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Volume 24 No. 113

Marketing and Sponsorship

S.F.-based sports technology startup Fantex said that it is "putting off" its proposed IPO for Texans RB Arian Foster after he was "placed on injured reserve and is expected to have surgery to repair a ruptured disc," according to Peter Lattman of the N.Y. TIMES. Fantex co-Founder & CEO Buck French said, "We feel this is a prudent course of action under the current circumstances." The decision to delay the Foster deal is "a significant blow to Fantex, which introduced its novel business last month." Fantex now will "presumably focus its energies on a planned offering for its second and only other client," 49ers TE Vernon Davis. Fantex has "yet to file papers" with the SEC for the Davis IPO but "signaled that it was preparing a deal to sell about $4 million in shares to buy 10 percent of Mr. Davis’s future earnings" (N.Y. TIMES, 11/13). BLOOMBERG NEWS' Erik Matuszewski notes Fantex in October filed with the SEC to raise $10.6M in its IPO priced at $10 a share for Foster, "who pledged 20 percent of his on- and off-field earnings to the company in exchange for most of the proceeds of the IPO." It was to be "the first public offering for a professional athlete" (BLOOMBERG NEWS, 11/13).

Baseball HOFer Roberto Alomar yesterday "introduced his line" of baseball equipment called alomar baseball, according to Bob Elliott of the TORONTO SUN. The brand's logo "begins with a lower case 'a,' all the better to see Alomar’s arms raise out of the letter 'o' -- two fingers on his left hand raised, one on his right." The line "consists of Canadian-made ash and maple bats" in the C$100 price range and orange fielders’ gloves costing around C$200, of which C$5 "goes to the Jays Care Foundation." Alomar said, "This is a new venture, I took pride in my game when I played. I’m going to take the same mentality I had playing into this." Alomar said that he will "pay for testing and insurance to gain status" as an MLB-approved bat manufacturer. He added he is "going to do it the right way" (TORONTO SUN, 11/13). Alomar said that it is "no coincidence that the line of baseball bats he launched Tuesday resembles the Cooper models he used during his early 1990s rise to baseball fame." He said that he "added the tri-coloured ring to the bat shaft to pay homage to Cooper, and tap in to Canadian baseball fans’ nostalgia." In Toronto, Morgan Campbell notes Alomar "hopes to have his bats approved for MLB use next month." The brand will be available "only at Blue Jays stores" and at retailer Home Run Sports. Alomar and Toronto-based equipment maker Impact Machine yesterday "emphasized their commitment to quality, and that Alomar didn’t just attach his name to the products but helped design them" (TORONTO STAR, 11/13).

Verizon's multifaceted $1B partnership with the NFL this week is "getting a geo-social layer," as Verizon FiOS ads will appear after folks check-in via the mobile app" for Foursquare in DC, Baltimore and Boston, according to Christopher Heine of ADWEEK. Users of social networking app who click through the ads "will be taken to a mobile landing page where they can enter an exclusive contest involving" the Redskins, Ravens and Patriots. Two other teams on the East Coast "are expected to be added later this week once their ink dries." In an effort led by McCann Erickson, consumers "can win merchandise and tickets to their team's next game through the league's final seven weeks." In addition, people who "check-in at the stadiums on game day can win" in-stadium opportunities. The ad creative "reflects each team in its respective market and will appear in Foursquare's four-month-old post-check-in (PCI) promos, highlighting Fios TV." While Foursquare users "have recently been pitched with similar PCI ads from Captain Morgan, Oreo, MasterCard, Toys R Us and other brands, the Verizon campaign appears to mark a new frontier for Foursquare" (, 11/12).

The Milk Processor Education Program, or MilkPEP, is launching a "new marketing program" for the '14 Sochi Games, according to Karlene Lukovitz of MARKETING DAILY. The new national ad campaign, "Built with Chocolate Milk," features Olympians and the message that the athletes "drink low-fat chocolate milk after strenuous exercise to help them refuel and rebuild their bodies." The campaign features Wild LW Zach Parise and ski jumpers Abby Hughes, Alissa Johnson, Jessica Jerome, Lindsey Van, Nita Englund, Nina Lussi and Sarah Hendrickson. The campaign "spans print, television, online and in-store promotions." Additionally, a Webisode series at "offers an exclusive look at how Parise and the ski jumping athletes are building up for the Olympics." Members of the swim team in '12 were "featured in a 'Refuel/Got Chocolate Milk?' TV and print campaign, as well as in online Webisodes" (, 11/11).

Under Armour Founder, Chair & CEO Kevin Plank yesterday in Denver debuted the company's new "Under Armour Makes You Better" spot alongside U.S. skiers Lindsey Vonn and Bobby Brown, and Canadian snowboarder Dominique Maltais. The ad is co-branded with Dick's Sporting Goods, narrated by Plank, and features athletes including Vonn, Brown, speedskater Shani Davis, NFL Panthers QB Cam Newton, golfer Jordan Spieth, members of the U.S. bobsled team and "Duck Dynasty" cast member Willie Robertson. The spot marks the newest iteration of UA's "I Will" campaign, and it will air during the Patriots-Panthers "MNF" game Monday. It will continue to run on-air and in digital platforms including and (UA).

AMERICAN BORN: In Portland, Seth Prince noted Oregon State Univ. yesterday unveiled its new Nike Air Native N7 men's basketball uniforms, and Nike indicated that all proceeds from the unis, which are "sold through Native American community centers and tribes, are given back to youth sport and physical activity programs in Native communities across North America through the N7 Fund." Other college teams wearing the jerseys include FSU, Nevada and New Mexico (Portland OREGONIAN, 11/13).

IN MY DEPARTMENT: Belk Chair & CEO Tim Belk on Nov. 4 announced that the company has "signed a six-year contract to continue as the Charlotte college football bowl game’s title sponsor." In Charlotte, Erik Spanberg noted since Belk became title sponsor in '11, "big-name pre-game concerts have been added, and the payout for schools has increased." Belk is "doubling its charitable contribution tied to the game, promising $150,000 in grants to Charlotte schools." Six schools will receive $25,000 each (CHARLOTTE BUSINESS JOURNAL, 11/8 issue).

RIGGO'S WORLD: In DC, Lindsay Applebaum reported Pro Football HOFer John Riggins has "apparently opened up an online shop full of 44-inspired gear." The store "offers Riggo’s Rangers hoodies, No. 44 jerseys and autographed photos, among other stuff, and promises that [a] 'portion of the proceeds benefit the Riggo’s Rangers foundation.'" Applebaum wrote her favorite offering may be a mug that has, "Humble and Fearless Always" printed on it followed by Riggins' signature. Applebaum: "Because what says humble more than selling a mug with your signature and a quote about being humble on it?" (, 11/12).