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The Elliptical For The Rich, Tai Chi For The Poor

*         Every year, the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association releases its state of sports participation in America study. The 64-page document is filled with interesting tidbits that will make you smarter at the office water cooler.

*         Of all the fitness machines, the elliptical motion trainer has the highest percentage of participants whose annual household income exceeds $100,000 a year. Forty percent of those who use the elliptical make over $100,000.

Internal Watchdog Criticizes ESPN for Ethical Missteps on LeBron James Coverage

*         ESPN’s internal journalism watchdog sharply criticized the cable-sports network for what he said were ethical missteps in its recent broadcast of a TV program devoted to basketball star LeBron James.

*         The Walt Disney Co. network two weeks ago aired a one-hour special about James, who used the program to announce that he signed with a new team, the Miami Heat. In an unusual arrangement, James’s sports-marketing company suggested the program to ESPN and brokered an arrangement whereby the show’s advertisers donated money to the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, a charity James supports.

EA Sports Campaign Taps Football Stars, Fans

To launch the 11th iteration of its NCAA Football game, EA Sports is taking both a national and regional approach with its advertising campaign. A national television commercial features fans and football luminaries (such as Ronnie Lott, Tim Tebow, John Elway and Desmond Howard) talking about their college football fanaticism by completing the phrase “Where I come from …” with a team-specific comment.

Chris ‘Beanie’ Wells signs endorsement deal with Blimpie

Sandwich maker Blimpie has signed Arizona Cardinals player Chris “Beanie” Wells to an endorsement deal. The Arizona Cardinals running back will be a spokesperson for the company.  Its rival Subway has relied heavily on sports figures in the past for its advertisements, including Michael Phelps, Michael Strahan and CC Sabathia. Blimpie has very infrequently used athletes as spokespersons but did star Nascar driver Jeff Gordon in Blimpie marketing in 2005. Wells is its first ambassador from the National Football League (NFL).

Going to Bat for America’s Youth

Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association are joining First Lady Michelle Obama in her “Let’s Move!” effort to prevent childhood obesity. Obama today introduced a new public service campaign featuring players from 30 MLB teams to encourage families to make healthy nutritional and physical activity choices.

World Cup boosts supermarket promotions

Market growth reached 4.4% and more than a third (34.5%) of goods were sold on promotion as the major supermarkets offered aggressive promotions to take advantage of World Cup celebrations and warm weather.

Minnesota Vikings hit the jackpot with lotto deal

The Minnesota Vikings have become the latest NFL team to strike a deal with a local lottery provider after signing with the Minnesota State Lottery.

IMG takes golf to the skies

*         IMG has announced the launch of HSBC Golfing World, an exciting golf television programming concept, customised specifically for the Inflight market.

*         HSBC Golfing World will take the best and most compelling material from the existing Golfing World show (a comprehensive hour-long golf magazine show that mixes the latest news, interviews, lifestyle features and tournament updates, and is currently aired in over 30 countries, five days per week) and make it available in a monthly version to passengers on many of the world’s top airlines. The dedicated 30 minute per month version of HSBC Golfing World will air on British Airways, Emirates, Cathay Pacific and Singapore Airlines amongst others from August 2010.

Dogleg Right: The Strategy Behind KitchenAid’s New Golf Ties

In May, Whirlpool Corp. and the PGA of America agreed to a four-year deal that names the appliance giant’s premium KitchenAid brand as presenting sponsor of the Senior PGA Championship and official home appliance of the golf organization. In addition to aligning with new marketing goals for the KitchenAid unit, the sponsorship also furthers a corporate objective to support its headquarters community.

Coke’s World Cup Song Is a Marketing Winner

*         Music industry executives have been making an unusual pilgrimage to Coca-Cola’s (KO) Atlanta headquarters, a telling measure of the company’s successful World Cup soccer marketing blitz. They want to learn how Coke turned a song called Wavin’ Flag by a little-known Somali-Canadian hip-hop artist into a World Cup anthem and No. 1 iTunes hit in 17 countries in less than a year. “They are getting on planes from New York, from U.K., from Los Angeles,” says Joe Belliotti, Coke’s director of global entertainment. “Word of mouth is a great thing in the music industry.”

