The defending Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks defeated the San Francisco 49ers twice last season, including 23-17 in the NFC championship that sent the Seahawk to the Big Game, but there is no clear-cut winner in a pair of ads from official league partner P&G's Duracell, one which shows Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson driving for a winning touchdown and another which follows Niners lineback Patrick Willis as he tries to stop Wilson, supporting the Quantum battery that is used '650 times a game' by every league team to in such devices as headsets, noise-cancelling modules and wireless microphones. MORE
It paid to advertise during the recently concluded World Cup, with some 26 million viewers in the U.S. tuning in for the final game alone, and in the car category it especially paid for four brands that saw a significant rise in online searches at KBB.com, according to Kelley Blue Book, but only two of them — siblings Kia and Hyundai — were official FIFA marketing partners while two others, Volkswagen and Nissan, made the most of media buys and consumer activations to leave their mark on the highway that led to and from the global soccer event. MORE
Following several meetings with representatives from Boston, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington DC, U.S. Olympic Committee chairman Larry Probst said that although there still remains a lot of work and planning, he is 'more optimistic than ever that a U.S. bid for the 2024 Summer Games can be successful,' putting the nation's overseeing body for the Games closer to the point where it could move ahead with a bid in early 2015 and giving sponsors and supporters of the USOC hope that the Olympics could return to domestic soil for the first time since the 1996 Atlanta Summer Games and the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Games. MORE
The Special Olympics World Games 2015 begin in one year, being called the biggest sports event to be hosted by Los Angeles since the 1984 Summer Games, and a roster of marketing and media partners are on board to support the countdown, including recently signed automotive partner Toyota, Coca-Cola, Mattel and Deloitte and Hollywood backers such as Disney and Steven Spielberg awaiting the arrival of 7,000 athletes and 30,000 volunteers from around the world and telecast on ESPN. MORE
Back in December, a student held up a sign on ESPN asking his mom for financial help, not in dollars but in digital bitcoins (he received $23K worth into his account from various benefactors), a ploy that inspired bitcoin processing firm BitPay to move ahead with a strategy to align with sports and entertainment to reach a target demo of young, tech-savvy consumers. That tactic has since led to official partnerships with the NBA's Sacramento Kings and the athletic department in Georgia Tech, handling the account for rapper 50 Cent's new album and a naming rights deal with ESPN for the post-season college football game now known as the Bitcoin St. Petersburg Bowl. But as BitPay vp-marketing Stephanie Wargo explains in this Q&A, although the notion of paying with bitcoin is expanding, getting mainstream businesses and consumers to understand and use bitcoin is as difficult and challenging as the early days of the Internet.
Even before the NFL's San Francisco 49ers officially step foot on the turf in their new $1.2B Levi's Stadium, MLS' San Jose Earthquakes are scheduled to christen the venue with a match on Aug. 2 against the Seattle Sounders, an event that will receive extensive local coverage and significant national media attention, which is a big reason that BMW Northern California has signed on as presenting sponsor of the ribbon-cutting game as well as the official auto partner of the club, to include ads, signage, promotional events and consumer activation around the inaugural contest and throughout the soccer season. MORE
General Motors brand Buick has signed on as the title sponsor for the upcoming friendly match between two iconic soccer clubs, Liverpool and AS Roma, and the automaker intends to keeps its recent upswing in sales and consumer profile high via 'Buick Football At Fenway' on July 23, an event that will air on NBC Sports and is being conducted under the auspices of Fenway Sports Group, which owns the Boston Red Sox and Liverpool, the latter of which also includes minority interest owner LeBron James, who just might make an appearance at the game due to his alliance with FSG and its marketing arm, Fenway Sports Management. MORE
NEWS FROM NFL 2014
Will Peyton Manning change his famous call at the line of scrimmage from "Omaha, Omaha" to "Ogilvy, Ogilvy"? It could happen, in commercials at least, as Nationwide Insurance has tapped ad agency Ogilvy & Mather to lead creative for its recently signed endorsement pact with the Denver Broncos QB, with the marketing campaign scheduled to coincide with the 2014 NFL season and include TV, print, digital and OOH at both the national and local level. MORE
Johnny Manziel is expected to be among the top quarterbacks selected in the NFL Draft next week, but the rookie-in-waiting has already put his Johnny Hancock on a contract, signing an exclusive multi-year deal with Panini America to autograph cards, jerseys, footballs and other items and also appear on packs and boxes and in marketing, joining a roster of athletes that include Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, Blake Griffin, Kyrie Irving and Andrew Luck who are exclusive to the brand. MORE
