’t a target customer for the 600 watches." Audemars Piguet CEO Francois-Henry Bennahmias said that they "will sell for an average of $51,500 each" (, 9/26). James appeared on CNBC's "Squawk on the Street" yesterday to promote the new watch. He said, "I've always liked watches growing up and when the opportunity presented itself it was easy for me to say yes." James said when he endorses a product, "I like to have a lot of personal" input. James said the "relationship started about ten years ago" with Audemars Piguet with a "mentor of mine, Jay Z," who also had his own watches with the brand. CNBC's Kelly Evans said, "There are a lot of people who are going to say, 'Are you getting out of touch with the fans?' I mean, how many people can afford a $51,000 watch?" James: "It starts for me on the court … and everything else will take care of itself." He noted some of the funds from the sale of these watches will go to the LeBron James Family Foundation ("Squawk on the Street," CNBC, 9/30).

The second part of THE DAILY's weeklong look at sponsored segments during NFL pregame, postgame, halftime and preview shows turns to CBS' “The NFL Today.” Southwest Airlines is in the 15th year of sponsoring the show. Meanwhile, the league’s official wireless partner, Verizon, sponsors halftime on CBS, and Subway is attached to the net’s postgame show.

TRIED & TRUE: State Farm, Microsoft Windows (the league's official sideline technology, tablet and PC operating system partner) and Geico are frequent NFL programming sponsors who have a place in CBS' coverage. Other brands -- Domino's (Inside the Huddle), league sponsor FedEx (Today’s Picks) and The Home Depot (Tools for Success) -- only have sponsored segments with CBS programming.

McDonald's (Winning Ingredients)
State Farm (State of the Game)
FedEx (NFL Today Picks)
Domino's (Inside the Huddle)
Windows (First on the Field)
Home Depot (Tools for Success)
Southwest (pregame)
Verizon (halftime)
Subway (postgame)
Geico (Play of the Day)

Mittens will be available at some retailers
including Target and Kohl's
USA TODAY reported blue mittens "printed with 'Go USA' are being sold to support Olympic and Paralympic athletes and hopefuls." USOC Marketing Communications Dir Lindsay Hogan said that the mittens would be "available for $14 on the web site for pre-order" starting yesterday. The campaign "officially launches Oct. 29, timed to 100 days until the opening ceremony" of the '14 Sochi Games. Mittens also will be available "at some retailers, including Target and Kohl's." Red mittens were "all the rage among Canadian fans" at the '10 Vancouver Games (, 9/30).

AMERICA'S TICKET: THE MMQB's Peter King noted this is the fifth year the Cowboys and the Texas Lottery "have teamed up to create a scratch-off lottery game." Customers in the first four years that the tickets were on sale throughout the state "bought a mind-boggling" $184M worth of the Cowboys’ scratch-off, instant-win tickets. One of the prizes in the game is "access for two inside the Cowboys’ draft room the day of the first round of the 2014 NFL draft, and a briefing" with Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones about the team's draft strategy (, 9/30).

SOCCER SUB: MARKETING DAILY's Karlene Lukovitz noted soccer star Pelé's first spot with QSR Subway debuted "just before the kickoff" of NBC's "SNF." The 30-second ad, "unlike other Subway ads, which mostly feature several 'famous fan' athletes," gives Pele "the solo spotlight." Pele is shown "sitting on a platform, with a Subway sandwich and soda on a table next to him, as soccer balls rain around him" (, 9/30).