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Best Event Of August 2016
 
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KEEPING SCORE

Most Followed 2016 Olympic Athletes On Facebook/Twitter

1. Neymar Jr. (Soccer) Facebook 58.4M  Twitter 23.7M = 81.2M
2. LeBron James (Basketball) 22.9M  32M 54.9M
3. Rafael Nadal (Tennis) 14.7M 10.6M 25.3M
4.Kevin Durant (Basketball) 10.3M  14.6M 24.9M
5 Usain Bolt (Track & Field) 17.4M  4M 21.4M
6. Novak Djokovic (Tennis) 7.1M  6.4M 13.5M
7. Serena Williams (Tennis) 4.8M  6.5M 11.3M
8 Carmelo Anthony (Basketball) 5.4M 8.1M 9.5M
9. Michael Phelps (Swimming) 7.8M 1.6M 9.4M
10. Saina Nehwal (Badminton)  7.4M  1.8M 9.2M
Source: Facebook/Twitter

WHAT YOU SAY!?

COLLECTIBLE CORNER

$8.99 Asking price for USA Team pin 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, on eBay
$18.99: Asking price for security team pin set 1996 Atlanta Olympics, on eBay
$9,000.00: Asking price for bronze medal 1924 Paris Olympics, on eBay
$9,500.00: Bid price gold medal diving diploma (Dorothy Poyton) 1932 Los Angeles Olympics, on eBay
$15,000.00: Bid price for silver medal from 1972 Munich Olympics, on eBay

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US Open: Mercedes-Benz 'Timeless Legends' (See More Ads Below)

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MARKETWATCH

NFL PRESEASON Aug. 11-Sept. 1

U.S. TENNIS OPEN Aug. 29-Sept. 11, ESPN, Tennis Channel

COLLEGE FOOTBALL 2016 Sept. 1-3

PARALYMPIC GAMES Rio de Janiero Sept. 7-18 NBC Sports Network

NFL KICKOFF Sept. 8, Carolina Panthers v Denver Broncos NBC 8:30 PM (ET)

SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL Sept. 11, New England Patriots v Arizona Cardinals NBC 8:30 PM (ET)

MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL Sept. 12, Pittsburgh Steelers v Washington Redskins ESPN 7 PM (ET

MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL Sept. 12, Los Angeles Rams v San Francisco 49ers ESPN 10:30 PM (ET)

OLYMPICS

NBC 6.7K TV Hours
Visa Drives To Rio
IOC Fast-Tracks TV
NBC $1B Milestone
USOC Marketing Goal
KT Tape Taps Games

Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.
Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/j/johnfkenn121400.html#46Ul8rBF4XpB4lo0.99
Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.
Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/j/johnfkenn121400.html#JZxA5jXY4rCwemgZ.99
Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.
Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/j/johnfkenn121400.html#JZxA5jXY4rCwemgZ.99
Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.
Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/j/johnfkenn121400.html#46Ul8rBF4XpB4lo0.99

Pepsi Gets Social With NFL Players, Real Fan Texts

NFL players enjoy their fans and NFL fans love to chatter on social media about football, both real and fantasy, so Pepsi has combined these elements to have players read real online messages from fans in a new season-long series, 'Zone Reads,' which begins with such stars as Antonio Brown, Odell Beckham Jr., Tyler Lockett and Nick Mangold reading social media conversations about fantasy football — which this season is expected to embrace some 75 million people — including, 'Honey, it's fantasy football season so we need to start paying the Internet bill again.' MORE

Kevin Durant Joins Watt, Jeter In New AmFam Campaign

In his first national marketing appearance since moving from the Oklahoma City Thunder to the Golden State Warriors, Kevin Durant teams with American Family Insurance brand ambassadors J.J. Watt and MLB icon Derek Jeter for a multi-media push that sees the trio working with organizations dedicated to helping adults and kids in need of food and education, with Durant appearing in a spot in which he meets boy whose life mirrors that of KD: being raised by a hard-working single mom in Washington DC, all part of AmFam's strategy to show that 'being a true dream champion means providing real support, not just cheering from the sidelines.' MORE

U.S. Open Court In Session; Brands See The Appeal

The 2016 U.S. Tennis Open arrives with a new $150M roof on Arthur Ashe Stadium, Serena Williams seeking her 23rd Grand Slam singles title, No. 1 seeded Novak Djokovic looking to rebound from a first-round Olympics loss to No. 2 ranked Andy Murray, Rafael Nadal again eying a title after two years, Roger Federer (injury) and Maria Sharapova (suspension) out, ESPN logging in with more than 1,400 hours on network and WatchESPN and plenty of other storylines to keep such marketing partners as Chase, American Express, JP Morgan, Mercedes-Benz, Citizen, Emirates, IBM, Heineken, Grey Goose, Westin and Polo-Ralph Lauren in the eyes and wallets of tennis fans, TV viewers and other consumers for the next two weeks. MORE

LeBron, Taylor Swift Score Big With Fans, Consumers

A recent article from Forbes listed the highest-paid celebrities and athletes in the world, but as The Beatles first sang in 1964, 'Money can't buy me love,' which seems to be the point of a new study from SurveyMonkey.com, indicating that stars who make the most — Taylor Swift, LeBron James, Lionel Messi, Kevin Hart and Adele among them — are sometimes, but not always, respected or admired by the general public, as seen by Swift, who scores well in many categories but is not in the Top Ten 'Most Respected'; and James, who is seen as talented and with a strong brand but also as the 'Most Overpaid' star in the world. MORE

Marketers, Golfers, Rio Drive Sponsor Spend To $1.8B

This year, for the first time since 1904, golf is getting a global stage at the Olympics, which will help to drive interest among casual and young fans as well as those with no golf ties, which, added to the presence of such players as Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day, Rickie Fowler and Lexi Thompson has encouraged such brands as Anheuser-Busch, MasterCard, Coca-Cola, Bacardi and Rolex to support sponsorship spending that this year is expected to hit a record $1.8B, according to research firm IEG, using strategies that could potentially be seen by the more than 81M people who the National Golf Federation says watch golf on TV, their computers, mobile phones and other devices. MORE

As Hours, Viewers Rise, So Does NBCU's Olympic Tab

A show business adage says, 'Give they people what they want and they will come,' which NBCU has taken to heart for its coverage of the Olympics, which set viewership records during the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing (215M) and then again in 2012 London (217M), as did the number of hours NBCU devoted to coverage — more than 3.6K in '08, more than 5.5K in '12 and more than 6.7K in Rio de Janeiro — but so, too, did the rights fees that the media company has paid to the IOC, from $894M in Beijing to $1.8B in London to more than $1.2B in Rio, but are NBCU, marketing partners and fans getting their value with all of these figures expected to continue to go up moving forward? MORE

Q&A: Russell Athletic Looks To Redefine Brand Vision

In sports, it is not unusual for a team to win games by close margins in the closing seconds, sending players and fans into frenzied celebrations, but Russell Athletic is flipping the narrative in its new 'Team On' campaign by looking at several prep schools that lost their high school state championship in 2015 by a TD or less, some in the final moments, and showing how these teams are using the experience to motivate them in 2016. But as Taylor Vernier, senior director of marketing for Russell Athletic, reveals in this Q&A, the multi-platform effort is not just an intimate look at the inner workings of teams and the relationships between players and coaches, but a redefining of the company's vision, the way it brings products to consumers and the impact it wants to have on youth sports in America.

IOC Puts Baseball Back In The Games Beginning 2020

In what the International Olympic Committee said was the 'most comprehensive evolution of the Olympic program in modern history,' five sports have been added to the roster beginning with the 2020 Tokyo Summer Games — baseball-softball, surfing, skateboarding, karate and sports climbing — putting baseball-softball back in the Olympics after being voted out and not on the program for 2012 London and the current Rio Games and the overall inclusion expected to add 18 events and 474 athletes. Said MLB commissioner Rob Manfred, 'Baseball and softball are global sports that belong in the Olympics.' MORE

Would Papa John's Buy Naming Rights To NFL Stadium?

