Branding the World of Sports

Archive for February, 2010

ESPN voted most innovative sports company

Posted by ZA on February 23, 2010

FastCompany just released its 2010 top 10 list of the Most Innovative Sports Companies and the Worldwide Leader in Sports, ESPN, was at the top of the list.  Below is the top 10 list and here is a link to the full article.

Top 10 Most Innovative Sports Companies (by FastCompany)
2. Indian Premier League (IPL)
3. Sportvision
4. MLB Advanced Media
5. AEG
6. Populous (formerly: HOK Sports)
7. Cleveland Cavaliers
8. Turner Sports Interactive
9. Cisco Systems
10. Spyder

[Assist: SportsBusinessDaily]

Posted in Internet, Sports Brands | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

BrandDunk in Final Four sponsorship article

Posted by ZA on February 21, 2010

Media Life Magazine ran an interesting article, by Diego Vasquez, on the cost and value of sponsorships at the NCAA Final Four.  The article focuses on the value that can be derived by “out of home” sponsorships at events like the Final Four.  And if you read down to the bottom, you’ll see a quote I contributed to the article.

“Certainly you’re getting your brand in front of a strong target market. In addition to the fans, there are also a lot of corporate types — a lot of influential people will be there. So if you’re setting up something like a fan experience outside of the arena, you’ll get great traction locally and get exposure among corporations entertaining clients, as well as the fans.” Zach Anderson, a marketer who runs the blog BrandDunk

Posted in College Basketball, College Sports, Sponsorship Deals, Sports Brands, Sports Marketing | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Under Armour signs Michael Phelps

Posted by ZA on February 19, 2010

Michael Phelps will need to be strong to haul around all of the checks from sponsors

Under Armour has signed swimmer Michael Phelps to an multiyear endorsement deal.  The deal will have Phelps endorse Under Armour products that he wears to train “outside-the-pool”.  It was structured that way because Phelps already has a lucrative endorsement deal with Speedo, whose swimsuits he wears during competitions.

This is a bold move for Phelps and Under Armour and appears to be a win-win.  Under Armour picks up one of the most marketable, young athletes in the World for a pretty fair price (note: figures on the deal were not disclosed, but one expert estimated the deal at $5 million).  Phelps insures that Under Armour will get plenty of coverage at the Summer Olympics, an event that has traditionally been dominated by Nike, Adidas and even Puma.  This deal is also a great move for Phelps who already has the richest swimwear contract that Speedo has ever signed.  It is like Phelps gets to double dip, by having two sponsors in the same genre.

[Assist: Sports Business Daily]

Posted in Endorsement Deals, Olympics, Under Armour | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Which Olympians will emerge as stars from Vancouver?

Posted by ZA on February 17, 2010

The 2010 Winter Olympics are underway and the early returns suggest that approximately 10% more Americans are tuning into NBC this year as compared to Turin 2006.  That increase in exposure is sure to be matched by the increased attention this year’s Olympics will receive on the internet.  Remember that Twitter and Facebook were not around in 2006 to bring us breaking news the Winter Games.  So overall these Winter Olympics should do a lot more to promote their athletes than any previous Winter Games.

So the next logical question is which athletes will benefit the most from the increased exposure in Vancouver?  Already these games have made a household name out of Nodar Kumaritashvili, who tragically died in a luge accident on the day of the Opening Ceremonies.  In a more positive story we’ve been introduced to Canadian skier, Alexandre Bilodeau and his brother Frederic, who was born with cerebral palsy but is an inspiration for his brother.  Alexandre won the first gold medal of these Olympics for his home country of Canada.

So we already have names from Vancouver 2010 etched into our consciousness.  But which Olympic athletes are we still going to be talking about 3 months after the 2010 Games are done?  AdAge broke down a few of the Winter Olympics athletes that they believe have the best chance for post-Olympics marketing success.  Here is their take on the stars likely to be created from the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver:

Gold medal
* Lindsey Vonn – If she overcomes injury to medal, then she’ll be able to write her own ticket to endorsement fame.
* Apolo Anton Ohno – Already done spots for Coke, McDonald’s and Nestle.
* Sidney Crosby – Young star has appeal in Canada (his home country) and US (plays for Pittsburgh Penguins).

Silver medal
* Shaun White – Already a major marketing force, has endorsed Amex & HP.
* Shani Davis – Another star who already rakes in nice money from companies like Nike.
* Johnny Weir & his fellow US men’s figure skaters – Could be big names in they bring home the gold.

Bronze medal
* Bode Miller – Former bad boy can now become the model for redemption.
* Rachael Flatt – Who?  She’s the United States best hope in women’s figure skating.  A medal will catapult her.
* Kris Freeman & Brian McKeever – Stories of overcoming great obstacles.

Who do you think will be the breakout marketing star for the Vancouver Winter Olympics?

Posted in Olympics | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

General Motors throws Tiger Woods under the bus

Posted by ZA on February 15, 2010

Bob Lutz, the 78 year old Vice Chairman of General Motors, might know something about designing cars but he’s certainly no expert on marketing.  That is because Lutz recently dropped a verbal jabs on Tiger Woods, the former General Motors pitchman.  Lutz said that GM was not “…too lucky with Tiger…” and that their $50 plus million dollar endorsement deal with Woods did not boost sales for Buick.

