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  • LABOR STRIFE COULD PUT BRAKES ON NBA MARKETING

         The "mighty marketing machine" that is the NBA is "grinding
    to a halt because of an all-too-familiar monkey wrench:  a labor
    dispute with its players," writes Jeff Jensen in this week's AD
    AGE.  "Worse, the threat of a prolonged imbroglio between NBA
    owners and players is jeopardizing the already shaky health of
    the $11 billion sports licensing industry, just as it was
    beginning to appear that all four leagues... were regaining the
    synergy that's required for the industry to thrive."  According
    to Jensen, "many licensees say retailers are preparing for the
    worst by ordering less NBA merchandise than usual, and those
    retailers that have yet to place orders, like the influential
    national chain Pro Image, say they are taking a wait-and-see
    posture."  Jensen also says "a major licensing deal" with Reebok
    is "on hold" pending resolution of the NBA dispute.  Tom Shine, a
    Pacers' Board member and President & CEO of Logo 7:  "I'm very
    concerned.  The track record has been set by baseball.  The map
    they've drawn has shown retailers the way the game has to be
    played."  Jensen reports that Logo 7 has "seen orders for NBA
    merchandise drop 25% from this time a year ago."  According to
    Jensen, "analysts say the NBA enjoyed a strong spring, propelled
    by an integrated marketing campaign created by Berlin Cameron
    Doly, (now Fallon McElligott Berlin), New York, that was
    unprecedented among pro sports leagues" -- even though numbers
    for the '94-95 season are not in yet (AD AGE, 7/17).
    

    Print | Tags: Indiana Pacers, NBA, Reebok
  • MARKETPLACE ROUND-UP

         L.A. Gear reported a fiscal second-quarter loss of $5.9M or
    $.34 cents a share, compared with an $11.8M, or $.59 cents a
    share, loss over the same period on '94.  L.A. Gear "warned that
    full-year sales may be affected after Wal-Mart Stores failed to
    adhere to a minimum annual-purchase agreement."  Wal-Mart will
    buy only $45M in L.A. Gear footwear, not the expected $80M (WALL
    STREET JOURNAL, 7/18). ....Converse's acquisition of Apex One
    will result in Converse-manufactured uniforms for the upcoming
    college basketball season at the Univ.'s of Georgia, Nebraska,
    Minnesota, South Carolina, and New Mexico (BRANDWEEK, 7/17).
    ....Advantage Int'l has a signed golfer Mark McCumber to a
    management contract (GOLF WEEK, 7/15 issue)....20th Century Fox
    has bought the rights to the screenplay for "The Curse of the
    Bambino," a comedy about a Red Sox fan trying to break the curse
    to help his dying father.  Casting will begin soon, and shooting
    will is scheduled for April (BOSTON GLOBE, 7/16)....Easton Sports
    of Burlington, CA, has signed the Yankees' Paul O'Neil and the
    Astros' Jeff Bagwell to endorsement contracts.  They will both
    use and endorse Easton batting gloves and wristbands (NSGA RETAIL
    FOCUS, 7/95 issue).... Baseball FanFest will make its first
    appearance outside North America when it goes to London next
    month for three days (MLB)....Kraft, who has re-upped their NFL
    sponsorship deal for a reported $3M, will run a national
    promotion with Kraft cheese, Oscar Meyer, and Louis Rich tying in
    21 NFL teams (BRANDWEEK, 7/17 issue)....The ESPN Chilton Sports
    Poll announced the addition of Toyota as a Charter Sponsor of its
    sports marketing research.  Toyota is the first auto company to
    purchase ESPN Chilton's research (ESPN Chilton)....PF Sports
    Ventures, a subsidiary of Photo File, will run their annual
    promotion offering fans a chance to win the title of "National
    Baseball Trivia Champion."  A scaled-down promo will be
    introduced this month in USA Today's BASEBALL WEEKLY, with the
    full program launched in '96 (Photo File)....The NFL's "Air It
    Out" four-on-four flag football tournament, presented by
    Budweiser, Gatorade, and Ocean Spray, will be in Detroit from
    August 12-13 (Lions).
    

    Print | Tags: Anheuser Busch, Boston Red Sox, Converse, Detroit Lions, ESPN, Houston Astros, MLB, New York Yankees, News Corp./Fox, NFL, Toyota, Wal Mart, Walt Disney, YankeeNets
  • NFL LOOKS TO RETAIL SEASON; PATRIOTS SEEN AS HOT NEW LOOK

