Special To NYSportsJournalism.com
June 2, 2014: California Chrome, the horse that has won the first two legs of the 2014 Triple Crown, will be wearing Skechers this weekend as it attempts to become the the first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed earned the title 36 years ago.
Skechers has signed on as a marketing partner with California Chrome owners Perry Martin and Steve Coburn. Financial terms were not disclosed.
The Belmont Stakes will be run on June 7 and air on NBC. If California Chrome wins, it would be the 12th Triple Crown winner in the sport's history and first since 1978.
TV viewership could top 15 million, based on past numbers of races in which horses had the opportunity to win a Triple Crown.
Belmont Stakes marketing partners include Longines, Coca-Cola, Yellow Tail, Coors Light and Perrier.
Under terms of the deal, Skechers branding will be included on trainer and owner team jackets, caps and apparel; as well as California Chrome’s horse blanket, gear, barn and related promotional events.
Skechers has access to California Chrome's image for about a month after the race whether or not it wins, but did not indicate in what manner.
“Skechers is a California brand, so sponsoring this horse with his uniquely California story makes perfect sense to us," Robert Greenberg, chairman and CEO for Manhattan Beach, Calif.-based Skechers, said in a statement. "We’re proud to associate Skechers with the best Triple Crown contender in several generations.”
The brand recently signed Joe Namath and Pete Rose to endorsement deals, and also includes on its roster Meb Keflezighi, Joe Montana and Mark Cuban.
Skechers had a race-related spot that broke during Super Bowl XLVI in 2012, but focused on greyhound racing and a French bulldog named Mr. Quiggly.
According to Greenberg, “As a true representative of his home state, California Chrome has already captured the hearts of America and inspired people around the world so we’re excited for the opportunity to bring Skechers' synergy to his amazing journey.”
California Chrome artist's rendition courtesy Skechers
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