Usually, when you see a sports team billboard, it shows a star player and is designed to sell tickets.

But the Los Angeles Kings will now take a different approach for the new season: The team is highlighting its sponsors alongside its hockey stars.

Kings billboards and the slogans that appear on them have been worded to promote the team and its sponsors, and sponsor logos have been added prominently to the Kings advertisements.

For example, one co-branded billboard with sponsor San Manuel Indian Bingo & Casino has the tag line “Great Games,” with logos for both. Kings executives said that the double meaning emphasizes the partnership.

“This is a great example of how we can go that extra step with one of our partners and go beyond just the elements of a contractual agreement,” said Luc Robitaille, Kings president of business operations. “We like this strategy going forward and believe it benefits all parties involved.”

The Kings marketing team has taken a role usually filled by an outside advertising agency. As part of the new campaign, the marketing team serves as consultant, creative adviser and ad agency, and then evaluates the success of the advertising campaign.

So not only will the Kings monitor whether the team sells more tickets, the marketing executives will have to make sure that San Manuel knows whether the campaign is effective. With a deal like this, the future of the sponsorship will depend on the results.

Robitaille himself is part of the draw as a former hockey star.

“We are excited to work with Hockey Hall of Famer Luc Robitaille,” said Steve Lengel, executive director for San Manuel Indian Bingo & Casino.

High Definition

Cable sports viewers will be able to see all home and road games for local teams in high definition now that FSN Prime Ticket has switched to an all-high-def format. The network made the transition in July and has the necessary equipment and personnel to broadcast all games in high definition starting this fall.

Last year, the local network showed selective games in high definition. For hockey teams, that meant that only 10 of the L.A. Kings and Anaheim Ducks games were broadcast in the format. This year, all 65 home and road games on the network will appear in high definition. The same is true of Los Angeles Clippers games, and USC Trojans and UCLA Bruins college football games the station handles. The switch to high definition for Los Angeles Lakers games happened last year.

“It was a huge goal for us to get it all in high def,” said Whitney Garvins, FSN Prime Ticket spokeswoman. “That’s a huge positive for us and the fans.”

Soccer Sponsor

L.A.-based Herbalife Ltd. continues to build a business of soccer sponsorships as it announced a deal with Valencia FC, a Spanish La Liga team.

The deal marks the fourth major soccer sponsorship for the nutritional supplements company. It also sponsors the L.A. Galaxy, Internazionale FC in Italy and FC Strasbourg in France.

As part of the deal, Herbalife’s logo will appear in the first position on all of the team’s match and training shorts. The brand also receives signage in the team’s stadium and training facility.

Beach Broadcast

AVP Inc., the L.A.-based professional volleyball tour operator, announced a two-year agreement with Microsoft Corp. last week for delivery of live streaming high-definition video content through the league’s Web site. Microsoft provides the technology – its Silverlight 3 video player will show AVP games on any Internet-connected computer.

The AVP began streaming video content when it signed a partnership with Major League Baseball Advanced Media LP in 2007. However, AVP found that deal too expensive and dropped it in favor of the Microsoft partnership. AVP went private earlier this year, then was acquired by a group of investors led by RJSM Partners LLP. The new owners have been looking for ways to cut expenses.

The league’s title partner, shoe manufacturer Crocs Inc., announced that it will buy out the remaining part of its sponsorship and leave the AVP summer beach volleyball tour this year as Crocs sales slipped.

AVP Chief Executive Jason Hodell, who took over in April, has been trying to make the volleyball tour operator profitable after years of losses sustained as a public company.

Staff reporter David Nusbaum can be reached at dnusbaum@labusinessjournal.com or at (323) 549-5225, ext. 236.

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