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Volume 21 No. 2

Marketing and Sponsorship

With Danica Patrick this week set to announce eight of the 10 races she will run in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, Stewart-Haas Racing is putting the finishing touches on a sales proposal for her remaining open inventory.

The team plans to sell three multiyear associate sponsorships in 2012. One of those associates will convert to a primary sponsor for three Cup races in 2013. Team executives are determining pricing for those deals and will work with IMG, which represents Patrick, on the sales process.

GoDaddy will sponsor all 10 of Patrick’s 2012 Cup races.
Associate deals with high-profile drivers like Patrick typically cost more than $450,000 a race.

“We’re going to go out and attack the marketplace to find several sponsors that mesh with our team culture, Danica and our existing partnership base,” said Brett Frood, Stewart-Haas Racing’s executive vice president. “Ultimately, it’s about creating a story line that fits with Danica. We’ve got a skilled driver, one that’s courageous, versatile and beautiful, and a parallel to these is we have the first female driver to run full-time Cup.”

Patrick announced in August that she would leave the Izod IndyCar Series in 2012 and race in NASCAR full time. She plans to compete in the entire Nationwide Series season with JR Motorsports and run 10 races in the Sprint Cup Series with Stewart-Haas. She plans to race a full-time Sprint Cup schedule with Stewart-Haas in 2013. GoDaddy will sponsor all 10 Cup races she runs in 2012 and 33 of 36 Cup races in 2013.

Frood said that the team won’t come to companies with a specific list of associate-level sponsorship assets for those 10 races in 2012 or Patrick’s full-time schedule in 2013. Instead, it will work with companies to develop a package of assets that match their marketing goals. One of the assets that may be included, depending on the company, is Tony Stewart, who co-owns the team and often is included in deals with sponsors interested in using him for appearances or promotional use.

“We don’t send out proposals with one production day and two or three appearances because until you understand who your partner is you don’t know what their needs are,” Frood said. “The assets will be worked out with whomever that entity is to be sure it works with their short- and long-term strategies.”

Frood said Stewart-Haas would consider putting a driver in Patrick’s Cup car for the other 26 races if it can find enough sponsorship support.

Major shake-ups at IMG and CAA Sports last week gave the golf agency world a new look.

IMG will no longer have a separate consulting division for golf clients, a shift in structure that has eliminated longtime IMG executive Bart Kendall’s job. Kendall, a senior vice president and veteran of 18 years at IMG Golf, led the golf division’s consulting business, which included clients such as Royal Bank of Canada and Chevron.

CAA, meanwhile, leaped deeper into the golf space with the acquisition of MG Sports Marketing, a Ponte Vedra, Fla.-based shop run by partners Billy McGriff and Ben Gannett. MGSM’s clients include CDW, Farmers Insurance, Mitsubishi Electric, PwC, UBS and Zurich Financial Services.

CAA has been aggressively on the move in golf, especially recently with the addition of former USGA executive Pete Bevacqua in June. The company also hired Greg Luckman away from GroupM ESP in September to build its corporate consulting business. The acquisition of MGSM instantly gives CAA a solid core of golf consulting clients.

At IMG, Kendall admitted to being surprised by the restructuring.

“I was asked 4 1/2 years ago to start a golf consulting business for IMG, and I’m very proud of what was established,” said Kendall, who also worked on events and sales at IMG before starting the golf consulting division. “I had the opportunity to work with some blue-chip companies and run a profitable golf consulting practice, so I’m optimistic about what the future holds.”

IMG’s restructuring started in May when Mark Steinberg left the company and eventually joined Excel Sports Management.

IMG has had a separate consulting division in the past for its golf-specific clients, and Kendall spearheaded the team that worked out of the IMG Golf office in Cleveland. That golf consulting business now will be rolled into the global consulting group under David Abrutyn, IMG’s senior vice president and managing director.

No other job losses are expected from the consolidation of divisions.

IMG will keep a consulting presence in its Cleveland office, where the North American golf division has long been based, but those executives will now report to Kevin Ring, vice president of consulting, in Cleveland.

Consulting from the Cleveland office will now flow through Ring into Abrutyn’s office.

“We had both groups doing consulting work and when we looked at how to grow the business, putting everything under one umbrella was the most transparent way to go to market,” Abrutyn said. “We wanted to make sure we eliminated any confusion.”

Ring has worked out of the Cleveland office and was considered the bridge between the golf division and the consulting group. There had been some collaboration with clients, but the new structure will promote more ways in which the New York and Cleveland offices can work together, Abrutyn said.

Mitsubishi Electric, a PGA Tour official partner and a Champions Tour title sponsor, has renewed its deals for another four years.

The Tokyo-based company with offices throughout the U.S. probably is best known for rolling out the LED video boards — known as Diamond Vision — at PGA Tour events. Those boards, which debuted in 2007, enhanced the fan experience with more player, scoring and course information that included video for the first time.

In addition to owning status with the tour as the official large outdoor video display provider, Mitsubishi also has the heating and cooling category, as well as the official elevator/escalator category.

With those official partner deals come hospitality and entertainment at select PGA Tour events.

Financial terms were not released, but industry insiders said the annual spend on those official marketing partnerships and title sponsorship combined would run in the mid-seven figures. An announcement is expected this week.

On the Champions Tour, Mitsubishi Electric will be on the title of the season-opening event through 2015. The company has title sponsored that tournament on the big island of Hawaii since 2009. Tournament champions from the previous two seasons, as well as winners of senior majors over the past five years, are invited to the exclusive-field event.

Mitsubishi’s deal was negotiated by its sports marketing agency, MG Sports, which was acquired last week by CAA Sports.

In addition to those PGA Tour deals, Mitsubishi also sponsors Champions Tour golfer Fred Funk with logo placement on his bag and shirt collar.

Is the discriminating Canadian hockey palate ready for the Tim Hortons NHL All-Star Game?

Well, it had better be, because the NHL has signed Canadian quick-service restaurant Tim Hortons as the title sponsor in Canada for its 2012 All-Star weekend, the first such title sponsor for the NHL and believed to be the first among the Big Four sports.

Last year Discover Card held presenting sponsorship rights for the game in Raleigh, which marked the league’s first All-Star partner in that category since before the 2004-05 lockout. A presenting sponsorship also was sold to Nextel for the 2002 All-Star Game in Los Angeles.

Tim Hortons’ experience as title sponsor of this year’s Heritage Classic prompted the new deal.
But this deal is unique in that, in Canada only, it will make the game the Tim Hortons NHL All-Star Game. The rights do not extend to the U.S. The deal is also unique within the mainstream sports landscape, as the NFL, MLB and NBA are believed to have never sold title sponsorships to their respective all-star events. Historical data on any such deals was not available.

NHL officials declined to discuss the value of the sponsorship, though sources familiar with the league valued it in the low seven figures.

Keith Wachtel, the NHL’s senior vice president of integrated sales, said the title sponsorship affirms the league’s strategy of expanding the All-Star Game into a four-day event. This year the All-Star event runs Jan. 26-29 in Ottawa and includes the game, a player draft, the skills competition and a concert.

“We changed our model into something you don’t see with the other leagues,” Wachtel said. “I’m not sure if we would get a title if we just had the traditional All-Star format.”

Kyle McMann, the league’s vice president of partnership marketing, said Tim Hortons’ ability to drive tune-in through its network of stores made the restaurateur a perfect partner for the game. Named for its founder who was also a longtime NHL defenseman, Tim Hortons is Canada’s largest restaurant chain with more than 3,200 locations and a 45 percent market share in the fast-food category.

“They are an iconic hockey voice within the country,” McMann said. “We had great success with them last year.”
In 2010-11, Tim Hortons replaced McDonald’s as the NHL’s Canadian quick-service partner, and as part of the deal the restaurant also took on title sponsorship of the Feb. 20 Heritage Classic outdoor game in Calgary.

According to Robert Forbes, senior director for regional marketing and national promotions for Tim Hortons, the company’s experience as the Heritage Classic title sponsor last February convinced it to acquire title sponsorship rights for the All-Star Game. The NHL did not bring the Heritage Classic back for 2012.

“From a broadcast perspective, the signage was tremendous, our profile at the event was amazing,” Forbes said. “With the Heritage gone, we think the All-Star Game will be the biggest hockey event in Canada. It’s a great opportunity.”

A league representative said the deal was done in-house between Tim Hortons and the NHL. The league’s Canadian broadcast partners for the game, CBC and RDS, will refer to the game as the “Tim Hortons NHL All-Star Game.” The U.S. broadcaster, NBC, will not refer to the title sponsor as the deal did not include any U.S. rights.

McMann said Tim Hortons will receive center-ice branding, dasherboard and other in-arena signage, and will be identified in all marks in Canada. Tim Hortons is also title sponsor of the elimination shootout contest in the All-Star skills competition. Forbes said the package includes the media buy on CBC, but not on RDS. He said the company is assessing media opportunities with the latter broadcaster.

Forbes said the restaurateur will promote the event in all of its Canadian stores with posters, tray liners and digital menu boards. Forbes said the company also will introduce a branded All-Star doughnut within the Ottawa market during the month of January. In addition, Tim Hortons will use the All-Star Game to promote its Timbits Minor Hockey youth program, Forbes said.

Steve Ryan, former president of NHL Enterprises and former president of the Pittsburgh Penguins, said he attended the 2011 All-Star Weekend in Raleigh and believes the additional events have added considerable value to the package. Ryan was with the league when it added the skills competition in 1991.

“The title sponsor for the All-Star Game is the title sponsor of an entire weekend now,” said Ryan, who now operates his own consulting firm. “It’s not a novel idea, but it’s an idea whose time has come.”

At a time when several NASCAR teams are contracting and marketing dollars are scarce, Stewart-Haas Racing landed a significant new sponsorship, signing Quicken Loans to a multiyear, co-primary deal.

The deal, which industry sources valued at more than $4 million a year, will make the Detroit-based online mortgage lender the primary sponsor for nine races in 2012 on driver Ryan Newman’s No. 39 Chevrolet. The company will make its NASCAR debut this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway when Newman drives a car with a paint scheme promoting the Quicken Loans Carrier Classic, a basketball game between the University of North Carolina and Michigan State that will be played on the USS Carl Vinson on Nov. 11.

Stewart-Haas’ relationship with the U.S. Army, which will sponsor 12 races on the No. 39 car in 2012, played a major role in Quicken’s decision to sign with the team, said Jay Farner, president of Quicken Loans. The company is one of the top five lenders to American veterans and military personnel. It has forged close ties with the Navy in recent years, and that played a role in its title sponsorship of the Carrier Classic.

Farner said the loyalty of NASCAR fans and the synergy between the sport and the company’s new mission statement, “Quicken Loans is engineered to amaze,” compelled the company to sign the sponsorship.

“It’s not a big stretch to get your mind around NASCAR as one of those things that’s engineered to amaze,” Farner said.

“That’s a nice tie-in. We believe if we build loyalty with the fans that when it comes time to buy a home, we’ll be their first choice. That’s what led us down this path.”

Quicken negotiated the deal independently and doesn’t plan to hire a marketing agency to assist with activation. It is already in conversations with Stewart-Haas Racing about marketing plans for 2012, and Farner said he expects the company to feature Newman in TV and radio advertising and develop a social media campaign that features special offers for fans.

Quicken was founded by Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert. In addition to sponsoring the No. 39 car and the Carrier Classic, it has the naming rights for Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland.

Stewart-Haas Racing still has eight races left to fill on the No. 39 car for 2012. Brett Frood, the team’s executive vice president, said he is in serious conversations with companies and expects to fill that inventory before the end of the year.

Terry Lefton
While we are keenly aware that winning matters, a recurring mission here is to try to determine just how much it matters — and perhaps apply a framework to selling sports marketing assets without focusing on wins and losses, since they are generally out of the purview of the marketing department.

However, it is always intriguing to see what kind of return a championship yields. In the case of the NCAA basketball championship won by the University of Connecticut this past April, sponsorship revenue is up about 20 percent. Renewals, as you might expect, were knocked down at about the same percentage as a two-foot bank shot in the lane — with close to a 100 percent return from incumbent patrons, including AT&T, Coca-Cola, Dunkin’ Donuts, People’s Bank and Toyota. Newcomers included office technology specialist Connecticut Business Systems.

Tom Murphy, IMG College’s general manager of University of Connecticut sports marketing, also points out that the continued excellence of the university’s women’s basketball squad and the first BCS appearance by the football Huskies in the Fiesta Bowl last season did not hurt, either. Hartford, where the NCAA basketball champs split their home games at the XL Center when not playing at Gampel Pavilion in Storrs, “is obviously not New York or Boston, but UConn is relevant all over now,” Murphy said.

AGENCY OF RX-CORD: Van Wagner Sports & Entertainment has been named the domestic sports agency of record for the U.S. division of Sanofi-Aventis, the world’s fifth-largest pharmaceutical company.

Sanofi’s largest sports programs in the U.S. are its lead sponsorship of the Team Type 1-Sanofi pro cycling team and an NBA/WNBA sponsorship, now in its second year. Both are used for diabetes awareness, a malady for which Sanofi has a variety of drugs. The company also has aggressive plans for expansion into related areas.

“There’s still a strong appetite for sports and media investments.”
Bob Gutkowski
New partner,
 innovative strategic management
HOLD THE LINE: We’ve gotten some clarity regarding MetroPCS taking the USA Basketball sponsorship rights sold by the NBA, while Sprint has NBA and WNBA rights through a deal signed this past summer. Sources close to the deal tell us that USAB rights were off the table when Sprint was in negotiations in late spring, since Metro already had a verbal agreement with USAB. The upshot: Assuming the NBA returns to the court this season, that would leave the NBA with two telecom brands leveraging its top hoop assets in 2012.

COMINGS & GOINGS: Former Madison Square Garden President Bob Gutkowski is joining Roslyn, N.Y.-based Innovative Strategic Management as a partner, spearheading an expansion of the private equity firm into sports, media and entertainment. ISM represents funds with $3.8 billion under management. It was founded in 2002 by former MSG executive Howard Kahn. Gutkowski noted that several of those funds have or have owned sports equipment, media and publishing investments. “There are some sports brands out there interesting to some people, and overall there’s still a strong appetite for sports and media investments,” said Gutkow-ski, who helped engineer the roll-up of what became The Marquee Group and SFX. … Former NBA marketer Dan Pincus was named assistant vice president, sponsorship and promotions at MetLife, filling a vacancy created when Kim Taylor left the company. Pincus was most recently at Strategic, New York City. … Former NHLer and more recently NBA vice president of global partnerships Frank Nakano leaves the league after four years to join JPMorgan Chase’s burgeoning sports and entertainment marketing department headed by Steve Pamon, a former NFL executive. … Mandy O’Donnell goes to Ben Sturner’s Leverage Agency as senior vice president of integrated marketing. She was last at MSL Group, working on accounts including Puma, Women’s Professional Soccer and Heineken.

Terry Lefton can be reached at