Sponsors Line Up For 50th Head Of The Charles Regatta

A staple on the New England calendar, the Head of the Charles Regatta (HOCR) will celebrate its 50th rowing this fall.  The 2014 event is scheduled for the weekend of October 18 & 19 and features new sponsor Victorinox Swiss Army.

Victorinox VSA_Logo“We are delighted to welcome Victorinox Swiss Army into the Head Of The Charles family, especially in our milestone year,” said HOCR Executive Director Fred Schoch.  “The Regatta is a cherished Boston tradition, and our partnership with a storied brand such as Victorinox will only enhance the historic nature of this event.”

The world’s largest and most prestigious regatta was established in 1965 and continues to bring the best crew teams to Boston’s Charles River for the ultimate two-day rowing competition along the three-mile course.  With the race’s bi-centennial expected to attract 11,000 world-class rowing competitors and over 400,000 spectators, Victorinox will use this opportunity to bring awareness to its enhanced collection.  The plan: create pop-up retail shops at the HOCR Rowing & Fitness Expo, with special offers on personalized Swiss Army knives, wrist watches, luggage and fragrances.  The company, known primarily for its iconic pocket knives and cutlery, looks to change its image as it has been named the “official timepiece and travel gear sponsor.”  This comes at an opportune time as Victorinox Swiss Army celebrates its own 130th anniversary.

The presenting sponsor of this year’s Head of the Charles Regatta is BNY Mellon.  Other current sponsors on the line-up include data storage giant EMC Corp., and luxury brands Brooks Brothers, Land Rover, New Balance, and Sperry Topsider.

Planned commemorative events include a 50th Anniversary Gala Dinner, a documentary showcase, and a historical exhibit.  The Regatta will run on both Saturday and Sunday from 8AM – 5PM, and admission is free.

To learn more about the Head of the Charles and the full event line-up, check out the official website and follow HOCR on Twitter and Facebook.


(Photo: hocr.tumblr.com)

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If This Video Doesn’t Make You An Eagles Fan, Nothing Will

FolesVimeoLet there be football! The Philadelphia Eagles released a new pump up video ahead of their season-opening game against the Jacksonville Jaguars. The new #FlyEaglesFly video features voiceover by Bradley Cooper with music by John Legend and The Roots. Philly favorite Allen Iverson also makes an appearance.

Okay, so TSBX is based in New York, which means no one is becoming an Eagles fan anytime soon. Regardless, this is a fun video that we’re more accustomed to seeing as a hype video for an SEC Football team than as a season kickoff video at the professional level.

We like it and encourage this behavior.

The video was produced by branding agency 160over90 which has emerged as a leader in producing collegiate marketing videos. You might recognize 160over90’s work from the #GatorGood campaign and the Atlantic 10’s rebranding last season.

Check out this video:

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BitPay Strikes Deal With Georgia Tech

bitpayBitPay, the leader in business solutions for the bitcoin digital currency, today announced a partnership with the Georgia Tech, brokered by IMG College and funded with the new currency.

BitPay’s logo along with the bitcoin symbol will be on display in Bobby Dodd Stadium and the McCamish Pavilion through the 2014/2015 school year. The IMG team is facilitating introductions as BitPay sets up merchants to accept bitcoin.

“Pairing an innovative technology company pioneering a new digital currency with Georgia Tech is a great match,” said Kristen Rose, General Manager of Georgia Tech IMG Sports Marketing. “The use of bitcoin in the sports world is brand new, and we’re proud Georgia Tech is leading the trend through this partnership.”

The sponsorship was paid with bitcoin, the first peer-to-peer digital currency. Using bitcoin, it is possible to send money like an email without going through a bank or government. BitPay works with businesses to make it easy to accept bitcoin as a form of payment.

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The Conference Who ‘Got Next’ Unveils Next Logo

Today’s guest post is by Timothy O’Donnell. Tim is the Creative Director at 160over90 and has been working with the Atlantic 10 Conference on their rebranding.

A10_logo_wordmarkThe rebranding of the Atlantic 10 Conference came on the heels of the ACC’s new identity launch and just prior to the Big 12’s, leading many to wonder whether there was a clearance sale on new logos lately. To my knowledge, no coupons were involved… Regardless, a new A-10 identity was the natural next step in the larger branding initiative that 160over90 began last year.

That process got underway with the agency meeting as many people as possible, to learn first-hand about the conference’s goals, challenges, and frustrations. We had extensive conversations with Commissioner McGlade and her staff, but also spoke with each school’s Athletic Director and President. The picture that emerged was far from a ‘mid-major’ conference; this is a conference with strong ideals that consistently sends teams deep into the tournament. We needed to challenge the misconceptions about the conference head-on.

