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Tournament officials for the Wendy's Three Tour Challenge announced that Four Seasons Resorts and Club in Irving, TX will serve as the host for the October 24-25 event, which features three top golfers from the PGA, LPGA and Senior PGA tours. ABC will televise the event the weekend of December 17-18 (3-Tour Challenge)....The Bank of the West Classic Tennis Tournament and eWorld -- the online communication service from Apple Computer -- announced they will offer a live WorkingWoman Magazine seminar online on November 3. The seminar will be hosted by Kristin Norrgard, publisher of WorkingWoman, with guest Pam Shriver, former WTA President. The seminar will be held at the Oakland Coliseum Arena in conjunction with the Bank of the West Tennis Tournament (Apple/Bank of the West)....On the O.J. front, many on Madison Avenue are hoping Judge Lance Ito orders TV cameras out of the court room. Hertz will forgo all advertising during the trial; Ford has discouraged local agencies from "expanding their advertising to include the Bronco"; Court TV has rejected advertising for Florida Orange Juice. "Airing the trial at all is certain to disrupt numerous corporate advertising plans for what was shaping up as a bumper Christmas season" (PHILA. INQUIRER, 10/18)....Sears Merchandise Group announced that it has established a relationship with Television Production Partners, a recently formed venture that develops original TV programming projects. Sears will enjoy retail category exclusivity during the programs. Other advertisers will include: GM, McDonald's, AT&T, Clorox, Coca-Cola, Campbells, Reebok and Coors (Sears).
It's been a year since Michael Jordan retired from basketball. "And the return from air to earth [for the NBA] has been less bumpy than most would have thought." The NBA "managed to re-sign nearly all of its major sponsors for the coming season." And while no single star emerged to fill Jordan's shoes, a "team of young athletes," including Shaquille O'Neal, Anfernee Hardaway and Chris Webber, are "racking up endorsement deals." AD AGE's Jeff Jensen notes, the NBA "still towers over other" pro sports. The NBA renewed agreements with sponsors like Gatorade, Miller Brewing and Schick. Miller will hike spending on NBA media and promotions by 10% to $50M this season. Dick Strup, Miller Senior VP/Marketing: "It's our most valuable sports sponsorship. They generate creative marketing ideas. And they have David Stern." Jensen notes that NBA Commissioner David Stern earned applause from sponsors earlier this month by promising not to order a lockout and start the season. Sponsors were also happy with the league's decision to crack down on rough play. "A key marketing concern for the NBA this season is licensed products. For the first time, the league will distribute all-star game ballots through Foot Locker stores in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. Customers who vote will be presented with a variety of incentives to buy NBA-licensed items" (Jeff Jensen, AD AGE, 10/17 issue). FOR JORDAN? While Jordan's career change meant a change in ad strategy for some of makers of products he endorses, "no one has seen a corresponding decline in sales." However, many marketers "find their relationship" with Jordan at a crossroads. McDonald's is "reassessing the role Mr. Jordan will play in future advertising." Gatorade is defining Jordan's role in its future marketing plans, "which include international expansion." And Nike is looking to a "new generation of stars to supports its basketball business." Nike will not release sales figures for particular shoe lines, but some say sales of Air Jordans have declined. Andrew Gaffney, editor of Sporting Good Business: "There were definite signs of decrease, according to retailer reports. It's become a smaller part of Nike's business." Gaffney also noted the slip in Air Jordans could be part of an overall decline in "popularity of basketball shoes and apparel" (Jeff Jensen, AD AGE, 10/17 issue).
ESPN's Mike Tirico, "You may see more of those throwback uniforms the rest of the season. Why? Today the league told teams it is OK to wear them if you want. ...All the teams have to do is request the league before the game" ("Prime Monday," ESPN, 10/17).
Ackerley Communications Inc. has set up a subsidiary, Full House Sports & Entertainment, to market the Supersonics, Seattle's new CISL franchise and the Seattle Center Coliseum. The 50 person staff includes all current Sonics employees, except basketball operations and media relations personnel. Full House will handle all marketing, sales, concessions, production and retailing for the teams. In addition, the group will market concessions, suite sales, signage and sponsorship sales for the arena. The arena is currently undergoing renovation and will reopen in November '95. Former Sonics Exec VP John Dresel has been named president of Full House. Ackerley also controls three Seattle radio stations, five TV stations and billboard and airport ad companies (SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER, 10/18).