SBD/29/Sponsorships Advertising Marketing

A LOOK INSIDE NFL PROPERTIES -- FOR '94 AND BEYOND

     Following a successful year in '94, NFL Properties reveals
their merchandising plans for '95-96 in the current issue of
SPORTING GOODS BUSINESS.
     INSIDE THE NUMBERS:  A SGB survey of 207 retailers,
representing 1,935 stores, shows that sales of NFLP merchandise
increased 4.1% in '94.  Department stores and mass merchants had
the strongest year with sales growth of 10.1%, but sporting good
stores/team dealers "were not as optimistic, signaling a growth"
of only 1.1% over the past year.  Due in part to the success of
the Lions, Packers, Bears, and Vikings, the North Central region
showed the greatest increase at 6.3%, with the West up 5%, the
South up  2.7%, and the Northeast up 2%.  The Northeast's weak
showing was due largely to the decline of the Giants and Eagles,
and the warm weather at Christmas.  Of top selling brands,
Starter led three of four categories, including headgear,
fleece/sweatshirts, and outerwear (Greg Pesky, SGB, 3/95).
     BACK TO THE FUTURE:  With sales possibly hitting a ceiling,
NFLP plans to "focus more closely on the core equity of football
and the NFL," including its three-tiered merchandising plan and
"the program each tier umbrellas:" Performance (Pro Line),
Lifestyle (Throwbacks), and Family (NFL Kids, NFL at Home, Back
to School, and Game Day).  Part of the plan is also to add large
apparel companies such as Reebok, Russell, and VF Corp to reduce
the "base of licensees" and "create a greater scarcity" of
product to "revitalize demand."  NFLP VP/Worldwide Retail
Licensing Jim Connelly: "There is a feeling now that our product
is too spread out, that there is not enough innovation upstairs
and too much dumping of our product downstairs."  Connelly cites
Reebok's "marketing prowess" as a key component to the NFL Pro
Line, and says NFLP will continue to push jerseys by giving more
interpretations of the uniform, similar to the  Throwbacks.  NFLP
Dir of Youth Licensing Peter Lapointe said NFL Kids is an area
for more growth.  Lapointe says home products, back-to-school
merchandise, and video games are "untapped and growing areas"
that are perfect for children. Lapointe also wants promotions
that bring a "broad spectrum of corporations together to drive"
retail sales.  Lapointe: "Let's use McDonald's ads on Fox to
direct purchases at JCPenney stores where all kids licenses are
displayed in one shop concept."  Also stressed is "NFL at Home,"
which includes domestic products, electronics and home
furnishings, among others (Alisa Klemm, SGB, 3/95 issue).
     GONE HOLLYWOOD:  NFLP Dir of Marketing Doug Quinn feels the
"Hollywood Factor" or the "link between TV drama and sports may
be growing stronger."  For example, expect to see NFL players
with cameos on "Melrose Place" and other Fox shows, as well as
NFL merchandise placements.  Quinn sees this as a way to appeal
to women, much as the way the film "Little Giants" worked with
children.  Besides Hollywood, the division is also "committed to
supporting sales at the retail level."  NFLP Senior Dir of
Marketing Ray Katz:  "We really feel we are way ahead of the
other leagues in the area of retail support."  The league will
continue with successful promos like the "Painted Bus Promotion"
where fans win a trip to an NFL game on the painted bus and
receive a Starter bag and a tailgate party catered by McDonald's.
Katz also plans to work closer with retailers like JC Penney,
Foot Locker, Macy's and The Sports Authority regarding the way
"we present our product in the store, and the way we support it
in an environment that is appealing, exciting and sets up apart."
In addition, NFLP may look to "design permanent and semi-
permanent fixturing similar to that offered" by Reebok and Nike
(Alisa Klemm, SGB, 3/95).
     1994 WINNERS:  The issue gives its top three prizes for the
SGB/NFLP Retail Merchandising Awards.  First prize went to Carson
Pirie Scott and VP Chuck Luckenbill for "his visual
quarterbacking of the retailer's NFL-specific display at its
Chicago location" (SGB, 3/95 issue).
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