Branding the World of Sports

Archive for October, 2008

Can Pepsi afford to spend $1 billion on a butt crack?

Posted by ZA on October 31, 2008

Pepsi just spent months with one of the marketing world’s top design firms to redesign their corporate logo.  The results of that investment?  A lousy looking Pepsi logo, in my opinion.  Apparently I’m not the only one who shares that opinion.  Does Pepsi really want to go spend a billion dollars to brand a new Pepsi logo with something that some people think looks like plumber’s crack?

Comparing old and new Pepsi logo:

New Pepsi logo versus old Pepsi logo

New Pepsi logo versus old Pepsi logo

The concept behind the new Pepsi logo is that it is supposed to look like a smile.  Pepsi is a smile, Diet Pepsi will be hava logo that looks like a grin and Pepsi Max’s logo will be a full laugh.  Cute idea, but not one that seems worthy of spending $1 billion dollars to change every delivery truck, vending machine, in-store sign, etc. 

Evolution of Pepsi logo:

Pepsi Logo evolution
Pepsi logo evolution from

Pepsi is a 110 year old company and currently has one of the most recognizable brands in the World.  So why change all of that history to something as gimicky as a smile logo?  Personally I think it would be excellent for Pepsi to get back to their roots and use one of their former logos – either from 1962 (above) or 1971 (above).  Those are classic looks that will convey the longevity and history of this classic company.  Plus, vintage looks are en vogue today so they might spawn a whole generation of buyers who relate back to those classic looks.  They could even introduce some vintage looking t-shirts with the logo that might be a hot item with the young, trendy crowd.  Say hello to the return of Coca-Cola brand clothes, but this it’s Pepsi.

Attention Pepsi execs, before you spend all of that cash rolling out the new gimicky logo stop to consider what your logo says about your brand.  Are you a classic brand or one that caters to every new fad?  You don’t see Coca-Cola changing their logo every decade, they are still using a version of their classic.  I hope Pepsi reconsiders the new logo and goes with something a little more classic looking, I’d be impressed if they do.

PepsiCo’s major sports sponsorship deals:
* Gatorade endorsed by Michael Jordan, Peyton Manning, Maria Sharapova, Derek Jeter and many more.
* Pepsi, Frito-Lay and Gatorade are all official NFL sponsors.
* Gatorade develops sponsorship for Tiger Woods, Tigerade is his own line of drink.
* Pepsi sponsors Nascar races (Pepsi 400).
* Pepsi sponsors Jeff Gordon, top Nascar driver.
* Pepsi’s Amp Energy drink sponsors Dale Earnhardt Jr, top Nascar driver.
* Pepsi’s Amp Energy drinks sponsors NHL game played outdoors.
* Pepsi-cola endorsed by sports stars including Shaquille O’Neal.

Posted in Sports Brands | 3 Comments »

Manchester United signs Swiss watchmaker

Posted by ZA on October 30, 2008

And the rich get richer…
Manchester United signs another sponsor

Manchester United signs another sponsor

Top football club Manchester United signed a 4-year deal with Swiss watch company, Hublot, that is valued at close to $4 million dollars per season.  As part of the deal Hublot announced the release of a new Man U themed watch called the Red Devil Bang.

Hublot joins a list of premier companies who sponsor Manchester United including; AIG, Budweiser & Nike.  See a complete list of Man U sponsors here in our story on Budweiser sponsoring the football club.

Buy a Hublot watch here.

Posted in Soccer, Sponsorship Deals, Sports Brands | Leave a Comment »

NFL East to include the London Bobbies

Posted by ZA on October 29, 2008

Could the NFL East expand to include a team from London, England?  Yes, that could happen according to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.

NFL expanding to Europe?

NFL expanding to Europe?

Goodell commented on the idea that an NFL team being permanently located in London, “It would be a great thing for the league.  If the response keeps continuing this way (from the NFL games played in London the past two seasons), that’s a realistic possibility.” 

The NFL has played a regular-season game in London, England each of the past two years.  They will continue to play games in London for the next two seasons (2009 & 2010) and have mentioned the possibility about a regular-season game being played in another major European city.  Most likely Edinburgh, Scotland or somewhere in Germany.  Goodell expanded upon that plan saying the league was “considering the idea” of playing two regular-season games in London each of the next two seasons.

