Hendrick Motorsports announced moments ago that Budweiser will not in fact be the primary sponsor of Dale Earnhardt Jr. While it's a really bad thing for Budweiser--any other driver they get won't be as big as Dale Jr,--I think in the end, it's better for Dale Jr. It's just another signal of a fresh start. New team, new logo and I'd advise him and Hendrick to give him a new number as well.
Just because I've labeled Freddy Adu as an absolute failure, people think I'm a soccer hater. Let's get this out of the way. I'm not by any means a huge soccer fan, but I don't hate the sport. That being said, because the sport can't be called a true major league here in America, the media gets the impression that a league like the MLS in need of a savior. That's going to be David Beckham's downfall. David Beckham is going to be better than the average MLS player. But he's not going to be good enough to regularly appear in the highlight reels.
With Kevin Durant set to sign a shoe deal in the next couple days, Bodog.com has posted odds on what company will sign the Sonics draft pick. Nike, which is believed to have the lower offer of the two but more of Durant's heart, is the favorite. Which company will sign Kevin Durant to a shoe endorsement contract?
After a long wait, it's expected that Kevin Durant will sign with either Nike or adidas in the next couple of days and that the wait is only being delayed by certain language that is being reviewed. The total value of the deal is expected to exceed $40 million, the second largest deal ever signed by an NBA rookie.
As Barry Bonds heads into the All- Star Break with 751 home runs, five shy of the all-time record, I have to admit I'm looking at the calendar and laughing. It's interesting to imagine what would happen if Bonds hit his grand shot in either Milwaukee (July 20 to July 22) or in San Francisco at home against Atlanta (July 23 through July 26).
I never believed it when it came out, the story about how Dale Earnhardt Jr’s leaving of Dale Earnhardt Inc. actually led to a bump in No. 8 Budweiser merchandise sales. I knew that when the truth emerged, we’d find out that No. 8 Dale stuff was getting hammered as fans started to believe that his number and sponsor might change. Well, we now have that answer.
I never, ever thought I would write that headline. But I just did. The University of Michigan has signed an eight-year deal, worth a $7.5 million a year with the three stripers. Nike bowing out of the game is either an indication that Nike doesn’t think Michigan is what it once was--although football has had three 10+ win seasons in five years, the basketball team hasn’t made it to the title game in 14 years and hasn’t even made the NCAA Tournament in nine years. Or
Venus Williams might have won more than $1.3 million for winning Wimbledon on Saturday, but she'll pick up an additional check from the folks at Reebok. The company signed Williams to the largest endorsement contract in women's sports history in December 2000, but due to the on again, off again nature of her play the company chose not to renew Williams after the three-year deal expired. But she still gets paid to wear the Reebok brand even though she's not technically pitched on the company's roster of athletes.
This week, Pepsi is expected to give way to Coke as the official beverage of most of NASCAR’s tracks and speculation is that Pepsi will be putting some of the money they would have used for the tracks, to getting its Mountain Dew brand on Dale Earnhardt Jr's, racing car hood next year. If that trade-off really happens, it’s a cinch for Pepsi and a dumb move for Coke. The bottom line is people aren’t fans of tracks or fans of the organization itself (NASCAR).
I'm here in Paris on vacation, but on my way to dinner with my girlfriend Cortney, I couldn't help but notice the rock star reception outside of the Park Hyatt Vendrome in Paris. There were police barricades and people screaming and taking photographs as we walked by at 8 p.m. local time tonight. Just as we walked by a bus pulled away with the important people inside.
Tomorrow, the NBC Universal Family brings us Live Earth--with a three hour primetime special on NBC, plus 18 hours of coverage of Bravo and seven hours on our very own CNBC. Plus coverage on all sorts of other channels in the family--including Telemundo, Mun2, Universal HD, and the Sundance Channel. A sign of the power of the Live Earth message, NBC has attracted some top-notch (huge and influential) advertisers--General Motors, Apple, and American Express.
With Roger Federer on the cusp of his record-tying fifth straight Wimbledon, Nike is for the first time putting him in a television advertisement. It's not a sales pitch, rather it's a message from Nike's biggest endorser Tiger Woods. In what could be billed as Roger Federer's version of the famous "Hello World" spot that launched Tiger's relationship with the brand in 1996, this commercial includes previously unseen footage and images from Federer's childhood and takes the viewer up to Federer's rise to the top with Woods narrating.
He's the man behind the brand with a face and name as famous as his red carpet clients. French-born Frederic Fekkai built an American empire of hair salons. Now after 18 years in the salon business, Fekkai wants to take his name brand into the global luxury market. "We think that in the next 2 years we will have 20 salons open," Frederic told me at his new Soho Salon on West Broadway in Manhattan.
As far as the WWE is concerned, Chris Benoit never existed. That's because they've taken the wrestler who killed his wife and son before killing himself off their Web site. A page that used to be his bio reverts to the current front page of the Web site, as does every major article written on his successes. Strangely, out of all the clicking I did Sunday night, the WWE still has its Benoit tribute piece up on the site. They've also pulled all the Benoit merchandise off the site. When you search for Chris Benoit on WWEShop.com, it comes up discontinued.
A day later I'm handing out my awards from the 2007 NBA Draft. Let's get right to it. Biggest Marketing Loser: Yi Jianlian to Milwaukee. Right behind Greg Oden and Kevin Durant this guy qualified as the third most marketable guy in the draft because of the size of the market in China. Throw that out the door now. Milwaukee is pretty much the absolute worst city he could be in since there's nothing close to a Chinese market in Milwaukee.
Let's just say there was probably some champagne passed around in the Silna family yesterday. That's because the Silna brothers, Ozzie and Dan, learned that they'll be paid some $ 136 million over the next eight years. The checks will be coming from the Denver Nuggets, the San Antonio Spurs, the New Jersey Nets and the Indiana Pacers.
Yankees fans are pretty angry at their wasted $40 million investment on pitcher Carl Pavano. But think about this. Without Pavano, many of us would have never heard of Gia Allemand. The two were engaged but broke up in March. With those Maxim photos out this month--she first appeared as a “Hometown Hottie” in Maxim while she was with Pavano--our friend Gia should know she should probably be charging a little more for those autographs on her official Web site. A 24-by-36 poster of her is $9.95. An autographed one? Just five dollars more ($14.95). Now that's a bargain, folks.
It has been a week since I questioned whether Vince McMahon’s fake death could lead to shareholder lawsuits since McMahon is so material to the organization’s business. Last Tuesday, the WWE said they had not received any calls from those holding WWE stock and then promptly named me a suspect in the death of “Mr. McMahon,” who they said was the character played by Vince McMahon. Well, this morning I walked into the office and received this statement in my e-mail box from the WWE...
Here’s the number one question I always get: Who’s the best endorser in sports? And the right answer is, there isn’t one. What people have to remember is that endorsements are a partnership and if the product doesn’t make sense with the athlete, then it doesn’t work. There’s also an economic threshold to endorsements that is never talked about. Athletes can affect purchasing decision, but only to a certain extent.
Well folks, I’ve never thought I’d utter this phrase: I am a murder suspect. But, truth be told, I apparently am. This according to World Wrestling Entertainment, who gave me this statement when I called them yesterday to answer whether they were irresponsible in issuing a news release that “Mr. McMahon” was “presumed dead” after his limo was blown up last Monday. Here’s what they sent me: