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Volume 26 No. 113

Marketing and Sponsorship

Because of NFL rules on CBD, Gronkowski's partnership technically is with Gillette Stadium, not the Patriots
Photo: GETTY IMAGES
Because of NFL rules on CBD, Gronkowski's partnership technically is with Gillette Stadium, not the Patriots
Photo: GETTY IMAGES
Because of NFL rules on CBD, Gronkowski's partnership technically is with Gillette Stadium, not the Patriots
Photo: GETTY IMAGES

Former NFLer Rob Gronkowski's partnership with CBDMEDIC will bring his "smiling face" and the CBD company's leaf logo to the "water tower that hovers over Gillette Stadium, as well as on the billboards just outside and on the facade," according to Michael Silverman of the BOSTON GLOBE. NFL rules stipulate CBD signage is "prohibited within the stadium." The partnership is between CBDMEDIC, Gillette Stadium and Patriot Place, but "not with the Patriots or Owner Robert Kraft." But Gronkowski has Kraft "in his corner." Toronto-based Abacus Health Products CEO Perry Antelman, whose company produces the CBDMEDIC line, said that the deal with an NFL stadium and retail property surrounding it "marks a first for any CBD company" in the U.S. (BOSTON GLOBE, 10/26).

JUST THE BEGINNING: The GLOBE's Silverman wrote there is a "snowballing trend of linking elite athletes, especially those from rough-and-tumble sports, with CBD products." It is "not hard to see" how Gronkowski's "well-publicized arrangement with CBDMEDIC is only the beginning of more and more such pitches." The "upcoming tide of CBD commercials featuring well-known elite athletes is on the rise." Besides Gronkowski, USWNT F Megan Rapinoe is "repping her twin sister's all-female CBD company." Other athletes endorsing CBD products include golfer Bubba Watson, Paul Pierce, Tiki Barber, Joe Montana, former cyclist Floyd Landis and a "truckload of UFC fighters." What also "helps allow the athlete/CBD message to get through is that customers are learning the difference between CBD-only cannabis products and those with some degree of psychoactive THC, the compound that gets you high." The link between sports and capitalism is a "bone-crushing handshake, which is why it is notable Gronkowski's pitch came in a Gillette Stadium suite, and his advertising will be around -- not in -- the stadium" (BOSTON GLOBE, 10/26).

Wall played two seasons as a sneaker free-agent in between his first Adidas deal and subsequent extension
Photo: NBAE/GETTY IMAGES
Wall played two seasons as a sneaker free-agent in between his first Adidas deal and subsequent extension
Photo: NBAE/GETTY IMAGES
Wall played two seasons as a sneaker free-agent in between his first Adidas deal and subsequent extension
Photo: NBAE/GETTY IMAGES

Wizards G John Wall and Adidas are "engaged in ongoing buyout negotiations that will soon bring his five-year footwear and apparel endorsement deal to an end less than two years into the agreement," according to sources cited by Nick DePaula of ESPN.com. Since signing the deal in January '18, Wall has been "sidelined by a series of injuries," including a full tear of his Achilles in February, "limiting his on-court visibility." Wall now is expected to return at the start of the '20-21 season. When he and Adidas "couldn't agree to terms on a shoe deal extension" in fall '15, Wall played the next two seasons as a "sneaker free-agent without an endorsement deal." Wall and Adidas then "reunited during his eighth season on a five-year deal that was expected to pay him" nearly $25M in total, but soon likely will "instead come to an end" (ESPN.com, 10/27).

PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan said that the Tour has "no intention" of moving the Zozo Championship after the Japan-based retailer was acquired by Yahoo Japan last month. In N.Y., Ken Belson noted Zozo Founder & President Yusaku Maezawa, who was the "driver of the event," is no longer chief exec, though he is expected to "continue to play a central role" in the tournament. Monahan added that Zozo has "agreed to sponsor" the Tour's event in Japan for six years (N.Y. TIMES, 10/26).

TRUE TEST: In Charlotte, Joe Marusak noted Panthers RB Christian McCaffrey stars in a "humorous Pepsi commercial," where he is "awarded a True Carolinian certificate after fans test his knowledge of the Carolinas." McCaffrey received the honor "despite getting some of the questions wrong," such as stumbling when "asked if he knows the definition of a pig pickin'" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 10/27).

SWEDE RIDE: Volvo has signed a three-year deal to become the official vehicle of the TCS N.Y. Marathon, filling the race’s auto category for the first time since Toyota’s deal ended in '14. Along with using its XC 60 T8 hybrid model as the official lead car of Sunday’s event, Volvo will become the presenting sponsor of N.Y. Road Runners’ virtual racing series, which allows runners from around the world to participate in NYRR-themed contests on the running app Strava. Financial terms were not disclosed (Ben Fischer, THE DAILY).