Enterprise Rent-A-Car has cast Blues RW T.J. Oshie in a commercial "set to go national" during the '14 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs, which start April 16, according to Kelly Moffitt of the ST. LOUIS BUSINESS JOURNAL. The commercial "will focus on the connection between great performance and what it means to have a 'do-what-it-takes' attitude." Enterprise Holdings CMO Patrick Farrell said that he "could not release the cost of the campaign, but that Enterprise bought a package for the NHL playoffs that will air during up to 80 games." Enterprise has partnered with NHL since '09 (BIZJOURNALS.com, 3/12). In St. Louis, Jeremy Rutherford reports Farrell was in Sochi in February when Oshie helped the U.S. defeat Russia in the preliminary round of the Winter Olympics. Farrell said of what he was thinking at the time, "I just kept thinking, 'Boy, it would be nice if we could put together these two great St. Louis institutions -- the Blues and Enterprise.'" With Enterprise Owners Andy Taylor and Jo Ann Taylor Kindle also "involved as part owners of the Blues, it was a natural fit." In the "final concept of the 30-second spot that took nearly 12 hours Wednesday to produce, Oshie is on the ice practicing his shot on an empty net when an Enterprise employee shows up to deliver his rental keys." Oshie "asks the employee, who is dressed in a business suit, to stand in net while he whistles pucks past him." Meanwhile, Oshie has turned "into a star on the national scene" since his performance in Sochi. Sales of his No. 74 jersey "have always been high" in St. Louis -- 30% higher in '13-14. His T-shirts "are flying off the shelves this season" at a rate 140% higher than those of his next teammate. But in the month since Oshie’s "epic performance at the Olympics, the scope is larger." His jersey "is the second-best seller on Shop.NHL.com," trailing only Penguins C Sidney Crosby (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 3/13).
Marketing and Sponsorship
Kraft "definitely won't be back" next year as title sponsor of the Kraft Nabisco Championship, the first major championship of the LPGA season, but LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan remains "totally convinced" the tournament will continue in '15, according to Larry Bohannan of the Palm Springs DESERT SUN. Kraft’s five-year title sponsorship ends this year, but Whan and the LPGA "have always insisted the tournament will continue into the future." The event is "too valuable to the LPGA to lose just because of an expiring contract." Whan said that it "appears there won’t be any announcements" about a title sponsor before this year’s tournament April 3-6 at the Dinah Shore Tournament Course. He acknowledged that if there was "one mistake the LPGA has made, it was believing for too long that Kraft might decide to stay with the tournament" beyond '14. Whan admits that some companies "won’t be interested in sponsoring the event because of the limitations of having to be played" in Rancho Mirage, Calif. He said that the LPGA will "take over control of the tournament" at the conclusion of this year's event (Palm Springs DESERT SUN, 3/12). Whan said, "This tournament is a critically important piece to our schedule, but it’s much more than that. It means something special to so many people, and we’re committed to doing whatever it takes to keep the championship where it belongs.” GOLF WEEK's Beth Ann Nichols noted former tournament winner Amy Alcott "plans to partner her business, Amy Alcott Golf, with a to-be-determined sports-marketing agency to find a potential sponsor and submit a bid with the LPGA" (GOLFWEEK.com, 3/12).
NOT THE SAME IF IT MOVES: Golf Channel’s Paige Mackenzie said if a sponsor comes on board to replace Kraft, but the company "wants to move it, it ceases to become the event that we know." Mackenzie: "It would just be another domestic major. ... I don’t think it would be good for the LPGA." She added, "Obviously you want a title sponsor no matter what, but I don’t think that is a goal of the LPGA. Their first priority is to keep it at Mission Hills, to keep it on this part of the schedule early in the year." It has long been rumored that Asia would be a likely destination for a major should one relocate, but Mackenzie said, "I don’t see this championship in the spring somehow ending up in Asia.” Mackenzie: “It would cease to be what we know as the former dinosaur that’s the Kraft Nabisco, the leap into the pond. ... It would feel like a replacement and I don’t think the LPGA wants to be replacing the Kraft Nabisco with another major in Asia” (“Morning Drive,” Golf Channel, 3/13).
THE RITE STUFF: GOLF DIGEST's Ron Sirak cited sources as saying that the LPGA has "reached a contract extension with Wakefern Food Corp., the Stockton Seaview Hotel and Golf Club and Eiger Marketing Group (EMG) to continue sponsorship of the ShopRite LPGA Classic presented by Acer" through '16. Wakefern's sponsorship of the event was "set to end after this year's tournament" (GOLFDIGEST.com, 3/12). This year marks Wakefern's 20th year as the event's title sponsor (LPGA).
The NCAA told Baylor officials that the men’s basketball team "won’t be allowed to wear" its new adidas-designed postseason uniforms that "have 'Sic ‘Em Bears' on the front," according to John Werner of the WACO TRIBUNE-HERALD. The NCAA said that "only the school name or traditional nicknames like 'Bears' will be allowed on the front of the uniform jerseys." BU "wore traditional white uniforms" in its Big 12 tournament opener last night against TCU (WACO TRIBUNE-HERALD, 3/13). ESPN.com's Paul Lukas noted Baylor has "six designs to choose from: white, gold, green, black, neon yellow, and neon yellow with sleeves," and the uniforms "will be chosen on a game-by-game basis." Many observers have "complained in recent years that sportswear companies like adidas, and the leagues they do business with, have been using high-profile sporting events as little more than excuses to create and sell ever more outrageous uniform designs." The Baylor news "shows that there are some lines the NCAA isn't willing to cross, at least for now," and it "feels like a significant line in the sand" (ESPN.com, 3/12).
Propel is "returning to the Gatorade portfolio, getting a package refresh and being pitched as a workout water for regular exercisers," according to Natalie Zmuda of AD AGE. The brand is "working with Fleishman Hillard for PR, while Fathom is leading creative and social efforts." Gatorade VP/Marketing Morgan Flatley said of regular exercisers, "Their day just isn't complete if they don't get their workout in -- that's the mindset and behavior that we're targeting." Propel will "shift its focus to 'routine exercisers' but still skew slightly older than Gatorade's target, focusing on males and females aged 25 and older." The brand previously "was going after Generation X and Boomers." Packaging now will reinforce that Propel is "from the makers of Gatorade." The brand also will "rev up its sampling efforts, particularly at shorter distance events, like 5Ks." Propel helped to "create the enhanced water category when it launched in 2002 as part of the Gatorade portfolio." But as the category "grew to include powerhouses like Vitaminwater and SoBe Lifewater, PepsiCo pushed Propel into more of a lifestyle space and away from its athletic roots." Beverage Digest data shows that Propel "controls 13% of the enhanced-water market" (ADAGE.com, 3/12).
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