Rogers Communications has begun "advertising itself as Canada’s new hockey broadcaster," using Eugenie Bouchard’s "historic run at the Wimbledon title (broadcast on rival network TSN) as an opportunity to run new ads during Sportsnet news shows," according to Susan Krashinsky of the GLOBE & MAIL. Rogers’ 12-year, C$5.2B deal for NHL broadcast and multimedia rights went into effect on July 1. Rogers is "latching on to any event that brings Canadian sports fans together to remind them who will soon be bringing them their hockey." The company is "embarking on one of the biggest years of marketing spending yet for its Sportsnet channel." The campaign for the NHL on Sportsnet "encompasses three commercials that will air mostly on Rogers-owned television stations, along with ads in its print magazines and digital properties." The marketing plan has been "shaped by a major research project that Rogers and the NHL began in February, asking Canadians to be 'fan advisers.'" The campaign "marks a shift in Sportsnet’s marketing." In the past, "all advertising for the sports channels was produced" by Rogers’ in-house advertising team, but "for the NHL campaign, that team collaborated with the company’s ad agency, Publicis" (GLOBE & MAIL, 7/7).
Marketing and Sponsorship
Marketing experts said that tennis player Eugenie Bouchard's loss to Petra Kvitova on Saturday in the Wimbledon women's final "may have cost her millions in sponsorship income," as she would have "landed numerous seven-figure deals had she won," according to Ethan Lou of the CP. York Univ. sports marketing professor Vijay Setlur said that reaching the final "only showed the 20-year-old has potential, and that is not enough." Setlur: "Once that potential is realized, then more brands will present offers or partnerships because you're dealing now with an athlete that's proven." Marketing firm Cosmos Sports President Cary Kaplan said that Bouchard will "need a championship to 'catapult' her earnings potential, but predicted her future is bright" (CP, 7/6). But the CBC's Pete Evans wrote the "door is very much open for a new, marketable female tennis pro" because there is "no clear hierarchy in women's tennis at the moment." Maria Sharapova is "currently the highest-paid female athlete on earth," winning $2.4M in prize money this season, but also "raking in" $22M worth of endorsements every year. Toronto-based S&E Sponsorship Group President Brian Cooper said that there is "no reason Bouchard can't beat that." Cooper: "A pretty face, or a feel-good Canadian story doesn't have the sustainability. If she can handle the winning side of things, she can absolutely be the highest-paid female athlete in the world" (CBC.ca, 7/4).
CONTRACT YEAR: BLOOMBERG NEWS' Danielle Rossingh reported IMG is "trying to sign" Bouchard, whose management contract with Lagardere Unlimited "expires this year." IMG Global Head of Tennis Fernando Soler said, "We would love to represent Eugenie Bouchard. We’ve stressed our interest to sign her. We’ve been in touch with her." He added Bouchard, the first Canadian to reach a major singles final on either the men's or women's side, "has all the elements to succeed." Lagardere VP/Tennis Sam Duvall, who currently reps Bouchard, said that they are "in talks to renew" (BLOOMBERG.com, 7/4).
ALL-IN-ONE: Generate Sponsorship co-Founder Rupert Pratt discussed Wimbledon’s appeal to sponsors, noting "from a commercial perspective it's got everything: Global appeal, global TV audiences, prestige, heritage." He noted companies "pay more for ultimately less because it's not cluttered, it creates an exclusive environment and sponsors then compete to become part of that environment. In some ways it's more appealing, but then of course sponsors have to work harder to leverage that association” (TELEGRAPH.co.uk, 7/4).
The co-Owners of Josh Wise's No. 98 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series car said that the name of a Florida Democratic gubernatorial contender was removed from the vehicle Friday "after the Republican Party of Florida filed a complaint earlier
in the week alleging the sponsorship broke campaign finance laws," according to Swisher & Graham of the Daytona Beach NEWS-JOURNAL. Car co-Owner Phil Parsons, a former NASCAR driver, said that he took Charlie Crist's "name off the
vehicle" before yesterday's Coke Zero 400 at Daytona Int'l Speedway after talking with co-Owner Mike Curb, who "is a supporter" of Florida Republican Gov. Rick Scott. Parsons said, "Mike is a huge supporter and partner of ours on this team and Mike just wasn't comfortable with that on the car, so in respect to Mike we decided to take it off." Crist's name "appeared in six spots and the phrase 'Charlie Crist for Florida' was featured across the hood before it was removed." Instead, Curb, a "prominent music producer," said that he "reached an agreement with Parsons to make his company Curb Records the car's primary sponsor." The car in yesterday's race featured decals "promoting Curb Records' recording artist Lee Brice." The car also honored the 30th anniversary of Richard Petty's 200th win (Daytona Beach NEWS-JOURNAL, 7/4). Brice said, "Mike is a really huge race fan and supporter. I’ve had the honor of my face being on cars a couple of times. I got the hood on Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s car once. I capture those times as much as I can" (FLORIDA TIMES-UNION, 7/6).
