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With the start of the U.S. Open today, I am hereby declaring it National Ana Ivanovic day. I'm sure the government won't sanction it because she's not an American citizen, but so what? The fifth-ranked tennis beauty is playing Aiko Nakamura today in Louis Armstrong Stadium. All day on CNBC, you'll see the awesome story of Ivanovic, who could be the next force in the sports marketing world if she wins the final grand slam of the year.
On the day that Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick pled guilty to charges related to dogfighting, Nike announced on Friday night that it has ended its relationship with its former endorser.
I'm going to be very professional here. I promise. Ana Ivanovic, the 19-year-old from Serbia, is the most beautiful athlete in the world. I know it's all subjective. It's just my opinion. But I have a feeling others, when they have a chance to see her--either in photos or in person will agree.
It doesn’t take much skill to discover who’s now. It’s a little bit better to call who’s next. So I’m doing it right now. Ana Ivanovic is the next Maria Sharapova. And the only thing Maria can do about it is make sure that she has a better record on the court than Ivanovic. Because the marketing momentum of this 19-year-old Serbian seems to be unstoppable.
Today, tennis star Venus Williams will announce that she is signing an endorsement deal with Steve & Barry's, the retailer that has made plenty of waves with its Starbury shoe, which it sells for $14.98. The deal from the very start is already the most expansive merchandise deal in the history of tennis. I sat down with Howard Schacter, Steve & Barry's chief partnerships officer, to talk about the line that will be called Eleven by Venus Williams and will launch in November.
Next week, Michael Vick will plead guilty for his connection with crimes related to dogfighting. It’s not known how long he’ll go to jail for or what the NFL will do, but I will say this, how bad of a hit the Atlanta Falcons take financially will totally be dependent on how well they can do on the field over the next 3 to 5 seasons.
With a grand jury scheduled to meet Monday and Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick reportedly exploring plea options on his dogfighting charges, we're making this blog today an all All-Vick Edition: What will be Vick's legacy when all of this is over? Vick's Wikipedia entry currently has 4,570 words on his playing career (including high school, college and the NFL) and 3,030 words on his dogfighting charges.
From the first day I heard that Dale Earnhardt Jr. was negotiating to get his No. 8 back from his mother and DEI, I wondered why. I know he has been connected with that for a long time, but this was part of a change -- not only a new team, but a new sponsor and likely, along with that, a new color.
We sure got a lot of mail from people who were fine with walking Tiger's course after I wrote yesterday that a no-cart course was a stupid business decision. I guess you guys didn't. More than 80 percent of you said that you liked it.
Yesterday, Tiger Woods announced that he will develop his first U.S. golf course -- he's currently building one in Dubai -- at the Cliffs at High Carolina. It's in the Blue Ridge Mountains near Asheville, N.C., and I'm sure it's going to be beautiful.
Memorabilia producer and trading card maker Upper Deck has signed Boston Red Sox pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka to an exclusive memorabilia and autograph deal. Sources tell CNBC it's a one-year deal.
Believe me, I think by suspending Michael Vick and suspending the release of his shoe, Nike has done enough to disassociate itself with Michael Vick. But if they wanted to terminate him, they can do so without any financial penalty. That's right, sources are telling me now that Nike has a clause in the contract that says that if Vick is indicted, Nike can terminate him unilaterally.
As many of you know Electronic Arts' "Madden 08" came out last night. You can find the reviews everywhere else. But I'm here to review only one thing: The rings you can get in the game. They are unbelievable. These things are going to be the most surprising success of this franchise.
I must say that when I write about soccer, my e-mail box always fills up. There might not be a ton of soccer fans in the U.S., but after WWE fans, they're the most vocal, passionate fans I've ever seen. So yesterday, I did my part to bash Beckham, saying that he could leave the MLS worse off than before he arrived. I put up a poll and expected maybe 10 percent of readers to agree with me. After all, it's a bit early. Well, with at least 140 votes in, an amazing 27 percent of people said that they thought that the MLS is worse off because of Beckham. Here's a mixed mailbag on Beckham.
When I first heard that David Beckham was coming to play in Major League Soccer, I knew the truth. Beckham would be great for the financial success of the league for at least one year, but that soccer wouldn't be any better off. But with Beckham constantly sidelined, I actually think that MLS might actually come out in worse shape than when before Beckham started.
Imagine there is a sports star and he's absolutely obsessed with your product. Sure he has some major issues here and there, but he's a fan favorite. And he can't live a day without your product. Would you take a chance on him? How could you not? In an era where it's sometimes hard to believe that athletes really use the products they pitch, John Daly is what they call a breath of fresh air. He loves Diet Coke.
If you're watching CNBC today, you'll see my piece on the battle of shoe brands in China as the Olympics approaches. (You can also see it on CNBC.com right now or in clip below). Anyway, unfortunately there's only so much to fit in in "television time" and I had three great interviews with top executives from Nike, adidas and Li-Ning. So I thought it would only be fair if I could run the best parts of the three interviews in the blog.
Many of you are aware that Boston Red Sox pitcher Jonathan Papelbon won the worst athlete ad contest here on this blog for his work in spots for 125 Auto. In the advertisement, Papelbon is seen ordering his 2004 Hummer. Well, Papelbon must not have his deal with 125 Auto anymore. Alert reader Chris caught what looks to be Papelbon driving out of the player parking lot at Fenway Park last month in what Chris suggests is a yellow 2006 or 2007 Lamborghini Gallardo.
Matt Murphy, who caught home run ball No. 756, wasn’t the only winner on Tuesday night, so too was Kragen Auto Parts, whose rotating sign was behind home plate when Barry Bonds hit the record-breaking shot. Eric Wright of the sponsorship evaluation firm Joyce Julius & Associates told me this morning that he believes Kragen will receive in between $5 million and $6 million in equivalent advertising time for being associated with the moment...
Tiger Woods is the only athlete who will come close to earning $100 million in endorsements this year. But the actions of two of the companies he had deals with questions whether Woods is worth the price companies pay. Last week, American Express signed a deal to become the official card of the PGA of America and the USGA and in the process decided to end its deal with Woods after a 10-year relationship with the brand.