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sporting brands

NFL Backpedals as More Brands Get Dragged In to Domestic Violence Fray

Posted by Dale Buss on September 16, 2014 03:40 PM

The National Football League continues to try to power through its season of peril like a running back knocking down linebackers. But sponsors, social critics and pro football players themselves continue to make the brand's problems hard to forget. 

The latest developments following the Ray Rice scandal include a move by Radisson Hotels to suspend its sponsorship deal with the Minnesota Vikings over its decision to reinstate star running back Adrian Peterson after the team's own investigation of his indictment on child-abuse charges. A Houston TV station reported that Peterson was accused in 2013 of hitting another son, Bloomberg reported.

Other endorsement partners for the time being were standing by Peterson, who was a league MVP and had high marketability scores, according to the St. Paul Business Journal. Nike, Castrol and Wheaties were among the brands still monitoring the situation.Continue reading...

brand news

Brand News: NFL, McDonald's, Samsung and more

Posted by Dale Buss on September 11, 2014 09:36 AM


Apple hires Gap's No. 2 marketer as it needs retailers to warm up to Apple Pay and faces delay in getting new iPhone 6 to China, as Samsung releases slew of ads poking fun at Apple announcements.

NFL appoints former FBI director to investigate Rice as AP reports that league saw video in April, and Verizon defends NFL Commissioner Goodell.

McDonald's tests tablet ordering and files trademark for "McBrunch."

RadioShack rescue package is in the works.

Sony reaches deal to carry Viacom TV channels on web.


Alibaba on track to beat Facebook's blockbuster public offering for biggest IPO ever.

Audi and Chrysler are fined by pricing regulators in China, where foreign companies are increasingly feeling the heat.

Bonobos seeks to disrupt fashion retail.

Burger King launches black cheeseburger (with black cheese) in Japan, where KFC runs chicken-fried social marketing.Continue reading...

brands under fire

Nike and Other Brands Cut Ties with Ray Rice as NFL Goes on Defensive

Posted by Mark J. Miller on September 10, 2014 11:46 AM

The start of the NFL season should be a celebratory time for NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, but this year is a bit different thanks to TMZ’s timely release of a tape of former Baltimore Raven's running back Ray Rice knocking out his then-fiancée inside an elevator in a (now shuttered) Atlantic City casino.

The Ravens released Rice and the NFL suspended him indefinitely (after first only serving him a two-game suspension), but the outcry is loud over how poorly Goodell and the league handled the serious situation. In light of the most recent revelations, Rice's many endoresement deals are disappearing—including the biggest of them all, Nike. 

While Rice’s wife, Janay Palmer, expressed her support for her husband and outrage over the amount of publicity her private life has received, not too many others are offering up support for the 27-year-old.

Fans, in particular, were outraged by his actions and retailers including Modell’s, Dick’s Sporting Goods and NFL.com immediately removed Rice’s jersey from shelves, while the Ravens announced that they will allow fans to exchange Rice jerseys later this month, as brands move to quickly distance themselves from the debacle.Continue reading...

sporting brands

NFL Takes Tougher Stance on Domestic Violence with Ray Rice Suspension

Posted by Shirley Brady on September 8, 2014 05:15 PM

The NFL today issued the message that domestic violence (a growing problem) by its players will not be tolerated. But for some, it came as too little, too late.

Following a video released by TMZ showing Ray Rice of the Baltimore Ravens knocking out his now-wife in an elevator at the just-shuttered Revel hotel in Atlantic City back in February, the team this afternoon terminated the running back's multimillion-dollar contract and scrambled to restore their image at a press conference.

The move follows the NFL's two-game penalty for Rice in July, with the league defending that move today by stating it didn't have access to the damning elevator video before the TMZ leak. Now that the running back has been permanently cut by the team, chances are slim he'll be picked up by another team because NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, who released a tougher domestic violence policy two weeks ago, has suspended him "indefinitely." 

