By Rick Horrow and Karla Swatek
February 8, 2013
BlackBerry in the next few weeks will begin selling its highly anticipated Q10 and Z10 smartphones with the hopes of regaining market share. Unlike other companies in the cell phone space, including AT&T, Verizon, and Samsung, BlackBerry has never been an aggressive spender on sports advertising or sponsorship with the U.S. The company’s highest profile North American deal is as an official partner of the NHL. It also sponsors the LPGA’s tournament in Waterloo, Canada, and recently signed a three-year, $36 million endorsement deal with F1 star Lewis Hamilton.
However, as executives try salvaging a stock down 75% over two years, Blackberry finally may be adjusting its sports marketing platform. For the first time in its history, the company spent nearly $4 million on a Super Bowl ad, and several sports properties, including MLB Advanced Media and the PGA Tour, are developing apps for the new BlackBerry 10 operating system. Important to the company’s success could be the number, variety and quality of the apps available.