The naming rights deal to Sports Authority Field at Mile High Stadium, home to the NFL's Denver Broncos, has been in disarray since the retailer unveiled plans to go out of business and sell off its assets, which include a ten-year deal with owners of the Stadium, but the Broncos themselves have acquired the contract and are in the midst of speaking with potential naming rights partners, including such team sponsors as Papa John's, United Airlines, CenturyLink, Anheuser-Busch and U.S. Bank, as well as 'potential new partners.' MORE

Most Wanted Cars (By Those Most Wanted By The Cops)

If your '96 Honda Accord or '98 Honda Civic has gone missing, you're not alone as more than a combined 100K of those two cars were stolen last year, about one-seventh of all cars reported heisted in 2015, according to a new report from the National Insurance Crime Bureau, topping a 'Hot Wheels' list that also includes the '06 Ford full-size Pickup, '04 Chevrolet full-size Pickup and the '14 Toyota Camry; while a separate list of 2015 year model vehicles most popular among thieves in 2015 is headed by the Nissan Altima, Chrysler 200 and Toyota Camry. MORE

Q&A: MiLB Marketing A Hit With Balls, Bulls, Business

If you are looking for diamonds buried in the infield of a baseball stadium or diamonds in the rough that could become gems, Minor League Baseball has that and more, with a roster of 160 clubs — including such iconic teams as the Toledo Mud Hens, Las Vegas 51s, Columbus Clippers and Durham Bulls — some 43M people through the turnstiles, 107M fans, national deals including Esurance and John Deere and rising retail sales of merchandise. But as David Wright, former veteran executive with MLS and now Chief Marketing & Commercial Officer for MiLB reveals in this Q&A, Minor League Baseball is reinventing itself to attract national marketers and make the game-day environment even more inclusive to an audience that is 'tech-savvy, active and family-based' without losing its traditional down-home ambiance, out-of-the-box promotional creativity — think Asparagus Night, CATurday and Diamond Digs — while remaining a development platform for future MLB stars, all of which sets the 115-year-old MiLB apart from other sports leagues.

Ad Spotlight: Netflix Luke Cage, Pepsi Zone Reads Ep. 1, Jay Leno's Garage, HBO Westworld

NEWS FROM NFL 2016

Best Sellers: QBs, Cowboys Top NFL Popular Merch List

The Dallas Cowboys may not be 'America's Team' in the eyes of some, but their players are 'America's Sales Team,' as Dez Bryant, Tony Romo, rookie Ezekiel Elliot and Jason Witten are four of the Top Five players in the NFL on the best-selling merchandise list, according to the NFL Players Assn., based on Q1 2016 figures for officially licensed products ranging from jerseys, T-shirts and socks to Fatheads, OYO Sports Figurines and college co-branded goods; with QBs claiming 17 of the Top 50 slots, including Romo, Aaron Rodgers (No. 4), Russell Wilson (No. 6), Tom Brady (No. 7), rookie Carson Wentz (No. 9), Cam Newton (No. 12) and rookie Jared Goff (No. 14) dominating the Top 15. MORE

NFLers, 20M Viewers To Join Carrie For NBC SNF Opener

Russell Wilson, Dez Bryant, Clay Matthews, Odell Beckham Jr. and Super Bowl 50 MVP Von Miller are among a dozen players who will join Carrie Underwood in the new opening sequence for NBC's Sunday Night Football, with the song, 'Oh, Sunday Night,' based on the hit she had with Miranda Lambert in 2014, scheduled to launch on Sept. 11 when the New England Patrios play the Arizona Cardinals — but with a preview coming during NBC's coverage of the Summer Olympics — as SNF seeks to build on its run of being the No. 1 ranked primetime show for five consecutive seasons, averaging 22M viewers in 2015. MORE

NFL, ESPN, Dunkin' Donuts Tops Among Fans, Consumers

A select group of brands and companies are patting themselves on the back after having been named best-in-class in their respective categories in the 28th annual EquiTrend Study from The Harris Poll, including top-ranked sports league NFL, which came out ahead of NCAA college football, MLB and the NBA; top-ranked TV sports network ESPN, which fared better than NBC Sports, Fox Sports and NFL TV; Cabela's in the sporting goods retail category, ahead of Dick's, Finish Line and REI; and other consumer favorites such as Dunkin' Donuts, In-N-Out Burger, Pizza Hut, Delta, Toyota and Sony, with Harris, which rated more than 3,800 brands, saying that those people surveyed felt strong ties to these and other leading companies. "The stronger the brand, the greater the bond," said Harris. MORE

Gronk-Hosted Crashletes Gets Start Date At Nickelodeon

Just because it's the NFL off-season doesn't mean you won't see Rob Gronkowski on national TV, as the New England Patriots' TE kicks off his latest venture, hosting Crashletes on Nickelodeon beginning July 5, with the irreverent show from Rob Dyrdek (Ridiculousness) aiming to focus on the "wildest and most outrageous sports moments captured on camera from amateur athletes who gave it their all but fall short of greatness," with Gronk pointing that out in a humorous way with the help of such guests as Brian Braman (Philadelphia Eagles), Stevan Ridley (Detroit Lions), TV host (and granddaughter of the late Dale Earnhardt Sr.) Karsyn Elledge, pro skateboarder Jagger Eaton and even some other members of the Gronkowski clan. MORE

NFL Joins With Disney To Bring Magic To Pro Bowl

Criticized for being dull, unprofessional and generally not worthy of the time and effort that has been put into it, the Pro Bowl is getting another makeover by the NFL, including expanded and enhanced marketing and activation for the Jan. 29, 2017 game (on ESPN), to be played in Camping World Stadium in Orlando, a move that enables Disney, brought in by the NFL to boost the game's profile and potential impact, to flex its substantial muscles in the region to support an extended Pro Bowl Week, with events and activations scheduled for Disney World, Disney Springs and the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex; plus other moves that include a significant tie-in with the USA Football National Conference, a return to traditional AFC-NFC team rosters and a new ticket system. MORE

SB LV Will Raise Naming Rights Cost For L.A. Stadium

If the Disney Co., Farmers Insurance, Live Nation or any other multi-dimensional company based in Southern California is considering making a move for naming rights to the NFL stadium being built in Inglewood, the incentive got juicier — but so did the cost, to as much as $1B — when the league awarded the venue hosting duties for Super Bowl LV in 2021, with the Los Angeles Rams, and potentially a second team, welcoming the football and sports marketing world to its $2.6B home, putting a price tag of as much as $20M a year for naming rights and more than $40M annually from top-tier sponsors, who also might get global exposure if Los Angeles is awarded the 2024 Summer Olympics. MORE

NFL 'TNF' Deal Gives Twitter More Than 140 Characters

Roger Goodell, commissioner for the NFL, has 485K followers on his Twitter account despite the fact that his last tweet was in September 2014 — until today, when he unveiled via the 140-character platform a new alliance that gives Twitter the ability to stream live ten NFL Thursday Night Football games beginning this season, joining CBS, NBC and NFL Network as broadcast partners on that night and following last season's first regular season live stream NFL game via Yahoo!, part of the league's strategy to boost ad options and "serve fans around the world live NFL football." MORE

CBS: New NFL 'TNF' Package Not The Deal We Wanted

The new pact unveiled this week by the NFL for its Thursday Night Football package was good for the league with a two-season value in excess of $900M, good for NBC — which joins with a five-game schedule — and good for NFL Network, but not everything that CBS wanted, as CBS Sports chairman Sean McManus reveals, with his network expecting to return with an eight-game schedule it had during each of the past two seasons but having to accept a five-game slate, albeit with certain needs that appear to have been fulfilled, because "that's what the NFL wanted." MORE

Will Naming Rights To L.A. Venue Hit $1B?

