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Nike won’t compromise brand for Women’s footwear

Posted by ZA on June 7, 2010

AdAge article about  the strong growth that Skechers and Reebok are seeing from their marketing of toning shoes to women.  Both Reebok and Skechers grew their market share of women’s shoes close to 200% in the past 12 months.  During that same period Nike and Adidas market share in that category declined (Note: Reebok is subsidiary of Adidas).

The article attributes much of Reebok and Skechers growth to the successful launch of shoes that focus on toning. Skechers shoes have an uneven sole that is supposed to tone legs and butt while you walk in them.  Reebok has recently started pushing similar toning shoes with an aggressive marketing campaign that focuses solely on women’s butts and legs.

While those two brands are enjoying the new toning category, Nike is sitting it out.  Nike says it will “compromise…performance” in their shoes and has not indicated they will release any shoes in these category to compete with Skechers or Reebok.  Instead Nike pointed to a new line of women’s training shoes they will release this Fall.

While I appreciate Nike’s unwillingness to chase a fad, I think they are missing an opportunity here.  I’ve seen lots of women I know wearing the Skechers toning shoes.  Why couldn’t Nike developing something in the space and market it as a lifestyle shoe, thus not “compromising” their standards on performance or training footwear.  Nike needs to be careful here because they might wind up giving up more than just this one (toning) category of shoes, they may wind up conceding a large piece of market share in women’s footwear and apparel.

Can Reebok overtake Nike?

Posted in Adidas, Apparel & Shoes, Nike, Sports Brands, Sports Marketing | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »

NFL legal battle could change sports sponsorships

Posted by ZA on May 26, 2010

The United States Supreme Court issued a ruling against the NFL that could open the door for a land grab among brands that want to sponsor the league.  The court ruled that the NFL is not a single business, which means they are not covered by antitrust laws.  This AdAge article explains that the ruling means that Reebok’s leaguewide sponsorship might be in jeopardy if American Needle wins their case in Federal Court in Chicago.

My take is that the change (should American Needle win their case) will usher in an era where corporations will compete to attach their brands to the marquee teams in the league.  No longer will league wide sponsorship deals rule the day; they will still exist but won’t be prohibitive to competitors like they are today.  It means Nike & Adidas will line up the top teams and throw a lot of money at them.  Whichever company misses out on top teams will then likely strike deals with the next rung down of teams.  Which will leave the least successful teams (the small market teams in some sports) with last pick among the sponsorship deals.

But this potential change will also mean that new companies can bring into the sponsorship game for major professional leagues (think Jones Soda at Qwest Field, instead of Coke or Pepsi).  That variety will be good for the teams and ultimately provide a more competitive, balanced marketplace for team sponsorship deals.  So the Supreme Court decision was a step in the right direction, now let’s hope the court in Illinois agrees so we can open up more sponsorship opportunities.

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

South Africa turns over keys to FIFA for 2010 World Cup

Posted by ZA on May 17, 2010

A good article from Ad Age that covers the plans major sponsors have to promote their brands during the upcoming World Cup in South Africa.  It also talks about FIFA’s efforts to thwart ambush marketing campaigns from detracting from the 13 official World Cup sponsors.  FIFA claims there were over 3,000 “rights violations” during the 2006 World Cup in Germany, so they are already being proactive to try to limit them at the 2010 World Cup.  FIFA has created new rules to proactively prevent ambush marketing during World Cup matches.  And FIFA’s lawyers have proactively started sending warning letters to brands to deter them from planning marketing events around the World Cup.  One letter to South African airline, Kulula, prompted this humorous response from the airline on twitter:

Oh dear, letter from FIFA’s lawyers says we broke their trademark of the use of ‘South Africa’ and think our non-WC ad was about soccer…Even the use of our national flag was an issue.  It’s absolutely outrageous.  We’ve signed over our country, its symbols and our economy to one [FIFA President] Sepp Blatter. Nasty.