Winning a Super Bowl not only gets you a ring and championship trophy, it helps to put you on the leader board among your peers when it comes to merchandise sales, which is where quarterback Russell Wilson, who guided the Seattle Seahawks to victory in Super Bowl XLVIII, finds himself, according to NFL Players Inc., the licensing and marketing arm of the NFL Players Assn., a spot that previously was held by Peyton Manning, whose Denver Broncos lost to Seattle in the big game, and who is now No. 2 based on sales of all licensed products among more than 70 brands that work with NFLPI in a category where the total figure topped $1B. MORE
NEWS FROM MLB 2014
Cancer is an aggressive disease that impacts mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, relatives, friends and co-workers. The best way to beat it: Be even more aggressive in finding a cure. That is the heart of the strategy that drives STAND UP TO CANCER, which along with key partners MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL and MASTERCARD used in 2013 multi-media marketing and platforms that reached consumers and corporations to support an overarching plan of empowerment to get funds directly to doctors, scientists and hospitals to hasten research to end cancer. MORE
On July 4, 1939, Lou Gehrig — the first baseman for the New York Yankees known as "The Iron Horse" — stood at home plate in Yankee Stadium and gave a speech in which he called himself "the luckiest man on the face of the Earth,' this despite the fact that he was suffering from ALS, a disease that would claim his life, at age 37, but would also give the affliction a name that draws attention and funds, albeit still too little for a cure. This week, MLB along with ALS Association and other groups working to find a cure for Lou Gehrig's Disease, are bringing the fight to MLB stadiums and fans with a national push that includes a PSA featuring Yankees captain Derek Jeter and first basemen from each of baseball's 30 teams, who recite the speech interspersed with historic footage of Gehrig from that day 75 years ago. MORE
On July 4, 1939, Lou Gehrig of the New York Yankees, suffering from symptoms of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, gave his now legendary "luckiest man on the face of the earth" speech. Since then, 370,000 Americans have been diagnosed with what has become known as Lou Gehrig's Disease, with veterans who have served overseas 60% more at risk. However, despite decades of research, there is no cure and only one drug has been approved by the USDA, which at its optimum extends survival by only months. To honor the 75th anniversary of Gehrig's speech, and to coincide in May with ALS Awareness Month, the ALS Association will unveil a multi-platform awareness effort to include TV, print, Internet and social media; the Yankees will commemorate the event and MLB will undertake a league-wide celebration to support its on-going work to help fund research and raise public awareness. MORE
NEWS FROM U.S. Open
Looking to add to an already record-setting number of people who travel to the area, Visit Orlando has signed a global alliance with the U.S. Tennis Assn. that includes status as the exclusive worldwide tourism partner with the grand slam U.S. Open in New York this August, which will see multi-media activation intended to also support the state's Visit Florida group as well as the 100-plus tennis court facility the USTA is building in the Orlando area. MORE
NEWS FROM BostonSportsJournalism.com
General Motors brand Buick has signed on as the title sponsor for the upcoming friendly match between two iconic soccer clubs, Liverpool and AS Roma, and the automaker intends to keeps its recent upswing in sales and consumer profile high via 'Buick Football At Fenway' on JUly 23, an event that will air on NBC Sports and is being conducted under the auspices of Fenway Sports Group, which owns the Boston Red Sox and Liverpool, the latter of which also includes minority interest owner LeBron James, who just might make an appearance at the game due to his alliance with FSG and its marketing arm, Fenway Sports Management. MORE
NEWS FROM SanFranciscoJournalism.com
With less than three weeks until the official opening of their new venue, the NFL's San Francisco 49ers continue to add players to their marketing roster, signing United Airlines to a ten-year deal that makes the carrier the official domestic and international airline of the team and the $1.2B, 69,000-seat Levi's Stadium and comes with multi-platform marketing and sponsorship activations; as well as mobile workplace firm Citrix, both of which join corporate partners that include PepsiCo, Anheuser-Busch, Sony, SAP, Esurance and Comcast-NBCUniversal. MORE
The San Francisco 49ers, counting down the weeks until the opening of Levi's Stadium, have added Allstate online unit Esurance to the team's list of marketing partners under a multi-year deal that will see the e-brand support with marketing and take the lead as the top sponsor for Faithful 49 Presented By Esurance, the Niners fan loyalty program that offers members unique benefits and rewards that include memorabilia, flying with the team to away games and access to other events in the venue that in 2016 will host Super Bowl 50. MORE
MORE NEWS ...