With $2.4B In Revenue, Super Bowl Is NFL Gold

NFL Books Mexico Trip, Adds To UK In 2016

A-B, Gatorade Push NFL Revenue To Record $1.2B

Harris Poll Finds NFL Twice As Popular As MLB

Cam Tops Peyton, Wilson As NFL's Most Marketable

 

NEWS FROM 2016 SUMMER OLYMPICS

Bolt Races To Rio Games With Gold Marketing Support

In what he said would be his last quest at Olympic glory, track and field icon Usain Bolt is heading to the Summer Games with his eye on winning three events and adding to his collection of six gold medals (three in Beijing in 2008, three in London in 2012), but he will not arrive in Rio de Janeiro alone, with an estimated 95 other athletes making up the Jamaican National Team and marketing partners such as Puma, Gatorade, Nissan Brazil and Virgin Media having unveiled multi-platform campaigns looking at the story behind and the motivation that drives the 'Fastest Man Alive,' summed up by Bolt himself, who said, 'I set goals for myself, and my goal is to be the greatest.' MORE

Federer Shuts Himself Down For Olympics, U.S. Open

Stating that he needs 'more extensive rehabilitation' following knee surgery earlier this year, world No. 3 ranked Roger Federer said that he and his doctors have agreed that he needs to shut down his playing schedule for the remainder of 2016, including representing Switzerland in the Summer Olympics and seeking a Grand Slam title in the U.S. Open, also putting on hold an estimated $30M in endorsement deals with marketing partners such as Nike, Mercedes-Benz, Rolex and Moet & Chandon. 'If I want to play on the ATP World Tour for another few years, as I intend to do, I must give both my knee and body the proper time to fully recover.' MORE

Marketing Roster Preps USA Hoops For Road To Rio

The USA Basketball Men's and Women's teams will head to the Summer Games in Brazil with the intent of bringing home gold medals, led by such players as Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony, Kyrie Irving and Klay Thompson for the men and Sue Bird, Tamika Catchings, Diana Turasi and Brittney Griner for the women; but both squads will prepare for the Olympics via exhibition games during the next two-plus weeks with a roster of partners activating multi-level campaigns that will build up to and then continue in Rio, including Anheuser-Busch, Aquafina, Cisco, FedEx, Gatorade, Jeep, Marriott, Nike, Samsung and Verizon. MORE

Serena Williams Leads USA Tennis, Marketers To Rio

The USA tennis team that will compete in the Summer Games is not only loaded with talent and Grand Slam wins, but a plethora of marketing partners, with the squad led by Serena Williams, fresh off her 22nd career Grand Slam title (which came at Wimbledon) and eyeing the upcoming U.S. Open, who has deals that include IBM, Gatorade and Nike; Venus Williams, Mike and Bob Bryan, Madison Keys, Coco Vandeweghe, Jack Sock and others, as the U.S. seeks to defend the women's singles gold medal (Serena Williams), women's doubles gold (Serena and Venus Williams) and men's doubles gold (Bryan Brothers) won in London in 2012 while attempting to add more medals to the Team USA coffers. MORE

Coke Unveils 'That's Gold' Campaign For '16 Olympics

Calling it "perhaps our biggest-ever portfolio play at the Olympics," Coca-Cola has launched a multi-level campaign, 'That's Gold,' in 50 markets worldwide building up to the Summer Games, with a roster of brands — Coca-Cola, Diet Coke, Coke Zero; plus adjacent efforts from such siblings as Powerade, Minute Maid and Glaceau Vitaminwater — and Olympic, Paralympic, legendary and hopeful athletes along for the ride, including Alex Morgan (soccer), Ashton Eaton (track and field), Tatyana McFadden and Nastia Liukin, who share what it means to have golden moments in competition and then on the podium when receiving medals, to be presented via TV, print, Internet, social media, POP, themed cans and on-site activation in Rio that will see a dedicated location involve fans and consumers via interactive stations and in-person appearances from athletes and celebrities. MORE

IOC President: 'Things Are Coming Together' In Rio

People, athletes, members of the media and others may be talking about the Zika virus, water pollution, security challenges and financial and political woes, but Thomas Bach, president for the International Olympic Committee, while not completely closing his eyes to the situation, is seeing the upcoming Summer Games through rose-colored glasses, stressing during a press conference 'a positive attitude and a great spirit' about the Olympics, pointing out that such issues as the infrastructure in host city Rio de Janeiro has been rebuilt and improved, that a security force numbering some 80K police and soldiers are ready to keep athletes and visitors safe and that upgraded drug testing will work to keep competitions free from 'cheaters.' 'There will be last minute challenges,' said Bach, 'but I am more confident that we will have a great Games. Things are coming together.' MORE

Despite Zika, Pollution, Officials Say Rio 'Safe, Secure'

With the Summer Games less than a month off, host nation Brazil and host city Rio de Janeiro are dealing with a plethora of problems, including financial woes, Zika, water pollution, drug-testing complications and security, but Sports Minister Leonardo Picciani said during a global media conference that all of these situations are being addressed and/or resolved, that a force of some 87K police and soldiers would be in place and that the Olympics would be held in a "safe and secure manner," with a supporting commercial from the 2016 Organizing Committee acknowledging the challenges but imploring tourists to "keep calm and come to Rio." MORE

Virgin Media Gets Bolt Up And Running For Olympics

Usain Bolt, the fastest man in the world, is preparing to compete in the Summer Games in Rio in an attempt to add to his six gold medals, and he is getting timely acceleration from Virgin Media, which has unveiled a multi-platform campaign, 'Be the Fastest,' to support its broadband and other telecom options, anchored by a commercial that takes people behind the rise and speed of Bolt based on his record-setting 100-meter race in 9.58 seconds back in 2009, with the 100-second spot broken into segments of 9.58 seconds that show Bolt training, running, dancing, being evaluated by a computer and even as an emoji. MORE

NBC Eyes Record 6.7K+ Hours Of Olympic Coverage

As the official broadcast partner in the U.S. for the Summer Games, NBCUniversal is counting the days until the Opening Ceremony on Aug. 5 and also is counting the hours of coverage it plans to devote to the Olympics, a record 6,755 across its broadcast, cable and online platforms, with NBC alone airing more than 260 hours, NBCSN devoting some 330 hours, Telemundo and NBC Universo broadcasting a combined 273 hours, Bravo and Golf Channel airing about 100 hours each and 4.5K hours live-streaming across NBCOlympics.com and the NBC Sports app. Said Jim Bell, executive producer for NBC Olympics, "The Rio Games will offer the most comprehensive coverage of any event in sports history." MORE

Visa Takes Athletes On 'Carpool' To Summer Olympics

Calling it the 'most-global campaign' in its 30-year history of supporting the Olympic Movement, official IOC and USOC partner Visa has unveiled a multi-layered effort, 'Carpool,' that follows nearly half of the athletes who are part of 46-member Team Visa from around the world as they prepare for the Summer Games, using Visa technology and the assistance of such partners as Best Buy, Costco and United Airlines to make the journey more efficient, with marketing to reflect specific participants and their respective regions, led by Team USA stars and hopefuls Carli Lloyd, Kerrii Walsh Jennings, Missy Franklin, Ibtihaj Muhammad, Ashton Eaton and English Gardner. MORE

IOC Fast-Tracks Olympic Channel Debut For '16 Games

With 27 international sports federations on board, and more to come, the Olympic Channel, under the auspices of the International Olympic Committee, is eyeing a launch date to coincide with the Summer Games in Rio, which begin Aug. 5, when it will support the live broadcasts by partners worldwide with news, updates, athlete information and profiles and other Olympic-specific platforms as part of a plan to cover the category 24/7, 365 days a year. "Through innovative partnerships with International Federations, we will have live event coverage, highlights, magazine shows, news and original programming," according to the IOC. MORE

