Samsung and the NBA today announced a multiyear deal making the company the official handset, tablet and TV provider for the NBA, WNBA and NBA D-League. Samsung will serve as title sponsor of the NBA Summer League and will be a presenting sponsor for NBA TV's "NBA Inside Stuff" (NBA). In this week's SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, Terry Lefton notes the deal will "include rights across the company’s line of smartphones, tablets, televisions, Blu-ray players and streaming video boxes." The deal encompasses the U.S., Canada and Mexico. There also is a "major commitment for advertising with the NBA’s TV rights holders." On-court integration "will see Samsung monitors at courtside for replays, while NBA referees will use Samsung tablets, but in what capacity is uncertain at this point." Samsung will "sponsor elements at All-Star Jam Session, the Celebrity Game at All-Star Weekend and the NBA draft." Sources said that there will be "a handful of team sponsorship deals, as well, including one" with the Heat. Heat F LeBron James "has been endorsing the Samsung Galaxy for the past year" (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 10/28 issue). The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Cohen & Cheng report the three-year, $100M deal "will instantly make Samsung one of the most visible companies during NBA games." The league "previously had television and computer deals" with Haier and HP, respectively (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 10/28).
Marketing and Sponsorship
The Army National Guard has “extended its sponsorship” of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Hendrick Motorsports through the ‘14 season, according to Jenna Fryer of the AP. The National Guard will be the primary sponsor of the No. 88 Chevrolet for 20 Sprint Cup races, including the Daytona 500. Hendrick Motorsports on Friday said that the National Guard also will “have prominent brand placement during all non-primary events.” The reserve military force has been partnered with Earnhardt since ’08. Hendrick Motorsports said that recent research showed 85% of those who “enlisted or re-enlisted in the National Guard since 2007 agree that professional sports are beneficial to its overall efforts to attract and retain soldiers.” A majority of respondents were “exposed to recruiting or retention materials incorporating NASCAR and had seen NASCAR leveraged at a recruiting center or event.” Meanwhile, PepsiCo's brands are “committed to the No. 88 team with sponsorship of five primary races annually” through the ‘15 season. Hendrick Motorsports said that additional sponsorship “will be announced at a later date” (AP, 10/25). SPORTING NEWS’ Bob Pockrass wrote while Earnhardt still has 13 races "open for next season," he is "happy to have the majority of races sponsored" (SPORTINGNEWS.com, 10/26).
Rawlings “isn’t letting up in its quest to take market share from competing football helmet manufacturers,” as the company has been “in a full-out sprint, introducing eight helmet models in just three years,” according to Lisa Brown of the ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH. Rawlings officials said that they expect the Tachyon helmet to help the company grow beyond the 9% market share it has amassed since '10, "after a 20-year absence from [the] football helmet category.” The number of NFLers who wear Rawlings’ helmets “has grown from a handful a couple years ago to more than 170 today.” However, the two largest football helmet makers, Riddell and Schutt Sports -- each with “market share exceeding 40 percent -- also have a robust new product pipeline.” Rawlings, in addition to helmets, is “adding to its protective gear with new football pants that have the pads built into the fabric.” Rawlings is “betting that its full line of products, from helmets to padded shorts, will help differentiate it from other sports apparel companies.” Rawlings Senior Dir of Brand Marketing Kurt Hunzeker said, “We’re the only group with a complete football solution, and you can get all the products you need. Nobody else does it.” At the beginning of '14, Rawlings plans to “consolidate multiple websites it operates for different sports all into a single site, Rawlings.com.” The company also is “making changes to its football marketing beginning this fall, and putting a heavier emphasis on social media.” Rawlings next month will “debut a series of short videos" starring 49ers LB Patrick Willis, which will span 7-10 seconds in order to “be easily shared on social media sites” (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 10/27).
The AP's Tim Reynolds noted a new Nike ad featuring Heat F LeBron James was released last night, and it shows "hundreds of people joining James as he rides his bike through Miami's streets, swims in the ocean, jogs through the city and plays pickup basketball on an outdoor court" (AP, 10/27). NBA.com's Lang Whitaker writes the ad "depicts the daily training regime that helps make James a champion," and it also "highlights how James’s passion and joy can inspire spectators to transform into active participants whenever he is around" (NBA.com, 10/28).
SUCH CHARM: In Baltimore, Jeff Zrebiec noted Ravens WR Torrey Smith's "increasing popularity is evident in the crowd that turns out every week for his radio show" on WIYY-FM and in the "countless No. 82 jerseys in the stands at M&T Bank Stadium." Smith's popularity also is seen in "his partnerships with Baltimore-based companies such as Under Armour, Polk Audio and PointClickSwitch.com" and a "national Pepsi print ad campaign with actress Sofia Vergara." UA Senior VP/Global Sports Marketing Matt Mirchin said of Smith, "He's got an infectious smile, and he's really humble the way he handles himself in the media. It's real, and it comes across as real" (Baltimore SUN, 10/27).
DISCOUNT SHOPPING: NBC's Bob Costas referenced a recent State Farm ad during an interview with Packers QB Aaron Rodgers last night, saying, "Here's the last and most important question: How close are you now to George Wendt and Robert Smigel after sharing a unique flight?" Rodgers said, "We had a blast doing that. It was fun being able to work with those two guys. I really enjoyed it. I still got some slobber, I think, on my neck from George but it was fun" ("FNIA," NBC, 10/27).
MOVING MUSCLE: The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Mattioli & Dezember cite sources as saying that the owners of CytoSport, the maker of Muscle Milk, have enlisted Credit Suisse "to look for a buyer" for the brand. A source said that the owners are "hoping to fetch as much" as $500M in a sale (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 10/26). Muscle Milk sponsors many pro athletes, including Texans WR Andre Johnson, Warriors G Stephen Curry, Dodgers P Clayton Kershaw and Red Sox RF Shane Victorino (THE DAILY).