Subway has a deal with NBC to sponsor the "Subway Overtime Intermission Report" during NHL games, and with two out of the first three games of the Stanley Cup Final going into overtime, the QSR "got high-level product placement across two intermission reports," according to Michael McCarthy of AD AGE. Subway CMO Tony Pace called the deal a "calculated risk," as the QSR only receives exposure when games go into OT. But McCarthy noted this is the third year in a row Subway has "agreed to sponsor the intermission report" on NBC and NBCSN. Pace is "considering a fourth year next season if the price is right." There have "already been 25 overtime games" during the '14 Stanley Cup Playoffs, which is "just three short of the record 28" set in '93. Viewers during this year's playoffs "have seen the Subway logo in front of and behind NBC hockey announcers Mike Milbury, Keith Jones, Liam McHugh, Bill Patrick and Jeremy Roenick during sponsored intermission reports." Subway also stuck its name and logo "on digital scoreboards, banners and bumpers going in and out of commercial break." Meanwhile, Subway has "been airing traditional TV spots" during Stanley Cup Playoffs telecasts. Pace: "Even if there had been no overtimes in the Stanley Cup Final, we had gotten so many of these before the Stanley Cup Final, that we were well ahead in terms of the calculations you make" (ADAGE.com, 6/10). See the full sponsorship portfolio for Subway at Resource Guide LIVE.
Marketing and Sponsorship
The WTA New Haven Open has a "new lead sponsor and a new name," as Hartford-based United Technologies has "agreed to a two-year commitment to the tournament that will be called the Connecticut Open presented by United Technologies," according to Lori Riley of the HARTFORD COURANT. Tournament Dir Anne Worcester said that the state "helped bring UTC -- which has sponsored other sports events such as the Hartford Marathon and Special Olympics -- and tournament officials together in December." The event has "had five 'cornerstone' sponsors -- Aetna, First Niagara, Yale, Yale New Haven Health and American Express -- but it hasn't had a title sponsor" since Pilot Pen left in '10. Those five sponsors have "all been renewed for various lengths of time and will be back" (HARTFORD COURANT, 6/11). In New Haven, Chip Malafronte writes in the "wake of the New Haven Open’s near-death experience last fall, the tournament, rescued from relocation at the 11th hour by the state of Connecticut, finds itself on solid financial ground." Though terms of the contract with UTC were not disclosed, the investment "is believed to be in the vicinity of seven figures annually." However, it will "still be a yearly grind." Attendance, which "thrived in the first six years of the women’s event thanks to superstars like Venus Williams and Monica Seles, is declining." While average crowds "topped 6,000 per session in the glory years of 1999-2004, only 3,993 came for the women’s final last year" (NEW HAVEN REGISTER, 6/11). In Connecticut, Roger Cleaveland notes the last year of the combined ATP/WTA event drew 76,722 in '10, a "far cry from the tournament high of 100,375 fans" in '05. By comparison, the attendance figures the last three years -- 45,796 ('13), 53,004 ('12), 55,554 ('11) -- "were discouraging" (Waterbury REPUBLICAN-AMERICAN, 6/11).
BUILDING A SOLID FOUNDATION: In New Haven, Chris Hunn notes the state of Connecticut in October "stepped in and bought the tournament sanction from the USTA for $618,000, preventing the event from moving to Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and it has since become a 501c3 organization." Adding to its "new look this summer, the tournament will feature a Legends exhibition event for the first time." Retired tennis players James Blake, Jim Courier and Andy Roddick will participate (NEW HAVEN REGISTER, 6/11). Worcester said, "The ideal title sponsor is a global company headquartered in Connecticut. A global company can take advantage of television, but also (wants) tickets and hospitality for employees and executives and clients. And a local company wants to give back to local communities." She added that the tournament will be "using state bonding money for infrastructure improvements," and that officials will "look at some more-visible changes for next year" (CONNECTICUT POST, 6/11).