ADWEEK's Lauren Johnson noted NASCAR driver and Coca-Cola spokesperson Danica Patrick for yesterday's Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 was touting the soda "through digital ads that target sports fans." NASCAR.com and Yahoo.com/NASCAR featured "homepage takeovers" on Saturday. In addition, Turner Sports "built a custom rich media ad for Coke -- dubbed a twig ad -- that lets users customize and send a virtual bottle straight from the unit." Mobile ads and pre-roll video from a TV spot debuting this weekend were "planned parts of the marketing mix" (ADWEEK.com, 7/3). Patrick's eighth-place finish was her second-best Sprint Cup performance since she moved to NASCAR's highest level (THE DAILY).
SEMINOLE WIND: In Jacksonville, Garry Smits wrote Brian Vickers is the "new favorite driver of Florida State football fans -- even those who had a long allegiance to other Sprint Cup stars," as his No. 55 featured a FSU paint scheme for yesterday's Coke Zero 400. The car was a "popular stop" for FSU fans. Michael Waltrip Racing "tried to work out an appearance by FSU coach Jimbo Fisher with the car and the crew but Fisher was unable to make it." Defensive coordinator Charles Kelly was "able to be at the track before the race." Vickers also "wore an FSU-themed driver’s suit and members of his crew had FSU hats with Vickers’ No. 55 on them" (FLORIDA TIMES-UNION, 7/6).
MARKET WATCH: NASCAR VP/Licensing & Consumer Products Blake Davidson said of drivers' influence in online market sales, "A driver’s on-track performance has a significant impact on merchandise sales, especially if that driver is winning. New or special paint schemes will often drive fan interest and therefore spike sales. When Hendrick Motorsports, through a partnership with DC Comics, featured Superman on the hood of Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s No. 88 Chevrolet earlier this season, there was immediate demand for the merchandise. Fans were already buying the die-cast replica of Brian Vickers’ Florida State car before the paint scheme’s debut" (NEWS-JOURNALONLINE.com, 7/6).
In N.Y., Zach Schonbrun wrote Connecticut-based Tucci Lumber Founder & Owner Pete Tucci has built the company into "a supplier for more than 150 major league hitters, thus becoming one of the rising number of homespun bat producers who have begun to gain traction in an industry long identified with only one name: Louisville Slugger." Thirty-eight companies have "been approved as bat manufacturers" this season for MLB, up from 32 in '13 and 29 in '05. Fifteen "were started within the last 10 years," and six "have emerged" since '10. Tucci's output is "up to 140 maple and ash bats per day, which equated to about $630,000 in sales last year" (N.Y. TIMES, 7/6).
A TRICK UP HIS SLEEVE? During the first set of the Roger Federer-Milos Raonic Wimbledon semifinal match, ESPN's Chris Fowler noted Raonic was wearing a white sleeve on his right arm under his shirt. Fowler said Raonic began wearing the sleeve, which "conforms with the Wimbledon dress code," after taking some "medication for a rash on that arm" during a tournament at Indian Wells earlier this year. Fowler said, "There's no reason to wear it now, other than he says it feels good or maybe superstition." ESPN's John McEnroe added, "Maybe he's got an endorsement deal" ("Wimbledon," ESPN, 7/4).
HIS OWN BOSS: REUTERS' Alan Baldwin reported fashion brand Hugo Boss is "set to end its association" with the McLaren F1 team -- "one of the longest running partnerships in sport" -- to link up with the Mercedes F1 team next year. The partnership dates back to '81. While Boss is not a title sponsor or major source of funding, the brand "has been a big part of McLaren's identity through fashion shoots and as a provider of team apparel" (REUTERS, 7/6).
UNITED STAKES: The BBC's Mike Keegan reported adidas, Nike and Warrior "remain in talks" with EPL club Manchester United "over the right to take over" as its official kit supplier when the existing agreement with Nike expires next season. A figure of US$1B over 10 years "has been discussed" (BBC.com, 7/3).