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Volume 25 No. 107

Marketing and Sponsorship

Jazz G Donovan Mitchell is "being marketed in ads and promotions among the next wave of Adidas athletes," according to Eric Woodyard of the DESERET NEWS. Mitchell could "break out up to 10 player exclusive" colorways of Adidas shoes during his second season. Adidas has not "officially announced" whether Mitchell's player exclusive versions of the Pro Bounce and Mad Bounce will be "available in stores." However, Mitchell "confirmed they would hit the shelves at some point." Although Mitchell "won't be joining" Adidas signature players like Trail Blazers G Damian Lillard, Rockets G James Harden and T'Wolves G Derrick Rose with his own shoes "just yet, he's headed down the same path." Mitchell is not the only Jazz player "currently decked out in Adidas gear," as C Derrick Favors and Gs Ricky Rubio, Dante Exum and Alec Burks also "endorse Adidas." No Jazz player has "had an actual signature shoe" since Karl Malone in '88 with the Apex Mailman (DESERET NEWS, 10/10).

CENTER OF UA'S ATTENTION: YAHOO SPORTS' Pete Thamel reports 76ers C Joel Embiid is signing a shoe deal with Under Armour, giving the company a "co-star at the highest levels of the NBA to go along" with Warriors G Stephen Curry. Embiid was "considered the top sneaker free agent on the market" headed into the NBA season. He has been "spotted wearing Under Armour shoes this preseason, including at 76ers media day" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 10/9). Pennsylvania-based WNEP-ABC's Chase Senior tweeted, "Superstars make the sneaker business go. If you don’t have them, you’re not competing. Embiid, Curry, Spieth, Brady, Harper, Cam, Phelps is a nice roster" (TWITTER.com, 10/10).

The WTA Connecticut Open generated about $2.5M from 75 sponsors this year
Photo: GETTY IMAGES

WTA Connecticut Open Tournament Dir Anne Worcester said that the event is "actively seeking a title sponsor as it attempts to survive under financial duress," according to a front-page piece by Paul Doyle of the NEW HAVEN REGISTER. The tourney is "considering a series of options," among them the "sale of the Premier Sanction" within the WTA tourney structure. The state’s contribution to the event "dropped to $218,000 this year and the tournament is expected to be self-sustaining" in '20. But the tourney, which "operates as a nonprofit, has struggled to boost revenue." The staff was "cut over the past week." Other options include "shifting the tournament" to a different summer date on the WTA calendar, which "could enable New Haven to attract a more attractive field." The event could also "drop to a lower-level tournament with a smaller prize purse." But the "clearest path to survival requires a title sponsor." The tourney was sponsored by Pilot Pen from '98-'10. Worcester said the financial model "doesn't work without a title sponsor." Doyle notes the event is "working with a consultant in its search for a sponsor." Worcester estimated that six to eight corporations are "considering the tournament and described the companies as 'some pretty big names that target women.'” Ticket sales provide "about $750,000 in revenue" and the tournament generated about $2.5M from 75 sponsors this year (NEW HAVEN REGISTER, 10/10).

USA TODAY's Andrew Joseph noted LeBron James has a "massive" new Nike billboard in L.A. "just steps away from Staples Center." It features James in a Lakers uniform with a "message built around" Nike's "Just Do It" campaign, and was installed in front of ESPN's L.A. studios. Hotels at the L.A. Live entertainment complex also "added their own LeBron James banners" (USATODAY.com, 10/8).

ONE OF A KIND: YAHOO SPORTS' Cassandra Negley reported Univ. of Oregon student Justin Gallegos has "become the first professional athlete with cerebral palsy to sign a contract with Nike." Gallegos used a video to "break the news" of his contract on Oct. 6, which is "cerebral palsy awareness day." Gallegos worked with Nike on its Breaking2 campaign, which "helps athletes break the two-hour barrier for marathons and chronicled his journey in distance running" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 10/9).

DRIVING TO THE NET: In Las Vegas, Mick Akers noted Golden Knights fans have "jumped at the chance to represent the team on their vehicles." Data from the Navada DMV shows that in the first week they were available for sale, 4,517 "'Vegas Born' specialty license plates were sold." By comparison, the Nevada 150th Anniversary specialty plate "sold 475 plates in its first week sold" in '13 (LAS VEGAS SUN, 10/10).

SMALL POTATOES: YAHOO SPORTS' Liz Roscher noted President Trump's campaign store is "selling 'Stand Up for America' football jerseys, emblazoned with '45' on the back and front." The jerseys have "Stand Up for America" "embroidered on the front." On the back of the jerseys, "above the number, is 'TRUMP,'" and there is "even an American flag on one sleeve." The jerseys are on sale for $99 (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 10/9).