The idea for the ‘Next’ campaign came out of the conference’s commitment to always advancing. It launched as a lead-in to March Madness, complete with an epic (if we do say so ourselves) two-minute national TV spot. The hype piece earned a great amount of positive attention, as did the league itself, sending a record six teams to the NCAA Tournament.

For the campaign, we cleaned up the existing A-10 logo a little, knowing that we’d tackle a full refresh in the relative calm of the basketball post-season.

The previous identity had served the A-10 well, but it was starting to feel outdated. As more fans interact with brands via their phones, the outlines and smaller details of the logo were getting lost completely. It became harder to talk about the Atlantic 10 as the next power conference when their logo seemed to be looking backward, not forward.

We wanted to modernize the identity while staying true to the conference’s strong history, and as such, it’s more of an evolution of the previous logo than a revolutionary new approach. As with the brand campaign, we wanted the logo to tell the story of the grittiness and uncompromising work ethic embedded in the league’s athletic programs. That their success is earned, not given. The strong, clean lines of the mark are a subconscious nod to that no-nonsense approach.

The new logotype was designed to convey speed and athleticism, specifically via the exaggerated slope of the ‘A,’ and the angled serifs that act as speed lines.

To acknowledge the league’s strong work ethic on and off the court, we also created a secondary ‘shield’ version of the logo. The opposite of a pretentious, ornate crest, this simple shield took inspiration from union seals and military insignia. This two-logo flexibility is one of the key benefits to this identity system; the shield can be used instead of forcing the wider wordmark into a Twitter avatar, for example.

We know as well as anybody that a logo launch invites commentary—everything from the slant of the letters to the overall originality of the design is open to debate. But unveiling it within the context of a national brand campaign, and on the heels of an unprecedented A-10 basketball season, feels like a power move for this new basketball power conference.

At the same time that the new identity launched, the A-10 officially welcomed Davidson College as its 14th member. The Wildcats have made 11 appearances in the NCAA® Men’s Basketball Championship, and the league is excited to see what this basketball season brings.

So, who wants next?

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In Hockey-Rich Toronto, The NBA’s Raptors Shine Bright During Playoffs

As a lifelong Toronto Raptors fan, I’ve spent most of my life resigned to the fact that the Raptors were destined to be a second fiddle to the Maple Leafs in this city, and that might even be an understatement.

Though the Raptors have historically been a relatively successful team (not on the court, but in ticket sales), the Leafs have had much more success than our little dinosaur team. In 2013, the average price to get into a Leafs game was $120, versus $55 for the Raptors. The wait time for Leafs season tickets have notoriously been known to take over 20 years, an absolutely absurd amount of time for a team that has shown limited success.

But this year, with Canada only having one other playoff team in the Montreal Canadiens, there was enough space for the Raptors to establish themselves as a legitimate sports team in Canada. It was exactly the opportunity for Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment (MLSE) president Tim Leiweke to expand the sport into a huge, untapped market.

With the help of marketing company Sid Lee, MLSE embarked on a journey to promote the Raptors playoff run. The “We The North” campaign was created, which has been proven to be enormously successful. The campaigned spawned this commercial:

Truly, I had shivers.

But it was more than just the marketing of the team that aided in its rise in popularity. After another disappointing season for the Leafs, the Raptors were a refreshingly scrappy team who would expend every ounce of effort for every victory. Near the end of the season, even for mediocre games against teams like Milwaukee, fans were acknowledging this effort by packing the Air Canada Center.

This year, Raptors playoff tickets for the first round topped the league at $370.62 on average, with MLSE charging a premium of 242.5%. Raptors games became an event. Raucous crowds at the ACC are shattering eardrums, and the waves of fans outside the arena are large enough to cover a small country. The fan experience and atmosphere has been elite, rivaling some of the great crowds in Oklahoma City and Golden State.

And I would be remiss to leave out the involvement of Drake.

Via @Raptors
Via @Raptors
As a celebrity, international icon, and a generally decent guy, Drake has been all around the NBA environment for the past few years. From being friends with superstar players and helping Terrence Ross with his dunk contest attempt, only to awkwardly sit on a bench meant for three people, Drake has made a name for himself as a fan of the NBA. Named the international ambassador last offseason, Drake has helped the growth of the Raptors brand in many ways. Though the move to hire him as the brand ambassador did seem strange at the time, Drake has become a valuable asset for MLSE, and may become even more valuable when the time comes to woo free agents. Since Drake is not on the Raptors’ payroll, he is not subject to the NBA’s anti-tampering laws.

In a city starved for a successful team, the Raptors have emerged as a real contender for the hearts of sports fans across the city. For the first time in a long time, they’re not a second fiddle to anybody; in fact, they’re very much the star players in the Toronto sports market, and one can only hope that they use this time onstage to enrapture their audience.


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