The Cavaliers and Goodyear this afternoon will formally announce their jersey patch partnership beginning with the '17-18 season, and the agreement also will involve Turner Sports, which has been hired by the Cavs to help “amplify the deal nationally," according to a source. Turner’s in-house agency Ignite Sports will create custom Goodyear-branded content to appear on TNT NBA coverage and provide media services for the Cavs. It is the first such deal for Turner’s Ignite Sports, which is looking to align itself with other NBA jersey patch deals (John Lombardo, Staff Writer). In Cleveland, Joe Vardon notes the Cavs-Goodyear pairing, which was first reported in February, "makes sense," as Cavaliers F LeBron James is "Akron's favorite son, and Goodyear is the city's cornerstone company" (CLEVELAND.com, 5/15). Financial terms of the deal were not available, but in Cleveland, Kevin Kleps notes the Cavs are now the "sixth NBA team to announce a jersey patch sponsorship." The "previous five were all reportedly worth at least $4 million per season" (CRAINSCLEVELAND.com, 5/15). ESPN.com's Darren Rovell notes Goodyear is "not the official tire of the NBA (that designation belongs to Kumho), but that category was not protected in this case." Goodyear's most high-profile sponsorships include the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic, the College Football Playoff and the Pro Football HOF (ESPN.com, 5/15).
Swatch Group-owned watchmaker Omega has extended its global Olympic sponsorship through '32, becoming the first of 13 IOC TOP sponsors to extend beyond '28. Specific terms were not disclosed, but the 12-year extension is Omega's first deal since the IOC repriced TOP deals in the ballpark of $200M per quadrennial in '14 -- double the prior going rate of $100M per four years. Omega's prior contract, signed in '09, had been due to expire in '20. "This is consistent with our pricing policy,” said IOC Managing Dir of TV & Marketing Services Timo Lumme. The deal was negotiated directly by Swatch Group and the IOC. Lumme added he expects Omega to sign an additional deal to become a founding partner of the startup Olympic Channel, joining Toyota, Bridgestone and Alibaba Group as backers of the IOC's OTT platform. NBC and the USOC will launch a linear Olympic Channel later this year in the U.S. Omega has been the official timekeeper of 27 Olympic Games in a relationship that dates to 1932, and has enjoyed worldwide category exclusivity since '02. It is one of the few Olympic brands, along with Panasonic and certain equipment and apparel manufacturers, to be allowed to show its branding at Olympic competition venues. Swatch Group CEO Nick Hayek: "We are happy and proud to continue this tradition until 2032, which will mark one hundred years of partnership between Omega and the Olympics.”
INSURANCE PLAN: Omega is the latest in a series of especially long-term deals for the IOC, which is more than ever before seeking to ensure against rapid changes by locking in revenue for multiple cycles. NBC Sports and Brazil's TV Globo are the only other Olympic partners to sign through '32. Today's news leaves eight other TOP sponsors in their final quadrennial: Atos, Coca-Cola, Dow, GE, McDonald’s, Procter & Gamble, Samsung and Visa. Omega and the IOC have been negotiating since late '14, Lumme said, carefully working through the vast tech changes likely to come to both timing and timekeeping and the business of the Olympics themselves. The parties also redrew their original agreement from scratch, combining prior contracts that dealt with the provision of timekeeping services and the marketing rights and subsequent amendments into a single, new document. “We also have to take into account that we don’t necessarily know the nature of their business and the type of services we’ll need, for example, in 2028,” Lumme said. “The world is changing rapidly. There was a long lead time to discuss and finalize the deal." Omega declined to say whether it used any third party advisors.
NASCAR driver Carl Long was "forced to strip the logo of a Colorado-based marijuana vaping company from his car Friday" ahead of Saturday's Monster Energy Cup Series race after the governing body "said it violated rules governing sponsorship and paint schemes," according to the AP. The logo for Veedverks adorned Long's No. 66 for tech inspection, but a NASCAR spokesperson said that it was "never vetted and approved" for the Go Bowling 400 at Kansas Speedway. When officials "learned of the hood logo, they had crew members remove it before the car went to the track" (AP, 5/12). In North Carolina, Jordan Anders wrote Long "drew more attention than ... he was hoping for." According to a lengthy post Saturday on his Facebook page, in his "haste to prepare his ride for Kansas, he didn’t do all the due diligence he should have." Long claimed that he submitted the sponsor for approval "thinking the company’s name was 'Veeoverks.'" NASCAR, unable to "find information on the company with the incorrect name, approved the sponsor when Long told them it was a company that sold 'vapes,' or electronic cigarette-type equipment, out of Denver." The problem arose when Long "got to Kansas with his car, emblazoned with the Veedverks logo on the hood." NASCAR "looked into the company again and found it does sell vape cartridges -- which contain THC, the main psychoactive in marijuana." Long claimed the "mix-up was just an oversight in the rush to get his Kansas effort funded." Long's last Cup race was in '09, when he was fined $200,000 for qualifying with an engine larger than the NASCAR limit, and Anders wrote for someone who has "spent eight years in the doghouse with NASCAR, it’s hard to believe Long would go to lengths to do something like this intentionally" (Greenville DAILY REFLECTOR, 5/14).
