SBD/14/Sports Industrialists

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  • EXECUTIVE TRANSACTIONS

         GREG McELROY, formerly the Kings VP/Marketing, was named
    President of the IHL's Gulls.  The Gulls are completing their
    final season in San Diego before moving to play in the L.A.
    Sports Arena (L.A. IHL Club)....MELISSA ROSEN has joined the
    public relations department of The Topps Company as a publicist.
    She reports to Marty Appel, Dir of Public Relations (Topps).
    

    Print | Tags: People and Pop Culture
  • NAMES IN THE NEWS

         NANCY KERRIGAN told Boston's WBZ-TV that she was offered $5M
    to take the ice in a one-on-one competition with TONYA HARDING.
    Kerrigan: "No way.  They could make it 10.  It's just pointless."
    Kerrigan would not say who offered the money (AP/ATLANTA
    CONSTITUTION, 2/14).....DANIELA PESTOVA was revealed to be the
    cover model for this year's swimsuit issue of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED
    that hits newsstands this week ("Today," NBC, 2/14)....JOHN KRUK,
    after winning an Espy for "Best Entertainment by an Athlete" and
    walking up to the stage: "Been on strike for six months, that's a
    hell of a walk. ... Everyone's gotten up here and said thanks to
    their teammates, I'm a free agent, I have none, so the hell with
    you all too."  GEORGE SEIFERT, who won an Espy for "Coach/Manager
    of the Year" on his coaching days at Cornell: "I'm probably the
    first coach to win an award like this after losing to Columbia"
    (ESPN, 2/13)....  GRANT HILL made an appearance on the "Late
    Show."  Hill on meeting MIKE HOBAN, the 16-year-old who missed
    Foot Locker's Million Dollar Shot: "I felt bad for him, so I gave
    him $50" (CBS, 2/13)....JAN THOMPSON, VP/GM of Wilson Golf, is
    profiled in USA TODAY.  Thompson has been mentioned as a possible
    replacement for retiring LPGA Commissioner CHARLIE MEACHEM, but
    she says she's not interested.  Meachem:  "She's in a position at
    Wilson to do more for women in golf than in any other job" (USA
    TODAY, 2/14)....Former MLB player JIM BOUTON, on the owners:
    "They're united in this and they're proud of themselves. And even
    though they're going over a cliff, they're going over a cliff
    together and they feel good about that" ("Sports View," CNBC,
    2/13).
    

    Print | Tags: CBS, ESPN, Foot Locker/Venator Group, LPGA, MLB, NBC, Sports Illustrated, People and Pop Culture, Time Warner, Viacom, Walt Disney, Wilson Sporting Goods
  • THE STATE OF NBA PROPERTIES, THE NBA ABROAD, MULTIMEDIA