Sporting K.C. D Aurelien Collin’s high-end clothing line is being sold by the MLS club this season at Sporting Park, in the latest fashion-forward move by the franchise. Sporting K.C. VP/Stadium & Brand Revenue John Moncke said that this is the first time he can think of in MLS -- or any other league, for that matter -- that a team has picked up a player’s fashionwear to sell at its team shop. Collin co-founded his AC78 line just under a year ago with clothier Tom Paolini. When the company was formed, Moncke was already working with Collin at trying to form a partnership, but the deal did not come together until last month. Moncke did not want to try to sell high-end suits at a soccer game, so he waited until this season, when AC78 created more fan-friendly V-necks. Moncke said that he also wanted to bring in V-necks because they are a staple of Collin’s personal style, which he shows off frequently on social media. The shirts, which were specially made in the club’s colors, come in two different styles for both men and women and retail for $35. For its initial test order from AC78, the club bought an amount of shirts in the hundreds and sold about half of its inventory in the first game they were available. Collin was not in uniform for that match because he was injured, so he appeared at one of the retail locations during the game to drive sales. The club also offered an autographed player card from Collin for everyone who bought an AC78 item.
SARTORIAL FOCUS: Moncke decided to forego an attempt to make AC78 a licensee because the company would have to become a leaguewide licensee, per MLS rules. But he was actually more interested in selling the apparel without Sporting K.C. or MLS logos, as long as it was in team colors. Moncke: “This wasn’t a situation where just because Aurelien had a line, we said, ‘We’re going to support it no matter what.’ Because there are a lot of guys who kind of have a line. The big thing is Aurelien’s line is fashion driven, and for us, our retail business is all about fashion. So these two things came together and fit perfectly.” The AC78 line has already boosted the club’s apparel sales to women. Moncke said, “A line like AC78 really props up the women’s business because it’s so fashion driven. So I think we saw good numbers for men, but particularly good numbers around the women’s business.” The specially made V-necks are only available at Sporting Park, but will eventually be sold on the team's website.
SALES OVERALL: Moncke said he is pleased with Sporting K.C.’s merchandise sales this season. After selling over 10,000 third jerseys last year, he said the club expects to sell two to three times that amount this year for its new striped secondary jersey. Sporting K.C. currently ranks second in MLS merchandise sales this season, behind the Sounders.
GOLF DIGEST fashion writer Marty Hackel reviews several golfers' outfits for this week's U.S. Open, and notes defending champ Justin Rose tomorrow will wear a "limited-edition Ashworth shirt commemorating his win" at last year's Open. The four shirts Rose will wear during the event "speak to what Ashworth is all about." Hackel: "Classic, no tricks, no frills." Billy Horschel made headlines for his Ralph Lauren octopus pants during last year's final round, but has "actually gone pretty conservative" for this year's final round with horizontal stripes. However, his outfits "still show a ton of style." Meanwhile, Hackel likes three of Dustin Johnson's four adidas outfits, but he is disappointed the apparel company "didn't stick with blue on Saturday" (GOLF DIGEST STIX, 6/11 issue).
DAY MAN: Spend management solutions firm Concur has signed golfer Jason Day to a multiyear sponsorship beginning this week at the U.S. Open at Pinehurst. The Concur logo will be displayed on Day's shirt, and the agreement also will include partner and community engagement initiatives (Concur). Day's "other endorsement deals include Lexus on the sleeve, NetJets on the collar, and TaylorMade on the hat." He also has an adidas apparel deal (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 6/9 issue).
LOCAL FLAVOR: In Raleigh, Corinne Jurney reports three North Carolina-based companies -- Devant Sports Towels, Peter Millar and Stitch -- will be "selling licensed souvenirs, golf equipment and clothes this week" at Pinehurst. Stitch, which is at the U.S. Open for the second straight year, makes "customizable head and putter covers." It will have the only covers on sale "in the Open merchandise pavilion." Peter Millar will sell its "women's line, which includes yoga pants," for the first time in addition to men's "performance boxer shorts" and golf shirts (Raleigh NEWS & OBSERVER, 6/11).
GOING GLOBAL: Perry Ellis Int'l has signed a licensing agreement with Creas Fashions granting the company rights under the Ben Hogan brand in South Korea for men's and women's golf apparel, hosiery and golf accessories. Creas will distribute product throughout the country in department stores, golf specialty stores and through home shopping (Perry Ellis).