Panasonic Puts Neymar Jr. On Offense For Olympic Games

With the Summer Games just about ten weeks off, Panasonic is ramping up its efforts as an official partner with the IOC, including a multi-platform global campaign, 'Sharing The Passion,' that features Neymar Jr., who will appear in TV and online ads and drive an initiative encouraging people to connect with the soccer star, as well as onsite activations in Rio de Janeiro anchored by the company's Stadium of Wonders, where visitors will find interactive exhibits and a history of the Olympics. MORE

Microsoft, ESPN Lead Players For '18 Special Olympics

Following the success of the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games in New Jersey and the Special Olympics World Games in Los Angeles last year — and in anticipation of the Special Olympics World Winter Games in Austria next year — Seattle has been named as the host city for the 2018 USA Games, with hometown Microsoft already on board as premier partner, ESPN this week signing a deal with Special Olympics to remain as lead broadcast partner (through 2019) and other brands such as Coca-Cola (a Special Olympics founding partner), KPMG and Starbucks also preparing for an event that is anticipating 3,500 athletes, 1,000 coaches, 10,000 volunteers and some 50,000 spectators. MORE

NBC Hits Olympic Milestone With $1B Ad Sales

Participating in the Olympics means going for the gold, and NBC, the official network for the Games, is doing that and more, unveiling figures that show it has reached the lofty $1B mark in ad sales in what it said is record time, some four months before the event in Rio de Janeiro, which bested the record it set in 2012 when the mark was hit just two days before the Opening Ceremony, with NBC saying that there is still inventory to sell on network, cable and digital and that "the market is very bullish on the 2016 Summer Games." MORE

Super Bowl, Olympics Drive $60B Global Sponsor Spend

The coming year will see a series of unique sports events with global impact, including the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, the NHL-led World Cup of Hockey in October and the NFL's historic Super Bowl 50 on Feb. 7, which will combine with such factors as more companies moving toward global expansion and finding more opportunities to align with rights' hodlers to raise worldwide sponsorship spend to a projected record $60.2B — the biggest growth in three years and a jump of $9B versus 2012, according to research, marketing and consulting firm IEG, with sponsor spend in North America alone reaching record heights with a 4.5% growth over 2015 to more than $22B. MORE


Security, Money Priority For LA 2024 Bid

Despite Issues, '16 Games Will Be 'Most Marketed Ever'

Visa Unveils Team Of Athletes Eyeing 2016 Olympics

Kellogg Unboxes Road To Rio Campaign

En Route To '24 Olympics, L.A. Says 'Follow The Sun'

Finding Dory Hits Olympic Waters With USA Swimming

 

NEWS FROM NBA 2015-16

Twitter's No. 1 Sports League, NBA Builds Social Presence

Calling it the 'fastest way to find out what's happening in the NBA and to have a discussion about it,' Twitter has signed an expanded content partnership with the NBA to include exclusive original live programming and other features to Twitter, Vine and Periscope, with the league also ramping up its current content across the platforms, beginning with the 2016-17 season, putting the NBA in a position to build on its current base of 22.4M followers  — the most among sports leagues worldwide, ahead of the NFL (19.4M), WWE (7.7M) and MLB (6M) — moving NBA commissioner Adam Silver to say, "This expanded partnership will help feed our fans' growing demand for the NBA by more deeply integrating the league across Twitter's platforms."  MORE

No Title? No Sweat: Curry Jersey Outsells LeBron, Kyrie

Two-time MVP Stephen Curry might not have been able to lead the Golden State Warriors to their second consecutive NBA championship, but he can take some solace in having earned another title: Best-selling jersey during the post-season (April-June), according to the league's online shopping destination, coming in ahead of world champion Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James (the league does not reveal sales figures or number of jerseys sold so the disparity between Curry and James is unknown), now-retired Kobe Bryant, LeBron teammate Kyrie Irving and his own Warriors' backcourt mate, Klay Thompson; but it was  the Cavs that claimed the No. 1 spot in most popular team merchandise ahead of Golden State, the Lakers, Chicago Bulls and Oklahoma City Thunder. MORE

Simmons, Ingram, Rookies Ready To Rock NBA Marketing

The NBA rookie Draft Class of '16 has hit the ground running with endorsement deals, including No. 1 overall pick Ben Simmons wearing Nike gear and kicks in new spots for Foot Locker and having his new Philadelphia 76ers jersey and T-shirt front-and-center on the team's Web site; Marquese Chriss and Buddy Hield signing exclusive autograph contracts with Panini America; Kris Dunn and No. 2 overall pick Brandon Ingram (Los Angeles Lakers) getting advice from Coach Speedman in a Speed Stick commercial; and five first-year players signing with adidas; all of them seeking to follow in the footsteps of 2015-16 Rookie of the Year Karl-Anthony Towns and other players who made an impact on Madison Avenue during their NBA freshman year. MORE

Brands Score Big During NBA Season, LeBron's Title Run

The LeBron James-led Cleveland Cavaliers may have scored big in winning the NBA title, but such brands as State Farm, Kia, Samsung, Geico, Verizon, America Express and Taco Bell scored big with consumers during both the regular and post-season, each spending more than $16M on advertising and receiving in return high 'view rates' on TV (people watched the ads) and huge social media numbers, according to marketing and research firm Fabric Media, with State Farm spots anchored by 'The Hoopers' and Kia campaigns fronted by LeBron (K900) and Blake Griffin racking up more than 900M impressions each. MORE

State Farm Scores Top Spot With NBA Sponsorship Spend

It must be 'The Hoopers,' because State Farm, whose multi-platform campaign starring Chris Paul, DeAndre Jordan, Kevin Love, Kevin Garnett and Damian Lillard, this past season has replaced Anheuser-Busch as the NBA's most active sponsor, according to research firm IEG, which also said that overall league sponsorship deals hit a record $799M and that the most active partners also included FanDuel, MillerCoors, Coke, PepsiCo, Geico and Kia Motors, while the most active categories were insurance, QSR, non-alcoholic beverages, medical and retail. MORE

NBA 2016 Draftees Get Advice From 2015 Rookies

If Ben Simmons, Brandon Ingram, Jamal Murray or any other of the members of the incoming Class of '16 want to know how to act, what to expect or who to kiss and hug at the NBA '16 Draft on June 23, they only need ask Rookie of the Year Karl-Anthony Towns, Kristaps Porzingis, Jahill Okafor or any of those who were at last year's event, or they can watch 'Draft '16,' a new spot under the league's 'This Is Why We Play' marketing umbrella, which shows how draftees reacted when commissioner Adam Silver called their names, and goes back even farther to show how youth leagues, playgrounds, family and friends helped to mold these athletes. MORE

Ghostbusters Calls On NBA, Spike Lee To Fight Ghouls

When it comes time to fight ghosts, who ya gonna call for marketing and activation? In this case, the rebooted Ghostbusters movie has tapped such NBA players and legends as Kobe Bryant, Carmelo Anthony, 'Clyde' Frazier and Kristaps Porzingis, as well as New York Knicks fan and film director Spike Lee; plus a bevy of brands including Hostess Twinkies, Madame Tussauds, Stern Pinball, Dave & Busters and Papa John's to help generate consumer and moviegoer awareness. MORE

Survey: NBA Teams Find Fan Loyalty Is More Than Winning

A sports adage claims that "Winning isn't everything. It's the only thing," but teams in NBA are seeing that winning is only part of the equation to developing loyalty among fans, building awareness and creating impactful marketing deals, according to research firm Brand Keys, which in its just-released NBA 2015-16 Sports Fan Loyalty Index shows that authenticity, fan bonding and tradition have helped to put atop the list of  teams with the 'most -loyal fans' the Oklahoma City Thunder, San Antonio Spurs, Miami Heat, Golden State Warriors, Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Clippers, while the 'least-loyal fans' are those of the Milwaukee Bucks, Minnesota Timberwolves and Sacramento Kings. "Winning adds to the loyalty bond, but you need the complete package," according to Brand Keys president Robert Passikoff. MORE

