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Volume 24 No. 159

Marketing and Sponsorship

Roc Nation Sports yesterday informed Nike that Thunder F Kevin Durant "has a deal on the table with Under Armour" worth between $265-285M over 10 years, according to sources cited by Darren Rovell of The deal includes UA stock and "other incentives, such [as] a community center built in his mother's name." Nike will "have the right to match, which is a condition of Durant's current contract with the brand." Sources said that Nike's last offer "would have given Durant a base and a minimum royalty guarantee that would equal no less" than $20M a year. If UA "wins the services of Durant, it would be the largest sponsorship deal the company has ever committed to." Durant's shoe deal free agency to UA "turned out to be a bigger deal because of the interest expressed" by Founder, Chair & CEO Kevin Plank. Sources said that Plank felt Durant could "accomplish two major goals: growing its small shoe business and improving its international presence that has been lagging behind its North American sales growth." Making things "more appealing" was the fact that UA is a Baltimore-based company, just 36 miles northeast of Durant's hometown of Seat Pleasant, Md. (, 8/20). ESPN’s Stephan A. Smith said Durant deserves such a large deal "because you don’t have to worry about him misrepresenting the game." Smith added, "You don’t have to worry about him not wanting to play the game. You don’t have to worry about his philanthropy, which obviously is going to put him a position to do a lot of great things. I like the kind of message a deal like this sends.” ESPN's Skip Bayless: “It is unbelievable what is happening to this guy. He hasn’t won big yet, but they are betting on a lot of big things happening for Kevin Durant” (“First Take,” ESPN2, 8/21). See the full endorsement portfolio for Kevin Durant at Resource Guide LIVE.

The Union and club jersey sponsor Bimbo Bakeries signed a five-year extension, "valued at more" than $11M, or about $2.3M per year, according to John George of the PHILADELPHIA BUSINESS JOURNAL. The two sides "first signed a four-year sponsorship agreement" worth $12M in '11. Bimbo Bakeries USA Senior VP Vincent Melchiorre said that forming a partnership with the Union "has helped raise awareness about Bimbo itself." He added, "It helped people understand who we are, what we do and how to pronounce our name (Beembo)." The new, expanded partnership "includes Bimbo and the Union working together on grass-roots youth soccer tournaments that will take place in four or five" MLS markets including Philadelphia. Melchiorre said that going forward, the company also will "look for ways to promote many of the brands Bimbo distributes, which include Stroehmann and Arnold bread products, Thomas’ English Muffins and Entenmann’s baked goods." The Union "added three new major marketing partners this season: Comcast Xfinity and SEPTA and Philadelphia Insurance Cos." Union CEO Nick Sakiewicz said that all three multiyear deals "were in the 'mid-six figure' per year" range. Among the other companies to renew or sign sponsorship deals with the Union this season "were Herr’s, Coca-Cola Co., Chipotle, Dave & Buster’s and Novo Nordisk." Union Exec VP & CRO Dave Rowan said that the club "renewed 19 of its 20 partnership deals up for renewal this year." He added that the "only one to drop out was MillerCoors" (, 8/20).

NOT SWAPPING BRANDS: Rowan said that Bimbo "opted to not extend its leaguewide sponsorship package." The prior four-year, $12M deal "was split between the Union" and MLS. The big question that many Union fans have "relates to the design of the logo on the jersey." The word "BIMBO" in bright red letters on a white background with blue trim "gets attention whether you're a soccer fan or not." Both the Union and Bimbo "have stressed repeatedly that the brand has has strong and positive name recognition throughout Latin America and the United States' Hispanic community." But the anti-Bimbo sentiment "remains strong in a portion of the Union's core fan base, and especially among women." Melchiorre: "There were never any discussions about (putting) anything but the Bimbo logo on the jersey. The Bimbo logo is the brand logo that we use on teams throughout the world. We're going to stay consistent with that." In regard to whether Bimbo might consider using one of its other brand names instead of the controversial logo, Melchiorre said that this "won't be happening either." This comes despite the fact that two of its brands, Stroehmann's and Friehofer's, "have deep roots in the Philadelphia region." The same sentiment "extended to swapping the international Bimbo logo for the Bimbo Bakeries USA logo, which takes inspiration from the American flag" (, 8/20).

