SBD/21/Sponsorships Advertising Marketing

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  • BENETTON HITS AIR WITH SPORTS-SYSTEM ADS; IPO COMING NEXT

         Benetton, parent of Prince Sports Group, launched its first
    ad for the company's SportsSystem division, which sells skis, ski
    boots, snowboards, tennis racquets, in-line skates and sports
    apparel.  The campaign, created by Olivier Toscani, Creative Dir
    for Benetton Group, runs with the theme, "Do You Play Life?"  The
    costs is estimated at $27M and the campaign will run through
    summer of '96 (AD AGE ONLINE, 7/21).  Benetton is planning a
    public offering in '97 (GOLF SHOP OPERATIONS PRO REPORT, 7/21).
    

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  • EX-NIKE SHOE PROMOTER VACCARO HOPES TO BRING LUCK TO ADIDAS

         Promoter Sonny Vaccaro, credited with once helping Nike
    corner the market on basketball stars, is now working to help
    Adidas boost its basketball marketability.  He is profiled in the
    PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER under the headline, "Promoter's shift opens
    new front in sneaker wars."
         HISTORY:  Vaccaro worked for Nike in promoting their line to
    players, coaches, and schools until he was fired because he
    started "a sideline as a marketing representative for a number of
    ballplayers."  Now he "wants the sports future stars to start
    thinking about Adidas."  Vaccaro is responsible for paying top
    dollars to college coaches who outfit their teams in Adidas,
    providing gear to high school teams with big basketball programs,
    offering cash for traveling expenses to amateur programs not
    affiliated with schools, and sponsoring "some of the most
    competitive youth teams" in New York, Chicago and Memphis.
         ADIDAS ON THE RISE?  Faye Landes, an analyst for Smith
    Barney, said that Adidas' product development "has been strong,"
    and that their grass-roots approach "has been successful."  Mike
    Jensen of the INQUIRER writes at the high school and amateur
    level, the "hot competition right now is between Nike and Adidas.
    ... Insiders say that for all its resources, Nike is at a
    disadvantage now, that nobody comes close to Vaccaro's network."
    For the first time, the companies have held their basketball
    camps simultaneously to "showcase" their talents, which Vaccaro
    said was done purposely to force players to choose between
    companies.  Adidas currently has John Starks, Dikembe Mutombo and
    Detlef Schrempf as their main endorsers, but "the future looks
    brighter."  St. John's sophomore Felipe Lopez is close to
    Vaccaro, and while Vaccaro said there was no certainty that Lopez
    would join Adidas, he speaks of the "great marketing potential
    the native of the Dominican Republic has in Latin America."
    Vaccaro is also looked as a key component in Adidas' push to sign
    Rasheed Wallace, as he has expressed interest in Adidas.  With a
    deal, Wallace is looking for "a pile of money," as well as stock
    options and personal input in the product (Mike Jensen,
    PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 7/21).
         NIKE STILL IN MIX TO MOVE AAU:  Charlotte officials, in
    their bid to lure the AAU national HQs away from Indianapolis,
    have "turned to Coca-Cola Bottling Co. to secure more financial
    backing," according to the CHARLOTTE BUSINESS JOURNAL.  Their
    move follows Nike's decision to scale back its investment in
    Charlotte's bid for the AAU.  Nike's support will mostly be in-
    kind contributions, such as shoes and equipment, but a capital
    investment is not yet out of the question.  NationsBank Exec VP
    Bill Covington:  "We're still talking to them -- they haven't
    said, 'Hell, no.' But we need some cash from somewhere" (Spanberg
    & Gott, CHARLOTTE BUSINESS JOURNAL, 7/24).
    

