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Corporate Advertisers Sticking With Red Sox Despite Early Season Struggles

BOSTON (CBS) - The Boston Red Sox could be called the Teflon baseball team, at least in terms of corporate sponsorships.

This season has endured a barrage of negative media attention about everything from the team's dismal on-field performance (at press time the Red Sox were tied for last place with New York, at 5 1/2 games out in the American League East) to pitcher Josh Beckett's ill-timed golf game while resting a stiff muscle behind his right shoulder.

But corporate sponsors, who usually sign multi-year contracts, are showing no signs of wavering. The team's brand has years of goodwill built up, an asset experts say fried chicken and players' attitudes have done little to damage so far.

Indeed, the team's and individual player's corporate sponsors seem to be sticking close to the team.

Troup Parkinson, senior vice president of corporate sponsorships at the Boston Red Sox, says he's not getting push back from Red Sox sponsors. Since 2002, when Parkinson joined the franchise, the team's sponsorships have doubled to around 100. Sponsors that have inked deals during the past few months — since last September's epic collapse — include Boston's Park Plaza hotel and Waterville Valley ski area.

"What I have noticed about corporate partners is that they're fans of the team," said Parkinson. "You talk about, 'are people worried about Josh Beckett?' They're committing to the brand, and to the ballpark. We don't see a lot of partners leave."

Parkinson said a corporate sponsor's business goal — marketing to thousands of Boston's sports fans during the summer — is extremely different from the goals of a typical sports fan. Fans are getting angry because they want to see their team win.

A typical sponsorship deal is between three and five years, said Parkinson.

Lisa van der Pool of the Boston Business Journal can be seen weekdays at 6 a.m. on WBZ-TV.

You can follow Lisa on Twitter at @lvanderpool.

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