Even so, some observers feel that Goodell and the league have mishandled the Rice situation and the issue of player violence against women—a target audience for the sport, which estimates that women comprise 46 percent of US pro football fans—and others in general.Continue reading...

sports in the spotlight

Anti-Redskins Campaign Gets Louder as NFL Stays Silent on Mascot Movement

Posted by Sheila Shayon on June 13, 2014 01:58 PM

After being rebuffed by the NFL, Native American groups have taken to the airwaves to spread their message against the use of derogatory terms like "Redskins" in national sports.

During Game 3 of the NBA Finals this week, the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation aired a TV commercial in sever major markets—Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, New York, Sacramento, San Francisco and Washington—that shined a spotlight on the ongoing conflict between Native Americans and the NFL's Washington Redskins, who have repeatedly refused to change the team's mascot despite outcries from fans, government officials and players. 

Produced by the National Congress of American Indians, the group claims that the NFL refused to allow the ad to air during the season. The Oneida Indian Nation did however air several radio commercials during the season.

“It’s just a time to get people thinking about putting an end to outward hatred and using sports as a tool to focus on racism,” said Marshall McKay, chairman of the Yocha Dehe Wintun tribal council. “The R-word is as derogatory a slur as the N-word. When this name first came to be, it was a vehicle for people to bring the victims of violence into an office so they could collect a bounty.”Continue reading...

sporting brands

NFL, Riddell Accused of Stifling Helmet Safety Technology to Preserve Contract

Posted by Mark J. Miller on March 18, 2013 05:37 PM

Athletic wear companies generally figure that partnering with professional sports leagues will lead to its brand name lodging into the minds of millions of potential consumers. They likely don’t predict that their product might be linked to major, life-changing injuries. 

Riddell has been the official helmet of the National Football League for at least a quarter century and most of that time, has likely been good for the company. In recent years, however, as the NFL’s concussion problem has made itself more known outside of the league, the association might not be as positive.

The league is facing a lawsuit from more than 4,000 former players who claim they weren’t protected as well as they should have been, with part of the battle centering around helmets that may have offered better protection, but were stifled by the league, Bloomberg reports.Continue reading...

sports in the spotlight

NFL Brand Tarnished as League, Referees Return to Negotiating Table

Posted by Dale Buss on September 25, 2012 03:41 PM

So far early in this National Football League year, the league seems to be writing The Tale of Two Seasons. It truly is the best of times in some ways — and the worst of times in at least one huge respect.

As every gridiron and sports fan is aware, the negative was highlighted throughout last weekend, the third weekend of play this fall, as substitute referees blew a handful of significant calls, made many other questionable calls, and overall threw so many flags at the players and teams that the pace of play was severely disrupted. All of that came down as team owners and Commissioner Roger Goodell continued to stand firm against the contract demands of the permanent referees and kept them off the field as a result of the labor dispute.

Then, to end the game between the Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks on Monday Night Football last night, the Keystone Cops refereeing crew made a call in the endzone that gave Seattle the winning touchdown as time expired — and immediately ranked as one of the most badly botched calls in the history of professional football.

Remarkably, after reviewing the play on Tuesday, the NFL came out and officially refused to utter a mea culpa on behalf of its replacement referees. In fact, the league upheld the call and is "holding firm" as the negotiations between the NFL and the NFL Referees Association continued today.Continue reading...

sports in the spotlight

NFL Defends Brand and Sacks Saints, as Timsanity Heads to NYC

Posted by Dale Buss on March 21, 2012 05:02 PM

What a difference a year — let alone a day — makes in the National Football League.

Last year, the NFL, owners, management and players were just settling in for what promised to be a long-haul labor dispute which essentially kept professional football out of the regular flow of news for months, during the crucial time after the April draft when fan excitement typically builds over prospects for the coming season. Its relevance and even the NFL brand faded for a while.

This year, however, the NFL's off season is pulling a 180-degree turn worthy of the league's nimblest scatback. Today's announcement by Commissioner Roger Goodell of very stiff penalties for head coach Sean Payton and others associated with the New Orleans Saints for their bounty-hunting exploits broke on the same day that the Denver Broncos traded the closely watched Tim Tebow to that media-wallflower team, the New York Jets.

And oh, yes — the signing of Peyton Manning by those same Broncos? That already is so two days ago.Continue reading...

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