Below is a chart for current jersey sponsors in MLS:

Crew Barbasol Red Bulls Red Bull
DC United Leidos Revolution United Healthcare
Dynamo BHP Billiton Sounders Xbox
FC Dallas AdvoCare Sporting KC Ivy Funds
Fire Quaker Oats Timbers Alaska Airlines
Galaxy Herbalife Toronto FC BMO
Impact BMO Union Bimbo
Rapids Ciao Telecom Whitecaps Bell Canada
Real Salt Lake LifeVantage    

Ohio State Univ. QB Braxton Miller's season-ending shoulder injury is "leaving some Buckeye-themed retailers sitting on thousands of dollars in inventory seemingly destined to sit on shelves for a long time -- maybe a year," according to Tim Feran of the COLUMBUS DISPATCH. Columbus-based retailer College Traditions Owner Kelly Dawes said, “People want the numbers that are on the field." She added that the store has an "inventory of more than 1,000 No. 5 jerseys." Given that they "sell for between $90 and $140 each, that single store could miss out on about $100,000 in sales if the merchandise doesn’t move," and they "can’t give back the jerseys to Nike." However, OSU "isn’t likely to feel the effects of a decline in jersey sales." OSU Senior Dir of Media & PR Gary Lewis said this unusual circumstance is likely “not significant in terms of percentages.” Feran notes the jerseys are "expected to be sold sooner or later." Dawes: “We’ll sit on them. Hopefully, they’ll redshirt him this year, and he’ll be back next year.” Dawes said that a "possible saving grace ... is that, 'because of NCAA rules, you can’t print names. They are No. 5 with no names'" (COLUMBUS DISPATCH, 8/21).

The Blue Jays are contesting Creighton Univ.'s "use of a new logo, saying the depiction of the school's 'Bluejay' too closely resembles" the logo of the MLB team, according to the AP. The Blue Jays "filed a notice of opposition this month with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, opposing the university's application for a trademark." Creighton's new logo debuted in September '13 (AP, 8/20). Omaha-based KETV-ABC's Jeremy Maskel noted although local graphic designer Adam Torpin "did not have anything to do with Creighton's logo development, he does understand sports logo design." Torpin, of Omaha-based Oxide Design, said, "There's a billion bulldog logos that are going to look identical, a billion tiger logos that are going to look identical. And really the problem here is that there's only two blue jays that are at that high-profile, so they want to be the only blue jays" (, 8/20).

Tennis player Maria Sharapova said she is "very happy" with sales of her Sugarpova candy brand. She said, "We're in over 26 different markets around the world with exclusive distribution deals, which is very unique after being on the market for only two years. We've still kept it very minimal and very unique, too, because when I started this, I wanted this to be ... something different that the market hasn't seen in the gummy world. And we've created that and it's created this type of reaction" ("Squawk on the Street," CNBC, 8/19). Meanwhile, SELF magazine's Alexandra Marshall notes Sharapova since '10 has "helped mastermind the Maria Sharapova Collection for Nike." Sharapova: "Designing for the mass market has really changed my thinking process and my on-court look. Even if I want to be the one pushing fashion on the court, today I want to do it in a way that a woman playing in a doubles league can wear, too" (SELF, 9/ '14 issue). She added, "I just love seeing the process. I love the creative aspect, the business, understanding why things work" (THE EDIT, 8/21 issue).

ALL ABOUT THE BEER: Heineken next week will bring back the Heineken House to the U.S. Open in N.Y. The house will include live screenings of the biggest matches, entertainment and other activities. Fans also will have a chance to compete in "Legend Setter," an interactive competition for patrons to participate in their own off-the-court challenges via a partnership with (Heineken). 

NOTES: Time Warner Cable on Monday announced that it will be the Official Wi-Fi Service Provider at the U.S. Open and will offer the service complimentary to all fans for the duration of the event. Time Warner Cable Studios will be featured at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. The TWC Studios have charging stations, a simulated control room feed of all televised match courts and an interactive area that features an umpire chair photo and video experience. A "test your swing" activation and other fan engagement elements also will be included (TWC)....Asics tomorrow will kick off its "Asics Serves NYC" campaign, featuring a number of consumer giveaways across N.Y., delivered by nearly 100 Asics ballpersons (Asics).

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