Left field

The Reuters global sports blog

from Shop Talk:

Capital One to offer awards to top college sports programs

capone1Capital One Financial Corp will recognize the top U.S. men's and women's college athletics programs in a move to generate fan interest and draw attention to the credit card issuer and bank.

The company, which became a top-tier NCAA athletics sponsor in March, announced the launch of the Capital One Cup, a new program rewarding NCAA Division I athletics programs for their cumulative performance across multiple men's and women's sports.

Starting with the 2010-2011 academic year, Capital One, the third-largest U.S. issuer of Visa-branded credit cards and the fifth-largest issuer of MasterCard-branded credit cards, will recognize the top men's and women's athletics programs at the largest colleges with $200,000 each to fund graduate-level scholarships for student-athletes.

"We looked at this and felt that the overall best athletic program in the country was actually written about in magazines, but there really wasn't a great, celebrated, heavily marketed award," Capital One Chief Marketing Officer Bill McDonald told Reuters in a telephone interview.

from Shop Talk:

Check Out Line: Play on Fenway Park grass … in your yard


Check out where Scotts is staking out new turf.

ScottsMiracle-Gro, the No. 1 U.S. lawn-care company, is taking a swing at winning over baseball fans with its latest sponsorship deal, which allows customers to buy the same grass seed and fertilizer used to grow the lush, green fields at the ballparks of such teams as the Chicago Cubs and Boston Red Sox.

Scotts has signed a multiyear, multimillion-dollar deal with Major League Baseball that includes licensed products, baseball-themed advertising and partnerships with eight of the teams. A source close to the deal who asked not to be identified said Scotts' annual commitments are in the high seven figures, with overall spending on baseball in the eight figures.

Can Tiger re-brand himself?



Does Tiger Woods really need to worry about losing his sponsorship deals? More to the point, does a man who has already earned a billion dollars and who is still, without any doubt, the number one golfer in the world, really need to worry about restoring his “clean cut image”?

Tiger is supposedly in meltdown at the moment – he has had to announce an “indeterminate break” from golf amid the stream of revelations about his private life. Once the media frenzy to discover the latest “Vegas cocktail waitress” eased slightly, the focus shifted to how much the scandals have affected his marketability.

from MediaFile:

New company allows NASCAR fans to sponsor former champion

(Corrects to show Kenny Wallace, not Rusty Wallace did a similar program)

A company launched by a NASCAR fan to allow fellow race lovers to collectively sponsor a car has signed up a former NASCAR champion driver as its first recipient.

FanCar said it will sponsor two-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Terry Labonte and Carter/Simo racing at the Ford 400 race on Nov. 22 in Miami, the last race of the season. The company was launched by Texan and NASCAR fan Matt Ferguson last week.