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• The Professional Baseball Agreement between MLB and minor league teams expires at the end of the 2020 season. But if a new MLB proposal were to become reality, more than three dozen cities with affiliated minor league teams will lose those teams a year from now and thousands of minor league players will be out of work as well. Full story here.

• "We said there's no chance that's happening. There’s no chance we’ll even discipline him." — NBA commissioner Adam Silver regarding China’s request that the league fire Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey

• "The losses have already been substantial. Our games are not back on the air in China as we speak, and we'll see what happens next. I don't know where we go from here. The financial consequences have been and may continue to be fairly dramatic." — NBA commissioner Adam Silver at the Time 100 Summit on Thursday regarding the league’s on-going situation with China.

• Showtime Sports will launch on Oct. 21 a weekly podcast, All The Smoke with Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson, in which the two NBA veterans (now retired) and NBA champs (Golden State Warriors and San Antonio Spurs, respectively), will “deliver an authentic, unfiltered perspective on the most polarizing topics in and around the game of basketball.”  It will air Thursdays on the Showtime Basketball YouTube Channel.  

• Bluberi Gaming has signed a deal with WWE to develop a series of licensed slot games featuring WWE Superstars and Legends. Among those to be featured include John Cena, Triple H, Becky Lynch, Roman Reigns and Ronda Rousey. The first WWE series of slot games is scheduled to hit casinos October 2020.

• HarperCollins Publishers said it has acquired world rights to Back, the first memoir authored by Tiger Woods. According to Woods, “This book is my definitive story. It’s in my words and expresses my thoughts.” A publication date was not given.

• Halloween this year is Oct. 31, and retailers, marketers and consumers are ready for another season of trick-or-treat. Total spend on Halloween 2019 is expected to reach $8.8 billion according to the National Retail Federation, Washington, DC. Full story here. 

POLL POSITION

Rock & Roll Hall of Fame 2020 Nominees

• Pat Benatar
• Dave Matthews Band
• Depeche Mode
• Doobie Brothers
• Whitney Houston
• Judas Priest
• Kraftwerk
• MC5
• Motorhead
• Nine Inch Nails
• Notorious B.I.G.
• Rufus feat. Chaka Khan
• Todd Rundgren
• Soundgarden
• T. Rex
• Thin Lizzy

VOTE HERE

KEEPING SCORE

Most Popular NBA Player Jerseys (based on eBay sales October 2018-October 2019)
1. LeBron James Los Angeles Lakers
2. Stephen Curry Golden State Warriors
3. Kyrie Irving Brooklyn Nets
4. Giannis Antetokounmpo Milwaukee Bucks
5. Kevin Durant Brooklyn Nets
6. Dwyane Wade Miami Heat (retired)
7. Kawhi Leonard Los Angeles Clippers
8. Zion Williamson New Orleans Pelicans
9. Carmelo Anthony (most recently with Houston Rockets)
10. Russell Westbrook Houston Rockets

Most Popular Player Merchandise (based on eBay sales October 2018-October 2019)
1. LeBron James Los Angeles Lakers
2. Stephen Curry Golden State Warriors
3. Kevin Durant Brooklyn Nets
4. Kyrie Irving Brooklyn Nets
5. Giannis Antetokounmpo Milwaukee Bucks
6. Paul George Los Angeles Clippers
7. James Harden Houston Rockets
8. Dwyane Wade Miami Heat (retired)
9. Kawhi Leonard Los Angeles Clippers
10. Russell Westbrook Houston Rockets
SOURCE: STUBHUB.COM

BUY SELL

Weekend Box Office Oct. 11-13
1. Joker $55M
2. Addams Family $30.3M
3. Gemini Man $20.5M
4. Abominable $6.2M
5. Downton Abbey $4.9M
6. Hustlers $3.9M
7. Judy $3.3M
8. It 2 $3.2M
9. Jexi $3.1M
10. Ad Astra $1.9M
BoxOfficeMojo.com

SEARCH

NYSportsJournalism.com + Topic Of Requested Search

Showtime: All The Smoke See More Ads Below

COLLEGE

BodyArmor Into NCAA
No. 1 Colleges Since '92
Notre Dame Builds Brand
Cancer Drives Home
Men's Hoops Are 'Toxic'

Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.
Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/j/johnfkenn121400.html#46Ul8rBF4XpB4lo0.99
Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.
Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/j/johnfkenn121400.html#JZxA5jXY4rCwemgZ.99
Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.
Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/j/johnfkenn121400.html#JZxA5jXY4rCwemgZ.99
Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.
Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/j/johnfkenn121400.html#46Ul8rBF4XpB4lo0.99
Channel Chasers

NFL UK 2019
• Oct. 27  Cincinnati Bengals v Los Angeles Rams Wembley Stadium
• Nov. 3 Houston Texans v Jacksonville Jaguars Wembley Stadium

NFL Mexico 2019
• Nov. 18 Kansas City  Chiefs v Los Angeles Chargers Mexico City Estadio Azteca (ESPN Monday Night Football)

NBA 2019 Opening Nights
• Oct. 22 New Orleans Pelicans vs. Toronto Raptors TNT 8 PM (ET)
• Oct. 22 Los Angeles Lakers vs. Los Angeles Clippers TNT 10:30 PM (ET)

• Oct. 23 Boston Celtics vs. Philadelphia 76ers ESPN 8 PM (ET)
• Oct. 23 Denver Nuggets vs. Portland Trail Blazers ESPN 10 PM (ET)

Wednesday
Feb272013

Goal To Gold: Can Lionel Messi Build His International Brand In The U.S.?