*         Initially, Coke had hoped only to create a World Cup song good enough to entice stadiums full of soccer fans to sing along. To get there, it forged an unusual partnership with singer-songwriter K’naan and his label, A&M/Octone Records, that has ended up changing the way Coke works with entertainment companies.

Colt McCoy signs endorsement deal with Russell Athletic

Russell Athletic has signed a deal with former University of Texas and current National Football League (NFL) Cleveland Browns quarterback Colt McCoy to represent the company’s brands, including Spalding, BIKE and Russell Outdoors. McCoy will also work with Russell Athletic in continuous research and development of products across the family of brands.

Air Guard signs five-race contract with Nascar

The Air Guard, which received a one percent awareness rate across the US, is sponsoring the new number 26 car, owned by Bill Jenkins. In addition, the Air Guard will be at schools and different events in the area leading up to the race, in an effort to promote its name and image.

HR Derby loses some of its pop

*         Some of MLB’s largest corporate sponsorship deals are up after this season, which should make for an interesting winter for MLB sales and marketing officials.

*         Among those deals due to expire are MasterCard, a league sponsor since 1998 and a company that began its now iconic “Priceless” ad campaign with a general baseball ad; Anheuser-Busch, MLB’s oldest true corporate sponsor at 30 years; Chevrolet, a five-year sponsor; and Bank of America, in place since 2004.

Minor-League Baseball Creates One-Stop Digital-Ad-Buying Platform

If a marketer wanted to run an ad to cover all 160 teams that make up the various leagues, ad buyers once needed to have 160 different conversations — a daunting and unpleasant task to reach the 60 million visitors to Minor League Baseball during its six-month season last year. But a new digital-buying platform rolled out this season has centralized the process so marketers need only have one contact with a league rep to run an ad across nearly the entire network of sites, potentially opening it up to more business from national advertisers. Marketers such as Kraft and PepsicCo’s Frito Corn Chips have already signed on to the system created by Minor League Baseball, which partnered with Major League Baseball Advanced Media. Some 148 teams are currently taking part.

The Dow Chemical Company Becomes Worldwide Olympic Partner

The Dow Chemical Company chairman and CEO Andrew Liveris announced today that the company has become an official Worldwide Olympic Partner as part of The Olympic Partners Program (TOP). As the official “Chemistry Company” of the Olympic Movement, Dow will partner with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and National Olympic Committees around the world through 2020.

OUT! Pet Care Targets New Market By Sponsoring NASCAR Car

OUT! Pet Care is pleased to announce its strategic sponsorship of Trevor Bayne’s No. 99 Toyota Camry. OUT! Pet Care recognized the opportunity to reach out to NASCAR fans where previously only pet food companies have represented from the pet industry. This sponsorship marks the beginning of an aggressive national brand awareness campaign targeting new and unique markets, including the 48 million pet-owning NASCAR fans.

Tiger’s Sponsors Need Woods To Win Now

No matter how far Tiger fell, true marketing insiders continued to tell me that he’d be able to make some sort of marketing comeback as long as he started winning.

TVG sponsorship will keep Del Mar race purse at $1M

The Del Mar Thoroughbred Club has signed a sponsorship deal with horse racing channel TVG that will allow the Southern California meet to keep the purse for its premier race, the Pacific Classic, at $1 million.

Blackhawks’ Cup provides nice boost for league’s licensees

The Chicago Blackhawks’ first Stanley Cup championship in 49 years boosted many licensees to new heights, and the extent of the demand allowed even hard-good licensees to share in the riches of a championship market, normally reserved for apparel licensees selling championship T-shirts and caps.

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