SBD/7/Sponsorships Advertising Marketing

FOREMAN'S VICTORY -- BOOST FOR HBO, BABY-BOOM MARKETERS

     The repercussions of George Foreman's victory over Michael
Moorer for the WBA and IBF heavyweight titles were felt in the
worlds of cable TV and marketing.  HBO will benefit from the
Foreman victory because Foreman "produces huge ratings."  HBO
Exec Producer Ross Greenburg: "The public is not going to care
who George fights.  He can pick and choose who he wants and wait
for (Mike) Tyson" (Bob Raissman, N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 11/6).  On
ESPN, Al Bernstein said a Tyson-Foreman matchup was unlikely due
to Foreman's age by the time Tyson is out of prison and ready to
fight again ("SportsCenter," 11/6).  As for Foreman's marketing
appeal, Diana Henriques reports that his victory "may be enough
to lift the new heavyweight champion of boxing into stardom in
the lucrative business of celebrity endorsements."  Nova
Lanktree, president of Lanktree Sports Celebrity Network: "Just
think of the symbolism of this victory -- at 45 years of age.
That has a huge appeal to baby boomers.  I would be very
surprised if he doesn't hit the market now with a tremendous
impact."  Henriques notes, "there are caveats:  Madison Avenue
doesn't usually consider boxing as a mainstream sport.  Moreover,
the buyers of celebrity endorsements have grown nervous in recent
years as devastating scandals have engulfed several popular
icons" --Michael Jackson, Mike Tyson and O.J. Simpson.  Even
before his victory, Foreman had garnered "several substantial
regional and national endorsement contracts," like Nike, Doritos
and Meineke.  But with title belts, he becomes a "major contender
in the booming 'graying athlete' division of the celebrity
endorsement industry," joining Jimmy Connors and Nolan Ryan.  And
Foreman's personal life "seems exemplary," which could give
Foreman "extra post-victory appeal," because he seems "more safe"
(N.Y. TIMES, 11/7).
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ESPN, HBO, Nike, Time Warner, Walt Disney

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