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Volume 24 No. 156

Marketing and Sponsorship

A new Nike ad shows golfer Rory McIlroy and EPL club Manchester United F Wayne Rooney "taking each other on in a demonstration of their skills on the golf course," according to Jack de Menezes of the London INDEPENDENT. While the ad "starts off as a regular introduction" for McIlroy, he is "soon joined by a smiling Rooney on the tee." Rooney "unveils the new Nike Ordem Football as his ball of choice" and "wastes no time in swinging and swerving the ball along the golf course -- hitting the pin with his first attempt with a little help from a computer-based friend." Rooney on the 18th hole "cracks under the pressure ... as he hits an [errant] ball towards the clubhouse." Retired Brazilian F Ronaldo "breaks away from an interview to head the ball back onto the green and set Rooney up for an easy finish" (London INDEPENDENT, 12/3). In London, Matt Lawless notes the "entertaining head-to-head" between McIlroy and Rooney was "filmed in Cheshire earlier this year." McIlroy is a ManU fan and it is "understood that the pair ... exchanged tips on golf and football throughout the filming" (London DAILY MAIL, 12/3).

Nike has "exercised a contract option to extend its three-part agreement" with Ohio State until '18, "positioning OSU to bring in about an additional" $18.5M, according to Kayla Byler of OSU student newspaper THE LANTERN. OSU and Nike "signed three separate seven-year contracts that went into effect Aug. 1, 2007." OSU Senior Dir of Media & PR Gary Lewis Jr. said that all three "will be extended until July 31, 2018." The agreement "sets OSU to gross" almost $46M over 11 years, with more than $18.4M "coming from the additional four years." The three parts of the agreement "are broken up into a standard license agreement, an equipment supply agreement and an appearance and consultation agreement." Nike over the original seven-year period is contracted to pay OSU a minimum of $1.4M "for the exclusive right to manufacture and distribute all OSU competition apparel" and now an additional $1.2M with the extension period. Nike must pay OSU 12.5% of "net sales on all OSU-branded Nike products at an annual minimum of $200,000 for the first seven years and $300,000 for the extended four years." The extended equipment supply agreement between OSU and Nike, "the most lucrative portion of the deal for OSU, sets the university up to gain" more than $17M in addition to the original deal of over $25.7M during the first seven years (THE LANTERN, 12/2).

The Auburn football team's win over Alabama last Saturday "means big business" for area bookstores, according to Sara Falligant of the OPELIKA-AUBURN NEWS. J&M Bookstore Owner & CEO Trey Johnston said that fans "purchased 2,500 score shirts by the time his store closed Saturday night." On Sunday, the store "sold 2,000 more." The store had all of the artwork for the shirts "approved before the game, in addition to securing licensing agreements" with Auburn and the Collegiate Licensing Co. Johnston said, "All you’ve got to do is put the score." While J&M had white score shirts available yesterday, the store "had sold out of a navy shirt featuring an elephant on a platter." J&M staffer Andrew Thim said that the design "would be back in stock" today or tomorrow, "along with new 'Kick, Bama, Kick' and 'One second' designs." The Auburn Univ. Bookstore also "still had score shirts with a 'Going to the SEC Championship' theme available" yesterday. The bookstore "expects to have a new design" in today that reads, "Hey Bama, got a second? Better be careful what you wish for." Alumni Hall in Opelika’s Tiger Town also "expects a shipment of score shirts to arrive" today after receiving its first shipment Sunday. Store Manager Morgan Pilate said, "We sold completely out" (OPELIKA-AUBURN NEWS, 12/3).

GO FOR TWO: In N.Y., Richard Sandomir writes Auburn radio announcer Rod Bramblett had "perhaps the biggest" moments of his career "at the end of the Tigers' last two games" against Georgia and Alabama. Bramblett called the winning touchdown against Georgia that was scored on a deflected 73-yard pass and proclaimed it "a miracle at Jordan-Hare." In describing Auburn CB Chris Davis' game-winning touchdown against Alabama, Bramblett "invoked the almighty’s name to describe a moment that, for its ramifications, was more meaningful than miracle." Bramblett yesterday said, "These are my top two calls. I’ve had some exciting ones and dramatic finishes, but nothing like the miracle of a couple of weeks ago and the unbelievable play the other night." Sandomir notes Bramblett "does not embrace the title of a homer," but he is "not ambivalent about which team he wants to win." Bramblett: "The Auburn IMG Sports Network pays me to call games for Auburn. Fans are listening for the Auburn slant. They want to know that the whole broadcast crew is living and dying with the school” (N.Y. TIMES, 12/3).