Although Kulula joked about it, the truth is they are not far from the truth.  When your country lands one of these major events (World Cup or Olympics) they are going to be giving away some of their “rights” to FIFA or the IOC until the event is over.  There were murmurs leading up the 2008 Beijing Olympics about the IOC counseling China on human rights issues, presumably to keep those abuses from reflecting negatively on IOC or the Olympic Games.  That comes with the territory for any country granted one of these events; you are willingly taking on a partner who is going to have control on certain issues.  So the people, and businesses, of South Africa better get used to that because they are going to be under FIFA control under July 12 – the day after the World Cup final is played.

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

Guest post: Elin Holds the Cards

Posted by ZA on March 9, 2010

BrandDunk has covered different aspects of how Tiger Woods situation will affect his endorsements.  Today we have a talented guest author who offers a fresh perspective on the situation to let sponsors know when to expect a return to normal.

_________________________________________________________________________________________

This guest post is authored by Casey Harverstick, a freelance writer who has written for ESPN.com and ESPN the Magazine. Casey is an avid golfer who resides in Austin, Texas – you can email him at cnh10@hotmail.com.

Elin Holds the Cards

Much time has passed since “the wreck.”  Tiger Woods has made his much-anticipated, very public apology.  Since Tiger made it clear he’s not going to discuss what happened the night of the accident, two big questions still remain:  When will Tiger return to competitive golf?  Will Tiger and Elin remain married?

One person has the answer to these questions.  That person is not Tiger.  It’s his wife, Elin.  How the media and its revelations have impacted Elin – not Tiger – is an interesting and less frequently viewed angle.  Below is a breakdown of how various factors of this story could impact Elin’s decision.

Tiger’s Soliloquy (aka: Tiger’s apology)

Surely Elin was pleased with what Tiger said.  However I can’t help but think she was upset that he had to say it in that forum.  She’s obviously a private person.  That Tiger had to apologize to the entire world for being an awful husband couldn’t sit well.  By the time he spoke publicly, he had probably apologized to her 1000 times.  So this one wasn’t really about her at all.  It wouldn’t surprise me if she didn’t even watch.  And it definitely didn’t surprise me that she wasn’t there.

Impact on Elin: Non-factor

Hard to look at it that way, considering this was easily the biggest, most scrutinized event since the accident itself.  Elin had already heard versions of that speech ten times over by the time he stepped to the podium.  Mostly, it served to embarrass.  And provide the public with his face on camera.

The Women and Their Stories

Rachel Uchitel was the first Tiger Woods mistress to be revealed

This situation completely went out of control when it became evident that there were a lot more than just a couple women.  Per the Hillary Clinton corollary, I got the feeling Elin could possibly forgive a tryst with one woman, maybe two.  When we got into double digits, I assumed it would be a deal breaker.  Conversely, the double digit tally also paved the way for the “rehab.”  As if to say a man who sleeps around with one woman isn’t pathological.  The rehab gave Tiger something to focus on – parameters and rules and, maybe most importantly, he had a reason for his behavior.  An addiction.  Anyway, out of everything that came out, this had to be the most damning.  Especially considering it got so much media attention.  That it happened so publicly and crudely only hurts Tiger’s chances – at golf and reconciliation.  These were surely the darkest, hardest days for Elin.  It’s one thing to find out your spouse is cheating on you.  It’s another to find out about it on ESPN.

Impact on Elin: Big factor.

Ultimately, could end the marriage.  And could definitely delay Tiger’s return to the course.  If he’s fighting to keep her – however one goes about that – it will definitely not behoove him to pound balls nine hours a day while she shops or hangs out with the kids.  That said, you can’t just sit down at the dining room table and hash this out in a night or two.  But not playing doesn’t fix anything either.  Around and around we go.

