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Volume 24 No. 159

Marketing and Sponsorship

Colts sponsors "appear to be rallying behind, not abandoning," the team following Owner Jim Irsay's arrest Sunday for DUI, according to Anthony Schoettle of the INDIANAPOLIS BUSINESS JOURNAL. Colts execs have been "busy contacting sponsors since Monday ... to explain to them the situation." Colts COO Pete Ward said that most of the response "has been supportive." Lucas Oil CEO Forrest Lucas, whose company owns the naming rights to the Colts' stadium, said, "I didn't hesitate to put my support behind Jim. I'm not for drunk driving or drug abuse, but I think he's addressing those issues. None of that erases all the good this man has done for the city of Indianapolis and the state of Indiana." Indianapolis-based MainGate Inc. CEO Dave Moroknek, whose company handles the team's merchandise sales, said, "The support level for the organization is at its highest point ever." He added, "That man has done an unbelievable amount for this city. He's done a ton of charitable work and a lot of things people don't know about and will never know about because he hasn't sought to publicize them. People feel it's time to support Jim and his family since he's supported this community and the fans here" (, 3/20).

WHAT ACTION SHOULD BE TAKEN? Thursday's edition of ESPN's "Outside The Lines" examined what kind of action NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell should take against Irsay. ESPN's Bill Polian, who served as Colts GM from '97-'11, said Goodell will "weigh all of the issues -- pros and cons -- and he'll take a look at past practice." Polian noted that has been "some of that recently" with Lions President Tom Lewand and two Broncos execs, Dir of Player Personnel Matt Russell and Dir of Pro Personnel Tom Heckert, all having been arrested in recent years for DUI. Polian said Goodell gave those three execs fines and suspensions, but he "may take a different tack with Jim, particularly now that he's entered rehab." Also, the fact Irsay is an owner plays into the decision process, with Polian saying, "I don’t know suspension necessarily plays as big a role for an owner as it might for a person that worked in the day-to-day operations of a club." ESPN's Andrew Brandt calls it a "very tough situation" for Goodell. Brandt: "What do you do to an owner? The ironic part of it is the owner is an employer of the commissioner, who's the employee who will be disciplining that owner." Indianapolis Star columnist Bob Kravitz said Goodell should force Irsay to be subject "to random drug testing" as a prerequisite for him "owning the team, or at least running the team." However, Kravitz acknowledged he was unaware whether Goodell has that jurisdiction ("Outside The Lines," ESPN, 3/20).

Lids Sports Group on Thursday announced a 10-year deal to become the official retail partner of Ohio State Univ. Athletics. The licensing agreement includes rights to operate OSU's official e-commerce site, on-campus retail locations, arena-stadium retail and all gameday concessions. In addition, Lids' Buckeye Corner locations now become the official stores of OSU Athletics (Lids Sports Group). In Columbus, Tim Feran reports the contract is worth $12M over the length of the deal and "reverses an agreement" that the school made in November '12 with Fanatics Inc. The Jacksonville-based retailer "originally won the bidding to sell OSU-licensed apparel online and in campus retail outlets." However, school officials in January said that the deal with Fanatics "had not been completed -- and that the role that Fanatics had been expected to play had been taken over by Lids" in July '13. OSU Senior Dir of Media & PR Gary Lewis has indicated that the Lids deal "took so long to nail down because there had been 'no models or precedents to look at.'" Feran notes the contract with Lids guarantees OSU a minimum of $1.2M a year from "retail sales at campus outlets such as the team shop at Schottenstein Center and Ohio Stadium, and from the official website." That was "well above the university’s previous yearly revenue from those sales of about $250,000" (COLUMBUS DISPATCH, 3/21).

U.S. Olympic distance runner Kara Goucher "has signed with Seattle-based women’s running apparel company Oiselle," according to Hannah McGoldrick of RUNNER'S WORLD. Goucher, who has "been a free agent since December, was a Nike-sponsored athlete for 12 years." She was "based in Oregon for nine years, first coached by Alberto Salazar and more recently by Jerry Schumacher," both of who "coached Nike groups." Goucher's contract "expired twice before in her tenure at Nike" in '05 and '08, but she said that "since she was running with Salazar, she had no reason to leave." Her new coaches "are not affiliated with any sponsor." Goucher has run in both the '08 Beijing and '12 London Games and finished fifth in the '11 Boston Marathon (, 3/20). The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Sarah Germano notes Goucher's departure "deprives Nike, which uses its affiliation with top runners to help drive sneaker and apparel sales, of the most visible face in women's distance running." Goucher described the Oiselle deal as "not a lot of money." However, Germano notes the deal gives Goucher "equity in the startup and the ability to be more outspoken" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 3/21).

The closing panel at the '14 IMG World Congress of Sports on Thursday focused on how to reach the next generation of consumers. Brand-side marketers gave their thoughts on a variety of topics, such as where to put dollars, addressing digital natives, bringing some marketing in-house and the importance of having sports as part of marketing budgets. Panelists included Honda Assistant VP/Auto Advertising Tom Peyton, Callaway Golf Senior VP/Marketing Harry Arnett, AAA Mid-Atlantic Exec VP & CMO Marke Dickinson, IMG College Senior VP/National Sales Andrew Judelson and Vizio VP/Product Marketing Lily Knowles. The following are some highlights from the session.

* Dickinson said of where his company looks to put dollars, “To reach consumers, particularly within sports, you have to look a little younger. Our core demographic tends to be a little older. Those younger consumers are looking to engage across multiple platforms, so they’re not just looking for one aspect or another. Even if they’re in a stadium, they’re looking to have a mobile experience. So how can we provide content and meaningful experiences and touch points so it’s stimulating and worth their while.”

* Arnett addressed digital natives (younger demos), saying, “We have an older consumption target, but a younger influence target. The ways to communicate to those groups are so varied. The more that you invest in something you think is going to have a year or two life cycle for younger demos, the more you realize it’s going to have a one-week life cycle. It’s really following the consumption habits of hippies back 35 years ago. So what Callaway has done is invest more in an ability to communicate to them from the creative side knowing that dissemination of that content is likely to change daily.”

* Judelson talked about properties giving up their own social media versus having vague links to sponsors and said, “I definitely don’t think it’ll happen to the level that a partner would be seeking it. I would surmise that the worst words you can hear on the sales side when you discuss social media are, ‘I’ll throw it in as value added.’ If someone is asking for it, there’s discreet value in it. So our ability to monetize social media is very important as a discreet line item in a deal. In our nearly 75 tier-1 college property partners, we have Twitter, Facebook, etc., and those partners see it as more valuable than the official athletic sites that we also control because of the direct connection and linkage to a consumer.”

* Knowles said of social marketing, “Last year, we started a program called ‘Fandemonium’ that is sort of a hybrid of a social community and a loyalty program. The goal there was to test the waters to see how we could use social media to get that fan engagement that you cannot get through one event. It has proven successful so far in the first phase. The fans get excited on two fronts. First, we don’t have a huge amount of media dollars to be able to get the word out when we have product launches, so this gets the news out faster. The other thing is that when there are ‘hot’ offers, it helps our retailers to drive traffic in stores.”

Nike and its affiliated brands sponsor 47 of the 64 teams in the NCAA women’s basketball tournament, the same number as last year's tourney, according to THE DAILY's annual breakdown of the shoe and apparel brands worn in the tourney. Thirteen teams wear adidas shoes, three more than last year. Under Armour sponsors two teams in the tourney, down from five last year. Russell Athletic supplies the jerseys for four schools, up from two last year, while Jordan Brand jerseys are worn by one team. Schools in the chart below are listed by region in their seed order. The first round of the women's tournament begins Saturday (THE DAILY).

1) Connecticut     Nike/Nike     1) Notre Dame     adidas/adidas
2) Duke     Nike/Nike     2) Baylor     adidas/adidas
3) Texas A&M     adidas/adidas     3) Kentucky     Nike/Nike
4) Nebraska     adidas/adidas     4) Purdue     Nike/Nike
5) North Carolina State     adidas/adidas     5) Oklahoma State     Nike/Nike
6) Gonzaga     Nike/Nike     6) Syracuse     Nike/Nike
7) DePaul     Nike/Nike     7) California     Nike/Nike
8) Georgia     Nike/Nike     8) Vanderbilt     Nike/Nike
9) St. Joseph's     Nike/Nike     9) Arizona State     Nike/Nike
10) Oklahoma     Nike/Nike     10) Fordham     Nike/Nike
11) James Madison     Nike/Nike     11) Chattanooga     Nike/Nike
12) BYU     Nike/Nike     12) Florida Gulf Coast     Nike/Nike
13) Fresno State     Nike/Nike     13) Akron     adidas/adidas
14) North Dakota     Universal Athletic/adidas     14) Wright State     Nike/Nike 
15) Winthrop     adidas/adidas     15) Western Kentucky     Nike/Russell
16) Prairie View     Nike/Russell     16) Robert Morris     adidas/adidas 
1) South Carolina     UA/UA     1) Tennessee     adidas/adidas
2) Stanford     Nike/Nike     2) West Virginia     Nike/Nike
3) Penn State     Nike/Nike     3) Louisville     adidas/adidas
4) North Carolina     Jordan/Jordan     4) Maryland     UA/UA
5) Michigan State     Nike/Nike     5) Texas     Nike/Nike
6) Dayton     Nike/Nike     6) Iowa     Nike/Nike
7) Iowa State     Nike/Nike     7) LSU     Nike/Nike
8) Middle Tennessee State     Nike/Nike     8) St. John's     Nike/Nike
9) Oregon State     Nike/Nike      9) USC     Nike/Nike
10) Florida State     Nike/Nike     10) Georgia Tech     Nike/Russell
11) Florida     Nike/Nike     11) Marist     Nike/Nike
12) Hampton     Nike/Russell     12) Penn     Nike/Nike
13) Tennessee-Martin     adidas/adidas     13) Army     Nike/Nike
14) Wichita State     Nike/Nike     14) Idaho     Nike/Nike
15) South Dakota     adidas/adidas     15) Albany     Nike/Nike
16) Cal State-Northridge     Nike/Nike     16) Northwestern State     adiadas/adidas