Colts bucking to sell jersey ad

June 9, 2009
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coltscampTwo weeks after National Football League officials announced teams can sell an ad on players’ practice jerseys, things are heating up at the Indianapolis Colts’ 56th training complex—also home to the franchise’s sales and marketing staff.

“We have proposals out there, and interest is pretty high,” said Tom Zupancic, Colts senior vice president of sales and marketing.

The jersey ad has broad appeal Zupancic said. “It could be for a retail operation or branding in just about any category,” he said.

Zupancic thinks his staff will have a deal signed by the time training camp opens Aug. 2.

Sports marketers said the practice jersey ads would be ideal for local or regional firms, and estimated a deal will wind up in the mid six-figure range in a market like Indianapolis. Similar deals in markets like Chicago, Dallas or New York would likely command high six figures or low seven figures. All the money will stay with the team and not be poured into the revenue sharing pot.

While the jersey sponsorship is being largely embraced by teams, there is some fear that it could widen the revenue chasm between the league's haves and have-nots. Further, teams that make the playoffs are allowed to sell a seperate practice jersey sponsorship for the playoff run that could further widen the gap.

The Denver Broncos, Dallas Cowboys, Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, Houston Texans and Tennessee Titans are among the teams seriously considering practice jersey sponsor deals.

The NFL mandates that the ads be no larger than 3-1/2 inches by 4-1/2 inches. They can’t be worn on game jerseys, even in the pre-season, and can’t advertise for tobacco, alcohol or firearm companies. The NFL is allowing deals with state lotteries, but Zupancic didn’t tip his hand on that prospect.

The only time the ads would be visible to fans would be during open training camp sessions. But NFL officials think sponsors will pay for the small spots so they show up during media shots and post-practice interviews.

The jersey sponsorship opportunity is coming at an ideal time for the Colts, who lost Chevrolet as the southeast corner sponsor at Lucas Oil Stadium and a handful of other smaller sponsors following last season. The Colts sales staff will have to hustle, Zupancic said, to match last year’s sponsorship sales revenue. In 2008, the first in Lucas Oil Stadium, sponsorship revenue was up about 30 percent from the previous year.

“I don’t think we’ll have a major downfall,” Zupancic said. “But you can definitely tell there’s an [economic] pinch.”
  • Only a matter of time before ads appear on all professional stick-n-ball game uniforms. I say inside five years.
  • I don't think it will take five years. There's already talk among league owners whether cities and states have the right to have their name attached to the team in any way. Some building lease deals have a clause in them to this affect, but most do not.

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  1. Cramer agrees...says don't buy it and sell it if you own it! Their "pay to play" cost is this issue. As long as they charge customers, they never will attain the critical mass needed to be a successful on company...Jim Cramer quote.

  2. My responses to some of the comments would include the following: 1. Our offer which included the forgiveness of debt (this is an immediate forgiveness and is not "spread over many years")represents debt that due to a reduction of interest rates in the economy arguably represents consideration together with the cash component of our offer that exceeds the $2.1 million apparently offered by another party. 2. The previous $2.1 million cash offer that was turned down by the CRC would have netted the CRC substantially less than $2.1 million. As a result even in hindsight the CRC was wise in turning down that offer. 3. With regard to "concerned Carmelite's" discussion of the previous financing Pedcor gave up $16.5 million in City debt in addition to the conveyance of the garage (appraised at $13 million)in exchange for the $22.5 million cash and debt obligations. The local media never discussed the $16.5 million in debt that we gave up which would show that we gave $29.5 million in value for the $23.5 million. 4.Pedcor would have been much happier if Brian was still operating his Deli and only made this offer as we believe that we can redevelop the building into something that will be better for the City and City Center where both Pedcor the citizens of Carmel have a large investment. Bruce Cordingley, President, Pedcor

  3. I've been looking for news on Corner Bakery, too, but there doesn't seem to be any info out there. I prefer them over Panera and Paradise so can't wait to see where they'll be!

  4. WGN actually is two channels: 1. WGN Chicago, seen only in Chicago (and parts of Canada) - this station is one of the flagship CW affiliates. 2. WGN America - a nationwide cable channel that doesn't carry any CW programming, and doesn't have local affiliates. (In addition, as WGN is owned by Tribune, just like WTTV, WTTK, and WXIN, I can't imagine they would do anything to help WISH.) In Indianapolis, CW programming is already seen on WTTV 4 and WTTK 29, and when CBS takes over those stations' main channels, the CW will move to a sub channel, such as 4.2 or 4.3 and 29.2 or 29.3. TBS is only a cable channel these days and does not affiliate with local stations. WISH could move the MyNetwork affiliation from WNDY 23 to WISH 8, but I am beginning to think they may prefer to put together their own lineup of syndicated programming instead. While much of it would be "reruns" from broadcast or cable, that's pretty much what the MyNetwork does these days anyway. So since WISH has the choice, they may want to customize their lineup by choosing programs that they feel will garner better ratings in this market.

  5. The Pedcor debt is from the CRC paying ~$23M for the Pedcor's parking garage at City Center that is apprased at $13M. Why did we pay over the top money for a private businesses parking? What did we get out of it? Pedcor got free parking for their apartment and business tenants. Pedcor now gets another building for free that taxpayers have ~$3M tied up in. This is NOT a win win for taxpayers. It is just a win for Pedcor who contributes heavily to the Friends of Jim Brainard. The campaign reports are on the Hamilton County website. Finance Images&ARG2=/Brainard, Jim