Jersey Score: NBA Eyes $100M+ With Player Billboards

Boldly going where Nascar and soccer have gone before, the NBA will start to sell brand logo space on player jerseys beginning with the 2017-18 season, with a three-year pilot program anticipated to generate more than $100M in annual revenue for teams, which comes in addition to the new Nike deal, which also begins that year, a $1B pact allowing the official apparel provider to put its 'Swoosh' on jerseys and possibly have its Jordan Brand logo on the uniforms of the Charlotte Hornets, majority owned by Michael Jordan. MORE

NBA, GE Healthcare Seek To Reduce, Prevent Injuries

Dew NBA 3X Tour Hits With Media, Marketing

Nike: Jordan 'Flu Game' Nothing To Sneeze At

 

NEWS FROM MLB 2016 

MLB Starts Countdown, Sales Pitch To '17 All-Star Game

With the dust from the 2016 All-Star Game having just settled, and Home Run Derby balls hit by Giancarlo Stanton still rattling around PetCo Park, MLB has started the march to the 2017 All-Star Game and festivities in Miami Marlins Park, unveiling the official logo and accompanying promo video for such events as the SiriusXM Futures Game, T-Mobile Home Run Derby — where Marlins outfielder Stanton could defend his title while serving as one of the hosts for the week of events — the FanFest in the Miami Beach Convention Center and the All-Star Game presented by MasterCard, with the Marlins using the jewel activities to sell season tickets for this year and beyond. MORE

Twitter Continues To Build Live Sports With MLB, NHL

Calling it the 'fastest way to see what's happening in sports,' Twitter has expanded its role with traditional sports with a deal to live-stream weekly out-of-market games from MLB and the NHL, plus the addition of a nightly sports highlight show, The Rally, all of which will be added to its new alliance with Campus Sports to live-stream more than 300 college sports events, an enhanced pact with the NBA to produce original, exclusive programs and a deal with the NFL to air Thursday Night Football beginning this season. MORE

Jeter Is Back As 'Captain' For Nike's Jordan Brand

This past weekend, Derek Jeter married his girlfriend, model Hannah Davis, and the only thing that could possibly top that would be if the former captain for the New York Yankees could reclaim his title — which he has, thanks to a renewed and expanded alliance with Jordan Brand, where 'Captain' Jeter will have a hands-on role in the training and baseball categories, assisting in defining new styles and designs and recruiting players to join an MLB roster that also includes Manny Machado, Jimmy Rollins, David Price, Dexter Fowler and former teammate CC Sabathia; while also appearing in marketing to support products from his signature Re2pect line. MORE

Harper Enhances Brand, Numbers With Under Armour

One of baseball's best players is embellishing his status as one of MLB's most marketable via a new campaign from Under Armour, 'It Comes From Below,' which will use the multi-media effort, including a spot with Harper, 'Numbers,' that shows how he has achieved success and is continuing to raise his level of play by paying attention to certain statistics while not succumbing to the pressure of others, to support the release of its Harper One signature cleat — the first for the player and the brand — and then expand it to Under Armour Running this fall with creative elements starring NFL quarterback Cam Newton, all to put a focus on the company's theory that "strong footwork, while often overlooked, provides the foundation to defy expectations and achieve athletic excellence." MORE

MLB Continues To Drive With Renewed Chevrolet Deal

Not wanting to break the spirit of the classic ad that rattled off the good things about America — 'Baseball. Hot Dogs. Apple Pie. And Chevrolet' — the automaker has renewed its alliance with MLB, extending the current alliance that dates back to 2005 as the official vehicle of MLB and the presenting sponsor for the All-Star Game and World Series MVP awards, but also enhancing it as the official auto partner for MLB and USA Baseball's Pay Ball platform, all to be supported via multi-platform marketing and in-stadium activations. 'Chevrolet's partnership with MLB is a natural fit and allows the brand and our dealers to connect with generations of Americans on a personal level,' said Paul Edwards, the car company's vp-marketing. MORE

 

Posey Catches Renewed, Expanded Under Armour Pact

Now Batting For Harman JBL: Alex Rodriguez

Under Armour Ups Harper Deal To Match Curry, Spieth

Snyder's Puts Baseball Twist On National Pretzel Day

 

NEWS FROM eSPORTS

Doodle Jump Set To Make Impact On eSports Landscape

Claiming more then 10M monthly players and 200M downloads, Lima Sky is preparing to bring its Doodle Jump game to the world of eSports, naming Skillz as the official tech partner for the upcoming launch, with game creators anticipating the same impact as Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and League of Legends when those platforms entered, and changed, the global category landscape, which currently has more than 185M fans and is on pace to top $9B in revenue in 2017, per industry analysts. According to Andrew Paradise, CEO for Skillz, "Doodle Jump already has hundreds of millions of players . . . it will now have organized, broadcasted tournaments and competitive leagues to transform it into a full-fledged eSport." MORE

Turner eLeague Takes eSports, Marketing To Next Level

The plan for an eSports competition unveiled by Turner Broadcasting and WME | IMG this past September — a strategic move into the burgeoning category that has a global viewing audience of motre than 225M and revenue expected to top $765M by 2018 — finally has a play date, with the two media companies saying that its eLeague would make its debut on May 24 featuring Valve's Counter-Strike: Global Offense, including planned ten-week coverage of the event to include a regular season, playoffs and Global Championship, with Turner expected to support with such multi-media marketing as TV, tie-ins with Turner Sports properties NBA on TNT and Inside the NBA, ads during NCAA Men's Div. 1 basketball March Madness (which Turner airs on TNT, TBS and truTV in alliance with CBS), Internet and social media. MORE

EA Dives Into eSports With Platform For Madden, Battlefield

Following in the footsteps of competition such as Activision but calling it a "groundbreaking opportunity," veteran video game company EA has unveiled a strategy to build its first eSports platform, the Competitive Gaming Division, which will be overseen by EA COO Peter Moore and position such titles as Madden NFL, Battlefield and FIFA in the burgeoning category — expected to approach $300M in revenue this year and growing — with EA CEO Andrew Wilson proclaiming, "This is the latest step in our journey to put our players first and enable global eSports competitions in our biggest franchises." MORE

Fantasy Sports Face Highs, Lows, New Challenges

Although under fire by legislators and others across the country, and admittedly in the midst of a "low-water" period, fantasy sports is now reaching more people than ever — 42.8M in the U.S. alone — who are spending more money than ever, with the number of women participants on the rise and NFL and soccer fantasy platforms leading the charge, according to the Fantasy Sports Trade Assn., but the national governing body understands that challenges facing DraftKings, FanDuel and other daily sports fantasy sites will have a major impact. "Tough times are here, but so are the customers," said FSTA president Paul Charchian. MORE


NEWS FROM TENNIS 2016

Sharapova Won't Get Call For Olympics, U.S. Open

Maria Sharapova, the former world No. 1 women's tennis player currently serving a two-year suspension due to her positive test for a banned substance, will not be able to play in the Summer Games or U.S. Open because her appeal of the ban will not be heard until September, according to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, after Sharapova's team and the International Tennis Federation, which imposed the suspension, both required additional time to "complete and respond to their respective evidentiary submissions,' pushing a hearing and potential decision back several months as Sharapova continues to drop in the rankings (she currently is No. 96), remain absent from the tennis courts and off the drawing board for new marketing campaigns and endorsements, the latter of which she earned some $23M last year. MORE

Wimbledon Marketers, Media, Stars, Fans All In For Slam

Great Britain may have opted out of the European Union, but they are inviting everyone in for the Wimbledon Grand Slam tournament that runs through July 10, with marketing support from the likes of IBM, Jaguar, Håagen-Dazs, Rolex, Stella Artois, Evian, HSBC and Ralph Lauren; a new multi-platform campaign from first-year lead agency McCann London; increased TV viewership worldwide; rising social media numbers; and story lines involving such players as Serena Williams, Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Garbiñe Muguruza, Andy Murray and Madison Keys. MORE

Will Marketers Net Tennis' Garbiñe As The Next Maria?

