The Warriors are expanding their marketing efforts internationally this week "in a huge way with the launch of a Chinese-language website and a presence on Weibo, China's largest microblogging service," according to Benny Evangelista of the S.F. CHRONICLE. The Warriors yesterday, on the eve of their first exhibition-season trip to China, "officially launched Weibo.com/Warriors on Sina Weibo, which has more than 500 million registered members using features similar to Twitter." The team today "will unveil Warriors.com/China, which is in Chinese." Both are "part of the team's efforts to court new basketball fans in Asia and from the Bay Area's sizable Asian American community." Warriors President & COO Rick Welts said that team ownership "still believes the franchise can become the main bridge between the NBA and Asia" despite Rockets G Jeremy Lin getting cut from the team two seasons ago. That China-U.S. connection currently "rests in Houston because of the popularity of retired Rockets center Yao Ming, from Shanghai, and Lin." The Warriors and Lakers next week are "headed to China to play in exhibition games in Beijing and Shanghai," and "not coincidentally, they are the first NBA teams to launch Weibo accounts." Warriors F Harrison Barnes and G Stephen Curry "already have individual Weibo accounts." Teams like the Lakers, Bulls and Heat are "already popular internationally, which translates to increased merchandise sales," but that also is "because those franchises have won multiple NBA championships and featured well-known superstar players." Starting a social media effort that "gets past what is often called the Great Firewall of China could eventually play into expanding the team's reach internationally" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 10/10).
BASKETBALL DIPLOMACY? In S.F., Cote & Kane reported city Mayor Ed Lee will be in China during the Warriors' preseason tour, and so will Oakland Mayor Jean Quan. This comes as the Warriors are "in the midst" of trying to get a $1B-plus waterfront arena development project approved in S.F. (SFGATE.com, 10/9).
It is "nearly certain" that GoDaddy "will not be back" as IndyCar driver James Hinchcliffe's sponsor next season, according to Dean McNulty of the TORONTO SUN. GoDaddy "has not made an official announcement yet but it is generally known it is taking all of its money to NASCAR next season." Hinchcliffe said, "I am still in touch with GoDaddy because I am still their driver, but they are exploring all their options. They are looking at all their sports sponsorships. I imagine a decision is imminent." Hinchcliffe is at the end of his contract with Andretti AutoSport and said of his plans for next season, "We have a couple of things brewing, but a couple of things still have to fall into place. We certainly have some decent options out there." McNulty notes it is "an open secret" that Hinchcliffe "has been offered a lucrative deal by KV Racing Technology." There also is the "strong possibility he will be back with Andretti" (TORONTO SUN, 10/10). The AP's Jenna Fryer wrote "waiting to see how things play out" between Andretti and Chip Ganassi Racing "makes sense for Hinchcliffe." A potential Andretti return to Honda could "align Hinchcliffe with Honda Canada, a longtime supporter of Canadian drivers." With Ganassi, there also is the "potential of teaming with longtime Ganassi sponsor Target, which expanded in Canada this summer." While Target sponsors drivers Scott Dixon and Dario Franchitti's in IndyCar and will sponsor Kyle Larson in NASCAR next season, it "could have interest in pairing with a Canadian driver now that it's adding stores in that country" (AP, 10/9).
ADWEEK's Tim Nudd noted Samsung's new "Design Your Life" spot advertising the Galaxy Note 3 and Galaxy Gear features New Zealand singer Lorde and La Liga club FC Barcelona F Lionel Messi. Lorde "lends the melody of her chart-topping hit 'Royals' to this two-minute Samsung ad." The spot, directed by Furlined's Adam Hashemi, "tells the story of a mysterious character who arrives in a blighted city setting and uses his Galaxy Note 3 tablet and Galaxy Gear smart watch to set in motion an at-first-cryptic urban development project." The youth of the city "follow the man through the deserted streets, each taking turns singing the Lorde song." Eventually, there is a "scene of complete destruction, followed by utter renewal -- as the mystery man turns out to be" Messi (ADWEEK.com, 10/9).
MAGICAL CHOICE: In Orlando, Josh Robbins noted Pepsi has "released a limited-edition soda can" that commemorates the Magic’s 25th-anniversary season. The 12-ounce sodas "recently arrived in retail stores in Central Florida, and the cans feature the team’s 25th-anniversary logo." The backs of PepsiCo's delivery trucks in Central Florida "will display an image of the limited-edition can" (ORLANDOSENTINEL.com,10/8).
GREEN MEANS GO: In Chicago, Dan Wiederer reports Bears WR Brandon Marshall's vow to wear lime green cleats in tonight's game versus the Giants as a "means of promoting his foundation and its work with mental health awareness can go on as planned." Marshall "would face a fine for doing so -- which Marshall himself said he was anticipating." But an NFL spokesperson yesterday said Marshall is "not being barred from entering the field" wearing the cleats (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 10/10).