Indeed, which touts itself as the world’s No. 1 job site, is the newest NCAA corporate partner. Indeed advertising launched last night on TBS’ NCAA Tournament selection show and will continue through March Madness. The job search platform is the NCAA’s 18th corporate partner and joins Google Cloud as new sponsors for '18. Turner and CBS jointly manage the NCAA’s partner program. LG, an NCAA partner since '09, decided not to return after last year. The company promoted its home entertainment, appliances and mobile phones through the NCAA deal (Michael Smith, Staff Writer).
ON CLOUD NINE: AD AGE's George Slefo notes Google, the official cloud of the NCAA, has begun the "first ad campaign for its cloud computing product with commercials in March Madness coverage." Google Cloud VP/Marketing Alison Wagonfeld said that questions such as, "Do players dunk more if they have 50,000 followers?" and, "Are math majors better at analyzing the court?" are featured in two 30-second spots created by Eleven, S.F. Google Cloud will also use artificial intelligence to "create several additional 15-second spots at the start of the second half during the Final Four." The activation will "specifically use Google technology and NCAA historically data to create real-time ads that attempt to answer questions such as whether the game might 'come down to the wire.'" Google has put together a team of "rabid basketball fans and data scientists it's dubbed 'The Wolfpack.'" This team will also provide questions like, "What mascots have the most Final Four appearances: cats or dogs?" for Google Cloud to "surface on social media." It will also be "responsible for all data analyzing behind the scenes and better inform Google as its marketing campaign expands in the future." Wagonfeld said that Google Cloud "chose the NCAA because it allows the company to reach massive amounts of people included in its target audience, which include chief information officers, IT decision makers, students and developers" (ADAGE.com, 3/12).
Nike once again is by far the top shoe and jersey provider for the 68 teams in the NCAA Tournament, with the company earning back some of its market share after seeing declines the last two years. Nike and its affiliated Jordan Brand outfit 47 teams for both jerseys and shoes (Texas Southern wears Russell Athletic jerseys and Nike shoes). That is up from 40 teams last season and an increase of 14.6% from the 41 schools it sponsored in '16. Meanwhile, Under Armour and Adidas both sponsor 10 teams in the tourney this year. UA's number represents a small drop from 12 schools last year after steadily climbing from 10 in '16 and six in '15. Adidas saw its on-court fortunes decrease in a big way, as its figure for jerseys and shoes in the field this year is down from 15 schools in '17.
The effects of tennis player Eugenie Bouchard's struggles on the court "finally are being felt off it," as three of her biggest sponsors -- Colgate, insurance company Aviva and nutritional supplement line Usana -- did "not renew their agreements this year," according to sources cited by Stephanie Myles of the N.Y. TIMES. Also, sources said that longtime clothing sponsor Nike is "paying her zero dollars, as of March 1," with her WTA ranking at 116. Bouchard's compensation is "strictly performance- and rankings-based." It is "expected that she will no longer wear a line exclusive to her." Myles noted of "more pressing concern is the fact that her longtime contract with Babolat rackets expired at the end" of '17, and "was not renewed." Her agent, TLA Worldwide's John Tobias, also "severed ties" with Bouchard last week. Two minor endorsements in recent weeks were "made without Tobias's knowledge and damaged the player-agent relationship." One has Bouchard "promoting an e-book about cryptocurrency," while the second "shows Bouchard in full makeup pointing to a tube of chewable energy tablets from Neuenergy." TLA was the "fourth agency to represent Bouchard since she reached the Wimbledon women's singles final" in '14. Tobias said, "I didn't agree with the way some things were being done, and felt it [was] best if she found someone else." Bouchard, who last month reached an undisclosed settlement for damages after suing the USTA, on Wednesday "conceded that the parting with Tobias was not 'by mutual agreement.'" Bouchard: "I don't have anyone in place right now. A lot has been going on and it's, like, the seventh thing on my mind right now. But after this tournament I'll regroup, spend some time with my team and try to figure something out" (N.Y. TIMES, 3/10).
With Eagles QB Nick Foles’ Under Armour contract up next year, the brand "must determine what to do about the Super Bowl hero who fell into its lap," according to Jeff Barker of the BALTIMORE SUN. The company must decide "whether to make a long-term financial commitment to Foles, who signed a two-year sponsorship deal" last summer while still a backup. At the heart of UA's decision on whether to re-sign Foles will be whether he will "be an NFL starter." Barker: "Can he ever reprise his postseason performance? How marketable is his underdog story?" Under Armour Senior Dir of Global Sports Marketing Walker Jones said, "He obviously has a contract situation next year with the Eagles, which would enable him to test the market. That would be a factor, what his playing status is and where he ends up." Barker notes UA "believes Foles has an appealing story." Foles' agent, Athletes First's Austin Lyman, said, "He would love to re-sign with Under Armour and have a longer-term deal with them. It might be something we pursue this offseason if Under Armour is open to it.” Jones said the company considers Foles a "great partner,” and his NFL contract situation will "dictate a lot of things" (BALTIMORE SUN, 3/10).