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Volume 24 No. 181

Marketing and Sponsorship

Golfer Brooke Henderson is "growing into one of Canada's most marketable athletes," as she has "amassed an impressive list of sponsors" despite the 19-year-old having just turned pro in '15, according to Rachel Brady of the GLOBE & MAIL. Her reps at IMG have taken a "slow and steady approach" that has yielded deals with Ping, Titleist, BMW, Rolex, Mastercard, RBC, Skechers, Canadian Pacific, Google Android Wear, Golf Town and Toronto-based BioSteel. She recently shot an ad for BioSteel alongside fellow endorsers T'Wolves F Andrew Wiggins and Oilers C Connor McDavid and said, "I get a little nervous around the camera. ... Commercial shoots are different, but fun, and I'm doing a lot of them lately, so I'm starting to get the hang of it." BioSteel CEO John Celenza said, "We see a direct correlation between Brooke Henderson winning golf tournaments and the amount of BioSteel packets we sell in golf shops." Brady noted Henderson's image "will be splashed all across Ottawa this week" in advance of the LPGA Canadian Pacific Women's Open. Canadian golf retailer Golf Town on Thursday is sponsoring a "special bleacher ... packed with the 'Brooke Brigade' -- hundreds of kids in red Team Henderson shirts and her signature Ping visor." The company last Friday filled one of its Ottawa locations by having Henderson on hand to "sign autographs, and give away swag to create buzz for the tournament." Golf Town made Henderson its "first sponsored athlete, hoping she could help it reach a younger audience." Brady noted Henderson, whose four LPGA titles are highlighted by the KPMG Women's PGA Championship, has "charming girl-next-door looks and her appeal is uniquely wide -- she intrigues kids and adults, casual sports fans as well as hard-core golfers, male and female" (GLOBE & MAIL, 8/20).

Chip Ganassi Racing this morning unveiled a new sponsorship deal with credit card processor First Data. The company will serve as primary sponsor for two races this year on Kyle Larson’s No. 42 Chevy in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, with the team hoping to grow that in ’18. The deal has B2B connections, as First Data does work with Credit One Bank, one of Larson’s primary sponsors. Ganassi is trying to find a replacement for fellow primary sponsor Target, which said it is ending its deal after it expires after this season. Ganassi had indicated when it confirmed the Target news that it had another sponsor already lined up that would take a few races this campaign. First Data first announced its entrance into the NASCAR space a few weeks ago when it unveiled a three-year deal with ISC-owned Martinsville Speedway to serve as title sponsor of the Monster Energy Series playoff race in October. First Data is working with Charlotte-based Bespoke Sports & Entertainment for its NASCAR marketing. Credit One Bank also works with Bespoke. The company is already seeing B2B success via the relationship with ISC, as its credit card processors will be used at three remaining races this season -- Phoenix Raceway, Martinsville and Homestead Miami Speedway. First Data Chair & CEO Frank Bisignano said the company will take advantage of consumer-facing opportunities that the sport allows, in part because small-business decision makers comprise part of the sport’s fanbase. But he added that the company is also trying to strike deals with other sponsors already in the sport from a B2B perspective. Bisignano also alluded to possibly trying to get involved with the sanctioning body as part of its foray into NASCAR. He said, “We first dipped our toe in the water being with the Credit One car, we expanded to sponsor the (Martinsville race) ... so this is a good time and when the season ends, we’ll meet and plan out the future.” The company earlier this year signed a 10-year sponsorship deal with the Mets and also agreed to acquire the naming rights to the Mets' Spring Training home in Port St. Lucie, Fla.