Las Vegas-based Allegiant Air submitted a trademark filing for "Allegiant Stadium" on March 29, but the airline said that the move is "not tied" to the naming rights for the under-construction Raiders stadium there, according to a front-page piece by Mick Akers of the LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL. However, Allegiant "did confirm it has had talks with the Raiders about sponsorship opportunities." The airline in a statement said of the trademark filing, "It's an extra layer of protection for our brand." Raiders President Marc Badain confirmed that Allegiant and the team had "conversations regarding sponsorship opportunities tied to the stadium." But he said that the naming-rights process "is ongoing." Allegiant's logo is "featured on the ice" at T-Mobile Arena, and there is a multiyear partnership with the Golden Knights designating Allegiant as the team's official domestic airline partner. Meanwhile, Gemini Sports Group President Rob Yowell, a longtime naming-rights consultant, said that Allegiant "could possibly rearrange some financials to make the deal happen" with the Raiders. But he "doubted it would pony up" the approximately $25M per year for 20 years that he "heard was the asking price for the Las Vegas stadium" (LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL, 5/8).
Marketing and Sponsorship
A new A-B InBev MLB spot promoting responsible drinking will air next week, and there will eventually be "at least one Budweiser ambassador in every baseball market" where the brewer has a relationship with the team, according to Frank Fitzpatrick of the PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER. Budweiser during the '18 postseason "began promoting" players including Astros CF George Springer, then launched a point-of-sale campaign on Opening Day this year. While the athletes in the spot "will be shown in game footage or talking to the camera, none will be seen consuming the product." Phillies P Aaron Nola in March signed a deal with Yuengling, and while he "hasn't yet appeared in any Yuengling TV commercials or ballpark ads," Nola has "posted several endorsements" of the brewer on his Instagram account. MLB allowing players to appear in beer ads was "driven by professional athletes' growing interest in controlling their individual brands." MLBPA Chief of Business Affairs Tim Slavin said, "We were mindful that the advertisements and promotions for these companies were visible around every ballpark. Players were associated with these ads and products to some extent. For us, it was in part leveling the playing field of commercial opportunity between the clubs and players" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 5/8).
Free beer "will be available" to New Yorkers on the first day of the PGA Championship next week at Bethpage Black as part of a promotion between Michelob Ultra and Brooks Koepka, according to Keely Levins of GOLF DIGEST. Michelob Ultra, which sponsors Koepka, earlier this week set up an event in which the golfer was tasked with hitting a golf shot onto a green that "had been set up on a barge" floating in the Hudson River. Koepka "hit the target" from about 130 yards out. As a result, beer drinkers in N.Y. will "get a $5 rebate on Michelob Ultra six-packs, and will be able to get a free Ultra at certain bars" in the city from 3:00-6:00pm ET next Thursday (GOLFDIGEST.com, 5/7).
BROOKS IS HERE: In Ft. Worth, Drew Davison writes Koepka is a "budding superstar in his own right." Currently ranked No. 3 in the world, he is "by far the highest-ranked player in this week’s AT&T Byron Nelson at Trinity Forest Golf Club" near Dallas. Koepka "describes himself as a 'regular person,' but not many 'regular people' have won three major championships before turning 30." Koepka said, "I wouldn’t call myself a superstar. ... I’m just like everybody else. I don’t see myself in that light." However, Koepka "will find himself in that spotlight the more he wins." Casual sports fans "probably know golfers such as Dustin Johnson for his length off the tee, or Rickie Fowler for his popularity." But "neither has found the success at golf’s biggest events like Koepka" (Ft. Worth STAR-TELEGRAM, 5/8).
UTEP is going with Van Wagner Sports & Entertainment to be its new multimedia rights holder and sales agent. The 10-year agreement was announced today by the school, which previously had worked with Learfield IMG College. The Conference USA school fields 16 teams and Van Wagner will have access to in-venue signage at 11 facilities, in addition to selling corporate sponsorships, in-game promotions and digital media and broadcast assets. Financial terms were not released. UTEP AD Jim Senter and Leona Marketing Group President Dan Gale worked with the school’s purchasing department to select Van Wagner and negotiate the deal.
Nike yesterday touted the upcoming release of a "Friends"-inspired line of shoes and gear under Kyrie Irving's imprint, but the company and the Celtics G "probably could've picked a better day for the announcement," according to Patrick Dunne of NBC SPORTS BOSTON. Irving was "thoroughly bashed on social media and talking head sports TV" following a poor performance in the Celtics' Game 4 loss to the Bucks on Monday night that ended with him "snapping off a 'Who cares?' answer to a question about his shooting woes." Dunne wrote, "There were plenty who wouldn't be buying anything Irving was selling Tuesday morning" (NBCSPORTSBOSTON.com, 5/7). NESN.com's Mike Cole wrote with the Celtics dealing with season-long "locker room chemistry issues ... touting Irving's friendships with 'his teammates on the court' is questionable timing, to say the least." Cole referenced the show's theme song by writing, "It hasn't been Kyrie Irving's day, his week, his month or even his year, but Nike is there for him -- optics be damned" (NESN.com, 5/7). Irving has a tattoo of the show's logo, and this month marks the 15th anniversary of the final "Friends" episode (SNEAKERNEWS.com, 5/6).