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In a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Miami, Fila claims that while Monica Seles "has remained out of tennis, the company has lost more than $6 million from a promotional deal gone fallow." The company says it has "another dilemma: As long as the contract is in effect, it can't sign another woman pro." Besides damages, the company also wants the court to determine whether the contract which runs through '96 is still valid. Fila signed Seles in '90, and obtained the exclusive right to market and promote a Monica Seles line of tennis products. They claim that tennis or no tennis, Seles "should have been making public appearances to promote the clothing lines produced for this year and next." Fila went ahead with production of the line of clothing because Seles' agent, Stephanie Tolleson of IMG, "made several assurances that she would play." It was not until April of this year, the suit says, that Tolleson declared Seles had no plans to return to pro tennis (David Lyons, MIAMI HERALD, 12/7).
Attention sponsors: the Jaguars are still trying to sell the naming rights to the "Gator Bowl" to a corporate sponsor. So far no company has come forward with the $300,000-$1M a year asking price (USA TODAY, 12/7)....Molson Breweries has lost a court fight against John Labatt Ltd.'s use of "Winchester Gold" for one of its beers. Molson argued that the name was too similar to Molson Golden, but the court said that Molson's trademark did not extend to the word "gold" or "golden" (Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 12/7).... Quaker Oats has completed its $1.7B tender offer for the shares of the Snapple Beverage Corp. (N.Y. TIMES, 12/7).... Investor Warren Buffett said he has not decided whether to remain on the board of USAir, but he did say that his $385M investment in the company was a mistake (WASHINGTON POST, 12/7)....INSIDE MEDIA's "Ear" column notes SPORTS ILLUSTRATED's launch of a new CD-ROM sponsored by De Beers diamond makers. Targeting the disk to young men, "the interactive De Beers messages on the disk help demystify the process of picking out a diamond engagement ring." But there are questions about the popularity of anything titled "The Year in Sports, 1994" (COWLES BUSINESS MEDIA, 12/6).
Others in the media and basketball have joined Cavaliers GM Wayne Embry in criticizing the Dennis Rodman/ Nike/Foot Action ad. In the spot, Rodman is shown physically threatening Santa over his Christmas wish-list. After listing Rodman's numerous rules infractions last season, Santa relents when told by an elf that he led the league in rebounds. Rodman's former coach Chuck Daly said the ad "is not one that makes him comfortable": "The guy you see at the end of the commercial, the guy who's smiling, that's the real Dennis Rodman. You see, they played on the bad side of him and showed you in the end what he's really all about, that smile." In New York, Mark Kriegel, who notes the spot was produced by DDB Needham for Foot Action stores, calls Nike an "accomplice": "The real craziness here is the exploitation -- perhaps even glorification -- of Rodman's craziness" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 12/7). In Washington, Thomas Boswell writes, "This Nike commercial galls me because the deceit at its center is so typical of much that we peddle to kids in the same package with music, movies and games" (WASHINGTON POST, 12/7).