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Volume 26 No. 85

Marketing and Sponsorship

The NFL last month "launched a review of the agencies handling its brand work as well as marketing for its media properties including the NFL website," and current partner Grey is "not participating in the review," according to Patrick Coffee of ADWEEK. A source said that Grey "decided to sit it out after determining" that the league’s new CMO Tim Ellis "did not wish to retain them" as its agency of record. Grey will "continue to work on the NFL account until the end of its current contract." Sources said that the agencies "still pitching" the league include Wieden + Kennedy, 72andSunny, Goodby Silverstein & Partners and Venables Bell & Partners. There "may be others in the mix as well." The change will "not affect the league’s relationship with Translation, which works primarily on youth outreach efforts." Grey "first started working with the NFL" in '08 (ADWEEK.com, 11/21).

Rising U.S. tennis star Sofia Kenin is one of the latest athletes to sign a deal with Fila
Photo: getty images
Rising U.S. tennis star Sofia Kenin is one of the latest athletes to sign a deal with Fila
Photo: getty images
Rising U.S. tennis star Sofia Kenin is one of the latest athletes to sign a deal with Fila
Photo: getty images

Fila is "suddenly connecting with a new generation, thanks to its retro appeal, the bulky sneaker trend and collaborations with stores such as Urban Outfitters," according to Lorraine Mirabella of the BALTIMORE SUN. Fila first "catapulted to popularity" in the '90s, but the brand has since "slowly lost relevance and money." Fila was eventually "sold to a Korean company, restructured and reinvented." Under its current model, license holders around the world "design and make Fila products for their markets." Fila North America, with its HQ in the Baltimore area, "works closely with retailers such as Barneys New York and Urban Outfitters to create exclusive products." The company also has "signed lifetime deals with former athlete endorsers" like Basketball HOFer Grant Hill. Fila also "recently signed rising U.S. tennis star Sofia Kenin." Fila is "much smaller" than local competitor Under Armour, but the company "sees itself as a fashion brand." Fila apparel sales also have "grown recently" to 30% of the business. The brand is still a "relatively small player in U.S. footwear," accounting for just 1.2% of retail sales, compared to UA's 3.4%. However, Fila's U.S. footwear sales are "booming" (BALTIMORESUN.com, 11/21).

Nets G Spencer Dinwiddie is "planning to have a different set of sneakers in every game this year, paying tribute to either various people or causes," according to Tim Reynolds of the AP. On Tuesday, his shoes were an "homage" to Heat G Dwyane Wade, with the words “One Last Dance” across the tongues of the shoes as Wade plays in his final season. There were "images of palm trees, a Miami signature, as well as the No. 3 that Wade has worn." Dinwiddie's shoes are "getting auctioned off for charities that support causes that help children." Other shoes have included “Purple Rain” sneakers for a game against the T'Wolves in a "tribute to legendary singer Prince." Dinwiddie also made tributes to Colin Kaepernick (against the Warriors) and former NBAer Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, a pair for Muhammad Ali and even ones that "celebrated the accomplishments" of Basketball HOFer Cheryl Miller. Dinwiddie even "had a pair that celebrated the logos of various media outlets." Last week, when comic book legend Stan Lee died, Dinwiddie had "sneakers to honor him as well." Dinwiddie is "doing all of this in conjunction with his family’s foundation" (AP, 11/21).

Dinwiddie last week honored comic book legend Stan Lee with a pair of customized sneakers
Photo: nbae/getty images
Dinwiddie last week honored comic book legend Stan Lee with a pair of customized sneakers
Photo: nbae/getty images
Dinwiddie last week honored comic book legend Stan Lee with a pair of customized sneakers
Photo: nbae/getty images

Learfield’s UNLV Sports Properties team has "signed up 20 new sponsors" to bring the roster to "about 100 this past year," according to Alan Snel of LVSPORTSBIZ.com. UNLV Sports Properties GM Dan Dolby said that his team "generated the highest net sales growth year-to-date among Learfield’s 133 universities." New deals include California-based DC Solar, which happened when the Learfield UNLV team "cold called" the company. Dolby said that the five-year pact "hit seven figures." Other recent sponsors include Children’s Hospital of Nevada for a deal "valued at a 'couple hundred' thousand dollars" and artificial grass company Tough Turtle Turf. The deals "can be affordable alternatives for local small companies that cannot afford the more expensive deals at the Golden Knights and Raiders" (LVSPORTSBIZ.com, 11/20).

GRIDIRON PROBLEMS: In Las Vegas, Mark Anderson in a front-page piece noted despite UNLV football "struggling to draw fans and keep interest" in the market, dropping the program "isn’t on UNLV’s radar." School officials are "progressing with construction of the Fertitta Football Complex and the move to join the Raiders" in their new stadium in '20. However, football is a "financial drain on the athletic department with crowds sometimes around 10,000 at the 35,500-seat Sam Boyd Stadium." For FY '16-17, UNLV took in $5.9M in revenue for football, but spent $9.8M. But UNLV AD Desiree Reed-Francois said, “Our whole NCAA governance model is based upon one sport, and that’s football. Our conference affiliation is based upon football. If you look at TV ratings and TV revenue, football is the one that moves the needle" (LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL, 11/20).

In Buffalo, Jay Skurski reported former NFLer Vontae Davis has "debuted a new advertisement" for FanDuel in which he makes light of his retirement in the middle of the Chargers-Bills game in Week 2. The point of the ad is that a fan "can draft a new team each week" -- meaning they can "quit the team they had the week before." The 30-second ad "will air for three weeks" on DirecTV and NBCU properties. Digital videos also are "scheduled for Davis' and FanDuels' social channels" (BUFFALONEWS.com, 11/19).

NICE CATCH: Giants WR Odell Beckham Jr. appears in a new Nike ad that focuses on his "desire to achieve greatness." The on-field highlights in the spot "reveal a timeline of Beckham Jr.'s rise from high school, through college and to the pros, anchored well" by the classic Michael Jackson song, "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough." The ad, via Wieden + Kennedy, is part of the brand’s larger "It’s Only Crazy Until You Do It" effort (ADWEEK.com, 11/20).

SLEEP TIGHT: Mattress company and Maple Leafs sponsor Casper launched a new campaign featuring C John Tavares. The campaign, dubbed "Sleep Better, Hockey Harder," features content including two 30-second spots that will air across national TV, social media and in Scotiabank Arena throughout the '18-19 NHL season. In the first spot, Tavares moves his Casper mattress into the arena, causing the zamboni driver to accommodate his new routine (Casper).