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Nov222010

Van Heusen Expands NFL Alliance From Hall Of Fame To Fields Of Dreams

Van Heusen's Fan's Choice event in September featured Hall of Famer members (left to right): Steve Young, Roger Staubach, Harry Carson, Jerry Rice and Warren Moon. (Photo: NYSportsJournalism) November 22, 2010: Phillips-Van Heusen, one of the world’s largest apparel companies, has signed a deal with the NFL that expands its role from the Pro Football Hall of Fame onto the playing field.

For the past two seasons, Phillips-Van Heusen has partnered with the Pro Football Hall of Fame for the Fan’s Choice program, which enables fans and consumers to voice their opinion as to which members of the current inductee class should be voted in by the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Although the Fan's Choice does play an official role in determining which nominated players actually gain entrance, the effort currently underway has the support of former NFL stars who are in the Hall of Fame, led by second-year spokesman Steve Young, Jerry Rice, Harry Carson, Warren Moon and Roger Staubach.

Phillips-Van Heusen said its expanded alliance with the NFL would begin with an integrated marketing campaign over the Thanksgiving weekend, "timed to the traditional kick-off of the holiday shopping season." The campaign, which will center on the company’s Van Heusen Pro Football Hall of Fame Fan’s Choice program, will be featured across multiple platforms, including In-game sponsor enhancements on CBS and Fox during Thanksgiving game coverage; integration with NFL Network during their Sunday NFL GameDay Morning pre-game show; and an ESPN.com home page takeover on Nov. 27.

The campaign will also bolster the company's marketing deal with the New York Giants, which began this season. The Van Heusen brand will sponsor the game between the Giants and the Jacksonville Jaguars on Nov. 28. That will be preceded by a branded segment within the pre-game show on local network WPIX-TV.

“Through the Van Heusen Fan’s Choice Pro Football Hall of Fame campaign we launched last year, we have been able to see ’first-hand the power of connecting with our consumer through a passionate dialogue around football,” Mike Kelly, evp-marketing for Phillips-Van Heusen, said in a statement. “And now with these partnerships with the NFL and the Giants, we have the opportunity to significantly enhance the reach and level of engagement with these fans for our brands and retail partners.”

Over the course of the Thanksgiving Weekend, the list of semifinalists for the Class of 2011 as determined by the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Selection Committee will be released, as will be the Fan’s Choice picks. A new component to the Fan’s Choice program is “Smack Talk Your Way to the Super Bowl,” which ultimately enable one fan to announce the Fans’ Choice for the Class of 2011 on national TV. (Full details here.)

"Phillips-Van Heusen has done a tremendous job in raising the profile of the Pro Football Hall of Fame and our greatest players."

"As everybody knows, it's not easy to find a place in the NFL. It's very expensive. You have to find a business model that works," Kelly told NYSportsJournalism during a Hall of Fame Fan's Choice press event in September to unveil the 2010 campaign. "And while we sell a lot of shirts, it's not like the margin is there. it's what the financial model allows you. That's why you don't see a lot of apparel companies involved in big sports contracts or on TV. So it's not an easy thing to afford. [We were] able to find a model and to find a way in which we could get involved in a meaningful way."

According to Kelly, the NFL has been involved with the Fan's Choice program from the beginning, although the new alliance gives both Phillips-Van Heusen and the NFL a blueprint to expand and enhance the efforts. "[The NFL was] very supportive in helping us to find a way to discuss whether the fans' votes should count [toward the official Hall of Fame balloting], how long should the process take, what PVH's relationship with the NFL would be moving forward and how the players and the images of the players among fans would be handled," said Kelly.

“Phillips-Van Heusen has done a tremendous job in raising the profile of the Pro Football Hall of Fame and our greatest players,” said Keith Turner, the NFL’s svp-sales and sponsorships. “We look forward to working with the company to enhance the Hall of Fame platform.”

According to  George Veras, president of Pro Football Hall of Fame Enterprises, “The Pro Football Hall of Fame and the Hall of Famers welcome the NFL’s continued support of the Hall,” said. “The Fan’s Choice program, thanks to the support of Phillips-Van Heusen, is fast becoming one of the most passionate platforms for fans to have a voice and a connect with the Hall.”

Over the past few years, New York-based PVH, led by its iconic Izod brand, has signed a series of deals that moved it from sideline observer to active player. Among them have been Izod's title sponsorship deal with Indy Racing signed in 2010 (reported to be $10 million a year for five years), which expanded Izod's status as the official apparel provider of the IndyCar and Firestone Indy Lights Series; naming rights to the Izod Center (a five-year deal starting in 2007 valued at $1.4 million), which had been home to the NBA's Nets and NHL's New Jersey Devils (both now at the Prudential Center); and title sponsorship to Monmouth Park (NJ) Racetrack's signature event, the Izod Haskell Invitational. Izod will continue its relationship with the Nets when team moves to Barclays Center in Brooklyn in 2012 when it opens the Izod Nets Team Store.

Q&A: How Phillps-Van Heusen Is Fashioning Its Sports Marketing Roster

Hall Of Fame Dresses Up Class Of 2010 With Phillips-Van Heusen

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