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NEWS REAL

• The Professional Fighters League has formed a partnership with Mike Tyson, with the first initiative "Mike Tyson's New Fight Game: The PFL." Tyson will provide “fighter perspective, inside analysis, and irreverent discussion never before experienced in combat sports. The series debuts tonight (Oct. 10 10 PM ET) on PFL and Tyson digital and social platforms, including YouTube, Instagram and Facebook.

• Two-time Grand Slam winner Naomi Osaka, currently ranked No. 3 in the world, said she would represent Japan, where she holds a citizenship, in the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics.

• NBC Sports Regional Networks has signed a partnership with Religion of Sports — the media company founded by Tom Brady, Michael Strahan and Gotham Chopra — to develop and produce "Head Strong: Mental Health and Sports," a “comprehensive multi-platform content initiative on mental health as well as men’s health issues.” The joint project will launch in November.

• Per NFL Media: Consumption figures through Week 5: More than 142 million people have watched NFL games. Viewership is up 6%. The entire list of Top 20 TV shows this season are NFL games.

The Top Three games to date all involve the Dallas Cowboys: Green Bay Packers vs. Dallas Cowboys (Fox, Oct 6) 24.6M; New York Giants vs. Dallas Cowboys (Fox, Sept. 8) 24.3M; Dallas Cowboys vs. New Orleans Saints (NBC, Sept. 29) 24.2M.

• PGA Tour Champions and Ascension signed a four-year partnership to host a new pro golf tournament in St. Louis. The Ascension Charity Classic will debut Sept. 28-Oct. 4, 2020 at Norwood Hills Country Club in North County. It will be the first time the PGA Tour has hosted an annual event in the St. Louis region since 2001.

• Zenni Optical, based in San Francisco, whose alliances include being an official partner with the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers and the NBA’s Chicago Bulls, has expanded its role with the Bulls, which features a five-year deal as the team’s jersey patch logo partner.

Zenni has unveiled its Off-Court Style collection, supported by Bulls members and brand ambassadors including Zach LaVine, Robin Lopez and Wendell Carter Jr. being outfitted with their “favorite Zenni frames and matching them with their off-court style to give fans an exclusive look at what they wear when they aren’t in uniform.

• Halloween this year is Oct. 31, and retailers, marketers and consumers are ready for another season of trick-or-treat. Total spend on Halloween 2019 is expected to reach $8.8 billion according to the National Retail Federation, Washington, DC. Full story here. 

• The Paley Center for Media, NY, will honor the 100th season of the NFL with a new exhibit: "A Century of Football: Celebrating the NFL’s 100th Season," free and open to the public (thru Oct. 27).

POLL POSITION

Best Chance To Win 2019-20 Stanley Cup Based On Player Voting Via NHL.com

  • Tampa Bay Lightning 45%
  • St. Louis Blues 11%
  • Dallas Stars 10%
  • San Jose Sharks 7%
  • Boston Bruins 4%
  • Colorado Avalanche 4%
  • Washington Capitals 4%
  • Nashville Predators  4%
  • New Jersey Devils  2%
  • Philadelphia Flyers 2%
  • Toronto Maple Leafs 2%
  • Vegas Golden Knights 2%
KEEPING SCORE

Most Popular NBA Player Jerseys (based on eBay sales October 2018-October 2019)
1. LeBron James Los Angeles Lakers
2. Stephen Curry Golden State Warriors
3. Kyrie Irving Brooklyn Nets
4. Giannis Antetokounmpo Milwaukee Bucks
5. Kevin Durant Brooklyn Nets
6. Dwyane Wade Miami Heat (retired)
7. Kawhi Leonard Los Angeles Clippers
8. Zion Williamson New Orleans Pelicans
9. Carmelo Anthony (most recently with Houston Rockets)
10. Russell Westbrook Houston Rockets

Most Popular Player Merchandise (based on eBay sales October 2018-October 2019)
1. LeBron James Los Angeles Lakers
2. Stephen Curry Golden State Warriors
3. Kevin Durant Brooklyn Nets
4. Kyrie Irving Brooklyn Nets
5. Giannis Antetokounmpo Milwaukee Bucks
6. Paul George Los Angeles Clippers
7. James Harden Houston Rockets
8. Dwyane Wade Miami Heat (retired)
9. Kawhi Leonard Los Angeles Clippers
10. Russell Westbrook Houston Rockets
SOURCE: STUBHUB.COM

BUY SELL

Weekend Box Office Oct. 11-13
1. Joker $55M
2. Addams Family $30.3M
3. Gemini Man $20.5M
4. Abominable $6.2M
5. Downton Abbey $4.9M
6. Hustlers $3.9M
7. Judy $3.3M
8. It 2 $3.2M
9. Jexi $3.1M
10. Ad Astra $1.9M
BoxOfficeMojo.com

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BodyArmor Into NCAA
No. 1 Colleges Since '92
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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
Channel Chasers

NFL UK 2019
• Oct. 6 Chicago Bears v Oakland Raiders Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
• Oct. 13 Carolina Panthers v Tampa Bay Buccaneers Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
• Oct. 27  Cincinnati Bengals v Los Angeles Rams Wembley Stadium
• Nov. 3 Houston Texans v Jacksonville Jaguars Wembley Stadium

NFL Mexico 2019
• Nov. 18 Kansas City  Chiefs v Los Angeles Chargers Mexico City Estadio Azteca (ESPN Monday Night Football).

