U.S. skier and Under Armour endorser Lindsey Vonn is "poised to be the face of an ad campaign this fall for the athletic company's 'Infrared' cold-weather gear," according to Michael McCarthy of AD AGE. Marketing firm DLB President Darcy Bouzeos said that Vonn has the "most marketing buzz by far" heading into the Sochi Games. Other Vonn sponsors include Red Bull, Oakley, Rolex and Head (ADAGE.com, 11/4). Meanwhile, UA Founder, Chair & CEO Kevin Plank said that women's apparel sales account for 30% of business, up from 20% eight years ago and "outpacing the overall growth of the company." In Baltimore, Sara Meehan noted UA "projects revenue" of $2.26B this year, meaning women's sales would come in around $680M. Nike as it stands "is running away with the women's sportswear market." Nike last year controlled 21.3% of the market and "lays claim" to 26.1% of the women's sportswear market. UA has 14.1% of the women's market. Nike has "grand plans to nearly double its women's business in the next few years." But Nike Global Corporate Communications Dir Mary Remuzzi said that the company "does not see women's as a segment that will eclipse its menswear sales." However, UA "has a different philosophy." Plank last month said, "Women's has the potential to be larger than men's." UA VP/Women's Apparel Gwyn Wiadro said that she "sees early evidence of success on the women's side domestically and in foreign markets like Europe, Asia and South America." UA is "backing its goal to grow sales of women's apparel with investments in the women's segment." UA this year "began creating three marketing 'holidays' in February, July and November," with the month-long marketing campaigns "designed to highlight a particular technology or product." The February '14 "marketing push will be the first campaign dedicated to women's products" (BALTIMORE BUSINESS JOURNAL, 11/1 issue).
TAILOR-MADE: Meehan notes UA is "tailoring the shopping experience to women in different venues: in its brand houses, in sporting goods stores and in department stores." UA's brand house "displays equal parts women's and men's products, and the strategy has paid off," as sales "reflect a 50-50 split between the men's and women's lines." UA is "taking steps to make female customers feel more at home in sports stores through miniature studios called 'Shop-in-shops.'" It is a "store within a store, where Under Armour's retail partners dedicate floor space specifically to the brand instead of mixing it in with competitor brands" (BALTIMORE BUSINESS JOURNAL, 11/1 issue).
Farmers Insurance Open Tournament Dir Peter Ripa yesterday said that the purse for next year's event will be $6.1M, "with escalators in the contract that would increase the purse each year," including a $200,000 bump in '15. He added that one "considerable upside" of the tourney's five-year title sponsorship extension with Farmers Insurance is "continuing to build on the brand that has been established in the last five years." Farmers Insurance CFO Scott Lindquist said, "To be a sponsor of a PGA Tour event of this caliber is a perfect fit for us. There's been tremendous success for the tournament through the years and we've been pleased to be involved since 2010. We look forward to continuing that growth through 2019" (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 11/6).
OAKLEY GOES AFTER RORY: The IRISH INDEPENDENT reported golfer Rory McIlroy has accused former sponsor Oakley of "trying to 'harass' him by seeking a vast amount of documents." Oakley is "suing the golfer and Nike over McIlroy's lucrative deal with Nike." Oakley claims that prior to the Nike deal, McIlroy "had an agreement with Oakley to wear and endorse its products." Oakley also "claims this deal gave it a right of first refusal over any new deal with McIlroy." The golfer is "relying on the credibility of his former agent Conor Ridge in the case in California -- the same agent he is accusing of deception in a separate case in Dublin" (IRISH INDEPENDENT, 11/5).
CLEVELAND GOES AFTER CALLAWAY: GOLFWEEK.com's Alex Miceli reported Cleveland Golf has sued Founder Roger Cleveland's "current employer, Callaway Golf, for use of the Cleveland name." Cleveland Golf and parent company Dunlop Sports last month filed a suit "claiming trademark infringement relating to Callaway's Mack Daddy 2 wedge" (GOLFWEEK.com, 11/4).
In N.Y., Claire Atkinson reports TNT NBA analyst Shaquille O'Neal "has just signed on as a spokesman for Monster Products and its bargain-priced line of tablets." O'Neal will "endorse the Monster M7, a $149 gadget sold at Walmart.com," and an "amped-up marketing campaign is expected to kick off shortly." One of the "top earners in NBA history," O'Neal also is "turning out to be one of its top pitchers," currently endorsing Buick, Icy Hot and Gold Bond, with licensing deals for Arizona Iced Tea, Reebok, Zales and Macy's (N.Y. POST, 11/6).
GO FIGURE: In Chicago, Philip Hersh notes U.S. figure skater Ashley Wagner's sponsor portfolio "keeps growing," as Cover Girl is "the latest to sign her, joining Nike, P&G, Hilton HHonors, the Century Council, Highmark, Pandora and BP." Hersh: "I can't remember a U.S. figure skater without an Olympic medal who has had more endorsements, and it is more remarkable for one who has not even won a senior world championship medal" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 11/6).
FLAG BEARERS: This morning's "What's Trending" segment on NBC's "Today" featured the controversy over Under Armour's latest football uniforms for Northwestern. NBC's Matt Lauer noted people online are calling the American flag-inspired uniforms, which has what "looks to be blood stains, ... unpatriotic and disrespectful." NBC's Natalie Morales said it was not intended to represent blood stains but that it is a "distressed pattern." Lauer noted it is an "unintended result" of including graphics that are "so popular on every item." Morales: "The intent, though, of the project is great" ("Today," NBC, 11/6).
NOTES: Sports-drink brand SOS Rehydrate yesterday announced an endorsement deal with Pacers G C.J. Watson. The brand has previous endorsement deals with Izod IndyCar Series driver Scott Dixon and Gold Medal-winning U.K. sailor Ben Ainslie (SOS Rehydrate)....The Lightning have partnered with Tampa-based Florida Cane Vodka. The brand will be available at two bars named after Florida Cane at Tampa Bay Times Forum (Lightning).