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Volume 26 No. 109

Marketing and Sponsorship

Jazz G Donovan Mitchell is "set to debut his signature Adidas sneakers" during this year's NBA Playoffs, according to a source cited by Eric Woodyard of the DESERET NEWS. Mitchell’s D.O.N. Issue #1 "won’t release until July 5 for $100," but he has often "teased numerous colorways via social media, including the Marvel-themed version that will release first in conjunction with the 'Spider-Man: Far From Home' movie." He also "filmed a commercial that has yet to be released during All-Star Weekend in Charlotte." D.O.N. stands for "Determination Over Negativity." Mitchell is set to become the "first Jazz player" with a signature shoe since Karl Malone wore the Apex Mailman in '98 (DESERET NEWS, 4/12).

Stewart-Haas Racing has signed a new sponsorship deal with vehicle repair coverage provider Toco Warranty, which sees motorsports fans as the sort of clientele it wants to reach. Toco will have four primary sponsorships on SHR’s No. 14 Ford driven by Clint Bowyer, as well as several primary and associate positions with Tony Stewart’s sprint car team. In order to give sponsors different platforms, SHR leverages its sister teams in Tony Stewart Racing and Haas F1 Team. SHR also is giving Toco space at Stewart’s Eldora Speedway to activate, and the company will hold online sweepstakes as part of its promotional efforts. SHR VP/Sales & Marketing Mike Verlander said the team initially reached out to Toco in ’17. He noted that sprint car fans and NASCAR fans over-index in having cars that are five years old or older and potentially in need of insurance to cover possible breakdowns. Rbb Communications is Toco’s agency of record. While many NASCAR sponsorships have B-to-B elements, this deal is largely centered around B-to-C marketing. Toco COO Brad Basmajian: “Millions of NASCAR fans are hardworking car owners who are relying on vehicles to get them from Point A to Point B, so for us to be able to speak to them, tell them about Toco and how there is an actually straightforward way to keep their car or truck protected is an important message for us.” 

As the Triple-A PCL San Antonio Missions on Thursday transformed into the Flying Chanclas de San Antonio, the team "set up a stand capable of accommodating four customers at a time" because of the high "demand to buy gear for the best-selling alter ego" in MiLB, according to Greg Luca of the SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS. Missions Dir of Merchandise John Rebholz said, "Once the season starts, we can’t have it in the store, because it would overwhelm the store." The Flying Chanclas "have 24 different hats and 14 T-shirts." Some have "last year’s image of the chancla flying through the air" while others "show the updated logo, with the chancla hitting its target." Rebholz said that the team’s hat inventory alone is "valued at about a quarter-million dollars, with two-thirds of that devoted to the Flying Chanclas." Rebholz said that the Chanclas hats are the "biggest seller" and that "demand for the team’s merchandise extends to all 50 states." The team's name change, which "will be in effect for home games on Thursdays this season, is part of the return of MiLB’s Copa de la Diversion." According to MiLB, the Flying Chanclas "generated the most team-controlled retail sales last year with more than $700,000 in revenue" (SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS, 4/12).

In Dallas, Anne Stych noted the WNBA Wings have "signed a partnership with Texas Capital Bank to feature the bank's name and logo on players' jerseys and to continue their combined efforts to promote, educate and empower women and girls." Wings players will "wear a Texas Capital Bank insignia on the front of their Statement (neon), Icon (Blue) and Breast Health Awareness jerseys." Texas Capital Bank also will "serve as the presenting sponsor" of the Wings' starting lineups, and the team, players and front office personnel will "collaborate with the bank to present a community financial literacy workshop" (, 4/10).

GOLDEN GRAPES: In Portland, Michael Alberty noted the Trail Blazers unveiled "two new wines" commemorating the team's upcoming 50th anniversary. The label design, done by local artist Bethany Ng, is a "mesmerizing collection of great moments from Trail Blazer history." Ng "first captured the Blazers' attention when she created a limited-edition print for their inaugural Gameday Poster Series" in '18. The posters have since "become prized collectibles while raising money for the Trail Blazers Foundation." The new wines will be "pre-released to Adelsheim wine club members and Blazers season ticketholders in August" (, 4/11).

SEEING GREEN: In Boston, Jon Chesto wrote Red Sox fans "can't blame" MGM Resorts Int'l for paying for its "prime real estate" sponsorship on Fenway Park's Green Monster. MGM execs "need to court the Greater Boston market," with gaming revenues "well below early projections" for the first six months of the new Springfield casino. MGM's "courtship" of the Red Sox "began long before this baseball season" (BOSTON GLOBE, 4/11).