A loss for Mexico’s men’s national soccer team in its match with Panama on Friday “would be stunning not only to the team and its fans,” but to “hand-wringing” execs at Nike and adidas, according to Allan Brettman of the Portland OREGONIAN. A loss for Mexico could "mean the unthinkable" with the team "not appearing in next year's FIFA World Cup in Brazil." Nike and adidas "know that World Cup merchandise sales would suffer if Mexico doesn't end up with one of the 32 places in the world's most-watched sporting event." Nike, adidas and Puma in World Cup years "all build an increase in soccer-related sales into their budget forecasts -- from team jerseys to shoes." Mexico is particularly important to companies that "have a financial interest in the World Cup." But a win by Mexico Friday night is "arguably more [important] to Adidas than to Nike." Nike's interest stems from "half of the Mexico national team" wearing Nike cleats, including" F Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez. However, adidas "outfits the men's national team, and the Mexican team is one of Adidas' most prominent federations along with" Spain, Argentina and Germany. adidas contends that "just as many Mexican national jerseys were sold" in the U.S. during the '10 World Cup "as were jerseys of the U.S. team, which is outfitted by Nike." adidas America Soccer Dir Ernesto Bruce said that the company's soccer leadership has "not seriously addressed a scenario in which Mexico does not qualify." Its deal with Mexico began in '07 and ends in December '14 (Portland OREGONIAN, 10/11).
Marketing and Sponsorship
Cambridge, Mass.-based tech startup MC10 on Thursday announced that Colts QB Andrew Luck is "joining its 'Sports Advisory Board,'" according to Sean Gregory of TIME.com. Luck gets "an equity stake in the company," though neither side would reveal the size of the stake. MC10 makes "stretchable, ultra-thin computer chips that can attach unobtrusively to clothing, or even your skin." MC10′s first commercial product, which was released in July, is "particularly relevant to football." The Reebok Checklight -- MC10 "teamed up with the footwear and apparel company -- is a skullcap with sensors, that fits under a football helmet" and displays the severity of impacts. Both Luck and MC10 "see the product as most beneficial to younger players, who don’t have access to the same on-field medical expertise as the pros." The Colts this off-season signed QB Matt Hasselbeck who was already on MC10′s sports advisory board and "got Luck interested" in the company. Luck "realizes that deals like this are often a PR move -- star player lends his face, takes his cash, and is done with it." But he "promises that he’ll be involved in company meetings and decisions, come the off-season" (TIME.com, 10/9). Luck said, "I talked to my agent and my dad early on in the process and I said let’s be creative and think about some of the things that are outside the box and specifically to MC10, it’s an outlet for some of the creative thinking that I miss from my college days and what they are doing with the health and safety in sports, I think I can help and hopefully prove that and hopefully help them continue to do good things" (WSJ.com, 10/10).
Bell Canada on Thursday announced a new multi-year strategic partnership with the NBA that enhances the company's position as the official communications partner for the league in Canada. Bell will be the presenting sponsor of the NBA Canada Series preseason game platform, beginning with the upcoming T'Wolves-Celtics game on Oct. 20 at Bell Centre. Bell customers as part of the deal also will be able to watch new weekly NBA content, including special player profiles, on smartphones and tablets during the regular season and playoffs. Bell Mobile TV will feature new nightly NBA highlights from approximately 1,300 games, and the company also will be the presenting sponsor of the NBA All-Star Game balloting platform in Canada (Bell).
PRINCE CHARMING: Pandora is MLB's newest hard-goods licensee and is producing a line of MLB charms in wood and silver, priced from $60. Charms bearing the logos of every MLB team are available now at MLB.com. Additional MLB products from Pandora will be available in '14. Alex Woo debuted a line of MLB-licensed high-end jewelry earlier this year. Other MLB jewelry licensees include LogoArt, Game Time, Alex & Ani, and Tiffany (Terry Lefton, Editor-At-Large).
GET ON BOARD: YAHOO SPORTS' Eric Adelson wrote the NFL instead of fining Bears WR Brandon Marshall for violating league rules by wearing lime green cleats Thursday in support of mental health awareness week "should be following his lead instead." The cleats are a "symbol of hope for all players and their families." The uniform infraction "doesn't deserve a fine; it deserves the NFL's complete support" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 10/10).
WELCOME TO THE FAMILY: Jordan Brand on Thursday officially welcomed Cowboys WR Dez Bryant and Seahawks S Earl Thomas to the company. Both will wear the Air Jordan XII cleat. Bryant's will be a white-based shoe featuring a navy blue overlay on the toe and midsole, while Thomas' shoes will have an action-green overlay on a solid base of white or navy blue (THE DAILY).
WINGING IT: Delta on Thursday announced that it will serve as the Sabres' official airline and provide charter service for the team. Delta now has marketing and/or charter relationships with nine NHL teams (Delta).