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Red Sox Exec VP Lou Gorman continues to pursue a possible two-game exhibition against the Mets in Dublin, "tentatively scheduled for early March 1996." Gorman said that MLB is trying to secure sponsors for the series, which "would further the goal of baseball interest internationally" (Nick Cafardo, BOSTON GLOBE, 11/29).
The baseball strike and the work stoppage in the NHL has thrown a "curve into John Labatt Ltd.'s plan to spin off its sports and entertainment holding, worth more than $1B." Analysts said that the Toronto beer manufacturer faces uncertainty over the value of its sports properties, which include interests in the Blue Jays, The Sports Network (TSN) cable channel, and SkyDome. Analyst Michael Palmer of Equity Research Associates in Toronto: "Labatt's whole empire or structure, has been thrown into disarray by the labor disruptions." Labatt is also saddled by the C$720M investment purchase into a Mexican brewery that "loaded Labatt with debt and raised doubts" among shareholders about the corporate strategy. Labatt had hoped to reduce its stake in some holdings and offer 49% of assets in a public offering, but company spokesperson Lorne Stephenson said the baseball strike has made "spinoff plans a little more difficult" (Marina Strauss, Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 11/30).
This week's BUSINESS WEEK looks at the NBA's "fast break overseas." With revenues over $1B and U.S. arenas filled to 92% of capacity, Commissioner David Stern is now looking to Europe, Latin America and, "especially to Asia," to expand the hot product. Stern hopes to "have all the NBA's business opportunities -- in TV, merchandise, and events -- staffed and running at full speed on six continents" in the next two years. The NBA is especially strong in Australia, Israel, and Japan -- with Germany and Britain "surging dramatically." Allen Furst, of D&F Group Ltd., a event sponsorship agency in Washington, DC: "Of U.S. pro sports, the NBA is No. 1 in international expansion and awareness." Stern's global plan is for TV to bring basketball into 140 countries, making the NBA Game of the Week into a worldwide "staple", while "holding in reserve commercial time on each overseas channel that it can sell" to marketers such as Coca-Cola, IBM, McDonald's, and Nike (Desens & O'Reilly, BUSINESS WEEK, 12/5 issue).
"Sniping" -- a "guerilla brand of outdoor advertising that swathes construction sites, scaffolds, and other public property with poster-size ads" -- is proving to be a big boost for Turbo Sportswear in New York. Turbo is seeing its First Down line of parkas and vests become the "must have item of the season." The ads have been running only since September, but have made a big impact on the city's youth. The ad campaign, created by Manhattan-based ad agency Cain Associates, has tapped "into the trendsetting inner city market" and is being "launched in ethnic neighborhoods in Chicago, Detroit, Philadelphia, and Baltimore." One of the next step for First Down is a line of NFL- and MLB- licensed merchandise (Ylonda Gault, CRAIN'S NEW YORK, 11/28 issue).