Already a celebrity in Spain and a rising star on the WTA circuit, Garbiñe Muguruza's Grand Slam win in the French Open over Serena Williams, which moved her from No. 4 to No. 2 in the world behind Serena, could now propel her to another level on the global marketing landscape, with the 6-foot, 22-year-old poised to add to her small but impressive endorsement roster — which includes adidas Tennis and adidas Barricade outfits by Stella McCartney, Babolat racquets and BBVA bank in Spain, as well as several appearances in top fashion magazines— with potential categories including health & beauty, audio, music, electronics, food & beverage and jewelry, putting her on a road that has seen Maria Sharapova, now suspended due to the use of a banned drug, earn more than $20M annually in endorsements and Serena top $15M. MORE

Q&A: Tennis Channel Savors Taste Of Serena, Garros

 Despite a lot of rain and the absence of such stars as Roger Federer, Maria Sharapova and Caroline Wozniacki, Tennis Channel still has the game's most captivating player in Serena Williams, the world's No. 1 ranked man in Novak Djokovic and a bevy of players on both sides seeking to win a Grand Slam at the French Open. But as Robyn Miller, svp-marketing for Tennis Channel, relates in this Q&A, covering Serena's historic quest for her 22nd Grand Slam is significant, but only part of the overall marketing support and broadcast coverage being put into the tournament at Roland Garros in Paris. "This is our most important event of the year and we definitely have pulled out all the stops."

Tennis Channel Swings French Open, Serena Marketing

In what should be an historic run in its tenth season of French Open coverage, Tennis Channel is all-in with a multi-media marketing effort that includes TV, print, outdoor, live activation and airport and retail network media buy that includes McDonald's, Sam's Club and airports across the nation, tying in not only to Tennis Channel's expanded coverage — some 110 hours of match play, more than 300 hours overall — but Serena William's quest to win her 22nd career Grand Slam, which would tie her with Steffi Graf and put her just two behind all-time leader Margaret Court. MORE

Court Testers: When Andy Met Luol, Competition Followed

On his court, tennis star Andy Murray knows how to win Grand Slams and Olympic Gold; on his court, Luol Dang of the NBA's Miami Heat knows how to shoot and handle a basketball. When the two met, as part of a multi-platform campaign from Standard Life, the result was Murray, a long-time Heat fan, learning some hoops skills from Dang, and Dang, a member of the 2012 Great Britain Olympic team with Murray, picking up some trick tennis-shot tips and both sharing their love for Arsenal FC; with other elements in the campaign taking people behind the scenes with Murray, where he learns to speak Mandarin and reveals that if he were to come a super hero, his No. 1 power would be invisibility. MORE

Sharapova Faults, Waits For Tennis Ban To Be Served

Stating that 'I made a huge mistake . . . I take full responsibility," tennis star Maria Sharapova said she failed a drug test during the Australian Open for a drug she had used under a doctor's care for ten years but which was banned on Jan. 1, putting her future on the court in jeopardy, her participation in the Summer Olympics in doubt and causing potential major rifts among her marketing partners, including Nike, Porsche, Tag Heuer, Avon and Evian, which bring in more than $23M in endorsements, the most among all female athletes in the world. MORE

WTT Adds New York To Busy Olympic Summer Sked

Mylan World Team Tennis, co-founded by sports icon Billie Jean King, is in a New York state of mind, adding the New York Empire to its six-team league (replacing the defunct Boston Lobsters) for its Summer schedule, which will run for two weeks during a period that will also see the Wimbledon Grand Slam, the U.S. Open and the Olympic Games in Rio, with the Empire set to be coached by Patrick McEnroe and led by Andy Roddick — which motivated singer Elton John to post on his Twitter account, "Excited to see WTT in New York this summer" — and WTT bringing to center court such partners as Mylan, Geico and Wilson. MORE

Serena, WTA A Perfect Match For Record TV, Ad Numbers

The Year of Serena Williams and her quest for a calendar Grand Slam drove tennis, media, marketing and the WTA to realize rising — and in some cases historic — numbers regarding attendance, TV viewership, digital and online visits and marketing deals, with Williams — whose accolades include Sports Illustrated Athlete of the Year and the WTA Player of the Year — taking in some $13M in endorsements (not including investments in her own and other companies) and close to $12M in earnings while bringing more attention to women tennis players and athletes worldwide, moving WTA CEO Steve Simon to state, "The depth of the playing field in our sport is unprecedented, the competition outstanding (with) growth continuing in the future." MORE


MORE NEWS . . .

Olympic Channel Gets Post-'16 Games Launch Date

Calling it the 'start of an exciting new journey to connect the worldwide audience with the Olympic Movement,' the International Olympic Committee has designated Aug. 21 as the launch date for its 24/7 Olympic Channel, to go live immediately after the Closing Ceremony for the Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro, with the IOC planning to follow sports and athletes, present original features and other programming and provide news and highlights related to the Olympics while 'reaching out to new generations of athletes and fans.' MORE

With Selina, Coke Remains America's Most Powerful Brand

For the ninth consecutive year, Coca-Cola has been named the 'most powerful brand' in the U.S., topping a list of 100 companies that include Hershey (No. 2), Bayer (No. 3), Disney (No. 4), Apple (No. 5), Microsoft (No. 6) and Google (No. 10), according to research and tech firm Tenet Partners, with Coke retaining the lead position thanks in part to Selina Gomez, who has been a key spokesperson in the brand's 'Share a Coke and a Smile' multi-platform campaign, part of which included posting to her Instagram account a photo (taken by world-renowned photographer Guy Aroch) of her smiling and sipping a Coke, which has garnered to date more than 4.6M likes. MORE

WrestleMania, Network, Stars Pile-Drive WWE To Success

Led by the likes of Roman Reigns, John Cena, Dean Ambrose and Sasha Banks, and citing record numbers at WWE Network and from WrestleMania in AT&T Stadium this past April, WWE said its Q2 revenues increased to a quarterly all-time high $199M, with 1.5M WWE Network paid subscribers, 8 billion video views, 570 social media engagements, a major rise in WrestleMania 32-related merchandise, such new shows as Camp WWE and Swerved Season 2, the live launch of SmackDown; and new alliances and a distribution deal in China. MORE

Under Armour Goes Big With Curry, Kohl's, NYC Location

The 53K sq. ft. space at 58th and Fifth Avenue in New York, which has been empty since toy retailer FAO Schwarz moved out last July, will have a permanent tenant when Under Armour moves in by mid-2018 to early 2019, with company CEO Kevin Plank saying it could be 'the greatest retail store in the world,' a statement he made during a conference call with analysts and media in which he also detailed a new alliance that would see products in 1,100 Kohl's locations next year while extolling the virtues of the continued growth of its Stephen Curry line — including the much-panned but highly successful Chef Curry shoes — and the development of its women's category, which Plank said could hit $1B this year. MORE

Russell Athletic Using Agony Of Defeat To Motivate Victory

In its first comprehensive national campaign in five years, Russell Athletic has unveiled 'Team On,' a multi-platform effort that embraces the brand's presence in prep football across the country, which will follow the seasons of six high school football teams that lost in their respective state 2015 championships by a TD or less to show how they are using those defeats to motivate players this year, including TV, Internet and social media that will evolve as the prep football season progresses, billboards and the presence of Eddie George, retired four-time NFL Pro Bowl running back, who was part of a Tennessee Titans team that both won (Music City Miracle) and lost (Super Bowl XXXIV) in the same post-season on the final play of the game. MORE

