Heineken Int'l, which owns Dos Equis and Tecate beer, "confirmed it has pulled its sponsorships for those brands" from the Triple-A PCL Fresno Grizzlies over an "inflammatory video shown during a doubleheader on Memorial Day" that likened U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) to Kim Jong-Un and Fidel Castro, according to a front-page piece by Rodriguez & Amaro of the FRESNO BEE. The decision comes one day after California-based raisin company Sun-Maid "ended its corporate sponsorship with the Grizzlies," a minor league affiliate of the Nationals. For now, other corporate sponsors are "sticking with the team." Several of them on Thursday said that while the incident was "unfortunate, they don't plan to end their relationship" with the team. California-based Gar Tootelian is one of the Grizzlies' biggest agriculture sponsors, and President & CEO Greg Musson said that he is "sticking by the team." Musson: "Sounds to me like they made an honest mistake and they apologized. GAR has no intention of abandoning a good, long time friend over one mistake." Meanwhile, Rodriguez & Amaro note longtime sponsor The Fresno Bee, which has been with the team for over 20 years, is "still looking at possible options" (FRESNO BEE, 5/31).
DRIED UP: In Fresno, Bryant-Jon Anteola noted it is "unclear how long" Sun-Maid had been a sponsor with the Grizzlies, but the company has had "signage inside Chukchansi Park for some time." A Sun-Maid sign was "prominently displayed on a red barn in the 'Ag Zone,' which was once located beyond left field." The red barn and the sign were "relocated this season after offseason renovations" to the downtown ballpark were completed. Sun-Maid was "no longer listed" as of Wednesday night among the Grizzlies' sponsors (FRESNO BEE, 5/30).
MOVING FORWARD: In DC, Sam Fortier cites a source as saying that the Nationals are "comfortable with the results of an internal investigation" conducted by the Grizzlies into the incident. The team "received the Grizzlies' findings Wednesday night, detailing how a longtime Fresno employee selected a YouTube video the employee had used for years." However, this version of the video had "apparently been edited to include footage of Ocasio-Cortez." The employee "did not watch the entire video." A source said that the Nationals "vetted the Grizzlies' new internal protocols to ensure something similar never happens again" (WASHINGTON POST, 5/31). Also in DC, Thomas Boswell prior to the Nationals' findings wrote the Grizzlies "need to find and fire the employees who failed to monitor and prevent" the video from being shown at the ballpark. Boswell: "If the Grizzlies don't do it, then the Nats ... must intervene with their minor league team" (WASHINGTON POST, 5/30).
NBC Sports is "letting French Open viewers buy items from the Lacoste X Djokovic Collection via their TVs and smartphones," according to Jon Lafayette of BROADCASTING & CABLE. During Novak Djokovic's matches on NBC, viewers will be "alerted to an 'On-Air Shoppable Moment.'" Consumers will be "told how to use their phones to scan a QR Code, which takes the phone to the Lacoste website." Among the items available for purchase are outfits Djokovic is "wearing during his matches, one bright orange, the other black and white." NBC's Golf Channel will also use ShoppableTV to "sell memberships to its GolfPass program" (BROADCASTINGCABLE.com, 5/30). ADWEEK's Kelsey Sutton noted each shoppable moment will be "around 30 seconds." More shoppable ads for Lacoste's Djokovic collection will "run during all of Djokovic's subsequent televised matches" during the French Open (ADWEEK.com, 5/30).
Browns WR Odell Beckham Jr., Giants RB Saquon Barkley and Bears LB Khalil Mack "star in a new Nike commercial that gives each a comic book storyline," according to Jenna West of SI.com. The ad "starts with what you expect to be the Statue of Liberty until the camera flips" and it is a "statue of OBJ in all his glory standing above" the N.Y. skyline. Beckham "breaks out of his stone facade and leaps to his new home in Cleveland." Barkley "plays the role of Spider-Man to dodge skyscrapers downtown and defenders on the turf." The ad then "segues to a locker room filled with literal bears," where Mack "emerges to face his foes on the field" (SI.com, 5/30). VARIETY's Shirley Ju noted rapper Travis Scott's "bombastic 'Sicko Mode'" soundtracks the new spot "created by 22-year-old newcomer Gibson Hazard." Beckham "shared the minute-long video with his nearly 4 million Twitter followers on Thursday" (VARIETY.com, 5/30).
