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Volume 25 No. 177

Marketing and Sponsorship

Fanatics becomes the primary licensee for UO apparel, headwear and most other product categories

Fanatics is taking the vertical model that it has employed in pro sports to the college space, as the Univ. of Oregon has agreed to a comprehensive 10-year deal that will make Fanatics a licensee, manufacturer and retailer for UO gear as of Jan. 1, 2020. This is the first bundled-rights deal of its kind for Fanatics with a university. Fanatics previously ran UO’s online team store, but the new pact will make it the primary licensee for apparel, headwear and most other product categories. Fanatics also will manufacture and distribute product to local retailers and direct-to-consumer. Fanatics College Exec VP Derek Eiler called the deal "transformative," saying, "A new model is here." UO's existing relationships with Nike and Columbia will remain separate. “We’ll be in a position to make sure retailers have new product quickly,” said Fanatics College Senior VP Chris Prindiville. “Seldom in college have there been true long-term partnerships. Now there’s stability" (Michael Smith, THE DAILY).

A NEW FRONTIER: BLOOMBERG NEWS' Eben Novy-Williams reports the deal includes a $1.5M "signing bonus" for UO, plus a guarantee of $21.5M in "royalties over the course of the partnership." That money is "split evenly between the school’s general fund and its athletics department." Nike retains "exclusive rights to its Oregon-related intellectual property," as "nothing Fanatics makes will use the popular O logo, nor the fighting duck design that often appears on the team’s jerseys." UO is "looking to avoid the major swings that come with the cyclical success of its sports teams." The school’s royalty revenue "increased every year" from '09-14. Since then, however, the football team "has hit a rough patch and royalty revenue has fallen" 33%. Previously, UO "managed deals with about 300 licensees one by one, with no upfront guarantee on sales." Under this new model, Fanatics "will handle all of that itself." UO also is an "early client on Fantelligence, a new data-sharing product that Fanatics rolled out earlier this year." The company "plans to share customer data with some of its college partners, helping schools like Oregon get a better sense of who Ducks fans are, where they live and what they like" (BLOOMBERG NEWS, 12/13).

Business and personal finance software company Intuit is the NFL’s newest corporate sponsor, signing a multiyear pact that will allow it to use the league’s IP and media assets to market its Intuit, TurboTax, QuickBooks, and Mint products. Television ads supporting the new sponsorship are expected to run on Fox and NFL Network during tonight’s telecast of Chargers-Chiefs. The deal grants Intuit exclusivity within the financial software/applications, tax preparation services and accounting software/applications categories. League designations granted include the NFL’s official financial software sponsor, official accounting software sponsor and official tax preparation service sponsor. Activation is largely to be decided, but will include player engagement and use of legends. Intuit’s TurboTax has been an advertiser in at least three Super Bowls and has sponsored both former MLBer David Ortiz and the Pac-12.

Citi, which sponsored U.S. Olympic teams from '11-16, began talking to the IPC about the Paralympics in '12
Photo: CITI

Citi has signed a two-year sponsorship deal with the Int’l Paralympic Committee, re-entering the Olympic-Paralympic world two years after its USOC rights expired. Citi becomes the third company at the mid-tier “international level” with the IPC, which gives it rights to the IPC brand and 18 Paralympic committees in countries where the bank has a significant workforce. That does not include the U.S. since the USOC does not sell Paralympic rights separately. Terms were not disclosed. Citi, which sponsored the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic teams from '11-16, had been talking to the IPC about a bigger play in Paralympics since '12, said company Managing Dir of Corporate Sponsorship & Marketing Tina Davis. It is a “mission-driven” sponsorship, not one designed to see “how many times we can get someone to pull out their payment card,” she said. “People don’t think of banks as having hearts and this is a partnership that has a lot of heart in it, which is important to the individual people who work at Citi,” Davis said. The bank expects to activate in each local market, focusing on chances to get local workers involved as volunteers with Paralympic sports, in particular those that service military veterans. Countries in which Citi now has exclusive retail bank rights to the Paralympic teams include Australia, Chinese Taipei, Colombia, Costa Rica, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Malaysia, Mexico, Nigeria, Philippines, Poland, Singapore, South Africa, Thailand and the U.K. It has agreed to share rights with the Bank of Dubai in United Arab Emirates.

NOT QUITE THE TOP TIER: The IPC’s international tier is a step below the worldwide sponsor level, where companies such as Toyota and Visa enjoy comprehensive global rights. IPC President Andrew Parsons in a statement said he looks forward to working with Citi to better promote “how our work transforms society and drives social inclusion.” The deal expires in '20. Citi would have liked to sign a longer deal, but the IPC and IOC are merging their rights management after the '20 Tokyo Games and the future is uncertain. CSM advised Citi on the deal. Citi expects to build a U.S. Paralympics program by sponsoring individual athletes and some NGBs, Davis said.'s Nick DePaula noted to celebrate the Warriors' final season in Oakland, Stephen Curry's new sneaker "carries a deeper layer of storytelling, honoring the only region he has called home during his NBA career." The "10 In The Town" theme will "play out over the remainder of the season." The debut colorway of the Curry 6 "veers away from the classic Warriors hues, instead highlighting the vivid orange and neon tones of the illuminated marquee at the Fox Theater." Once the league's "loosened footwear color restrictions were announced, Curry immediately shifted gears as he mapped out themes for his upcoming model" (, 12/12).

UNIQUE APPROACH: ADWEEK's T.L. Stanley noted San Diego-based fitness apparel brand Snapbac and its agency, Mother, L.A., "won’t say exactly who those runners, weightlifters, ballers and soccer players are" in its new ad campaign. Pixelation and obscure angles "purposely hide the famous faces." That "coyness, complete with footage made to look like it was captured on the fly, provides the hook for the print ads and digital short." It is the "first significant media," launching Monday, for Snapbac (, 12/11).

RANKING THE BEST: KnowTheChain, a supply chain resource for businesses and investors, said that it ranked Adidas, Lululemon Athletica and Gap as the "top-scoring companies" in its '18 Apparel and Footwear Benchmark Findings Report (, 12/12).

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