         The '95-96 selling season for NFL-licensed merchandise is
    examined by Dana Parker of NSGA's RETAIL FOCUS.  Parker surveyed
    retailers and manufacturers on the coming season, and "although
    the market is becoming increasingly regionalized ... overall
    bookings are up and prospects look bright."  The Cowboys and
    49ers remain on top in popularity and most agree they are the
    only teams with national appeal.  But "almost everyone agrees"
    that 1995's "number three team appears to be the Patriots."  Rich
    Heller at Champion Products said Drew Bledsoe is "the hottest
    single player in replicas."  Of the rookies, Bengals' KiJana
    Carter is "creating the most excitement."  Among new and
    relocated teams, the expansion Panthers and Jaguars are creating
    little interest except "in their home markets," and sales of St.
    Louis Rams gear "are being hampered by a late start plus the fact
    they haven't changed colors."  Some retailers predict a new trend
    away from authentic, to "a gradual shift of interest to the
    fashion side."  Industry experts also cite the work stoppages in
    baseball and hockey as well as Reebok's entry into the NFL-
    licensed market as a boost to the NFL.  Steve Diamond of Gaylan's
    Trading Co. in Indiana said Reebok brings "some different looks
    ... They have the potential to do real well" (RETAIL FOCUS,
    7/95).
         NINERS THROW AWAY "THROWBACKS": The 49ers have shelved plans
    to wear a special jersey during the upcoming season, replacing
    their '55-replica "throwback" jersey with their standard gold and
    red look.  49ers President Carmen Policy said they had discussed
    a special uniform, but were talked out of the idea by the league.
    Policy said that team will "put together a 50th anniversary
    uniform for 1996 and will gain help in designing it from NFL
    Properties, players and TV networks" (Clark Judge, SAN JOSE
    MERCURY NEWS, 7/18).
         LOGO MADNESS: USA TODAY's "In Focus" scrutinizes new  logos
    for pro teams.  Logo changes won't happen next season in
    baseball, since the strike has put a "hold" on all new looks.
    MLB Properties VP/Design Services Anne Occi:  "The owners felt
    very strongly about not causing either our licensees, retailers
    or fans to have more additional costs or be stuck with
    inventory."  The Astros logo change in '94 is profiled as the
    team has moved into the top 10 in MLB-licensed merchandise sales.
    Occi said that alternative uniforms and second and third caps
    "are where the tide in baseball is going" (Gary Mihoces, USA
    TODAY, 7/18).
    

    Print | Tags: Cincinnati Bengals, Dallas Cowboys, Houston Astros, Jacksonville Jaguars, MLB, New England Patriots, NFL, Reebok, San Francisco 49ers, St. Louis Rams
  • NIKE SWOOPES CAMPAIGN TO CONTINUE TARGETING OF WOMEN

         Nike plans to begin its first campaign in October to
    leverage the company's "unofficial ties to the U.S. Women's
    Olympic Basketball Team," according to Steve Gelsi in BRANDWEEK.
    The Air Swoopes effort, linked to the show named after U.S.
    Women's team star Sheryl Swoopes, is the focal point of "an
    intensive pitch towards women."  The campaign features six
    Olympic team players -- Swoopes, Dawn Staley, Lisa Leslie, Teresa
    Edwards, and Ruthie Bolton-Holifield, all Nike sponsors -- and is
    expected to run through the '96 Olympics.  The first round of ads
    will be produced by Wieden & Kennedy, Portland.  Nike anticipates
    the campaign will run on ESPN and other nets, during women's
    college basketball, and U.S. women's team games.  According to
    Gelsi, the ads thematically follow earlier Nike spot on women's
    soccer and volleyball.  Nike Sports Marketing Manager Sue Levin
    "said positive feedback on the soccer ad compelled Nike to
    continue its emphasis on team and sport rather than individual
    stars" (BRANDWEEK, 7/17 issue).
    

    Print | Tags: ESPN, Nike, Walt Disney, Wieden Kennedy
  • ROLLER HOCKEY GOODS AND APPAREL HOT AT NSGA SHOW

         This morning's CHICAGO TRIBUNE looks at the "boom" in Roller
    Hockey.  A study released yesterday at the NSGA World Sports Expo
    in Chicago showed that in-line hockey is now played by 2.2
    million U.S. children and adults.  NSGA Assoc Dir of Research and
    Information Thomas Doyle:  "The only question I have is whether
    it will eventually overtake basketball.  I'm not sure it will,
    but I expect it to be close."  There are more than 400 in-line
    booths at the NSGA show, up from 250 last year.  The TRIBUNE's
    Bob Condor writes that most industry observes expect Nike, owner
    of manufacturer Canstar, to "fully glide into roller and street
    hockey apparel in the near future" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 7/18).
         WHAT'S HOT:  This week's NEWSWEEK looks at "The Good, the
    Bad, and the Ugly" at the NSGA show.  Among the highlights:
    "Sock-et," which enables runners to hold on to keys and cash in
    hidden pockets, and the "Walkvest," where 16 pounds of weights
    can added into pockets for true walking exercise enjoyment
    (NEWSWEEK, 7/24 issue).
    

    Print | Tags: Nike
  • SPONSORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES: FIESTA BOWL, KILLINGTON SKI DEALS

         The Fiesta Bowl is searching for a title sponsor for their
    game pitting the two top-ranked teams in the Bowl Alliance on
    January 2.  CBS will air the game.  Raycom in Charlotte, NC is
    handling. Call (212) 302-4072 if interested....The U.S. Women's
    National Team Gymnastics Training Center in Colorado Springs is
    looking to align with five additional corporate sponsors at costs
    ranging from $10,000 to $215,000. Call (719) 260-1893 (AD AGE,
    7/17 issue)....Killington Ski Resort in Vermont is seeking
    sponsors for its '95-96 skiing events program and snowboard
    program.  Sponsorships include on-site presence, corporate
    display, regional and national media coverage with exposure to
    over 1 million people.  Title sponsorships are $150,000 with
    event deals ranging from $2,000-15,000. If interested, contact
    Bret Smith at (802)-422-6735 (Killington).
    

    Print | Tags: CBS, Viacom
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