Hefty Weight: John Cena Enhances Status As Brand Man

If you think you are seeing a lot of WWE's John Cena on TV, you would be correct, with appearances over the past months as host for the ESPYs and Fox's American Grit, a role in NBC's Maya and Marty, in a 'We Are America' Ad Council PSA; and upcoming appearances in WWE's Smackdown Live, as co-host for Teen Choice Awards on Fox and, beginning this week, in a humorous multi-media campaign for Hefty in which he touts a new Ultra-Strong product opposite a faux Wimpy brand preferred by actor Rob Schneider — not to mention adding to his status as the celebrity who has granted the most Make-a-Wish requests (more than 500) — approaching all of his work, he says, in the same manner: "With focus, authenticity and total commitment." MORE

New Era Goes Hollywood, Caps Deal With L.A. Live

Already found on MLB, NFL and NBA fields and courts, New Era has now expanded its role in entertainment, signing a multi-year deal with global sports-entertainment firm AEG to become a founding partner and exclusive headwear provider for L.A. Live, the 4M sq. ft., $3B district that includes Staples Center, The Grammy Museum, the west coast broadcast center for ESPN and Microsoft Theater, with the pact also involving an official alliance with the NHL's L.A. Kings and the opening of a 3K sq. ft. retail location within Staples Center that is expected to attract not just consumers but also players from the hometown Lakers, Clippers and Sparks as well as visiting athletes and celebrities. MORE

Cena, The Rock, Flair Star In Topps WWE Slam '16 App

If you could put together in a ring in their prime the likes of John Cena, The Rock, Ric Flair, Undertaker, Sasha Banks and others, it would rival the greatest event in WWE history, but since that cannot happen, Topps has arguably done the next best thing by launching WWE SLAM '16, a digital trading card app — the first for WWE — that features thousands of stars from past and present in a format enabling fans worldwide to collect and trade them, with the added attraction of seeing new cards added on a regular basis and such features as collectible memorabilia and autographs. According to WWE evp-consumer products Casey Collins, 'We are pleased to again partner with Topps to offer our fans a new way to connect with their favorite WWE superstars.' MORE

DC, Warner Empower 'Super Hero Girls' Worldwide

There is a lot of power in the likes of Wonder Woman, Supergirl, Batgirl, Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy, and DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. Consumer Products intend to use their energy to empower girls around the world with DC Super Hero Girls, a licensing program that launched earlier this year in Target and is now going global, with merchandise in more than 30 categories expanding to more than 35 countries in Europe, Latin American, the Middle East and Asia, with such partners as Mattel, Crayola, Random House, American Greetings, LEGO and PEZ part of the adventure. MORE

Rousey Returns For Reebok, Is OK With 'Not Being Perfect'

Conspicuous by her absence this past weekend at UFC 200, Ronda Rousey is the center of attention in a new multi-media effort from Reebok, 'Perfect Never,' in which she and other women athletes play off the adage, "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder,' by stating, "Perfect never gets truly tested, never gets to silence its critics, never gets a shot at redemption," with the former bantamweight champ-turned-actress appearing in a TV spot in which she goes from "glam to grit" (which also supports a promotion offering a trip to New York to see UFC 205 in November) and a fronting a dedicated Web site in which fitness trainer Emily Skye, CrossFitness athletes Camile Lablanc-Bazient and Jamie Jagiya and others support the premise that they, too, are in tune with 'not being perfect.' MORE

Unanimous Decision: WME|IMG UFC Price Tag Is $4B

Hot on the heels of what might have been its most successful — and most controversial — event, UFC owners Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta have sold a majority interest in their business to global sports and entertainment group WME|IMG for $4B, a price tag that certainly was raised over the past two years due to the presence of such fighters as Conor McGregor, Daniel Cormier, Frankie Edgar and Ronda Rousey, and which was enhanced this past weekend at UFC 200, during which Brock Lesner made his return to the Octagon, Amanda Nunes took the bantamweight title from Miesha Tate and more than 18K fans saw the event in person in Las Vegas' T-Mobile Arena and some 1.5M watched on PPV, with UFC president Dana White, who will remain in that position once the sale is approved and finalized, stating, 'No other sport compares to UFC.' MORE

NHL Penguins Add 'Most Loyal Fans' To Cup Rewards

Based on the observation that "winning contributes more to NHL fan loyalty than in any other league," the Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins have been rated the No. 1 team in the 2016 NHL Sports Fan Loyalty Index from research and consulting firm Brand Keys, moving up from No. 5 last year and replacing the Chicago Blackhawks, which won the Cup in 2014-15 — based on such factors as Pure Entertainment, Authenticity, Fan Bonding and History and Tradition — with the top teams also including the St. Louis Blues, Washington Capitals, New York Rangers, Boston Bruins and San Jose Sharks; but the team at the bottom with the least loyal fans, driven there in part by moving from Long Island to Brooklyn, is the New York Islanders. MORE

Metallica Suits Up For Global Menswear Campaign

One of the most influential groups in music history knows how to put pedal to the heavy metal when it comes to "For Whom the Bell Tolls," "Enter Sandman," "Wherever I May Roam" and other classics, but Metallica is now dressing up the heavy metal genre as spokesmen for Italian luxury menswear line Brioni, which will be supported by a multi-media global campaign inspired by artwork for another iconic rock music song, Queen's' Bohemian Rhapsody'; with print, Internet and outdoor renditions seeking to merge Madison Avenue and music via a touch of merriment. MORE

Gatorade Ads Put Focus On Youth Football, Hoops, Soccer

Its roster of endorsers includes such pro athletes as Serena Williams, Cam Newton, Dwyane Wade, J.J., Watt, Bryce Harper, Karl-Anthony Towns and Usain Bolt, but the focus of Gatorade's new 'Incredible Is Inevitable' push is youth and prep sports, with a series of ads putting a spotlight on football, basketball and soccer, respectively, supporting the brand's on-going support of such programs as the Gatorade High School Athletes of the Year. Little League Baseball and Pop Warner, with the spots getting up-close and personal during intense games on the field and strenuous workouts during practice, all of which, fueled by Gatorade, shows how hard work and unwavering dedication tends to win out during competition, if not always in victories, certainly in personal gains and development. MORE

A-B Has Lead Role As Film Festival Spend Hits $878M

Film festivals in such places as Sundance, Cannes, Los Angeles, New York, Chicago and Telluride generate movie-goer excitement and creative concepts, just as food and wine festivals in Las Vegas, New Orleans, Austin and Washington DC uncover soon-to-be hot consumer trends and ingenious visionaries, strategies being embraced by marketers and brands that are finding a fertile ground for activation in both categories, with a record $878M in sponsorship spend anticipated for 2016, according to research firm IEG, which said leaders include Anheuser-Busch, PepsiCo, Coca-Cola, Marriott and Starwood Hotels. MORE

After Reboot, adidas Soccer Sales Set To Top Record $2.7B

Following what it called a "complete re-start of our football footwear business," and led by deals with Leo Messi, FIFA and Manchester United, adidas Group said that its global soccer sales are expected to surpass a record $2.78B this year, up more than $300M from 2015's sales of $2.45B, with strong gains in key markets, in particular throughout Europe, as well as among key young demographics, moving CEO Herbert Hainer to state, 'We spend a load of money on soccer, but soccer sells other products.' MORE

GoPro, A-B, Red Bull Propel Marketing In Action Sports

When it comes to such action sports as off-road auto racing, BMX cycling, skateboarding, skiing, snowboarding and skiing, GoPro, Anheuser-Busch, Samsung, Chrysler and Red Bull are leading the charge in sponsorship deals, according to a new report from IEG, with consumer electronics, automobiles, apparel and beer as the most active categories, all of which are reflected in the marketing support for tours and circuits including ASA Action Sports World, Travis Pastrana's Nitro Circus, the Dew Tour, the World Surf League and Street League Skateboarding; but all of which is happening under more scrutiny due to the death earlier this year of iconic athlete Dave Mirra and the subsequent report that he suffered from brain-depilating CTE. MORE