By Barry Janoff

(Originally published at MediaPost)

February 27, 2013: Lionel Messi is regarded in most circles as the greatest soccer player in the world and, arguably, among the Top Five men ever to play the game.

Messi, a naive of Argentina who plays for FC Barcelona and the Argentina national soccer team, earns in excess of $41 million (U.S.), almost equally split between his soccer contract and off-the-pitch endorsements. He has deals with such companies as adidas, PepsiCo, Procter & Gamble's Head & Shoulders, Herbalife, EA Sports, Audemars Piguet watches and Dolce & Gabanna. In addition, he is a global UNICEF goodwill ambassador.

In January, he was named the winner of the FIFA Ballon d’Or, international soccer's highest individual honor, becoming the first player to win the trophy four consecutive years.

However, while most of the world is well aware of his on-field exploits and subsequent marketing prowess, he still has a lot of work to do in the U.S.

This summer, the athlete known as "Leo" will take a big step in establishing his brand in America.

Messi will hit Chicago on July 6 and Los Angeles July 13 to play friendly matches along with 35 of his closest friends. The roster is likely to include many of the other top-level players against whom Messi competes with and against on a regular basis, such as Dani Alves, José Manuel Pinto and Alexis Sanchez, plus Didier Drogba, Carlos Bocanegra, Alessandro Nesta and Radamel Falcao.

Dubbed "Messi & Friends," the events in Soldier Field and the Los Angeles Coliseum will benefit the Leo Messi Foundation, which aids "kids and adolescents who are in a [health] risk situation."

Both U.S. exhibitions will be preceded by invitation-only dinners to help raise money for the Messi Foundation. Organizers also are currently working on "marketing opportunities" to include TV, Internet and social media integration.

However, even with his global aura, Messi's presence as an endorser in the U.S. has had to date only relatively minimal impact. The Head & Shoulders deal, signed late last year, is anchored by an important domestic marketing segment in that it targets Hispanic males in the U.S. "The fact that Leo is a fan of Head & Shoulders, and now our ambassador, gives us a tremendous opportunity to be able to create a personal connection with our Hispanic male consumers,” Michael Saabia, Head & Shoulders brand manager, said when the deal was launched.

Messi's marketing presence in the U.S. recently got another boost via a current campaign for Turkish Airlines. The effort includes a commercial with Kobe Bryant in which they play a game of one-upmanship for the attention of a young fan (who eventually is won over by a stewardess with ice cream).

Messi has just unveiled his own signature line from adidas — joining the NBA's Derrick Rose and David Beckham as the only athletes to be so designated by the global sportswear and footwear company. The line hits retail on March 1. The release comes with some marketing support, mainly driven by adidas' Web site and related social media.

“After setting a scoring world record and winning his fourth consecutive FIFA Ballon d'Or, Lionel Messi has truly earned icon status in the world of sports,” Ernesto Bruce, director of soccer for adidas America, said in a statement. “We are proud to celebrate Messi’s accomplishments with a signature collection showcasing technology and design that mirror his ferocious speed and natural, fluid style of play. The adidas Messi collection brings together the best in performance technology with world class design.”

According to Messi, "I'm excited about playing in [the U.S.] and showcasing many of the greatest stars of our sport. It's also important for me to connect with soccer fans in the USA and to promote the work of my Foundation, and for that I am very thankful for this opportunity."

Organizers of Messi & Friends, which also is scheduled to make stops in Peru and Columbia, also see the benefits in other areas.

According to Armando Almirall, president and CEO for Mindpix Corp., which is working with Numero 5 and ZZYX Entertainment to present the tour, "This will be an amazing event for everyone to see globally. Lionel Messi, in my opinion, is one of the best soccer players in the world and this event will provide fans, sponsors, networks the perfect opportunity to enjoy an All-Star event prior to the FIFA World Cup in 2014 -- all for a great cause."

Messi & Friends was founded in 2007 and has played some dates in the U.S. But at 25, even though Messi is not likely to leave the international soccer stage to play for a U.S. team any time soon, that day is potentially getting closer.

"I'm excited about playing in [the U.S.] and showcasing stars of our sport. It's also important for me to connect with fans in the USA and to promote my Foundation."

That type of heady move would not be without precedent. Beckham joined Major League Soccer's Los Angeles Galaxy in 2007 and immediately boosted not only his domestic marketing status, but that of MLS. And back in the day, such global stars as Pele, Giorgio Chinaglia, George Best and Johan Cruyff finished out their careers in the U.S. (in the original North American Soccer League) and enjoyed varying degrees of U.S. marketing support.

For the world's greatest soccer play, Messi & Friends ultimately could be a step in that direction.

Said Sergio Codino, vp for Numero 5, "This event will feature the world's greatest players in a festival of soccer, the most popular sport on the planet. The Messi & Friends exhibition, much like the NFL Pro-Bowl or the MLB All-Star Game, will provide fans with an unparalleled opportunity to witness the greatest athletes in the sport of soccer together on the field of competition before the FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014."

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