         THE SPORTS BUSINESS DAILY interviewed NBA Properties
    President Rick Welts during the week leading up to NBA All-Star
    Weekend.  In Part II, Welts addresses the focus of NBAP in '95,
    their international efforts, and their strategies for dealing
    with new interactive technology.
         THE DAILY:  What is the state of NBA Properties at the All-
    Star break?
         WELTS:  You're talking to us at an interesting time, because
    we are undergoing a major transition.  It is the result of having
    a maturing domestic business that has grown at an incredible rate
    over the last twelve years, and the entrance into the phase of
    our business where we can be truly described as a global
    property.  We've had aspirations to be that for a long time, but
    the infrastructure, the consumer interest, the sponsorship and
    television interest are at a point right now where you could
    truly describe us that way.  So, it's a huge change in our
    organization.
         THE DAILY:  Is NBA Properties the instrument the league uses
    to spearhead its entry into new markets?
         WELTS:  At the core, if you put it in a circle, you would
    have the game, the players and the teams.  What NBA Properties
    does is deal with everything that surrounds that circle that is
    an opportunity.  We think of ourselves as content.  So whether
    that's television programming, consumer products, publishing,
    trading cards, non-game programming --whatever it is -- those are
    all the businesses that we're engaged in.  And, NBA Properties
    has the mission to try to expand that from a North American
    business to an international business.
         THE DAILY:  What is television's role in opening new
    international markets?
         WELTS:  Television leads.  We are now in 148 countries.  We
    are the most widely distributed sports television property in the
    world on a year-in and year-out basis, putting aside the Olympics
    and the World Cup.  But, in terms of revenue generation, the rest
    of the world is not in the rights fee payment game the way U.S.
    broadcasters are.  It sets the stage and sets the atmosphere for
    your product to be successful, but it doesn't generate nearly the
    kind of dollars that we're used to from our American model.
    Because of that, we've gone a couple of additional directions in
    the media area.  One, we're now producing programming dedicated
    to just one market [e.g.  Japan, Germany, U.K. -- with Mexico
    under discussion] ... Then, what I think is most unique, we've
    created for an advertiser a syndication or un-wired network so
    that we retain, wherever possible, inventory in our own game
    broadcasts.  It makes it possible for us to go to Coca-Cola or
    Nike for example, and say, we, through New York, have an
    opportunity to give you a presence in every single broadcast of
    an NBA game or of our half-hour highlight show, "NBA Action"
    which airs in 130 countries.  We can actually do the sale on the
    commercial insertions before the tapes are ever delivered to the
    broadcasters.  That is something nobody is doing, and it has been
    part of our strategy to create media opportunities for a few
    companies that are truly going to be global in nature with us.
    That already is Coke, Nike and Reebok, but I think that list is
    going to include IBM, also AT&T and McDonald's -- companies that
    see basketball and the audience we're reaching working for them
    not just in North America, but also the world.
         THE DAILY:  Are there international markets that are
    particularly hot for the NBA?
         WELTS:  Believe it or not, I would say that the hottest
    market for NBA basketball outside North America is Australia. ...
    It's really an amazing market for us.  From there, I would say
    that Western Europe, by far, represents our biggest opportunity.
    Germany, France, Spain, Italy and the U.K. -- the five markets
    that we're focusing the majority of our attention on -- have the
    most immediate economic opportunity for the NBA.  We're also
    focusing a lot of time and attention on Asia.  Europe is today's
    opportunity; Asia is our 20-year opportunity.
         THE DAILY:  What are the league's plans to move into multi-
    media and other interactive technologies?
         WELTS:  Because this is changing so fast we have created a
    task force within our own company that is dealing with every new
    opportunity -- many that come knocking on our door, but also
    going out proactively and trying to identify the path we want to
    follow.  Historically, we tend to sit back a little longer than
    others to try to sort out the options and take a solid first step
    in any new area.  We didn't have a CD-ROM product prior to this
    year.  Microsoft's CD-ROM NBA product on the history of the NBA
    did tremendously well at the holidays, and I think it was the
    result of a lot of time and effort deciding what the first entry
    into the CD-ROM market should be for us.  We're spending a huge
    amount of time deciding what exactly our presence should be on
    the Internet rather than just jumping into it.  We're going to be
    there, and we're going to be there very soon, but we didn't jump
    in the first chance we got.  You can see that in our direct
    broadcast satellite service with DirecTV that was launched this
    year.  It was something we could have done a year ago.  We really
    believe that the beauty of being content, as I described us
    before, is whoever figures out how to get that information
    superhighway into your home needs content and products that
    people are interested in.  And we are lucky enough to be in one
    of those businesses that can provide a lot of valuable content.
    So whether it's going to come in through your phone line, through
    your cable television, through a dish on your house, the NBA is
    going to be there.  We are devoting a lot of people's time to
    focusing on the path we should be taking in a lot of these
    technologies.
         THE DAILY:  With all the focus internationally, are there
    concerns about maintaining the domestic audience?
         WELTS:  There's no question that in the center of our world
    are the North American teams, the players, and our fans.  And
    nothing we do can ignore that core.  The intense focus on the
    health of that core is what allows us to do all these other
    things.  As soon as we take our eye off of that, none of the rest
    of this is going to matter.
    

    Print | Tags: ATT, Coca-Cola, DirecTV, IBM, McDonalds, Microsoft, NBA, Nike, Reebok, People and Pop Culture
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