The NWSL on Friday "announced an extension of its partnership with Nike" through the end of the '22 season, according to Mitchell Northam of PRO SOCCER USA. The current deal between the league and Nike was "set to expire at the end of this season." Since the end of the '19 Women’s World Cup, the league has "seen a major boost in attendance." Clubs like the Chicago Red Stars and Sky Blue FC "have seen record-setting crowds." Nike is also the "maker and seller of the U.S. women’s national team kits" (PROSOCCERUSA.com, 8/2). This deal comes on the heels of the NWSL in July announcing that ESPN "would broadcast games" for the rest of the season. The league also recently "announced a sponsorship deal with Budweiser" (Portland OREGONIAN, 8/2).
STAYING POWER: In N.Y., Kevin Draper notes NWSL President Amanda Duffy is working to parlay American soccer fans' "post-World Cup interest into long-term gains" for the women's league. Duffy said that she was "'optimistic' more national sponsorship deals would be signed," and that she is "already hunting for a long-term television agreement." The league's recently-signed deal with ESPN only lasts through the NWSL championship in October, "doesn’t pay the league a rights fee and relegates most of its games it airs to the network’s second-tier ESPNews channel." Sponsors and media deals can "easily disappear if the league cannot stabilize and grow." But the "biggest barrier to fans’ attending and watching games may not be that they choose not to, but that they don’t know the league exists." The NWSL has "had time to learn some lessons," but in its seven years has "never been on sure footing." Three NWSL teams have "folded or left," and Duffy is the "third person to be in charge of the league." For the long-term play to succeed, the NWSL "needs committed ownership groups that are willing to suffer losses, but there is ongoing debate about how those groups should be structured." Five NWSL teams currently have affiliations with a men’s pro team while the remaining four are independent. Affiliation gives NWSL teams "access to greater operational resources, but there are fears that an ownership group with both a men’s and a women’s team will always prioritize the men" (N.Y. TIMES, 8/1).
The NFL drafted Omnicom Media Group's OMD to its media agency roster "without a review," according to sources cited by Erik Oster of ADWEEK. The agency will be responsible for handling media buying and "planning for the league's games." Havas Media will handle media buying and placement for the NFL's digital and shopper account. A source characterized the move as the league "transferring the majority of the account from Havas to OMD." Last December, the NFL sent its creative account to 72andSunny, L.A., following a review, which reportedly "initially included over a dozen agencies and ended a decade-long relationship" with Grey, N.Y. A source said that OMD "will be responsible" for managing more than $200M in media placement that the NFL receives from its media platform partners (ADWEEK.com, 8/1).
The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Watkins Glen on Sunday is being title sponsored by Texas-based Strike Ten Entertainment for the second year, and the relationship has "produced the business equivalent of a bowling strike for both sides," according to Andrew Legare of the Elmira STAR-GAZETTE. The race is called "Go Bowling at The Glen," and Strike Ten President John Harbuck said, "It's a very good return on investment. It's difficult for us to really measure the amount of the direct cash-register read to our involvement in the sport, but I will assure you that since we've been involved in NASCAR our members' business has been on a constant trend upward since we've been aggressively promoting and marketing, along with our NASCAR sponsorship." Legare notes in addition to sponsoring the Cup race, Go Bowling "will also serve as primary sponsor" for the No. 10 Ford driven by Aric Almirola. It also will sponsor the No. 00 Ford Xfinity Series car driven by Cole Custer. The annual Cup race at Watkins Glen "has had nine different title sponsors" since the late '90s, not including the '12 race "which went without a sponsor." Go Bowling "traditionally partners with tracks for two years as it seeks to 'blanket the country' and get its message across." Watkins Glen Int'l President Michael Printup indicated that talks "are ongoing with two potential title sponsors for next year's Cup race." He added that there was a "slight chance Go Bowling could be back" (Elmira STAR-GAZETTE, 8/2).
WATKINS GLEN CUP SERIES RACE NAMES
Bud at The Glen
Frontier at The Glen
Global Crossing at The Glen
Sirius Satellite Radio at The Glen & Sirius at The Glen
Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes' very own breakfast cereal "arrived on the shelves" at K.C.-area Hy-Vee stores Thursday, according to Pete Grathoff of the K.C. STAR. Mahomes Magic Crunch will also be available in Hy-Vee stores in southern Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska "until the cereal is sold out." Hy-Vee said that it created the cereal with Mahomes' charitable foundation (the 15 and Mahomies Foundation) and PLB Sports, Inc. (K.C. STAR, 8/1). Meanwhile, in DC, Paige Leckie reported Capitals LW Alex Ovechkin also "will have a cereal named after him." The cereal, named "Ovi O's," surfaced on Facebook on Monday and was "almost immediately shared all over Twitter." The cereal will appear in Giant Food grocery stores (NBCSPORTSWASHINGTON.com, 7/30).
TEAM GAME: In Birmingham, Mandel & Jackson noted Coca-Cola will soon start selling 20-ounce Coke and Coke Zero Sugar bottles featuring some college and professional football team logos in stores. The promotion, which runs from Monday through Oct. 20, is part of the company's "Share a Coke" campaign. Coca-Cola calls the bottle promo one of its most "localized programs" to date, with team and school logos specifically distributed by region. The company added that "Share a Coke" will also play a "prominent role" in the brand's longstanding partnership with ESPN's "College GameDay" (BIZJOURNALS.com, 8/1).
THIN RED LINE: In Raleigh, Simone Jasper noted fans can "help name" a new beer the Hurricanes are rolling out. The team announced Wednesday that people "can weigh in online." Voters can choose among four themed names: Cross Check, Hat Trick, Red Line and Storm Brew (Raleigh NEWS & OBSERVER, 8/1).