KEEP IT SIMPLE: In Daytona Beach, Ken Willis noted Cup Series teams once or twice a year used to "trot out a special paint scheme designed to hype a one-off sponsor or celebrate this or that." But now, the color patterns "seem to change from week to week, and for solid business reasons." Even the top NASCAR teams are "unable to lock down one major corporate sponsor for the entire 36-race season." Forcing these "optical calisthenics on longtime fans ... is detrimental to stock-car racing." NASCAR "totally reworked its constitution last year with the introduction of franchises, which are called charters." Willis: "Why not take the next step and assign one primary color pattern to each car?" (Daytona Beach NEWS-JOURNAL, 5/14).
UCLA AD Dan Guerrero said "never" twice in regards to whether former UCLA G Lonzo Ball's father, LaVar, "ever tried to interfere with UCLA's coaching staff or program," according to Tania Ganguli of the L.A. TIMES. Guerrero said the school "knew when we recruited Lonzo that there would be a lot of publicity around him." Guerrero: "When you recruit the student athlete, you also recruit the family. There's nothing that we've experienced that was of any surprise." While describing Lonzo's time at UCLA, Guerrero had only praise for the potential top pick in the June 22 NBA Draft, saying, "Terrific young man. Did not create one bit of problems for us" (L.A. TIMES, 5/13).
WORTH THE BAGGAGE? Suns GM Ryan McDonough, whose team will have a lottery pick in the Draft, said that LaVar Ball's comments "won't have an impact on the draft stock" of Lonzo. McDonough: "We evaluate the player first and foremost. Every player comes from a different family situation. It seems like LaVar has been extremely involved in Lonzo's career and obviously he's a polarizing guy. But on the court, in terms of development, it seems like it's helped Lonzo. As we try to weigh in all the factors, certainly having a parent who's very involved and cares a lot, we don't view that as a bad thing" (AZCENTRAL.com, 5/12). In N.Y., Marc Berman wrote that according to interviews with a dozen GMs, personnel directors and scouts, LaVar Ball's "antics likely won't cause Lonzo to slide past No. 2" in the Draft. But "some wonder if Lonzo wouldn't be the clear-cut top pick if he didn't come with the baggage his father creates." One Western Conference scout said, "If you don’t play him the right way, is the father going to say something? And you don’t want to have him on a big stage like New York. You’re always thinking: What's next?" An Eastern Conference exec said, "I don’t think he falls past 2, but it's a concern in the back of everyone’s mind. The team will have to sit down with Lonzo and LaVar to set the groundwork. It will be interesting" (N.Y. POST, 5/14).
Chinese Basketball Association team Liaoning Flying Leopards G Guo Ailun, who also plays for China's national team, is the "first Chinese player to be signed by Nike's Jordan Brand," according to Angela Doland of CREATIVITY-ONLINE. A spot from S.F.-based AKQA's Shanghai office "welcomes Guo into the fold of stars signed by Jordan, a move marking the 20th anniversary of the brand's entry into greater China." However, there are "no actual shots of Guo." The ad "opens on a custodian about to enter a mysterious chamber," and a voiceover from Michael Jordan can be heard saying, "Welcome to the spotlight." The custodian finds what "appears to be a museum-like locker room, which stores the jerseys, shoes and gear of other Jordan stars," such as Knicks F Carmelo Anthony, Clippers G Chris Paul, Bulls F Jimmy Butler, Clippers F Blake Griffin, Spurs F Kawhi Leonard and Thunder G Russell Westbrook. At the end, the custodian "hangs up the new uniform, Guo's." The Jordan brand is a "status symbol" in China (CREATIVITY-ONLINE.com, 5/12).