NASCAR today announced that driver Tony Stewart "won a competition fueled by social media to appear on the cover of next year's NASCAR '14 video game," according to Jeff Gluck of USA TODAY. Stewart "beat Jeff Gordon in the final round with 69% of the vote." He had the "highest vote total in all five rounds of the bracket-style competition and never had less than 64% in any matchup." That Stewart won "wasn't a huge surprise -- Dale Earnhardt Jr. wasn't eligible for the contest after appearing on last year's cover -- but that he prevailed by such a large margin was notable." Even more impressive was "how Stewart accomplished the feat without having a personal presence on social media." NASCAR VP/Licensing & Consumer Products Blake Davidson said, "We were shocked by the dominance and without him pushing himself." Deep Silver, which "took over the publishing of the game from Activision, plans to capitalize on Stewart's cover appearance with an aggressive promotional push." Though a release date has not been set for NASCAR '14, Deep Silver said that it will be "very early in the season" (USA TODAY, 12/3).

CHANGING THE DEFINITION: NASCAR driver Jimmie Johnson appeared on FS1’s “Fox Sports Live” to discuss the recent comments from the net's Donovan McNabb that Johnson is “not an athlete” because he "sits in a car and he drives.” Johnson said, “Our sport’s been dealing with this for a long time and I feel like we’ve been winning people over each and every year, and I’m excited to win Donovan over. I really think that we can because he clearly has a microphone and people listen, and he’s a great influence to people.” Johnson added, “I’d love to change his mind.” He said, “When you understand the forces that are put on a driver’s body, you understand the heat that’s involved, the hand-eye coordination that’s involved, the mental aspect that’s involved -- it’s a far different animal. We’re wearing heart-rate monitors in the race cars and we’re averaging 140-150 beats a minute for 3-4 hours. So there is definitely an athletic requirement to drive a race car.” FS1's Charissa Thompson noted McNabb was not on last night's show for Johnson to directly address him because he was "on vacation with his family."  (“Fox Sports Live,” FS1, 12/2).

British diver Tom Daley yesterday announced he is in a gay relationship, and brandRapport Sports Marketing Dir Nigel Currie "doubted whether Daley’s high earning potential would be harmed at all," according to Simon Hart of the London TELEGRAPH. Currie said, "I think it may, in some shape or form, actually improve his marketability because of what he has done and the way he handled it." Currie added, "We live in a modern world and sponsors and brands in general are much more flexible and broad in their views nowadays. In a world where companies are very conscious of their image and their social responsibility, I think they want to appear to appeal to as broad a spectrum as possible, and from that point of view they are not going to let things get in the way that might have been barriers in the past." However, Hart notes Australian diver Matt Mitcham's "experience of being a gay athlete has not always been positive." Mitcham in previous interviews has "revealed that his sexuality has been proved a major impediment to attracting corporate sponsors" (London TELEGRAPH, 12/3). Scottish cyclist Graeme Obree, who came out as gay in '11, said of Daley's announcement, "This will make no difference with tolerant and progressive companies in this country. But if those countries have an international presence, there is pressure from eastern Europe to not sponsor gay people. I can't prove I lost sponsors, but deals that were agreed suddenly disappeared" (, 12/2).'s Tony DiZinno reported Dollar General is "upping its support" of NASCAR's No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota "to 27 races as primary sponsor" during the '14 Sprint Cup season. Home Depot and Husky "had been announced for 21 races, previously, and are expected to continue albeit with now fewer races as primary sponsor" (, 12/2).

KEEP RUNNING: Skechers yesterday announced that it extended its endorsement deals with Mavericks Owner Mark Cuban through '14 and Pro Football HOFer Joe Montana through '15. Both will be seen in humorous campaigns throughout this holiday season. Montana in his recently wrapped Skechers TV ad set for release in the spring takes a trip to the boardwalk. The ad also features Montana's daughter Elizabeth (Skechers).

INJURY BUG:'s David Aldridge wrote that while watching NBA-themed ads on NBA League Pass, it is "tough to see the ones featuring injured players" like Bulls G Derrick Rose and, "to a much lesser extent," Warriors F Andre Iguodala and Wizards G Bradley Beal. It might be due to "how their respective franchises built much of their marketing campaigns around those players" (, 12/2).

WELCOME TO ATLANTA: In Atlanta, Carla Caldwell reports Michelob Ultra will "become the title sponsor of the Michelob Ultra 13.1 Marathon Series, which includes the annual half-marathon in Atlanta." The event "previously was known as the Allstate Life InsuranceSM Atlanta 13.1 Marathon" (, 12/3).