BofA Leads $970M Performing Arts Sponsorship Spend

Sponsorship spending on performing arts is projected to reach a record $970M this year, with Bank of America, Wells Fargo, JP Morgan Chase and Target leading the way, according to IEG, which said that spend is estimated to increase some $30M over last year and about $80M since 2012 in a category that includes the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Lincoln Center, the Metropolitan Opera, theater companies, visual performing arts venues and groups and other cultural organizations and destinations, with the potential for sponsorship spending to hit or top $1B in 2017. MORE

Metallica Powers To Top Of Summer Concert Tour Sales

The Minnesota Vikings are scheduled to open their new U.S. Bank Stadium with an exhibition game on Aug. 28, but the smoke might still be settling and the venue might still be shaking from a Metallica concert scheduled for Aug. 20, the iconic band's only live performance of the summer, but one in such demand that online ticket broker StubHub said the event is outselling on its site the next highest performers, Pearl Jam, by 400% and is also hotter than such summer tours as Radiohead, Coldplay and Guns N' Roses; with StubHub also revealing that Adele's summer tour is No. 1 in total ticket sales, having taken that position from last summer's queen, Taylor Swift. MORE

Reebok, A-B, Geico Drive NHL $477M Sponsor Spend

Thanks to increased activation from such partners as Reebok, Anheuser-Busch, Geico, Toyota and DraftKings, the NHL is projected to see a record $477M from sponsorship spend this season, according to research firm IEG, which would be up nearly 7% from last season and a rise of more than $100M from 2012, with QSRs, auto, medical, insurance and beer the Top Five most active categories, all of which IEG said 'reflects the growing popularity of hockey as a marketing platform.' MORE

Can T-Mobile Arena Move Pro Sports To Roll Vegas Dice?

With the grand opening of T-Mobile Arena this week, Las Vegas is preparing for more high-profile entertainment such as Nicki Manai, Ariana Grande, Guns n' Roses, The Killers and Wayne Newton — and that's just the first week — but the venue was designed to house sports, with WWE, UFC, PBR and middleweight bout Alvarez vs. Cano already booked, an open invitation for the NHL to come in and incentives for the NBA and others to make it a regular stop. MORE

Under Armour Hoops It Up In The Garden

In an effort to broaden its presence in college basketball, Under Armour has signed its first deal with New York's Madison Square Garden to become the official partner of college hoops during regular-season games in the 'World's Most Famous Arena,' an alliance that will be supported by multi-level marketing and anchored by 'Reunion,' a planned annual double-header scheduled to begin in December that will see South Carolina play Seton Hall and Auburn take on Boston College — all four squads being part of Under Armour's partnership roster and all four having ties to The Garden or their opponent, including SC's NIT title-winning game there in 2006 and a 1974 victory over Seton Hall in the venue, Seton Hall's regular presence as a member of the Big East Conference and Auburn head coach Bruce Pearl's history at BC, his alma mater and site of his first hoops job as an assistant coach. MORE

 

Last Dance: Sports Authority Going, Going, Gone

Auto Racing Tops $5.5B In Global Sponsor Spend

A-B, Gatorade Power $118M Endurance Sports Market

The Fast And The Furious Back In First Gear

Reebok: Live Your 25,915 Days To The Max

With Help From Elvis, Ali Honored In U.K. Exhibit

 

Q&As

Q&A: B-Dubs Serves UFC, eSports, Big Papi To Customers

Buffalo Wild Wings has been the 'official hangout of March Madness' since 2013, but more recently the casual-serve sports-themed restaurant has been serving other options to its customers in more than 900 locations nationwide, including an extensive alliance with UFC leading to the milestone 200 event this July in Las Vegas, a Blazin' Wings promotion with Rob Gronkowski, signing as a marketing partner for Turner Sports' just launched E-League and a B-Dubs Alive Event in which David 'Big Papi' Ortiz of the Boston Red Sox confronted fans of the New York Yankees. But as Bob Ruhland, vp-marketing for Buffalo Wild Wings reveals in this Q&A, the challenge is not just to bring sports and athletes to people but  "to find a way to communicate the benefits of your product and do it in a way that will resonate and break through the clutter."

Mission Sees The Good, Bad, Sweaty In Sports, Marketing

In May, Mission AthleteCare gathered its roster of athlete endorsers, in this case led by Dwayne Wade, Reggie Bush and David Villa, for a multi-layered effort to support the launch of VaporActive, a line of products that uses a version of thermal technology developed by 37.5 to help keep athletes cool and dry; a perfect counterpart to ThermaCool towels and accessories designed to keep athletes cool and wet. But as Josh Shaw, CEO and founder for New York-based Mission AthleteCare reveals in this Q&A, the company's efforts to improve the physical well-being of athletes will be accomplished not only by using modern technology, but by continuing to reinforce among consumers that its brand ambassadors are also involved in the research, development and testing of its products.

Q&A: At 90, The Harlem Globetrotters Still Got Game

In 1926, Buster Keaton starred in The General, Babe Ruth hit 47 homers and had 153 RBI for the Yankees, RCA-GE-Westinghouse formed NBC and The Harlem Globetrotters, then known as the Savoy Five, were introduced to the world. Now celebrating their 90th anniversary, with a history that includes such iconic players as Meadowlark Lemon, Curly Neal, Goose Tatum, Marques Haynes and Wilt Chamberlain, they are as entertaining and innovative as ever. But as team president Howard Smith reveals in this Q&A, the challenge is to maintain the team's tradition while introducing new concepts and players and embrace the social media world to keep the Globetrotters on top of the world. 

Q&A: How UFC Marketing Is Moving Beyond The Octagon

The Ultimate Fighting Championship was formed in 1993 as a pro MMA group and acquired in 2001 by Frank Fertitta III, his brother Lorenzo Fertitta and Dana White for $2M, which under the corporate auspices of Zuffa LLC now produces more than 40 live events, runs UFC GYM and is broadcast in more than 129 countries, a growth aided over the past year by the presence of such fighters as Ronda Rousey, Holly Holm, Conor McGregor and Chris Weidman. But as Garry Cook, former executive with Nike and Manchester City and since 2014 the UFC's chief global brand officer, reveals in this Q&A, the challenge of growing the UFC among core fans while attracting casual and non-endemic fans and marketing partners — the latter of which currently includes Reebok, Anheuser-Busch, Topps and EA Sports — means being authentic, building an interactive and vibrant platform that addresses domestic and global needs and keeping fighters up-close and personal.

At Special Olympics, Breaking Barriers A Game-Changer

The Special Olympics began more than five decades ago under the leadership of Eunice Kennedy Shriver to help level the playing field for people with intellectual disabilities, and in 2016 the movement to break down barriers is still going strong. But as Kirsten Suto Seckler, CMO for Special Olympics, reveals in this Q&A, even after successfully staging the World Games Los Angeles last summer — with athletes, coaches, supporters and fans from around the world — and helping to raise the visibility for the city in its quest to host the 2024 Summer Olympics, the people who work for Special Olympics worldwide and the athletes and people who are impacted by it still face tremendous challenges and hurdles in trying to build the momentum to secure inclusion, respect and value for all.

Let Me Be Brave In The Attempt: Special Olympics Named Grand Sports Marketer Of The Year

The Special Olympics World Games Los Angeles this past summer successfully hosted 7,000 athletes and 3,000 coaches representing 177 countries, 30,000 volunteers and an estimated 500,000 spectators — organizers definied it as the "single biggest event in L.A. since the 1984 Olympics" — with such partners as AEG, Bank of America, Coca-Cola, ESPN, Mattel, Microsoft, the NFL, P&G, Toyota, Toys R Us, Kate Capshaw & Steven Spielberg, Walt Disney and WWE, all of which played a significant role in the U.S. Olympic Committee's decision to select Los Angeles as the city to bid for the 2024 Summer Games. It was, of course, all about the athletes, who came from around the world to compete in 25 sports. For these and other reasons, Special Olympics has been voted as the GRAND SPORTS MARKETER OF THE YEAR for its work at the World Games and the year-round, on-going dedication of its people to support what ESPN called "the most extraordinary sports stories and athletes you will ever see." FULL STORY HERE