For the second year in a row, U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum (D.-Minn.) has added an amendment to the defense appropriations bill that would prohibit the U.S. armed forces from spending any money to sponsor sports. The entire bill, including the amendment, was approved by the House Appropriations Committee yesterday, as reported in USA Today. more
Two developments within the last month raise some fascinating questions over the involvement of government in the affairs of private rightsholders and their partnerships. more
When asked seven months ago about the risks of sponsoring FIFA in the midst of bid fixing allegations, the head of legal promotions for Adidas global sports marketing, Jens Jacobsen Jensen, speaking at the European Sponsorship Assn. conference, asserted that the public separates sponsors from controversies surrounding sponsored properties. Adidas was not considering pulling its deal, he said. more
Earlier this week a government-funded task force released new guidelines regarding mammography in the diagnosis and prevention of breast cancer. The announcement seemed to stir up everyone connected to the issue of breast cancer: the general public, the healthcare community and—most relevant for you—breast cancer causes.
While the causes came out with their respective positions on the guidelines, I didn’t see anything from the companies who just a couple weeks ago were falling all over each other to promote their support for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. That said, I don’t know that I would want a department store or shoe company telling people how to handle major health decisions without a lot of due diligence to support their views. more
Athlete and celebrity endorsements have been the topic of much conversation lately, thanks to new regulations issued last month from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and two pieces of research published this week.
The first of the studies is from Mediaedge:cia revealing that young adults are more likely to purchase a product or service based on the recommendation of a celebrity endorser than older shoppers. The second is an Adweek Media/Harris Poll survey that shows business leaders to be more persuasive spokespeople than actors, athletes, musicians and former politicians. more
Dizziness? Fainting? Numbness in the extremities?
These are child's play compared to the pictures painted by some concerned healthcare industry colleagues yesterday afternoon at an event put on by the Association Forum of Chicagoland. The topic of the event was the codes of ethics and regulations the healthcare industry is implementing that govern activities of companies, healthcare practitioners and the organizations and institutions that represent them.
A recent article entitled “Spoonfuls of sponsorship making medical students sick” from The Age in Australia (thanks for forwarding, Lesa) talks about medical students who have pledged to immunize themselves from all pharma marketing—not only rejecting free pens and tchotchkes (which were essentially taken off the table in the US this year via voluntary ethics codes from PhRMA and AdvaMed) but also swearing off any forms of industry-sponsored education.
These Aussie MDs-to-be are not necessarily blazing trails with this pledge; indeed there are codes and suggestions from industry groups in the U.S. right now that recommend similar measures.
From one perspective, we should admire healthcare professionals, and the organizations that represent them, for attempting to clean up their conflicts of interest. But from another perspective, do these efforts to restrict represent a slippery slope that could end with unintended consequences? While building firewalls to prevent impropriety, might we end up building silos and barriers to life-saving communication? And could educational and research funding dry up, resulting in less of both? more
Amid all of the tribulations brought on by a bad economy, nonprofits and their corporate partners certainly don’t need one more. But recessions impact governments too, and can cause them to look long and hard for ways to generate additional revenue to replace tax dollars lost.
So it shouldn’t surprise that the U.S. government is raising the specter of taxing some sponsorship revenue. Specifically, the Congressional Budget Office issued a paper last month titled “Tax Preferences for Collegiate Sports,” which can be downloaded here (http://www.cbo.gov/doc.cfm?index=10055). The document suggests that Congress consider reclassifying certain types of income derived from athletic programs as subject to unrelated business income tax, including income from corporate sponsorship. The justification for doing so is predicated mostly on the commercial nature of sports programs at many universities and the loose connection between those programs and the schools’ educational mission (unrelated business) combined with the significant benefits that accrue to the sponsors.
Although the CBO’s suggestion has many logical underpinnings, there are a number of reasons why it should raise real concern among all nonprofits and their corporate partners. For those outside of colleges and universities who may view this paper as irrelevant to them, let us remind you that the movement to scrutinize all nonprofit sponsorship revenue in the ’90s began with a single examination into the sponsorship revenues of the Mobil Cotton Bowl college football game. A few members of Congress might very well read this latest report and seek to apply its reasoning to sponsorship activities of zoos, museums, charities, etc.
In case you thought Congress had moved on to other matters such as the economy, healthcare, the environment, etc.—word comes from our friends at Bank of America that sponsorship honcho Ray Bednar will meet with a North Carolina congressional delegation next week to explain the company’s sponsorship strategy. more
I’m very impressed with the U.S. Travel Assn’s response to legislative initiatives to impose draconian restrictions on business travel for companies receiving TARP funds. Those same initiatives have also targeted sponsorships as well, as we are all keenly aware. more