SBD/6/Sponsorships Advertising Marketing

ADVERTISERS TRY TO ENDURE BASEBALL'S LONGEST WINTER

     "It is universally accepted that the presence of minor
leaguers will not hold back coverage of baseball once the season
starts.  And sponsors apparently are willing to chance it because
there is no substitute for baseball in the summer," writes Jack
Craig in this morning's BOSTON GLOBE.  Turner Broadcasting's head
of sales Mark Mariani:  "(Sponsors) don't want to be on the
outside looking in in case they settle the next day."  Anheuser-
Busch has re-upped with The Baseball Network (NBC & ABC), as well
as TBS, ESPN and 27 local broadcasts (the Brewers have an
exclusivity deal with Miller).  But Anheuser-Busch VP for Sports
Marketing Tony Ponturo "said a financial safety valve is in place
for the uncertain future."  Ponturo:  "All of our deals will
contain audience guarantees.  A rating decline will be prorated."
Ponturo added that A-B could pull out if replacement players are
a "turn off":  "We wouldn't want to be associated with a clearly
negative, awkward situation" (BOSTON GLOBE, 1/6).  But The
Baseball Network CEO Ken Schanzer admits that there is much
confusion among TBN sponsors.  Some (such as True Value Hardware)
have moved their money elsewhere.  Schanzer:  "The complexity of
this thing is overwhelming" (SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, 1/9 issue).
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