Entries in Q&A (1)

Sunday
Nov262017

Q&A: Dale Earnhardt Jr. Goes Mountain (Dew) Climbing Into Nascar Retirement

By Barry Janoff

November 25, 2017: When Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished his career as a full-time Nascar driver in the Ford EcoBoost 400 in Homestead-Miami Speedway on Nov. 19, he did not race off into the proverbial sunset.

On Nov. 28, as part of Nascar Championship Week in Las Vegas (Nov. 28-30), he will host the Nationwide Appreci88ion Evening, which will include fans from Dale Jr. Nation and benefit Nationwide Children’s Hospital.

Next season, he will be in the broadcast booth during NBC’s coverage of the Monster Energy and Xfinity Series races, except for the two Xfinity Series competitions in which he plans to compete.

He will have numerous other race appearances in large part as co-owner for JR Motorsports, which has a team that competes in the Xfinity Series.

As part of his deal with the media company, NBCUniversal said Earnhardt Jr. would have access to “a wide range of opportunities in the company’s media businesses,” including movies, TV and podcasts.

NBC is also partnering with Earnhardt on his Dirty Mo Radio and Hammerhead Entertainment platforms.

Dale Jr. earns close to $10 million annually from endorsements, according to industry analysts, and will continue to appear in national marketing.

His sponsors include Anheuser-Busch (Budweiser), Axalta, Breyers, Chevrolet, Goody’s, Goodyear, Hellmann’s, Mountain Dew, Nationwide, Suave, Valvoline and Wranger.

Among brands that aired retirement tributes were Budweiser, Nationwide, Wrangler and Chevrolet.

But the retirement campaign from Mountain Dew is unique in that it sees Dale Jr. taking a playful look not only at his retirement but his post-racing career.

Dew’s roster of athletes also include driver Chase Elliott; NBA players Russell Westbrook and Kyrie Irving; snowboarders Danny Davis, Julia Marino and Red Gerard; Gerald Swindle (fishing); and skateboarders Theotis Beasley, Sean Malto, Curren Caples, Nick Tucker and Jordan Maxham.

And Dewey Ryder.

NYSportsJournalism spoke with Justin Faiber, Sr. Manager Sports Marketing Pepsi, responsible for overseeing all North American Action Sports and Motorsports programs and executions for Mountain Dew, about the brand’s irreverent and often flippant marketing attitude, its impact in action and racing sports and its on-going decade-long alliance with Earnhardt Jr.

NYSportsJournalism.com: Mountain Dew has been associated with Dale Earnhardt Jr. since 2008. Is what you see with him what you get, whether the camera is on or off?

Justin Faiber: Dale is an authentic person. On the track. Off the track. That is part of the reason we’ve had such a strong relationship with him for the past decade. He is that way with his fans and with that way with people around him.

NYSJ: It seems that working with BBDO New York, you have captured his real personality in the creative that has previously appeared and in the new campaign with Dewey Ryder. Has that helped the Mountain Dew brand?

JF: It has. People want to know that athletes like Dale are authentic, They want to know that he’s not just selling a product but really speaking honestly to people. We want that to come across in marketing and we believe it has all these years and with the new campaign. That’s the way he wants it. He doesn’t want to do something that is force-fit. For us, that is the Dew Brand, and for him that is the Dale Brand. It can’t come across as being irrelevant or out of place. That said, he also is a funny and fun person. He loves to get into the situations we’ve put him in over the years.

NYSJ: Did it take any convincing for him to go along with the Dewey Ryder campaign, which talks about his retirement and that he is being replaced by someone who obviously is not right for the job?

JF: With the Dewey Ryder campaign, it turned out really well. He had dinner with Danny (McBride, the actor/comedian who plays Dewey) prior to us going ahead with the project. They totally hit it off. So when we told him that the project had been green-lit, there was already a history there. It wasn’t forced. They seemed to have a mutual respect for one another. When Danny did the shoots, he really was Dewey Rider. In speaking with Dale after (filming the commercials), I asked him how he was able to keep it all together and not start laughing at some of Danny’s lines and some of his improvs. Because when we were watching, none of us could keep a straight face. Dale simply said, ‘I knew this would be special. I knew I couldn’t mess it up by laughing or breaking my character.’

Editor's Note: We take a break from this interview for a Mountain Dew interview with Dale Jr. and ESPN's Kenny Mayne:

Kenny Mayne: Do you know this Hee-Haw?
Dale Jr.: Something Dewey?

KM: He’s your replacement? He’s driving your car?
Dale Jr.: I don’t think so.

KM: Did you get to pick your replacement?
Dale: Obviously not. I don’t know where he came from, to be honest with you.

