ESPN Begins Laying Off Around 100 Personalities Where Does NASCAR Go With Dale Jr. Leaving? Manfred: Bush-Jeter Deal For Marlins Not Done David Abrutyn's Career Intertwined With Caps History FedEx Signs Multiyear NFL Extension Learfield Brings On Gil Beverly, Jack Patterson Officials Break Ground On Pro Football HOF Village Hotel Woods' Endorsement Deals Suffer From Layoff Minding My Business: Williams Martini Racing's Richard Berry ESPN Cuts Drive Discussion On Twitter
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Reebok Int'l unveiled a new spot featuring White Sox slugger Frank Thomas touting the Big Hurt line of baseball and cross- training shoes. TV ads aired on TBS and MTV Sports; Print ads will soon break in INSIDE SPORTS, SPORT and THE SPORTING NEWS (AD AGE, 2/20 issue)....For the fifth straight year, Footaction USA will offer college scholarships to high school seniors who have successfully combined academics with athletics with its Hooked on Sports Not Drugs or Violence program (Footaction)....Wendy's founder Dave Thomas and SKI Magazine are teaming up to help 100,000 children awaiting adoption by participating in the Wendy's SKI Family Challenge in Keystone, CO, February 23-26. Proceeds from the newly created national ski event will benefit the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption (Wendy's). ....Mars Inc. announced that it was dismissing two ad agencies of the Saatchi & Saatchi Company, ending a 40-year relationship. Mars said BBDO would join D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles and Grey Advertising to become the company's "core international agencies" (N.Y. TIMES, 2/22)....The earthquake that shook Kobe, Japan, took a divet in the golf ball industry. Maxfli and Slazanger both have plants in Kobe. Maxfli's plant, already old, will move to another location, while Slazenger will repair its plant and re-open in late April or early May (USA TODAY, 2/22)....In the current issue of CRAIN'S CHICAGO BUSINESS, Judith Crown examines some of the reasons for Sportmart's poor 4th Quarter showing. While the company blames losses on unseasonably warm winter weather and flooding in CA, where half its stores are located, analysts say competitors such as The Sports Authority "are taking a toll" (CRAIN'S CHICAGO BUSINESS, 2/20-26 issue)....Columnist Bernie Lincicome on the WTA's decision not to accept Tampax's title sponsorship offer: "Women's tennis may be the first sport to ever blush its way out of business" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 2/22).
With labor strife and an apparent change in tastes "by some fickle consumers," marketers in the $10B sports licensing industry are asking if the "boom days are over," writes Terry Lefton in the current issue of BRANDWEEK. Aside from the damage caused by labor unrest, licensed apparel "seems to have lost some of the cachet that made it a fashion" over the past few years. Authentic and replica jerseys are now the only licensed apparel showing double digit growth. The Sports Authority Chair Jack Smith: "There was a change in direction by consumers even prior to the labor unrest. It's moved from licensing to a completely different look, an outdoor look, with brown shoes instead of sneakers and rather than a team shirt or jacket with them, it's a red flannel plaid shirt" (BRANDWEEK, 2/20 issue). THE LICENSEES: Lefton notes that larger companies are moving in the licensing business, while smaller companies may be getting pushed out. Most pro sports leagues are eliminating their lower tier licensees. And companies such as Apex and Logo 7 that grew because of their licenses have "sale rumors swirling" around them (BRANDWEEK, 2/20).
Richard Petty, country singer Tracy Lawrence, NASCAR driver Rodney Combs and World Championship Wrestling (WCW) announced the formation of a unique marketing alliance. The alliance includes WCW sponsorship of Petty-owned cars, and ones driven by Combs. As part of the agreement, Hulk Hogan will be at the Atlanta Busch Grand National race to help Combs unveil his WCW car, which Lawrence will use to promote his concerts, some of which take place at various NASCAR events.....Bausch & Lomb has announced the association of Ray-Ban sunglasses with NASCAR and select Winston Cup and Busch National Division teams. More than 40 drivers and teams will represent Ray-Ban during the '95 season.... HEALTHSOUTH will be associate sponsor on the Bobby Allison Motorsports Winston Cup team and the Zook Busch Grand National team (ERNIE SAXTON'S MOTORSPORTS SPONSORSHIP NEWS).
The CFL's Toronto Argonauts unveiled a new logo and team colors yesterday. The team's logo features the familiar "A" on a shield held by a helmeted warrior from the mythological tale of Jason and the Argonauts. The team's colors are now dark blue, slate green and silver ensemble which replaces the dark and light blue combination (TORONTO STAR, 2/22). The team will unveil its new uniform look and secondary logos at a later date (Argonauts).