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Last night on CBS' "60 Minutes," Morley Safer profiled IMG's Mark McCormack and the firm's influence on youngsters in tennis. In his report, Safer examines IMG's "research and development" program at the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy, "the holy of holies" to future champions and their parents. Safer said the Academy is occupied by "future stars, future burnouts, brats and kids who just won't hack it." Academy member Monique Villi, age 9, contends that her goal is to be "number one in the whole world." Villi says that by age 16 she expects to be earning "probably a couple million dollars" a year. Academy student Greg Hill, age 16, professes that in four years he expects to make "around seven to ten million" a year: "I've got to think of an image for me." Hill adds: "They need someone like me to fire up the game." BOSTON GLOBE columnist Bud Collins alleges that tennis agents are like "drug pushers at the playgrounds" when they recruit children. Collins adds that IMG, with its own Academy, "doesn't have to be out on the playground, they own the playground." McCormack maintains that IMG is not "in favor of the unrealistic exploitation of young kids on the tennis court. But the problem is that parents, perhaps, are the greediest of all." But Bollettieri admits that he "has created a monster": "I feel that the sport has to be examined very thoroughly." Safer concludes that the Academy teaches children that "winning isn't everything, endorsements are everything" ("60 Minutes," CBS, 10/2).
Molson Breweries will start production of Asahi's Super Dry Beer under a licensing agreement reached earlier this year. Molson will make the beer in Canada and import it to the United States (TORONTO STAR, 9/30)....Dr. Pepper/7-Up Chair & CEO John Albers said the companies will boost '94 sales at least 7% to more than $760M. Albers noted that Dr. Pepper/7-Up will be signing joint-venture agreements or licensing master bottlers in several new overseas markets in the coming months, but that the company would not be taken over by Cadbury-Schweppes PLC (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 10/3).
Calvert DeForest, better known as David Letterman's sidekick, Larry "Bud" Melman, will promote Pro Line, an NFL- licensed line of authentic clothing worn by players and coaches. The TV ads will feature Melman impersonating such NFL players as Steve Young and Bruce Smith (THE DAILY).... All of the St. Louis Blues radio and TV spots have been sold out for the season (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 10/1)....Kelly Russell Studios, the nation's leading maker of fine art sports collectibles, and Egghead Software have teamed up in a marketing effort for Major League Baseball's first CD-ROM. Computer users will receive a free Kelly Russell Studios limited edition lithograph of a current MLB star with the purchase of the CD-ROM (THE DAILY).
With Reebok suspending golfer John Daly's contract until he returns to the PGA tour, Wilson Sporting Goods is "evaluating its relationship" with Daly and will make an announcement this week (ADVERTISING AGE, 10/3 issue).