placement and visibility

May 12 [Sat], 2012, 16:53
Corporate sponsorships on apparel have become a part of the WNBA, auto racing, golf and soccer in the U.S., Kinney said, but sportswear companies are currently the only companies with branding on the "elite" leagues' personalized jerseys ."In a sense, it's already become gameday branding," Kinney said. "For example, in American sports leagues you'll see the Nike swoosh or the Adidas logo, the brands that are partners with the leagues in terms of providing the sportswear. They're already visible in most leagues."Kinney said the NBA's more aggressive stance in placing ads on uniforms means the league is looking for a revenue stream, and that it could soon become a reality."There is an intermediate step between no jersey sponsorship and full jersey sponsorship," Kinney said. "The NFL will allow their sponsors to have presence on practice custom made jerseys -- not the jerseys that are worn in the game, but the jerseys that might be worn at team practice facilities or one that might be worn at press conferences."
Kinney said he has not heard that the NFL is actively pursuing a program that would place sponsorships on game jerseys, and believes the NBA will do so before the NFL."If I was going to go out on a limb and pick a league that will do it first, I'm thinking it might be hockey," Kinney said. "And the only reason that I think customized Cincinnati Reds jerseys is because I'm thinking finance. That is the league that doesn't drive as much revenue as the other major sports."Kinney named three major variables in pricing for the jersey sponsorships, in addition to the novelty of the practice: logo/name placement and visibility, team market size and the leagues' decisions on how to sell them.Pricing strategies will vary depending on how visible sponsorships are on uniforms, and leagues will have to decide whether to assign brands to teams or allow teams to sell to companies themselves, Kinney said.When it comes to college sports, Kinney said he has not heard of any schools looking to put corporate names or logos on jerseys outside of partnering sportswear companies' insignia or bowl game patches.
"We already see bowl game logos and corporate logos... but I have not read or seen any kind of consideration that colleges are going to wholesale adopt this jersey sponsorship model," Kinney said.Kinney said teams will need to navigate their relationship with longtime fans when making changes to team uniforms, an issue that must be addressed from both marketing and public relations angles."For the diehard purists -- think of those Cubs folks, Red Sox folks and Yankees folks, really the most committed of the committed -- there will certainly be some consideration there for placing brands on there, because they buy replica jerseys and they want to wear what the team is wearing," Kinney said. "The response in the marketplace, a very high tradition-bound marketplace, is going to the most interesting thing to watch, and that may have the sports leagues on edge more than anything else."Many European soccer teams change their uniform color schemes to match new corporate partners, but companies seeking to place their branding on major American sports teams' uniforms will be wary of alienating consumers, Kinney said."Sponsors really gravitate to where the consumers are," Kinney said. "So they would rather read the consumer market and ride that than they would impose their will on the consumer market."
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