Marketing and Sponsorship
THE BRADY BUNCH: In Baltimore, Lorraine Mirabella notes two days after Nike outbid it for Thunder F Kevin Durant, Under Armour signed Brazilian supermodel Gisele Bundchen "to represent the brand.” The signing of Bundchen, who is married to a fellow Under Armour endorser in Brady, “reflects the growing importance of the Baltimore sports apparel maker’s sales to women.” Marketing experts “called it a smart move to expand sales to women seeking both performance and style.” UA, which is “in the midst of its biggest-ever campaign targeting women,” yesterday announced the signing by “posting a 30-second teaser video on YouTube.” She will join UA’s “I Will What I Want” campaign. Experts say that Bundchen “possesses not only international celebrity status but crossover appeal in the worlds of fashion and fitness.” She joins skier Lindsey Vonn, tennis player Sloane Stephens, U.S. women’s national soccer team F Kelley O’Hara and surfer Brianna Cope in the female-focused campaign. Baltimore-based TBC Advertising President Howe Burch said that it is “unclear whether it was coincidental that the Bundchen announcement came so soon after Durant’s decision to stay with Nike, but it could help stoke the competition” (Baltimore SUN, 9/3). Turkel said much as Brady does with Ugg, Bundchen "gives women permission to wear this brand." Turkel: "More importantly, Under Armour saw what Lululemon was doing -- getting $90 for a pair of stretch-nothing made out of Lycra -- so it would make perfect sense. They already have the technology, they already have the distribution chain -- all they have to do is get women to want to come in and buy their products" ("Money with Melissa Francis," Fox Business, 9/2).
Nike's decision to match the 10-year deal reported to be worth at least $265M that Under Armour had offered Thunder F Kevin Durant is an "utterly terrible financial move," but something that is "perfectly logical" at the same time, according to James Briggs of the BALTIMORE BUSINESS JOURNAL. Nike will have to retail around $420M annually "worth of Durant's products to recoup its investment in him." SportsOneSource analyst Matt Powell indicated that Nike last year sold $175M worth of Durant gear and is "on pace to increase to about $260 million this year." Briggs notes that shows Nike "almost certainly is going to lose money on the Durant deal," but the company has been "losing money on Durant for seven years." The move to keep Durant "has nothing to do with profit and almost everything to do with blocking Under Armour." Durant would have given UA "credibility on the basketball court" and made it a "legitimate brand" in the sport. He could have showed kids "it's cool to wear Under Armour on the court and convinced other NBA players to join him and take a chance" on the company (BIZJOURNALS.com, 9/3). NBCSN's Dave Briggs said UA coveted Durant because it "needed to land a big name to really make a dent in the athletic shoe business." But CNBC's Scott Wapner said, "I just wonder if Under Armour, in some respects, wins by losing. That's a lot of money." Briggs said revenues from Durant's shoe "could easily exceed" $200M per year, and if the Thunder "can win a title, it doesn’t look like such a terrible deal." Briggs noted Nike did not want "that product to go away" if Durant signed with UA. He said, "They wanted to say, 'We own the best basketball players in the business and always have going back to Jordan.' … They didn’t want to give away owning that industry" ("Fast Money Halftime Report," CNBC, 9/2).
FACE THE NATION: TIME's Jacob Davidson noted if Durant signed with UA, he "wouldn’t just get a fat paycheck -- he would have become the virtual face of the company." Warriors G Stephen Curry has UA's "only major basketball endorsement," and while he is an All-Star, he "doesn’t have the star power of Durant." Davidson: "Being the face of a brand sounds nice, it would also put a lot of pressure on Durant to carry the Under Armour torch. Joining Nike, on the other hand, means being associated with the company’s other big names: Jordan, James, and Kobe. With colleagues like those, Durant doesn’t have to worry about carrying all of the load" (TIME.com, 9/2).
The PGA of America this morning named Ralph Lauren an official partner and outfitter of the organization through '20. The licensing agreement designates Ralph Lauren as the official partner and official outfitter of the PGA Championship, the official outfitter of Ryder Cups conducted in the U.S. during that period, and the official outfitter of every U.S. Ryder Cup team through '20. Ralph Lauren in January announced that it will outfit the U.S. during this year's Ryder Cup (PGA of America). USA TODAY notes polos in "white and navy will feature a band of 12 stars at the shoulder to represent the importance of each team member," while the "United We Stand" are "embroidered into the shirts" (USATODAY.com, 9/3). GOLF DIGEST's Marty Hackel said the Friday outfit is "very conservative" and is a "good choice for the first day because it won't draw a lot of attention." The Saturday outfit is "by far the best of the lot," as the green and navy tartan pants are "really going to work really well in Scotland." The crowd "will love" the red pants the U.S. will wear Sunday, and the "red accent on the left sleeve makes the whole outfit look very modern." Hackel: "The big bold stripes and bright colors are going to look fabulous on television" (GOLFDIGEST.com, 9/3). PGA of America CEO Pete Bevacqua said, "It’s such a wonderful, classic design, but yet progressive, forward-thinking performance wear." He said the feedback from the players so far has been "terrific." Bevacqua: "What’s been such a pleasure is watching Captain (Tom) Watson work with the Ralph Lauren team … and to see his ideas and his vision come to life and the process that’s gone on really for the better part of a year. It’s been fun to sit back and to watch it, to see where the uniforms have come, just beautiful and practical." The uniforms for the first time will be available for public purchase ("Morning Drive," Golf Channel, 9/3).