Stevie’s Interview and Tiger’s Inner Circle

Tiger Woods caddie, Steve Williams, speaks out

Steve Williams, Tigers’ caddie/friend/bodyguard, has pleaded ignorance to Tiger’s philandering from the outset (Stevie’s comments on Tiger).  And like everyone else who read that, I found it incredibly hard to believe.  He’s sticking by it.  It’s important to note this isn’t your standard player-caddie relationship.  Tiger was the best man at Stevie’s wedding.  Tiger covered Stevie in tears after winning the British Open in 2006 shortly after his father’s death. He cried more on Stevie’s shoulder than he did on his mother’s or Elin’s.  It’s not like they go their separate ways after every round.  Tiger typically rents houses during tournament weeks to avoid the public – and because money isn’t an issue.  All these nights Tiger strayed Stevie wasn’t staying at a Motel 6 and he definitely wasn’t camped out in the front yard.  This interview reads like a direct plea to Elin:  Don’t make Tiger fire me.  Stevie can’t be the only one sweating his future.  From the onset there has been much speculation about Tiger’s entourage.  With reconciliation a possibility, would Elin allow Stevie, Byron Bell (best friend from childhood), Mark Steinberg (agent) and numerous other confidants to stay in the inner circle?  Tiger makes all of these people a lot of money.  Millions and millions of dollars at stake here.  This is not to say Tiger isn’t solely responsible for his actions.  But she must feel scorned by these people – they’re her friends, too.  Or at least she thought they were.

Impact on Elin: Small factor for Tiger’s return; non-factor for their reconciliation.

I’m not sure putting Tiger in time out and not letting him play with his friends will serve any other purpose than to make him unhappy – and cost him money.  Granted, that might sound pleasant in itself to her.  I doubt Elin believes Stevie was ignorant of everything, but she’s got her hands full without picking a new caddie for Tiger.  Steinberg is an agent – and nobody likes or trusts agents.  There isn’t a successful agent in the world who wouldn’t cover up for Tiger Woods, if given the chance.  That said, assuming a reconciliation is in the works, there will be discussions between Elin and Tiger about who he spends his time with on the road.  These discussions could definitely lead to a delay in his return or a change to his normal playing schedule.

Tiger’s College Girlfriend’s Article

Tiger Woods college girlfriend, Irene Folstrom

Golf.com published this article from Tiger Woods former girlfriend from his days at Stanford.

Impact on Elin: None

Laughably transparent and self-serving.  Let me get this straight, you’re coming to Tiger’s defense by saying he treated you well in college?  How would Elin read this?  Do you want her to be happy for you?  I have an easier time believing Stevie didn’t know Tiger was in orgies than believing Tiger never cheated on this one.  I hope Elin never read it.  For my money, this is the cheapest, most unattractive story I’ve come across and I’m surprised it got published on a non-tabloid website.  I’ve listed it here only as an example of the lengths the media will go to get a headline when there’s a lull.

Regarding their marriage, I don’t have a rooting interest.  I do hope the kids can have somewhat of a normal childhood (which was probably a long shot the moment they were born).  As a golf fan, I’d like to see Tiger back at Bay Hill and then, of course, The Masters.  The game misses him.  The networks and sponsors definitely miss him.  To borrow Reggie Jackson’s line, he stirs the drink.  If I could ask Tiger just one thing, it would be this:

Would you mind if I asked Elin a question?

________________________________________________________________________________

Much time has passed since “the wreck.”  Tiger has made his much-anticipated, very public apology.  Since Tiger made it clear he’s not going to discuss what happened the night of the accident, two big questions still remain:  When will Tiger return to competitive golf?  Will Tiger and Elin remain married?

One person has the answer to these questions.  That person is not Tiger.  It’s his wife, Elin.  How the media and its revelations have impacted Elin – not Tiger – is an interesting and less frequently viewed angle.  Below is a breakdown of how various factors of this story could impact Elin’s decision.

Posted in Golf, Random Stuff, Sports Brands | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

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)
1. ESPN
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 »

Turkish Airlines signs Man U & Barca

Posted by ZA on January 22, 2010

Someone at Turkish Airlines should be getting a pat on the back this week because they signed two huge sponsorship deals.  The airline from Turkey signed up soccer powerhouses Manchester United and Barcelona in the same week.  Man U is the most recognizable team in the English Premiere League; Turkish Airline will become Man U’s “official carrier” replacing Air Asia.  Barca is the Spanish Premiere League Champions and another of the sports brands on the globe.  Turkish Airlines should greatly increase exposure for their brand in continental Europe and around the globe with these two deals.

