SBD/4/Sponsorships Advertising Marketing

SELLING BASEBALL'S RE- ENTRY II: WHAT WILL THE SPONSORS DO?

     IN THE FOLD:  Miller Brewing began running a TV ad Sunday
depicting two fans "orchestrating" a settlement with help from
Miller Lite beer.  Miller also said that they have renegotiated
the terms of its agreements with the 12 teams the company
sponsors.  Reebok spokesperson Dave Fogelson, whose company ran
ads featuring Frank Thomas during the strike, said everything is
"pretty much business as usual" (N.Y. TIMES, 4/4).  Gillette has
given the "go-ahead for its traditional World Series promotion
(AP/ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 4/4).  Anheuser-Busch VP/Corporate
Media & Sports Marketing Tony Ponturo: "We were essentially
sticking with baseball."  But, Ponturo also said "if the ratings
are down and the audience are down, we will adjust our
sponsorships accordingly" (L.A. TIMES, 4/4).
     SPONSORS PULLING BACK:  Coca-Cola sports marketing
spokesperson Ben Deutsch said the company, which has local deals
with 24 of the 28 teams, has "asked for a significant reduction,
up to half, in our sponsorship fees."  Deutsch emphasized that
the company's "determination to lower its costs will not change
with the settlement" (N.Y. TIMES, 4/4).  More Deutsch: "We base
our sponsorship on two things:  likability and predictability.
From where we're sitting, the jury is still out on likability. As
for predictability, you used to be able to count on Opening Day,
the first ball thrown out at Riverfront Stadium. ... That's
certainly changed from last year" (Steve Fairaru, BOSTON GLOBE,
4/4).  Texaco said they would not rescind on their decision not
to distribute All-Star fans ballots at their service stations
(N.Y. TIMES, 4/4).  Nickelodeon will not reopen its special kids
theme park at Shea Stadium when the season begins, with
Nickelodeon officials uncertain whether they would reopen before
summer (ELECTRONIC MEDIA, 4/3).
     THE BASEBALL NETWORK:  TBN President/CEO Ken Schanzer
"captured the bittersweet attitude prevailing yesterday" about
the game being back but sponsors being wary, by repeating the
punch line to an old joke:  "Other than that, how did you enjoy
the play, Mrs. Lincoln?"  More Schanzer: "I'm optimistic that
once the product gets back on the field, advertisers will see the
enduring strengths of baseball and they'll want to be back in the
game. ... But I'm not Pollyanna-ish.  We can't ignore the fact
we've been through a very difficult period."  Among the sponsors
who have signed on with TBN for '95:  Anheuser-Busch, Gatorade,
GM, MCI and Texaco.  Coca-Cola is still negotiating its level of
participation with TBN for '95 (N.Y. TIMES, 4/4).
     LOCAL TV: In Boston, WSBK-TV GM Stu Tauber notes the station
has lost the "prime selling time": "We only have three weeks to
sell all this stuff.  I have people who are already gone who are
never coming back" (AP/ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 4/4).  Tauber
estimates ad revenues on Red Sox games will drop as much as 25%
(BOSTON GLOBE, 4/4).
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