The PGA Tour BMW Championship is "not only the carmaker's premier sponsorship event in professional golf but also a chance for it to show off its brand," according to David Migoya of the DENVER POST. The tournament's opening day tomorrow at Cherry Hills Country Club near Denver "will be free to any BMW owner who shows the famed logoed key fob at the main entrance." BMW owners also can "park for free in an exclusive lot." In addition to the "better-known on-course perks BMW owners have come to appreciate each year -- an owner's pavilion to view the 7th, 8th and 14th holes -- and those to the PGA players -- including more than 200 free-use 700-series and X5 vehicles -- the company is ensuring that others feel the generosity." Tournament partner the Evans Scholar Foundation has received more than $16M "since BMW began its sponsorship" in '07, and the automaker "kicks in $100,000 toward a four-year Evans scholarship" should a player make a hole-in-one. Along with the automaker's "latest products on display, there will be a re-creation of the first hole's green for fans to try a hand at putting at the BMW Experience near the main entrance." Any player who makes a hole-in-one at the 12th or 15th hole also "will earn a new BMW -- an M4 coupe." BMW of North America Senior Experiential Marketing Specialist Tim Rittenhouse said that the BMW Championship "was chosen tournament of the year" on the PGA Tour three times in the last seven years, the last in '13 (DENVER POST, 9/3).
Upper Deck owns the "exclusive rights to sell authenticated memorabilia associated" with golfer Rory McIlroy, and is now selling for $19,999.99 the "autographed pants and shirt the young Irishman wore during the final round" of his '12 PGA Championship victory, according to Tod Leonard of the SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE. Upper Deck Brand Manager Gabriel Garcia said, "It's really hard sometimes to talk about those prices and those items, because it's so mind-boggling." McIlroy’s clothes from his wins at this year's British Open and PGA "have not gone on the market yet, but Upper Deck is accepting pre-orders on non-tournament worn, limited-edition autograph Nike shirts for $950, signed hats ($600), signed collages commemorating the major wins ($500) and autographed Open Championship flags ($600)." In the secondary sales market, the prices for McIlroy memorabilia are "running at an all-time high." Leonard: "Credit Upper Deck for jumping on the Rory train fairly early, signing him in 2012 after his first two major wins" (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 9/3).
NFL trading card licensee Panini is launching a digital campaign on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter including the latest in its #WhoDoYouCollect campaign. Given the impact of rookies on the trading card business, the campaign features several key first-year players, including Texans DE Jadeveon Clowney, Jaguars QB Blake Bortles, Buccaneers WR Mike Evans, Vikings QB Teddy Bridgewater, Bills WR Sammy Watkins and Browns QB Johnny Manziel. The ads will launch with 15-second individual-player video vignettes across the social media platforms before the launch of the Panini NFL spot on YouTube and a national TV campaign on Disney XD during the NFL season. There also will be a print campaign in trading card media.
Univ. of Hawaii AD Ben Jay said that the school's football team "will likely extend its apparel and equipment contract with Under Armour after it expires" in '16. Jay wrote in a Twitter message, "UA has been a good partner for us. We look forward to talking to them about our relationship and support for our teams." In Honolulu, Matt Tuohy noted UH "currently has an eight-year agreement with Under Armour that brings in about $410,000 this year for the men’s football team and about $14,000 for the women’s softball team" (BIZJOURNALS.com, 9/2).
PORTLANDIA: In Oregon, Allan Brettman notes the Univ. of Portland has "agreed on an eight-year extension with Nike to be the university's athletic footwear and athletic apparel supplier" through the '21-22 school year. The two parties signed their "first deal" in '02. Nike is "now working on a brand refresh that will affect the school's 15 varsity sports." The rebranding "is expected to be unveiled at the Oct. 24 women's soccer match" (Portland OREGONIAN, 9/3).
GOLF GARB: Nautica yesterday announced that it will be extending its two-year marketing partnership with golfer Cameron Tringale for an additional two years. Tringale as part of the agreement will continue to wear Nautica apparel on course, including performance golf shirts and pants, as well as complementary sweaters, belts and outerwear. He will be featured in Nautica print advertising campaigns and in-store advertising (Nautica).
MAINE SQUEEZE: In Bangor, Pete Warner notes Maine Savings Federal Credit Union announced a "gift of at least $50,000" to the Univ. of Maine athletics department. As part of MSFCU's five-year agreement with the school, each transaction using the credit union’s new Black Bear Debit Card "will result in a donation to UMaine’s Black Bear Fund." The credit union "has been a corporate sponsor of UMaine athletics for several years" (BANGOR DAILY NEWS, 9/3).