Bud Light announced fans who "change their Twitter display name to Gloria can win a chance for two tickets to Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final on June 3, if they include the hashtag #GloriaSweepstakes in their Tweet," according to Jim Thomas of the ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH. Bud Light's Bud Knight character tweeted under the name Gloria to announce the campaign, in a "nod to the song" the Blues have "adopted" in their pursuit of the team's first Stanley Cup. St. Louis-based A-B InBev also "added 17 billboards" across the city to "showcase their support for the team." They even "added the name 'Gloria' in exterior signage" on their St. Louis brewery (STLTODAY.com, 5/30). In St. Louis, Joe Millitzer noted the Bud Knight was "spotted holding a 'Let's Go Bruins' sign during national pregame coverage" of Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final. When asked about this, Bud Light's response in a Twitter direct message said, "The Bud Knight is lost. We're bringing him home" (KPLR11.com, 5/30).
The inaugural Herbalife24 Triathlon Los Angeles will take place this Sunday, beginning in Venice Beach and finishing in downtown L.A., with Herbalife handling a large role as title sponsor. The global nutrition company has plans for a 60-foot-wide activation hub at the race’s Finish Festival. L.A.-based event marketing agency Trine President James Skubic said, “Herbalife’s name is in the title of the race and their activation is definitely the largest.” That includes a recovery zone where people who complete the race are going to get a recovery towel and have the ability to sample some Herbalife products. There also will be a massage area, merchandise sales and an additional area for sampling. “It has such a large footprint and it has been designed to be this cohesive unit," Skubic said. "I’m really excited to see that get built out.” Additionally, Herbalife will have a live paint display at the Finish Festival, with a Herbalife employee who does graffiti painting right in the middle of everything. Skubic: “That adds a nice L.A. touch to a race that starts in Venice.” Herbalife's deal to title sponsor the triathlon is only for this year's event, though the company has indicated that it would like to continue in the same role into the future.
KICKING IT: Herbalife is not the only Southern California organization to activate around the triathlon, as the Galaxy plan to have a big presence at the race. The MLS club will have a typical booth set-up with giveaways and prizes, but it also will have an inflatable piece that is catered for kids to practice their soccer skills. “They call it a soccer inflatable," Skubic said. "Kids can practice their shots and it kind of saves them." He noted he is excited to see what the display looks like, saying, "I’ve never seen it in person -- I’ve just seen pictures of it.”
LeBron James, along with Dior designer Kim Jones and pianist Yuja Wang, is "one of the faces of hyper-luxury luggage brand Rimowa's new ad campaign, with short films set to launch" soon. James and Rimowa have "been on each other's radar for years" (GQ.com, 5/29).
TAKE A SEAT: S.F.-based Williams-Sonoma will become the official furniture and home design partner of the Warriors and Chase Center. Williams-Sonoma will furnish multiple areas at the new arena, including courtside lounges, multiple bar spaces, club suites and the Warriors' corporate offices. The arena will also have a Williams-Sonoma Family Lounge, designed for family and friends of Warriors players (Warriors).
DEALS COMING IN: Nestle Waters North America and the WWE will release co-branded digital videos around the '19 Nestle Waters Challenge. The videos will feature WWE's Charlotte Flair, Natalya and Titus O'Neil, as well as announcer Charly Caruso, and will challenge WWE fans to show various ways they are making healthy choices (WWE). Meanwhile, NetJets will become the official private aviation partner of IndyCar and Indianapolis Motor Speedway as part of a new multiyear partnership with Hulman Motorsports (IMS).