The Home Depot is planning to leave NASCAR "after its contract with Joe Gibbs Racing ends this season," according to sources cited by Tripp Mickle of SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL. Sources said that JGR is in talks with Dollar General about “filling the void left by Home Depot." Dollar General, which is already the “primary sponsor for 27 races” on Matt Kenseth’s No. 20 Sprint Cup entry, is “expected to sign on as the primary sponsor of the No. 20 car for 30-plus races” in ‘15. The Home Depot has been a primary NASCAR sponsor since ’99, and its exit comes after “several years of reductions in its marketing commitment to NASCAR.” The company in ‘12 “declined to renew its title sponsorship of Speed’s NASCAR program ‘Race Day presented by The Home Depot.’” The end of that TV deal “coincided with a 12-race reduction in Home Depot’s sponsorship of the No. 20 car, after the company had sponsored all 36 races for a decade.” The Home Depot followed that with a “five-race reduction last year and a 10-race reduction this year.” It then “shifted its Home Depot logo off the car and replaced it with the logo of its tool company, Husky” (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 6/23 issue). See the complete listing of sponsors and contacts for Home Depot at Resource Guide LIVE.
CANDY CRUSH: FOXSPORTS.com's Tom Jensen reported JGR President J.D. Gibbs prior to Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Toyota/Save Mart 350 "confirmed that contrary to recent rumors, sponsor M&M's will remain with Kyle Busch in the No. 18 JGR Toyota next year." While Gibbs did not confirm Carl Edwards would "leave Roush Fenway Racing to join JGR, he said this year represents a better chance to expand to four cars than in prior years" (FOXSPORTS.com, 6/22).
Caroline Wozniacki during her first-round Wimbledon match against Shahar Peer today debuted the new "barricade FW14 collection" from adidas by Stella McCartney, according to Scarlett Russell of the London DAILY MAIL. Fellow competitors Maria Kirilenko and Andrea Petkovic "also will wear the stylish attire" on the court during the tournament. The collection "features sports bras, shorts and classic one-piece dress, t-shirt and vest." Accessories include "an on-court tennis bag and visor." It all comes "in impeccably crisp white -- save for the flash of gold on the side of the trainers." Wozniacki also will "step out on court in Stella McCartney's limited edition Bomber Jacket." Kirilenko and Petkovic will "both wear the 'Skort' ... for their matches." Kirilenko will "pair hers with the high-performance t-shirts" while Petkovic will "showcase the sleeveless collared tank, which features race-back straps" (DAILYMAIL.co.uk, 6/22).
WHITE WASH: In London, Matthew Dunn notes Maria-Teresa Torro-Flor prior to her first-round loss to Venus Williams yesterday came close to "having to root through Wimbledon's own collection of all-white clothing after falling foul of the fashion police." Just before she hit the court, officials "decided her attire failed to meet stringent new guidelines" introduced this year. Her replacement outfit also "had banding that came dangerously close to the All England Club's strict 10mm maximum." A spokesperson said that the All-England Club "maintains an assortment of items of clothing for loan if players are unable to meet the requirements" (EXPRESS.co.uk, 6/24). Wimbledon spokesperson Jon Friend said that apparel guidelines "specifying white clothing and undergarments, with only a thin band of color on the undergarment or accessories like headbands, was in force last year." But REUTERS' Michael Roddy noted that "did not stop women players from showing up in undergarments that clearly were not white." Friend said that anyone "wearing clothing that breached the guidelines would be asked to change before going on court" (REUTERS, 6/23).
MARKETING DAILY's Tanya Gazdik Irwin reported the FIFA Man Of The Match, presented by Budweiser, is "seeing a record turnout of fan voting across the world with multiple games already exceeding the total vote count" from the '10 FIFA World Cup final. Through the first 14 games of this year’s tournament, cumulative voting "has already surpassed more than 1 million total fan votes." Budweiser "is giving a few select fans from around the world who embody the selfless spirit of the 'Rise As One' campaign and have given back to the game ... a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to present the FIFA Man Of The Match, presented by Budweiser, trophy to select winners" (MEDIAPOST.com, 6/22).
OUT OF THE FRYING PAN: AD AGE's Ken Wheaton wrote McDonald's World Cup ad showing various people "doing impossible tricks with soccer balls" is a "hit with the media, a hit with soccer fans, a hit with people on Facebook, some of whom might not even know what the World Cup is." The ad promotes McDonald's "augmented-reality 'Gol!' game released as part of its official World Cup sponsorship." McDonald's "used a viral video to market an addicting mobile game that requires the actual purchase of an order of fries" (ADAGE.com, 6/23).
CALLING AN AUDI-BLE: FOXSPORTS.com's Branden Williams noted Audi has joined the World Cup festivities by "building a giant LED soccer scoreboard that is illuminated by the headlights of 28 Audi A8 sedans." The 40-foot-tall structure in Brooklyn is "comprised of 45 shipping containers with the 'digital clusters' being made up entirely of LED headlights on Audi's flagship sedan." The scoreboard "kicked off with Team USA's victory over Ghana last Monday and will showcase the scores of every soccer match through July 14" (FOXSPORTS.com, 6/22).
SLOW YOUR ROLL: Brands were not as engaged on social media during Sunday's U.S.-Portugal match as they were during the U.S.-Ghana match earlier in the tournament, according to data from Atlanta-based CSE. There were 3,107 brand-related tweets during U.S-Portugal, down 22% from the 3,962 tweets during U.S.-Ghana (CSE).
Tech blog 9TO5MAC.com's Mark Gurman cited a source as saying that Apple is working with Lakers G Kobe Bryant, NHL Kings RW Dustin Brown and "a few other star athletes," including a Red Sox player, "in order to test the upcoming 'iWatch’s' fitness capabilities in intense training environments." The source said that the athletes have "signed non-disclosure-agreements regarding the existence of the upcoming Apple wearable device." Bryant was "spotted at Apple’s campus last month meeting" with Apple Senior VP/ Design Jony Ive (9TO5MAC.com, 6/20).
LION EYES: In Houston, Craig Hlavaty noted rapper Snoop Dogg last Friday "sent football players at Texas A&M a few pairs of new football cleats that he helped design." adidas officials said that the Adizero 5-Star Snoop Lion cleats, which feature "a ferocious lion on the side, don't officially hit store shelves" in L.A. until June 27. The company indicated that this is the "first time a celebrity has designed cleats for them" (CHRON.com, 6/23).
TRIPLE THREAT: In Calgary, Scott Fisher noted CFL Stampeders RB Jon Cornish hauled in "a trio of balls" from RedBlacks QB Henry Burris, BC Lions QB Travis Lulay and Eskimos QB Mike Reilly while filming a Reebok commercial in April. Many have "questioned whether the footage is real or an editing trick." Cornish "insists there was no magic involved." He said, "We put a lot of work into that. It took 25 shoots, but it's real" (CALGARY SUN, 6/23).