The commissioner makes it sound like the chances are decent that the NFL could add a team in the UK in the near future.  Kind of hard to imagine American football being so popular in London that they could support a full-time team.  The NFL Europe league lasted for a dozen years, under numerous names, but eventually folded from lack of fan and sponsor support.  I imagine many of the same issues would challenge any full-time NFL team that is located in London.  They would be competiting for attention with England’s Premier League, which is the dominant league in their national past-time of football (i.e.- soccer).

Plus the NFL owners are unlikely to approve a team in London.  It sounds like a great idea to expand their game international, thus bringing in more dollars.  But for teams to play regular-season games in London would be a logistics nightmare.  Imagine an NFL East that includes the Buffalo Bills, New England Patriots, New York Jets and the London Bobbies (Miami would be relocated to the NFC South).  That would be a brutal travel schedule for each team to play one game in London, and would definitely hamstring the Bobbies who would have to spend too much time on airplanes.

Imagine the Patriots making the 6500+ mile round-trip from Boston to London each season to play a regular-season game.  A night game in London, that would kickoff early back in the United States.  I just can’t see that happening.  Commissioner Goodell is most likely just talking a good game, but when push comes to shove the NFL is not going to expand to Europe any time soon.  Maybe the NBA, but not the NFL.

Posted in NFL | 4 Comments »

Endorsement Profile: Lebron James

Posted by ZA on October 27, 2008

Athlete: Lebron James
Sport: Basketball
League: NBA
Team: Cleveland Cavaliers
Agent: Maverick Carter (LRMR Marketing – Lebron’s marketing company)
Age: 23 (December 30, 1984)
Rank in SI’s 50 richest athletes: 3rd
Endorsement value: $28,000,000

Lebron James photo from

Lebron James photo from

Lebron James endorsement deals (thru Oct. 2008):
* Bubblicious
* Cannondale Bicycle Company
* Coca-Cola (Coke, Sprite & Vitaminwater)
* Cub Cadet
* Nike
* State Farm Insurance
* Upper Deck

LeBron James signed his first endorsement deal with Upper Deck in the Spring semester of his Senior year in high school.  Durant was finished with high school and waiting for the NBA draft when he signed the five-year deal valued at one million per season.  Hours later James would sign the richest shoe endorsement deal that any NBA rookie had ever signed.  Nike signed LeBron to a $90 million endorsement contract narrowly beating out Adidas, which was the sponsor of James high school team.  LeBron signed endorsement deals with a range of other top companies, including the Coca-Cola Corporation.  James has endorsed a slew of Coke products, starting with Powerade and eventually moving to Vitaminwater and now Coca-Cola.  During the 2008 Beijing Olympics Coca-Cola ran a global advertising campaign that featured LeBron and China’s Yao Ming.

LeBron James’ endorsement potential:
LeBron James is arguably the best basketball player on the planet.  He is beloved in the United States and across the globe.  LeBron has already led his team to the NBA Finals and been named All-NBA 1st Team twice.  He is virtual lock for the NBA Hall of Fame and a place in the conversation about the best forwards of all-time. 

LeBron is a truly transcendent athlete, and his endorsement potential reflects that.  Not only is King James a sports star, he is entertainment superstar.  LeBron has graced the cover of magazines from Sports Illustrated to Vogue.  He has done things in the entertainment world that few athletes ever have, like host Saturday Night Live and the ESPY Awards (with Jimmy Kimmel).  LeBron James star shines brightly and should continue to for many years to come.

LeBron James 5-star endorsement rating: 5

LeBron James commercial for Powerade:

Posted in Apparel & Shoes, Athletes, Endorsement Deals, Endorsement Profile, NBA, Nike, Sports Brands | 7 Comments »

How will attack ads shape the sports world?

Posted by ZA on October 27, 2008

Advertising Age posted a great article on the exponential growth of comparative ads in the advertising world.  AdAge says these “attack ads” are becoming a common tactic for the underdog in a given sector.  The success of Apple’s Mac vs PC ads have inspired a new wave of attack ads from companies in a variety of industries.

* Dunkin Donuts is going after Starbucks on coffee.
* Time Warner and Verizon are attacking each other on broadband service.
* Direct TV is attacking Time Warner on the dish being better than cable.
* Progresso is going after Campbell’s on healthy soup.
* Microsoft (aka: PC) is counterpunching Apple (aka: Mac) with their “I’m a PC ad”.