When LeBron James recently declared that he would be leaving the NBA's Miami Heat and returning to the Cleveland Cavaliers, he was hailed as a favorite among fans, media and the general public for his loyalty to family, friends and his hometown roots. But it turns out that James already was the favorite male athlete in the U.S., according to a new study from The Harris Poll, which has James ahead of Michael Jordan, Derek Jeter, Peyton Manning, Kobe Bryant, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and NFL quarterbacks Tom Brady, Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers. MORE
Marketing was on the rise during Q1 of 2014, led by brands such as General Motors, P&G, AT&T, Comcast, Verizon, Berkshire Hathaway and Toyota, which boosted their budgets thanks to high-profile events such as the Winter Games in Sochi and Super Bowl XLVIII in the New York area, according to a new report from Kantar Media, with sectors that benefited most being network and cable TV, Hispanic media and Internet display ads. But it was not all good news as magazine and local newspapers ad spend dropped. MORE
Dunkin' Donuts is no stranger to sports and athletes, which are as much a part of the brand's sales, growth, marketing and activations as coffee and donuts, with alliances that include David Ortiz and the Boston Red Sox, Eli Manning and the New York Giants, Jerry Jones and the Dallas Cowboys, Liverpool FC, the Philadelphia Eagles, Boston Bruins, Washington Capitals and naming rights to the Dunkin' Donuts Center in Providence, all of which are contributing to plans to double its number of U.S. locations to more than 11K in the next 20 years and have helped to make Dunkin' Donuts No. 1 in Brand Key's Consumer Loyalty Engagement Index in the coffee category for the past eight years. MORE
Seth Abraham headed sports for HBO/Time Warner, driving success via boxing (think Mike Tyson), NFL, tennis, hockey and other platforms; then moved to Madison Square Garden before forming his own consulting firm, Starship, where his new venture is Personal with Bill Rhoden, an in-depth show on Epix in which the award-winning journalist for The New York Times goes one-on-one — or in the case of the premiere show with Calvin and Grant Hill (which makes its debut June 11) , one-on-two — with prominent sports figures to discuss the issues of the day. But as Abraham relates in this Q&A, taking the program from concept to reality followed a long and challenging road, and the opinions and comments from those being interviewed are likely to be as controversial as they are insightful.
FIFA is expected to generate $4B in revenue from the World Cup, with some $1.4B of that coming from 22 companies designated as official global, World Cup global or World Cup regional partners, but not all of those firms that have heavily invested in the alliance are seeing ROI from consumers while several companies not official aligned with FIFA are reaping the rewards from soccer-related campaigns airing during the month-long event. Why are FIFA partners adidas, Coca-Cola and McDonald's reaching their goals among fans, viewers and consumers, companies including Hyundai, Kia, Johnson & Johnson and Castrol struggling while non-FIFA partners Nike and Pepsi are netting big points? MORE
The Topps Co. is a prime example of a business that has reinvented itself, maintaining ties to its heritage and core consumers while building a new and younger consumer base by integrating social media, digital, apps, advanced analytics and other platforms to enhance the category for today and the future. However, as Zvee Geffen, Topps brand manager for Major League Baseball, Major League Soccer and the English Premier League, explains in this Q&A, the company is constantly looking for ways to keep traditional collectors happy, develop products that appeal to the next generation of fans, provide statistics that inform but not overload and merge historically successful items such as cards and memorabilia with the world of virtual collectables.
In 1989, first-year card and memorabilia company Upper Deck gave Ken Griffey Jr. the No. 1 spot in its inaugural MLB set, jump-starting Griffey Jr.'s stellar career and putting Upper Deck on a road that 25 years later sees the company creating product that still resonates among fans and consumers, led by platforms that include exclusive deals with Michael Jordan, LeBron James, Wayne Gretzky, Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and beginning next season with the NHL and NHLPA; such alliances as the Collegiate Licensing Co., Marvel and its roster of movies and comics as well as for the Legend card building game, Fox (including support of the upcoming 35th anniversary of Alien) and Sanrio (Hello Kitty). In this Q&A, Jason Masherah, president of Upper Deck talks about 25th anniversary marketing support, how the company has evolved to handle the ebb and flow of the category, how football and hockey have challenged baseball for card-collecting supremacy and how Upper Deck's Random Acts of Kindness program and Heroic Inspirations cards are honoring fans.