SBD/18/Sponsorships Advertising Marketing

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).
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Related Topics:

Indiana Pacers, NBA, Reebok

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