My question is if Lutz is going to lay the verbal smack down on someone, shouldn’t it be his own team?  Lutz has been a top executive at GM for the majority of their time with Tiger, so I assume he was aware of the approximately $8 million dollars per year endorsement deal his company had with the golf star.  So why wait until after the deal is done to complain about the effectiveness of it?  Why didn’t Lutz demand that his marketing personnel make changes to improve the effectiveness of the endorsement deal?  Why didn’t Lutz change the way they were using Tiger or change the message Woods was pushing for GM?  Lutz did concede that GM, “…didn’t have him say the right things at the time.” and admits it is “partially” GM’s fault.

Maybe Lutz was the reason that General Motors bailed on their deal with Tiger a year early.  But at that time GM marketing execs were supporting the deal with Tiger by saying “We attribute awareness of our product to Tiger.”  GM claimed the move to end their relationship a year early was “hard to walk away from” but that it was a financial decision to “free up a lot of money for us (GM)”.  So if Tiger was so ineffective for GM and Buick, then why didn’t they cite that as a reason for ending their relationship with the World’s #1 golfer?

I think this is poor form by General Motors and Lutz to criticize Tiger now, more than a year after they dropped him.  With all of the controversy that Woods has been involved in lately, this amounts to Lutz kicking a man while he’s down.  Should you feel sorry for Tiger?  Heck no, because he was paid handsomely by GM.  Plus Tiger is responsible for all of the personal problems that have gotten him into trouble lately.  But I think GM and Lutz need to take a lesson from this situation; that you should speak honestly in parting, not comeback later to blame the other guy when your deal did not work.

Lutz should have kept his mouth shut publicly, something apparently he’s had trouble doing in the past, and shared his feelings on the deal with his own staff.  That might help his company to avoid signing ineffective marketing partnerships in the future, while not offending the top sports endorsement star on the planet.  Oh I know Tiger has fallen way off his perch, but don’t think that Woods will never regain his place at the top of the sports world.  And when he does I’m sure there will be people there to remind Tiger what the top brass at GM said about him.  If I was a competitor of GM, I might enjoy the opportunity to unleash Tiger on his former sponsor someday – because Tiger is a fierce man when he puts his mind to something.  Lutz may learn to regret throwing Tiger under the bus in such a public fashion.

Posted in Endorsement Deals, Golf, Sports Marketing | Leave a Comment »

Do you know Mark Grimmette?

Posted by ZA on February 11, 2010

Do you know this guy?

Most American sports fans have probably never heard the name, Mark Grimmette.  But Mark is a name you need to know because he has been selected by the USOC to carry the American flag at the Opening Ceremonies of the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics.

Grimmette is a luger who competes in doubles luge with his partner Brian Martin.  Grimmette’s team won an Olympic bronze medal in the 1998 Winter Games and a silver medal at the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics.  More here on him at this Wikipedia page about Mark Grimmette.

I’ll admit that I had never heard of him before today, but I also probably do not know 95% of the athletes at the Winter Olympics.  It is an honor for Grimmette to carry the US flag; so I congratulate him and hopes he brings home the gold.

Posted in Athletes, Olympics | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Top 10 ads from 2010 Super Bowl

Posted by ZA on February 10, 2010

The 2010 Super Bowl has come and gone, now all we have left is to breakdown which commercials we liked. Personally I thought there were a few good spots this year and a lot of weak attempts at humor.  I think the two brands that stood out the most to me from their commercials and/or sponsorships were: Doritos and Bridgestone.  They both spent heavily to get my attention, but at least it worked.  On the flip side I think that Anheuser-Busch & GoDaddy spent heavily and missed the mark, both companies need to revamp their approach the Super Bowl because their same schtick (they’ve been doing for years) just isn’t getting it done.

The 3 commercials in the 2010 Super Bowl that made the biggest impression on me:
* Audi – Green Police
* Doritos – Man in Casket
* Homeaway – The Griswolds

Nielsen rated the top 10 Super Bowl commercials, here are their “best liked”:
1. Snickers – Betty White
2. Bud Light – Asteroid
3. Doritos – Shock collar
4. Budweiser – Human bridge
5. Bud Light – Beer can house
6. Doritos – Boy slaps man
7. Budweiser – Clydesdale races Bevo
8. Denny’s – Chicken’s screaming
9. Doritos – Man attack at gym
10. Doritos – Man in casket

AdAge has more here on the best liked and best recalled 2010 Super Bowl commercials.

Posted in NFL | Leave a Comment »

Sneak preview: TruTV Super Bowl commercial

Posted by ZA on February 2, 2010

TruTV released a sneak preview of their television commercial that will air during the 2nd quarter of the 2010 Super Bowl.  The commercial is a promotion for TruTV’s new series, NFL FULL CONTACT, which will debut the Monday after the Super Bowl.

It’s appropriate that TruTV released the spot today because the Superbowl commercial has a Groundhog Day theme to it.  It features NFL player Troy Polamalu as Punxsutawney Phil (the famous groundhog), who gets pulled out of his stump by his famous hair and then does see his shadow.

Click here to see the TruTV commercial.

Posted in CBS, NFL, Sports Television | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »