New kind of horse shoe: Skechers inks deal with California Chrome
Jun 3, 2014 at 5:12a ET
With a stable of reliable old horses like Joe Montana, Joe Namath and Pete Rose on its marketing roster, shoe company Skechers reportedly signed a 3-year-old recently to bolster sales and market share.
Yup, a horse has a shoe deal.
ESPN reported the deal on Monday, saying that the agreement takes effect immediately, with the Skechers brand covering the horse from here on out at Belmont Park in New York, as he attempts to become the first horse to complete the Triple Crown in 36 years:
Shoe brand Skechers will be featured on everything from the apparel of the horse's handlers to the horse's blanket, or fly sheet, to the barn leading up to the Belmont Stakes on June 7. The deal also requires team members to wear Skechers branding in the winner's circle should the horse win and allows Skechers to use California Chrome in marketing materials for a month after the race.
According to the report, while the financial terms are unknown, it is the largest endorsement deal for a horse since Big Brown's owner signed with UPS during Brown's 2008 Triple Crown bid.
"We're a marketing company that just happens to be in the footwear business," Skechers CEO Robert Greenberg told ESPN. "We're spending a couple bucks to the roll the dice and if this horse wins it all, we'll be part of it."
Greenberg added that the company which projects at least $2.2 billion in sales in 2014 will spend about $175 million in marketing this year.
In terms of audience appeal, the pairing makes sense. The Triple Crown viewing audience tends to skew older than those of more traditional sports, and Montana (57), Namath (71) and Rose (73) certainly fit that bill.
A horse has not won the Triple Crown since Affirmed in 1978.
The last horse to win the first two legs of the Triple Crown was I'll Have Another, who was scratched before the 2012 Belmont due to injury and did not get to run for the Triple Crown.
The last horse to win the Kentucky Derby and Preakness and race in the Belmont with the sports world watching? The aforementioned Big Brown, who in the 2008 Belmont failed to respond down the stretch, eased up and became the first horse in history to fail to finish the Belmont with a shot at the Triple Crown.