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Volume 24 No. 155

Marketing and Sponsorship

MillerCoors and NASCAR have not yet been able to reach an agreement to extend Coors Light's official beer deal with the sanctioning body that expires this year, according to sources. That makes a renewal look increasingly unlikely as the sport's offseason begins. Coors Light has been the official beer of NASCAR since '08 when it replaced Budweiser in a five-year deal that was originally valued around $4M annually. The deal was renewed in '12. While the sides maintain that they have not stopped negotiating and that a last-ditch save of the deal thus remains possible, sources said that NASCAR and MillerCoors have not been able to find a suitable arrangement to move forward despite negotiating for months after the brewer sought to renegotiate terms of a possible extension. MillerCoors, which sponsors the pole winner award every week as part of its deal, has cut back its presence in NASCAR in recent years, first getting rid of its at-track models that were part of its sanctioning body deal and then recently announcing an extension under reduced terms with Team Penske. It also has reduced its retail activation with the deal, something that has frustrated industry execs as they try to create more buzz for the sport. The brewer is in a transition amid being divested to Molson Coors Brewing Co. as part of the SABMiller-AB InBev mega merger last year. NASCAR added 12 official partners and renewed with ExxonMobil and Goodyear, but a re-opening of the beer category would present an important new task for the sanctioning body's business development team to tackle. NASCAR and MillerCoors declined comment.

Duracell and personal finance company SoFi have "snapped up" some of the six-second spots Fox has set aside for its Thanksgiving broadcast of Vikings-Lions, while Disney will "air a mini trailer for 'Star Wars: Episode VIII The Last Jedi,'" according to Anthony Crupi of AD AGE. A Fox spokesperson said that "'a few other brands' have signed on" for six-second spots (Fox has set aside nine total), with at least one of the short-form units "currently up for bid." Fox Exec VP/Ad Sales Bruce Lefkowitz said, "We're reducing one commercial pod in the game, and the goal is to have 54 seconds of interruption which will generate 135 seconds of revenue." He said that Fox will present the Thanksgiving spots "in the same double-box format it used" for T-Mobile's six-second ads during the World Series. Crupi noted Discover will "unveil its first six-second spot" during Fox' broadcast of Ohio State-Michigan on Saturday, running the spot twice with "plans to air the same unit twice in the Dec. 2 Big Ten Championship Game." Meanwhile, T-Mobile -- which last month used the six-second format to promote its hurricane relief efforts during Fox' coverage of the World Series -- said that results "suggest that the short-form spots boosted viewer engagement metrics such as brand recall, likability and message recall." Although there are "other variables in the mix," Ace Metrix data showed T-Mobile's ads were "twice as potent in recall and likability as the brand's standard ads in prime-time general entertainment programming" (, 11/20).

The Univ. of Miami football team's 10-0 record is "helping fuel sales of their gear, especially that of the 'Turnover Chain,'" according to Darren Rovell of A Fanatics spokesperson said that sales of Miami merchandise are up 580% this year "over a year ago, and sales over the past two weeks were double the entire month of November last year." Former Miami LB D.J. Williams, who founded Dyme Lyfe, a clothing retailer that licenses only Miami gear, said that October was the brand's "biggest sales month: $208,000." Willliams said, "We did $150,000 in sales during Miami-Notre Dame Week (11/11)." Williams was the "first to sell a Turnover Chain T-shirt" and now there are "five companies making them, including Miami's official shoe and apparel provider, Adidas" (, 11/20). In Ft. Lauderdale, Christy Chirinos notes All Canes, a retail store specializing in Hurricanes merchandise located near Miami’s campus, has been "overwhelmed trying to keep Turnover Chain merchandise in stock this season." Miami’s primetime wins over Virginia Tech and Notre Dame "only helped fuel the frenzy." Store GM Harry Rothwell said, “At the end of the month, we’ll have the best November that we’ve had in the history of the store, and the store’s been there since 1959. That’s pretty amazing. ... The excitement of being undefeated, the Turnover Chain, you have the perfect storm of fan appeal and merchandise sales." Rothwell also said that "anything in his store bearing the chain -- shirts, hats, tumblers -- usually sells out pretty quickly." Rothwell added that he even received an order for "Christmas ornaments with the chain on it" (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 11/22).

UAB apparel sales are "booming" this school year, with the return of the football program after a two-year absence "getting much of the credit for the increase," according to Erin Edgemon of the BIRMINGHAM NEWS. UAB Dir of Business & Auxiliary Services Steve Murray said that sales in the last four months are "higher than what the university bookstore did all last year." Birmingham-based Snoozy's College Bookstore Manager Brad Goggins said that the store has seen "record sales this year." He added that at UAB's first home football game, Snoozy's "had its biggest" single sales day ever. Edgemon noted Snoozy's has "two spaces for merchandise sales at Legion Field," while the UAB bookstore is selling merchandise at Legion Field on game day "for the first time this year." Retailers like Dick's Sporting Goods and Academy Sports + Outdoors are "carrying a wider selection of UAB products this season to keep up with fan demand." Murray added that all Under Armour-branded UAB apparel is "popular" among fans (, 11/20).