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Volume 24 No. 178

Marketing and Sponsorship

Bucks F Giannis Antetokounmpo's deal with Nike is "set to expire" next month, "making him the clear-cut headliner of the available NBA players looking for a new shoe deal heading into next season," according to Nick DePaula of Antetokounmpo since '13 has been paid a "mere $25,000" annually by Nike to wear the company's sneakers. Sources said that Antetokounmpo could be looking at as much as $7-10M "annually on a new five-year endorsement deal." Knicks F Kristaps Porzingis last summer "landed a seven-year pact" with Adidas that pays him just under $5M annually, with incentives putting it as high as $7M. That range has "become the starting point for expectations on the offers that Antetokounmpo and his camp are planning to hear." Antetokounmpo is "confidently looking ahead to hearing the various brand pitches, and hearing how he'll be best utilized in a company's plans." Historically, the Milwaukee market has been "challenging for footwear brands." But sources said that with the "modern social media era and Antetokounmpo's global appeal as a one-of-a-kind athlete, the market isn't a worry." Octagon's Alex Saratsis, who reps Antetokounmpo, feels his upcoming shoe deal is "not only expected to place him among the top 10 NBA players in the league from an earnings standpoint, but will also have the potential to frame and amplify his overall marketing and personal brand going forward." Adidas and Under Armour have "expressed strong interest, while Nike ultimately holds a 'match clause.'" Antetokounmpo and Saratsis are "expected to hold pitch meetings in Milwaukee in the coming weeks." Antetokounmpo also is "undeniably looking for a signature shoe." The timeline for creating a namesake model is "typically 12-18 months, so he understands the shoe would likely take a year to design and develop and would launch" for the '18-19 season (, 8/13).

DraftKings has developed a new ad campaign for the upcoming NFL season in collaboration with Deutsch, N.Y. Two different strategies debuted yesterday during ESPN’s Fantasy Football Marathon -- an aspirational “Play” that suggests “you don’t just want to watch; you want to play,” and a more humorous “Dr. Aftkings” that features a fantasy football-focused doctor diagnosing patients for their “earnings dysfunction.” Both themes will be supported by additional executions during the course of the NFL season. Other patients of “Dr. Aftkings” will suffer from “draft-itis” and “lose-onic plague.” The ad campaign represents the first major piece of marketing for DraftKings since its failed bid to merge with rival daily fantasy player FanDuel, and the tone of the ads is less overtly about financial winnings than its full-throttled advertising in ’15. Television spots will be joined by online videos, as well as other social and outdoor executions. “This is a big opportunity to educate the fan base about daily fantasy and evolve from some of the one-dimensional messages that were out there before,” said DraftKings Senior VP/Brand & Creative Don Lane. The company’s planned financial spend behind the campaign was not disclosed, but CMO Janet Holian said the effort will be “much more right-sized for us” compared to ’15. Despite the shifted marketing focus away from prizes, DraftKings still has developed a new $1B contest for Week 1 in which it will award the prize for picking a perfect fantasy lineup under the company’s normal salary cap restrictions. The insurance-backed prize is available in any U.S. state (it does not require any entry fees), Germany, the U.K. and most Canadian provinces. The payout would require receiving $5M per year for 50 years and then receiving $750M in '68. There also is the opting of a $300M lump sum.


LAFC has signed a multiyear deal with Heineken that will make it the official domestic and import beer of the MLS expansion club, which is set to launch in '18. The deal, which includes IP rights, digital signage and retail activation, will see Heineken collaborate with LAFC’s supporters club to design and implement a dedicated bar for the group at the team’s new Banc of California Stadium. Heineken, an MLS league-level sponsor since '15, also has eight local deals with MLS clubs. The beer brand becomes LAFC’s third top-tier partner, joining Banc of California and Delta Air Lines/Aeromexico. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Justin Thomas’ star is "on the rise" after his win at the PGA Championship, but the 24-year-old golfer still "has a long way to go to catch up with Jordan Spieth and the rest of the sport’s top endorsers," according to Thomas Barrabi of FOX BUSINESS. Univ. of North Carolina marketing professor Jonathan Jensen said that while a first-ever major win "can only add to Thomas’ visibility, it may not be enough on its own to bring him to the sport’s top echelon in terms of marketability." Thomas had endorsement deals with "several top brands before the PGA Championship," including Titleist, Ralph Lauren Polo, Citi, FootJoy and NetJets, and earned $2M off the course last year. But while Thomas has "gained national prominence within the golf world for his recent run of strong play, he has yet to match players" like Dustin Johnson or Spieth in terms of crossover appeal (, 8/14). Citi today runs a full-page ad in USA Today congratulating Thomas for his PGA Championship win and promoting the upcoming Presidents Cup: "Where He Goes, Birdies Follow." Also, Rolex runs a full-page ad in the N.Y. Times congratulating Thomas: "First Major!" (THE DAILY).

ENTERING A NEW ERA:'s Kyle Porter wrote under the header, "Justin Thomas' Win Makes It Undeniable: A New Era Of American Golf Has Arrived." Only history will "truly tell us when a new era of American golf was formally ushered in, but you could do worse than 2017 as a starting point." Americans have "won seven of the past 12 majors, and five of those have been from golfers under 30." American golf is in the "capable hands of these baby thoroughbreds, and if the past few years have been any kind of harbinger, it will be exciting to see where they take it from here" (, 8/14). In N.Y., Karen Crouse writes, "Bless the PGA Tour’s millennials ... for demonstrating that competition and camaraderie need not be mutually exclusive." What is "really worth copying is their collective and optimistic approach to sport." It is "probably not a coincidence that men’s golf right now is the province of young players who revel in the process." The Tour's young players relish "every opportunity to compete, which is why complacency doesn’t appear to be" in their vocabulary. Thomas, who has won four times this season, "didn’t sound as if he is ready to take his foot off the pedal and cruise through" the FedExCup Playoffs (N.Y. TIMES, 8/15).

The D-backs are in contention for an NL Wild Card spot and the team's "surprising play has meant a bounty of free food for fans," according to Richard Ruelas of the ARIZONA REPUBLIC. A victory "means half-off pizzas ordered online at Papa John’s," while a home run "means a free hamburger, with purchase of a large drink, at Jack in the Box." If the team "scores five runs or more, win or lose, it means three free tacos with the purchase of a large drink" between 4:00-6:00pm the next day at Taco Bell. Fans listening or watching at home "get the details every time the D-Backs trigger the promotion, which has been fairly frequently." The TV booth with Bob Brenly and Steve Berthiaume has signs "at the ready for the burger and taco promotions." Taco Bell would "not release information about how many tacos it had given out this season; Papa John’s did not return a request for its statistics." But a Jack in the Box spokesperson said that it had "given out 81,319 burgers this season, as of Aug. 8" (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 8/15).