So the question is which sports brands are going to start directly attacking each other in these combative style ads?  There are many companies who spend a lot of marketing dollars in the sports world, who already have a history of attacking each other, including: Coke versus Pepsi, Burger King versus McDonald’s and Miller Lite versus Bud Light.  But what sports brands are going to form the next wave of attack ads:

Under Armour vs Nike vs Reebok/Adidas
* There has already been a history of some attack ads in this space, but look for upstart Under Armour to try to gain market share by tearing down their bigger, richer rivals.  Attacks on Nike are going to be coming from all directions, as Reebok/Adidas will continue to battle Nike for supremacy in different sports categories.  The last few years Nike and Adidas have exchanged a lot of blows as Nike tries to grow their foothold in the soccer world, a previous stronghold of Adidas.

Gatorade vs Powerade evolves to Vitaminwater vs SoBe Lifewater
Again these are two companies that are not strangers to attack ads.  They and their parent companies, Coca-Cola and Pepsi, have battled back and forth for years.  The new battleground will be the flavored water, where Coke brand Vitaminwater will fight against attacks from Pepsi’s SoBe Lifewater.

UFC vs Elite XC
Wait, this battle between rival MMA organizations looks to be already over with the news that Elite XC is going out of business.  Score it a TKO for the UFC and Dana White.

It’s doubtful these two leagues ever take off the gloves and really start bashing each other, but there might be a few jabs thrown.  The two major professional sports leagues compete for dollars, fans, corporate sponsorships and television air time every year.  Both are hurting for revenue, so rather than try to build their own brand they may choose to attack the other brand to try to grab some market share.

These are just a few, surely there will be more big name sports brands that throw down the gauntlet to go after their competitors.  It’ll be interesting to see which of these “attacks” prove effective, and which turn out to be just more noise in the marketplace.

Posted in Apparel & Shoes, Gatorade, NBA, NHL, Nike, Powerade, Sports Brands, Sports Marketing | 1 Comment »

Telestra Dome to become Etihad Airways Dome

Posted by ZA on October 24, 2008

Australia’s Telestra Dome, the top venue in the country for Australian Rules Football, is going to be rebranded with the name of a top Middle East airline.  On March 1, 2009 the Telestra Dome will change to the Etihad Airways Dome, and the United Arab Emirates airline will also receive in-stadium signage.  Terms for the 5 year deal  were not disclosed.

Posted in Sponsorship Deals, Stadium Signage, Venue Information, Venue Naming Rights | Leave a Comment »

The Pickens Plan for Oklahoma State football

Posted by ZA on October 21, 2008

Billionaire T. Boone Pickens is finally getting a proper return on his investment.
No, not his oil investments – he’s already made billions of those.
And not his green energy wind farm investments – he’s still waiting for those to mature.

He’s getting ROI from the $200,000,000.00 he pledged to his alma mater, Oklahoma State University.  The $200 million was provided a few years ago to pull the Cowboys athletic programs from middle of the pack to the top shelf.  This season the money is finally working for the OSU football team, who knocked off Missouri and have climbed to 7th in the latest AP poll.

T. Boone said, “Now I’m getting my money’s worth.”

Next step for T. Boone’s Cowboys is their biggest game of the year so far against the #1 ranked Texas Longhorns in Austin.  A few weeks after that the Cowboys will face their hated in-state rival, the Oklahoma Sooners, in the Bedlam Series.  Both of those games will be extremely difficult for OSU to win, but if they do then Pickens will really be getting ROI.

Pickens said, “The two biggest games for me are the OU game and the Texas game.  I’d like to beat both of ’em.  That’d be a real thrill for me.”

Are you listening Coach Mike Gundy and Athletic Director Mike Holder?  T. Boone wants a couple of victorious.  Heck, if you do it – it might earn your programs a few million extra.

Posted in College Football, Money | 1 Comment »

Yankees & Cowboys team up to make Legends

Posted by ZA on October 20, 2008

Two of the most icononic brands in sports are teaming up on a joint venture that could change the sports landscape.  The Dallas Cowboys and New York Yankees announced they are launching a stadium concessions company named Legends Hospitality Management.  Goldmach Sachs is a third partner in the venture.

