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Marketing and advertising aren’t the best places to be right now. But give Fenway Sports Group credit, they’re really trying:

On Friday, the group plans to announce a marketing partnership with the world’s top bull-riding circuit, the Professional Bull Riders. The deal, which gives FSG a percentage of new sponsorship pacts, makes FSG the exclusive sales representative for the Colorado-based PBR, whose main circuit, the 34-event Built Ford Tough Series, now offers $11 million in prize money. PBR’s 1,200 riders also can compete in more than 250 other events on three lower-tier circuits PBR controls.

What’s smart about this deal for FSG is that PBR isn’t looking for just marginal gains; they’re trying to develop a corporate side almost from the ground up. Which means this could be a huge opportunity for FSG, given that PBR already has an established audience, and is a tremendous growth candidate.

Remember that FSG is already very intertwined in that demographic; it owns half of Roush Fenway Racing, which it bought for a pittance in 2007. Through the race team, the Red Sox, and all of their other projects, FSG has likely developed direct relationships with many top advertisers. As a marketing firm, that is priceless.

I’ve said it many times before, but it makes no sense that other major sports franchises aren’t trying to compete in this space. Sports teams control marketing channels that few other entities can match, and generally have tremendous brand recognition. Leveraging this through a marketing subsidiary makes perfect sense, and the Red Sox appear to be doing a great job of this.

Feedback? Write a comment, or e-mail the author at shawn(AT)squawkingbaseball.com

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