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Falcons sell naming rights to training camp

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Falcons sell naming rights to training camp

Postby stomperrob » Mon Jun 25, 2007 12:48 pm

Sounds a little silly to have a name for your training camp, but anything to make a buck I guess! :-b

Falcons sell naming rights to training camp

By TIM TUCKER
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Published on: 06/24/07

Sports teams routinely sell the naming rights to their stadiums and arenas and sometimes to specific gates, suites or even games.

Continuing the trend, the Falcons are selling naming rights to ... training camp.

As part of a new four-year deal with Russell Athletic, the Falcons will attach the sports apparel company's name to pre-season camp in Flowery Branch, Falcons executive vice president Dick Sullivan said.

The exact verbiage — something along the lines of Russell Athletic Training Camp at Flowery Branch, Sullivan said — is still being worked out.

The naming rights are for the period of time from the start of camp (July 25 this year) to the start of the season, not to the Falcons' training facility itself, Sullivan said.

It's part of a multi-faceted partnership deal with Russell, Sullivan said, that is worth $1 million to $2 million annually. It's one of the Falcons' top 10 partnership deals, he said.

In addition to training-camp naming rights, the deal provides Russell with extensive signage at the Georgia Dome, radio and television advertising during pre-season games, radio advertising during regular-season games and status as the Falcons' "preferred supplier of promotional apparel and premium items."

But what differentiates this deal from most is the training-camp aspect.

"My view is that for us to take the company to the next level, we've got to do things a little bit different," Russell Athletic president Doug Kelly said. "This is not your typical deal. A lot of people may not focus on training camp [as a sponsorship opportunity], but 35,000-40,000 people go through there and the media is there. This deal gives us a chance to do some really neat things."

Among the benefits to Russell, Kelly said, will be the opportunity to conduct product-line demonstrations and clinics for high school and college coaches in an NFL training-camp environment.

Long known for its sweatshirts, and a major provider of gear for high school and college sports teams, Russell is an Atlanta-based company that last year was acquired by Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc. for about $600 million.

Russell has increased its profile — and its advertising budget — this year. It is a major sponsor of the Arena Football League, and late last year it bought the naming rights to the NFL's St. Louis Rams' training facility.

During Falcons training camps, Russell will be prominently featured, from logos on the field to references in team advertising, publications and Website, Sullivan said. The prominence will continue during the regular season with interior and exterior signage at the Georgia Dome.

"This is definitely a new Russell, and this is definitely a different idea," Kelly said of the deal. "But it was a good value for the dollar for us, working with the Falcons."

Sullivan said the deal was structured so as to avoid conflict with the NFL's mega-deal with Reebok, the league's official clothing supplier.

"It's a challenge for sports teams when you have dominant players you partner with," Sullivan said. "Reebok is a big partner for the NFL, but in this case Russell is a local partner that wants to grow in the space and make some noise in Atlanta."

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