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         USA Track and Field Exec Dir Ollan Cassell yesterday
    announced the formation of a 5-meet series of indoor track
    telecasts on NBC in February and March.  The meets will be shown
    on consecutive Saturdays, three via tape delay, beginning with
    the February 3rd Chemical Bank Millrose Games in New York.  The
    other meets:  Reno Games, Key Corp Track & Field Classic in
    Cleveland, Mobil Invitational in Northern VA and the USA Mobil
    Championships in the GA Dome (USATF).   BEHIND THE SCENES:  The
    series is a joint venture between USATF and IMG, the sports
    marketing firm that owns the Millrose Games as well as the
    Cleveland and Reno meets.  TWI, IMG's TV arm, is producing the
    meets.  So far, 13 athletes have been signed, including Jackie
    Joyner-Kersee and Mike Powell, with 21 more being sought.  USATF
    has lined up sponsors Mobil, Nike and Visa, "but at amounts lower
    than originally projected" (Dick Patrick, USA TODAY, 11/18).
    While Mobil and Visa have confirmed their participation, Nike
    Public Relations Manager Tom Feuer noted: "We've had discussions
    and correspondence with TWI, but there have been no contracts
    signed."  Besides producing the meets, USATF and TWI will sell ad
    time during the telecasts (N.Y. TIMES, 11/18).  NBC Senior VP of
    Programming Jon Miller:  "This circuit will give us a great
    opportunity to provide [U.S.] audiences with a look at Olympic
    hopefuls and build a rooting interest for the next wave of track
    and field athletes who will be competing in Atlanta" (USATF).
         IMG'S ROLE:  Mobil wanted Boston in the series, but IMG and
    USATF could not agree with the Commonwealth Invitational.  The
    Sunkist Invitational in L.A. wanted to join, if not for IMG.
    Sunkist Exec Dir Al Franken: "I think IMG is trying to take over
    the sport, and they're getting help of Ollan Cassell.  But I hope
    this thing flies.  Track and Field really needs a shot in the
    arm" (Dick Patrick, USA TODAY, 11/18).  Sean McManus, TWI Senior
    VP: "The Mobil Indoor Track & Field Circuit reflects IMG's
    increasing commitment to the sport of track and field" (USATF).
         EVERYONE HAPPY?  Some athletes and their reps "are griping"
    that the $1.35M paid to NBC "would be better spent in enticing
    athletes to compete, claiming more stars would then have
    attracted network coverage and dollars" (Mike Fish, ATLANTA
    CONSTITUTION, 11/18).

    Print | Tags: IMG, NBC, Nike, Olympics, Visa
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