Transcript of Donna Orender Interviews Following LifeLock/Mercury Press Conference
Q: How did this deal come to be?
Orender: “We sat down a while ago and said, “Strategically, how do we really capitalize?’. First we said, ‘Let's look at the marketplace.’ There really seemed to be a need for companies to be able to access value, to be able to stand out from a crowd. We said, 'OK, we have all those assets, how can we combine them in a way that trully differentiates?’
“We put together this package; we called it a marquee partnership because that's what it is. It provides an opportunity for a company to be big and have real marquee value. We said let's go out there and put the kind of elements in it that really work for a company.”
Q: Was this a League-designed initiative?
Orender: “We worked with the teams. Our style is we conceptualize, but then we talk to the teams and we bring it to them. They finesse, they fine-tune, they refine, because ultimately in their market they're going to make it work and so it's important they offer that. And that's what Phoenix did. They're an unbelievable organization, and they took the lead.”
Q: Do you worry whether some teams can't do this kind of deal?
Orender: “I would say I worry every day about everything, but that's my job. That said, I think this infusion of this kind of support is positive for everybody. There are very positive discussions going on in the marketplace right now and I would estimate there could be another one this season.”
Q: Do you think fans will be confused if they turn on the TV and see a LifeLock logo and wonder who's playing?
Orender: “I don't because I think based on the way they're going to see them, where there's print around them, if it's online or on television, people will know.”
Q: In European soccer, when you see AIG, do you know who it is?
Orender: “I do.“
Q: Anyone else?
Orender: “There are, because eventually if I'm interested, I'll find out who they are. I'll take the next step.
“And you know, for LifeLock, the value for them is if someone knows them as the LifeLock team, that's going to keep them in this game a very long time.”
Q: Did you want the Phoenix logo to be more prominent?
Orender: Orender: “I think we're learning all together. I think as we started out everyone felt real positive about this layout. And so we're going to pursue that.”
Q: Is the American sports fan tolerant of disruption to what they consider the norm?
Orender: “In a sense there's an implied paradox in your question, because if they weren't tolerant of something that was different, the WNBA couldn't have made 13 seasons…because essentially, we are different. So this is just a continuation. I really believe as I said about (our being a) groundbreaking presence in the sports marketplace and I think our fans totally understand that for us to continue to be vital and grow, we're going to create relationships that are going to be able to afford that the property that they love continues.”
Q: Might some teams may not have as much need for a deal like this as others?
Orender: “You talk about need; I'm going to tell you the ability to partner with a major proactive marketing company is more than just dollars. Yes, dollars are important. But it's the validation, it's the credibility. Someone is saying publicly, ‘We think you are fantastic.’ It's the marketing dollars they are going to use. It's saying, 'I'm going to take Diana and I'm going to put her in some advertising,’ or Cappie. All those things we know are the bedrock of sports today.
“What was behind the NBA growing? They had stars, but who dropped millions and millions and millions of dollars into those stars? Nike did. Michael Jordan was a great player, but it wasn't the NBA who spent those millions, it was Nike.”
Q: The Bulls never took Bulls or Chicago off their jersey. Some people might say 'sellout! We're not buying.' What’s your reaction to that?
Orender: “That's ok. They probably didn't buy it before. Seriously, if somebody said, 'we're not going to buy your ticket now,' I'd be worried. But I don't think so. I think people are going to buy more tickets now. If somebody says 'sellout' they probably weren't a buyer.”
Q: Will teams have to get clearance from the WNBA on future deals?
Orender: “We work with all our teams on the companies that would come to them.”
Q: If this new trend continues, how interested is league in finding something that makes sense?
Orender: “At one point when we were looking at Kansas City as a potential market, at that point you wanted to call the team the Kansas City Sprint because that's the home headquarters for a company like that. But that's going to come from the marketers at these companies and the teams and their innovation and creativity to find each other.
“There are categories teams are cleared and not cleared in. There are companies we currently have deals with that prohibit us selling to competitors. “
“There is great clarity about who has an exclusive and who doesn't. Whoever is there, we honor that.”