By  on June 10, 2014

NEW YORK — While gamblers betting on California Chrome to cinch a Triple Crown victory at Saturday’s Belmont Stakes failed to cash in, Skechers’ sponsorship of the thoroughbred led to a major media windfall.

Chief executive officer Robert Greenberg said, “We were on 400 TV shows in one day. What’s the value of that — my God.”

Skechers was approached about a potential sponsorship by the Leverage Agency, which hooked up the brand with an endorsement deal with marathoner Meb Keflezighi, who won the Boston Marathon this year. But it took seven days of negotiations with California Chrome’s owners before the pre-Belmont deal was struck, Greenberg said. Noting that the horse’s owners adopted the nickname “Dumb Ass Partners” skeptics once gave them, Greenberg said, “I’m not saying they’re dumb but that was a tough one.”

Skechers spent $300,000, not “millions” as some analysts estimated, he said. The idea of imprinting “Skechers” on the nasal strip California Chrome wore at Belmont had been discussed but there was concern that visual distraction “would screw him up,” Greenberg said. Skechers will throw a party for the California Chrome contingent later this week once he returns to his home base of California. The prospect of designing California Chrome sneakers and clothes has been suggested but Greenberg does not see that happening. By chance, Skechers’ “Chrome Dome” style was the brand’s first big break in 1993.


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