KM: Do you think Dale likes you?
Dewey Ryder: Like has a lot of meanings.

And now back to our Q&A already in progress.

NYSJ: Is Dale that good an actor that he didn’t break character so that scenes would have to be filmed over and over? There are no outtakes of him laughing at the wrong moments?

JF: There are very few outtakes. Dale stayed in character the whole time. The way that (director) David Gordon Green shot this, it wasn’t like a traditional commercial where you shoot a scene, cut, shoot another scene. It was more of a linear shoot, where they would film continuously for three or four minutes with no break. So Danny got to do some improv and just riff. Follow the script, but loosely. Then when David said, ‘Cut,’ they would all laugh out loud.

NYSJ: How did the spot with ESPN’s Kenny Mayne come about?

JF: That was really cool. We had the opportunity come to us to work with Kenny and we wanted to take advantage of it. He had like 20 minutes to shoot it, given the production schedule. That whole spot was shot in one take. A very short rehearsal. No retakes. So a lot of kudos to Danny, Dale and Kenny. We wanted it to work out well. It worked out awesome.

NYSJ: Did this concept trace all the way back to April when Dale announced that he would be retiring, or did Dale propose the concept at some point later on?

JF: It didn’t come through a discussion with Dale, but ultimately he and his team approved it. It came internally from the Dew Brand people, to celebrate Dale’s retirement and his career in a way that only Dew could. To honor his retirement in a very Mountain Dew way.

NYSJ: In the planning stages, how did you see Dew's Dale Jr.'s retirement spot being different from others?

JF: We've all seen amazing retirement spots. Derek Jeter. Peyton Manning. Jeff Gordon. Tear-jerkers, amazing retirement spots with all the emotional feel. We wanted to do Dale's with a Mountain Dew feel — with laughter. We are a brand that pushes boundaries and has a great time doing it. A wink-of-the-eye spirit. That was the foundation of the concept that we brought to Dale and his team. And they responded, ‘Yes! When is it happening!’ They knew it would be different from what (his other sponsors) would do. They were all in. The passion and excitement for the campaign from the Dew team and from Dale’s people was really tremendous.

NYSJ: Where will the concept go from here?

JF: What I can tell you is that we will continue to work with Dale and Danny around the Dewey character, and it will extend into next year. As far as the creative and the next chapters, I have to keep that close to the vest. But there will be more. He will be part of Dew Nation.

"He doesn’t want to do something that is force-fit. For us, that is the Dew Brand, and for him that is the Dale Brand."

NYSJ: Dewey wants to drive a car in a race? Would that happen?

JF: (Laughs.) He has not shown up at a race yet.

NYSJ: You mentioned Peyton Manning, who has stayed in the public eye after his retirement with commercials and other endeavors. Do you see Dale taking a similar route?

JF: Peyton has done a fantastic job parleying his comedic side into new projects after his retirement. Dale is Dale. Dale is positioning himself to remain relevant in the sport, in business and in marketing as much as he wants to. He will be doing broadcasting  for NBC (NBC broadcasts the second half of the Monster Energy Nascar Cup Series and Nascar Xfinity Series). He is a team owner. He has the opportunity to do what he wants.

NYSJ: What might Mountain Dew’s involvement be with the 2018 Winter Olympics?

JF: We have a roster of snowboarders, including Danny Davis, Julia Moreno (pictured) and Red Gerard. Whatever they are doing in trying to make the U.S. Olympic team is not part of what we do as far as marketing because we are not official with the USOC. So there are (marketing) rules we have to follow. But they are in the hunt and we will support our athletes. It would be cool if they made the team.

NYSJ: What are you looking at in 2018?

JF: From a racing aspect, we will continue to have a relationship with Hendricks Motor Sports and with Chase Elliott, who has been on our roster since he was a rookie. We’re really excited about Chase and how he will continue to evolve and have even more of an impact on the sport. And we’re excited to have Chase as one of our athletes and drivers. It is amazing when you look at the PepsiCo lineage of Nascar drivers, from Darrell Waltrip to Jeff Gordon to Dale Jr. and now to Chase Elliott. We are pretty excited about this chapter with Chase.

On the Dew Tour, we have a big event in Breckenridge (Colo.) in December (14-17) with top snowboard and ski competitors, music, art, that gets a lot of attention. On the Dew Tour skate side, during the summer of 2018, we have an event in Long Beach (Calif.) we are really excited about. We are pushing the boundaries there on how we intersect music, culture and skating and all the other elements we can bring to life. There are very little restrictions from the governing body. It’s about creating the event, creating the engagement with the skate community, as well as outside of the skate community. The Long Beach community has really helped to bring Mountain Dew’s DNA to life, which is exciting.

NYSJ: And of course you have that budding star, Dewey Ryder.

JF:  (Laughs.) Yes. There is also more to come with Dewey Ryder.

NBC, Nascar, Earnhardt Jr. All Revved Up With Someplace To Go

Mountain Dew, Dale Jr. Take People For A VR Ride

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