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Volume 20 No. 42

Marketing and Sponsorship

Getting marquee sponsorship space at a remodeled Daytona International Speedway won’t be cheap.

The track and its parent company, International Speedway Corp., are asking brands to make 10- to 15-year commitments and spend $2 million to $3 million a year for title sponsorship to one of the four entrances. There’s also a grand entrance that is priced higher. They have pitched the offering to existing partners, including Anheuser-Busch, Sprint, Lucas Oil, Toyota, Ford and General Motors.

ISC is asking $2M to $3M a year for the new entrances, and more for the grand entrance.
Image by: ROSSETTI
The sales effort is continuing despite the announcement last month that Daytona officials planned to reassess the size and scope of the track’s renovation. That announcement followed the Florida Legislature’s rejection of a request from the track for a series of tax incentives that would have delivered a one-time payment of $75 million.

Track officials have been vague about how that decision could affect renovation plans, but the goal still is to convert the simple, 50-year-old facility into an NFL-style stadium with grand entrances, wide concourses and improved amenities.

The Daytona and ISC sales team hoped to sign its first, entrance-gate sponsor prior to the Coke Zero 400, the NASCAR Sprint Cup race Daytona hosts every July, but so far it has only signed nondisclosure agreements with several partners that are interested in learning more about the offering.

“We are in discussions with several blue-chip partners about our proposed redevelopment project, including some that are new to the sport,” said Terry Kalna, ISC managing director of marketing partnerships, who is overseeing the in-house sales effort and provided a statement. “The value goes way beyond a typical ‘new stadium.’ We’re focused on creating new opportunities for fan engagement never before seen in our industry, in addition to some unique and high-quality customer touch points. Our goal is to build select partnerships early, allowing them to capitalize on customization and advance publicity.”

The $2 million to $3 million price tag per gate is comparable to the $3.5 million a year that Lowe’s paid to be the naming-rights sponsor of Charlotte Motor Speedway between 1999 and 2009. It’s less than the $8 million a year that MetLife Stadium netted from its four cornerstone partners.

But Daytona represents a different offering for entrance sponsorships than an NFL stadium, which hosts a minimum of 10 football games plus concerts and other events. The speedway hosts more than 200 events a year, including the Daytona 500, a summer Sprint Cup race, the Rolex 24 and AMA Supercross.

The track has talked about bringing in other events after the renovation, such as concerts and a college football game, but brands will have to evaluate whether those events collectively deliver enough value to justify the $2 million-plus asking price for the entrances.

“The idea of a long-term partnership makes a lot of sense, and it’s a smart play for the facility and for the brand,” said Jeff Knapple, president of Van Wagner Sports and an expert on naming rights. “I don’t know if the $2 million is an accurate number because it’s unclear what’s bundled in the package. If it’s pure branding and nothing else, which I doubt, then I would want to know how many events and what’s the foot traffic and if there’s going to be TV coverage from the outside. Those are the questions brands are going to have to be asking.”

The grand entrance sales are critical to the business plan for a renovated Daytona. The deals could bring in more than $20 million a year and help underwrite the cost of the renovation, which has been projected to be as much as $500 million.

The most recent design, which was done by Detroit-based architecture firm Rossetti, shows a new grandstand that is divided into four seating levels. The exterior has a more polished look and reduces the number of entrances from the current total of 17 to five. It also calls for the creation of 11 football-sized “neighborhoods” where fans could get concessions, interact and use wireless technology.

New suites are planned for the fifth, sixth and seventh levels of the renovated track, but the track hasn’t revealed its suite and premium-seating plans and doesn’t plan to do so until next month.

Editor's note: This story is revised from the print editon.

GMR Marketing announced recently a number of executive changes that are the first in a series of adjustments the agency plans to make as it combines its hospitality group, SportsMark, with its consulting group, GMR.

Senior vice president Tyson Webber has been promoted to executive vice president of client management. He will be relocating from the agency’s Charlotte office to its headquarters in New Berlin, Wis., where he will oversee GMR’s client relations work. He will oversee five senior vice presidents and work with the agency’s staff on consulting, digital services, events, promotions and sponsorship activation.


Greg Busch, who has held the executive vice president of client management position for more than three years, will assume a new senior role in corporate consulting, which will be announced a a later date.

SportsMark founder Jan Katzoff is overseeing the merger between SportsMark and GMR. There will be additional structural changes made in the future, but those plans have not been announced.

Terry Lefton
During the NFL’s offseason, teams and fantasy players alike shift and add roster positions, hoping to find the right formula for a winning team.

Pepsi, an NFL corporate sponsor since 2002, is also adding players — at least one in every NFL market. The move is designed to give local bottlers some local marketing inventory whether or not Pepsi has local NFL team rights, which are now almost evenly split across the league between Coke and Pepsi. The move also lessens Pepsi’s dependency on its Rookie of the Year platform.

Quarterback Russell Wilson is among the players Pepsi has signed in NFL markets.
Some of the larger names on Pepsi’s expanding NFL roster are quarterbacks Matt Schaub of the Houston Texans, Russell Wilson from the Seattle Seahawks and Matthew Stafford of the Detroit Lions. Other new endorsers on the Pepsi team include a trio of running backs: San Francisco’s Frank Gore, Dallas’ DeMarco Murray and David Wilson from the New York Giants.

Genesco Sports Enterprises handles the program for Pepsi.

> ‘THE GAME’ ON ICE: Harvard versus Yale is one of the most venerable matchups in college football. The Ivy League rivals have played nearly every year since their first gridiron meeting on Nov. 13, 1875. On the ice? Not quite as storied. However, a new Harvard-Yale hockey matchup scheduled for Madison Square Garden on Jan. 11 features Yale as the defending NCAA hockey champions, while Harvard will be celebrating 25 years since its first NCAA hockey crown. The game will be televised on NBC Sports Network as part of a partnership with Ben Sturner’s Leverage Agency, New York, which owns the event and has a multiyear commitment from the schools and network. Leverage is seeking a presenting sponsor and three to four other category-exclusive sponsors, with packages including TV and dasherboard ads. Harvard-Yale alumni hockey events around the game also are being developed.

Fellow Ivy Leaguer Cornell has sold out four hockey games at MSG since 2007.

> PARAGON OF EDUCATION: Tony Schiller, partner and executive vice president of Paragon Marketing Group, is the new chairman of the 20-person advisory board at the University of Central Florida’s DeVos Sport Business Management Program in Orlando, filling a position last held by UCF President John Hitt.  DeVos program founder and Chairman Richard Lapchick said Schiller will help shape communications and increase a national presence in the academic and sports business communities for the program, known for its commitment to diversity, ethics and community service. The program accepts about 30 degree candidates a year, and graduates earn both an MBA and a master’s degree in sports business management.

Also on the advisory board are NBA Commissioner David Stern, MLS Commissioner Don Garber, NASCAR Chairman Brian France and former WNBA President Val Ackerman.

> COMINGS & GOINGS: A sizable portion of the institutional memory for FedEx’s various sponsorship programs has left the building. Sponsorship marketing manager Nancy Altenburg has taken a buyout from FedEx after nearly 33 years with the company. Altenburg has hung out her own shingle in Memphis, launching a consultancy specializing in strategy development, negotiations, leveraging and overall sports marketing. … Andrew Kritzer, former Sharp Electronics associate marketing vice president, has joined the Association of National Advertisers in New York as senior director, committees and conferences, where he’s responsible for committees dealing with issues surrounding advertising, financial management and agency relations.

Terry Lefton can be reached at

Webb Simpson heard all the talk that winning a major championship would change his life.

A year after claiming the U.S. Open at Olympic Club, Simpson might be the exception.

“My life hasn’t really changed,” Simpson said. “It’s made me a more confident golfer, but my wife holds me accountable and makes sure that I’m the same guy. She makes sure that I’m not any more important than I really am. But for me, I just want to be the same dad, the same friend, the same son as I’ve always been.

Simpson stayed with Titleist and GE
but switched his apparel deal to Izod.

Webb Simpson

Age: 27
Turned pro: 2008
Career earnings: $13.8 million
Wins: 2011 Wyndham Championship, 2011 Deutsche Bank Championship, 2012 U.S. Open
Sponsors: Izod, GE, FTI Consulting, Chase Sapphire, Titleist
Thomas Parker, Professional Advisory Group

“But staying under the radar after winning the U.S. Open isn’t easy.”

Before Simpson ever won a U.S. Open, or any kind of professional golf tournament, he already knew that he’d take a minimalist approach to chasing the off-course revenue that comes from endorsements and corporate golf outings. Endorsements can range from the low to high six figures, while one-day outings pay $50,000 to $75,000.

Whatever level of success he achieved, Simpson committed to keeping his wife, Dowd, and two kids front and center. If that resulted in leaving money on the table because he didn’t take up every sponsor offer or corporate outing, so be it.

“I like to think of myself as a family man,” Simpson said, when asked how he wants to be branded. “I want to be viewed as a gentleman, a guy who represents great companies that have impact in the U.S. and around the world.”

The most noticeable change after the U.S. Open came in the form of his apparel deal. He left Ralph Lauren after last season and signed with Izod, a brand making a big push into golf this year, for what industry insiders said was $750,000 a year.

He also continued a couple of deals that he already had — General Electric for space on his shirt and Chase Sapphire for four golf outings a year. FTI Consulting also has a sleeve, and his equipment deal is with Titleist, same as they were before he won the U.S. Open.

Jim Kenyon, a vice president at Intersport, the Chicago agency that runs Chase Sapphire’s golf outings, said competing credit cards made a run at Simpson after he won a major.

“He made it clear that he wanted to make it work with Chase first,” Kenyon said. “We feel like he was loyal to Chase and that means a lot. He really is that good guy who finished first. … We just had a photo shoot with him. It was 10 days before the U.S. Open, he’s got a lot on his mind, I’m sure, but he was early to the shoot and stayed later than he had to. He’s that approachable guy who clients really enjoy hanging out with.”

The increase in purses on the PGA Tour is another reason Simpson can be so selective, even if it means bypassing opportunities that could extend his brand and make him more of a household name. For example, he passed on an offer to appear on “The Tonight Show” after winning the Open so he could have an extra day at home before the next tournament.

Since turning pro in 2008, Simpson has made nearly $14 million, so the urgency to make the most of his fame hasn’t prevailed in his thinking. Simpson said he collaborates with his wife, his parents and his manager, Thomas Parker, to decide what opportunities to pursue.

Simpson has been with Parker — they’re both former Wake Forest golfers — since he turned pro and says they get along because they both prefer to stay under the radar.

Mac Barnhardt, CEO of Crown Sports Management and a veteran golf agent, said Simpson in many ways reminds him of Davis Love III.

“Davis, with all of his success, never changed,” said Barnhardt, whose firm represents Love. “His family always came first. That probably cost him a lot of money, but we always tell our guys, money equals time. A guy like Webb, he can be very selective.”

Simpson said he still doesn’t have all the answers for how to best use his time. His fellow pros have told him to travel when his children are young because it will be harder to be away when they’re school-aged.

“It’s tough because I sometimes think I should be capitalizing on the opportunities I have from winning the Open, but I don’t want to look back and realize that I was gone too much,” he said. “It’s hard to find the middle ground.”