Legends will handle all of the stadium concessions, catering for luxury suites and sales via the team stores for both the new Cowboys stadium and new Yankee Stadium.  Both stadiums are slated to open in 2009.  The goal of Legends will be to offer a higher-level of service than typically provided by stadium concession companies.  Also, I’m sure to make Jerry Jones and the Steinbrenner family more money.  Jones said the purpose of the venture was to affect “the fan experience.”

The Yankees were already the most lucrative concessions contract in American sports, they booked over $70 million in concessions revenue at old Yankee Stadium over the past year.  That number will only increase when they move across the street into a new more luxurious Yankee Stadium packed with more upscale dining options.

Legends will add its name among some of the current big names in stadium concessions, which include: Aramark, Centerplate and Sodexho.

Cowboys & Yankees snack bar opens in 2009

Cowboys & Yankees snack bar opens in 2009

Posted in MLB, NFL, Sports Brands, Stadium Pouring Rights, Venue Information | 2 Comments »

Top 25 hottest selling NFL jerseys

Posted by ZA on October 18, 2008

Taking a look at the list of the top 25 selling jerseys in the NFL right now brings up a lot of questions.

Does anyone in Dallas, Texas not own a Cowboys jersey?
Can any position break the strangehold that QBs have on the list?
How quickly have the “stars” of Vince Young and Matt Leinart faded?
Is it disheartening to 49ers fans that Patrick Willis is their top jersey, and not Alex Smith?
How has tight end Jason Witten sold more jerseys than LT?
Is there some guy in Green Bay, Wisconsin getting rich selling Favre Jets jerseys?

1. Brett Favre (QB – New York Jets)
2. Tony Romo (QB – Dallas Cowboys)
3. Eli Manning (QB – New York Giants)
4. Marion Barber (RB – Dallas Cowboys)
5. Tom Brady (QB – New England Patriots)
6. Adrian Peterson (RB – Minnesota Vikings)
7. Peyton Manning (QB – Indianapolis Colts)
8. Jason Witten (TE – Dallas Cowboys)
9. LaDainian Tomlinson (RB – San Diego Chargers)
10. Terrell Owens (WR – Dallas Cowboys)
11. Ben Roethlisberg (QB – Pittsburgh Steelers)
12. Darren McFadden (RB – Oakland Raiders)
13. Devin Hester (WR/DB – Chicago Bears)
14. Brian Urlacher (LB – Chicago Bears)
15. Brian Westbrook (RB – Philadelphia Eagles)
16. Jay Cutler (QB – Denver Broncos)
17. Troy Polamalu (S – Pittsburgh Steelers)
18. Chris Cooley (TE – Washington Redskins)
19. DeMarcus Ware (LB – Dallas Cowboys)
20. Reggie Bush (RB – New Orleans Saints)
21. Plaxico Burress (WR – New York Giants)
22. Patrick Willis (LB – San Francisco 49ers)
23. Donovan McNabb (QB – Philadelphia Eagles)
24. Randy Moss (WR – New England Patriots)
25. Hines Ward (WR – Pittsburgh Steelers)

Top selling jerseys at from April 1 to October 15, 2008 by Sports Business Daily.

Posted in Apparel & Shoes, Endorsement Deals, NFL, Sports Brands | Leave a Comment »

Sports venues: 10 things you might not know

Posted by ZA on October 15, 2008

A few facts about sports venues that you might not know:

1. World’s first fully retractable roof was at the Skydome in Toronto, Canada opens in 1989.
2. First permanent concession stand was built into Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois in 1914.
3. Most expensive arena (not stadium) ever built is the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. It cost $375M and opened in 1999.
4. First PSL’s started by the Carolina Panthers to raise for Ericsson Stadium (now Bank of America Stadium).
5. First sports stadium to include a swimming pool was the Bank One Ballpark in Phoenix, Arizona.  The BOB was also the first retractable roof stadium to have a natural grass surface.
6. First soccer only stadium in USA was the Columbus Crew Stadium in Ohio.
7. A combination artificial turf, sand and rubber called FieldTurf was first installed in Nebraska’s Memorial Stadium in 1999.
8. Oldest big league sports venue is Fenway Park which opened in 1912.
9. First sports venue with an electronic scoreboard is tiny Wingate, Illinois High School field.  They turned on the scoreboard in 1934.
10. Largest domed structure in the World, the Georgia Dome, opens in 1992.

Venue facts from Sports Business Journal.

Posted in Venue Information | Leave a Comment »