Posted in Soccer, Sponsorship Deals, Sports Brands | 1 Comment »

Top sponsors for Summer & Winter Olympics

Posted by ZA on January 19, 2010

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has a group of “Top” sponsors that commit to support the Olympics for 4 years (one Summer Olympics & one Winter Olympics).  Below are the top IOC sponsors for the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics and the 2012 London Summer Olympics:

Current Olympics Top Sponsors (Vancouver 2010 & London 2012):
Acer
Atos Origin
Coca-Cola
General Electric
McDonald’s
Omega
Panasonic
Samsung
Visa

Each of these companies pay close to $100 million, in cash or in-kind services, to be a Top sponsor for the Olympic Games.  The IOC will pull in close to $1 billion dollars from these sponsors in Vancouver and London.  Many of these companies sponsored the 2006 Winter Olympics and 2008 Beijing Summer Games as well.  Adidas, Manulife Financial and Volkswagen were 2008 sponsors who dropped, while Acer and Atos Origin are new for the 2010 Games.

Here is the list of Top sponsors from the official Olympic site.

Posted in Olympics, Sponsorship Deals, Sports Brands | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Nestle turns to YouTube to promote Olympic athletes

Posted by ZA on January 5, 2010

Nestle is promoting its new product by releasing videos featuring Olympic athletes, Shawn Johnson and Apolo Anton Ohno on YouTube.  Johnson and Ohno are shown performing stunts in the videos to earn points for their Nestle team (Team Crispies or Team Chocolate).  The videos have drawn over 1 million views on YouTube.

The Shawn Johnson video shows her doing a backflip over a bobsled as it races down the track.  The video is similar to the Nike video that shows Kobe Bryant jumping over a speeding car.

Shawn Johnson doing backflip over a bobsled

Kobe Bryant leaps over a speeding car

[Assist: Brandweek]

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

Evaluating my 2009 Sports Marketing predictions

Posted by ZA on January 3, 2010

Time to take a look back and evaluate how I did on my 2009 predictions for the world of Sports Marketing. I posted my “bold predictions” on January 2, 2009 as a wide ranging look at some of the big moves I thought would happen in the industry.  I made seven predictions and wind up getting almost half of them correct.

Prediction: Tiger Woods will sign with Mercedes or BMW.

Result: This one did not happen, but who could have predicted the implosion that would happen to Tiger Woods the endorsement star in 2009.  Tiger is currently losing endorsements by the week, but I still think this prediction will eventually come true.  Companies will stay away from Woods for awhile, but when they do come back I expect Tiger to pickup a luxury car endorsement deal.

Prediction: Wrigley Field gets a new name.

Result: This one didn’t happen, although the Cubs were finally sold at the end of the year so it could be on-tap for 2010.

Prediction: AIG will end uniform sponsorship with Manchester United.
Result: I got this one right.  Shortly after writing these predictions word came out that AIG would discontinue their deal with Man U.  AIG actually just chose not to renew their deal, but close enough I got this one right.

Prediction: NASCAR will cut races.

Result: It was a tough year for Nascar with a tough economy and huge losses in the auto industry both hurting the sport.  The end result was that some races were not return to the schedule (e.g.- Milwaukee Mile in 2010).

Prediction: Reebok will be folded by Adidas.

Result: This did not happen, and with parent company, Adidas’ stock up 20% in 2009, the Reebok brand might be safe for awhile.  That said, I still think we’re still headed towards an Adidas versus Nike world, so at some point Adidas is going to put Reebok down.

Prediction: Under Armour will be acquired by Nike.

Result: This did not happen, but I still feel it’s one that could happen soon.  Under Armour’s stock is only up slightly since beginning of ’09 and UA stock took a pounding in October when they missed the mark with their expansion into running shoes.  Nike is still flying high and has a $30 billion market cap, so I think they eventually make this acquisition to eliminate a big competitor.

Prediction: David Beckham goes back to Europe.
Result: Nailed this prediction.  Becks came, he played a little bit and created a sensation.  Then David high tailed it back to the Spanish Premiere League.  I think Beckham likes the idea of playing in America, but isn’t really interested in doing it just yet.

Posted in Adidas, Apparel & Shoes, Golf, Nascar, Nike, Sports Brands, Sports Marketing, Under Armour, Venue Naming Rights | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »