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Volume 21 No. 2
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Pepsi adds players to NFL marketing roster

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