    Print | Tags: Bank of America, Coca-Cola, Nike, Washington Nationals
  • FROM THE MIDDLE OF THE FAIRWAY: GOLF NEWS & NOTES

         Tommy Armour Golf Co. is undergoing a "major expansion of
    its sales force," including the hiring of two new regional sales
    managers, Jim Grundberg and Dave Tobin.  Armour also plans to
    change their sales management to include four regional sales
    managers and a national accounts manager.  The company hopes the
    move will allow it to "execute a grass-roots sales and marketing
    effort in all regions of the country."....Gary McKennas has
    decided leave as Dir of U.S. Sales for Golf at Spalding Sports
    Worldwide for VP/Sales of the Americas at MacGregor Golf. McKenna
    is reportedly "one of the golf industry's more respected
    executives."....Fred Perry Sportswear, a manufacturer of tennis
    apparel, has been purchased by Action Sports Group and will
    target a new golf line.  Jeff Kohr, newly named President, said
    they plan to introduce a Perry Golf line as early as January '96
    (GSO PRO REPORT, 7/21).
    

    Print | Tags: Russell Athletic
  • VIDEO INSERTION: VIRTUAL ADS NEARING REALITY?

         Princeton Electronic Billboards (PEB) of Princeton, NJ, has
    pioneered the concept of video insertion technology -- inserting
    ads into the backgrounds of television broadcasts. While these
    ads are clear to viewers, they cannot be seen by fans at the
    site.  Comcast Cable, which produces Double-A Trenton Thunder
    games, is the only broadcaster currently using the system.
    However, PEB recently tested the system during a Marlins/Sunshine
    Network telecast, and is in negotiations with several teams and
    broadcasters.  THE SPORTS BUSINESS DAILY spoke with PEB Dir of
    Marketing Sam McCleery about the state of the technology, the
    progress PEB has had selling the system and challenges the
    company faces.      TECHNOLOGY:  The video insertion system
    places video material into a live broadcast in real-time by
    memorizing features in a scene and placing images on that area.
    Players and objects pass in front of the image as if it was a
    permanent fixture.  The images are brought to life by a machine
    that takes a live feed from a broadcast and inserts the image.
    McCleery says that unlike "burn-ins," or superimposed
    advertising, the video insertion system does not place any
    limitations on broadcast production -- camera angles are not
    compromised with the fear that a burn-in will cover a player's
    face or part of the action.  The PEB machine is described as the
    "size of three VCR's stacked" on top of each other.  However,
    fans won't see an electronic billboard on their favorite NFL QB
    anytime soon -- the technology is limited to non-moving objects.
         ADVANTAGES:  One of the greatest advantages of the system,
    according to McCleery, is the ability to localize or regionalize
    advertising.  Through the system, advertisers may purchase time
    on an electronic billboard for specific audiences.  If GM buys
    time on a national baseball broadcast behind home plate, the
    video insertion system allows GM and the broadcaster to send
    different messages to different regions.  For example, a
    Chevrolet Trucks ad could appear in Dallas, with a local dealer
    while a local Buick ad may appear in Detroit.  McCleery:  "It's
    intended to add value ... you can derive or generate more revenue
    out of that space because you are allowing many different
    advertisers to access the same space at the same time."
         CHALLENGES:  The system has only been used four times, two
    tests in Trenton, one test in Florida and once using real ads for
    Comcast.  Marlins VP/Broadcasting Dean Jordan told THE DAILY that
    while the team did test the system, "there are a lot of bugs to
    be worked out" and the team has no immediate plans to employ the
    technology.  Jordan said issues such as cost, league rules and
    copyrights need to be worked out before it can be used in MLB.
         WHAT ABOUT JOE FAN?  Fan reaction has yet to be fully
    gauged.  Ed Pardini of Comcast told THE DAILY that fan and
    advertiser reaction was generally positive for the one Trenton
    broadcast.  Pardini estimates that a video insertion ad for one-
    half inning costs around 1.5 times what a one 30-second ad costs
    on Comcast.  Comcast plans on using the technology in Thunder
    games for the rest of the season.  Pardini: "This is a way that
    program producers can increase their advertising revenues without
    making the broadcast look as though it is jam-packed with
    commercials."
         THE FUTURE:  McCleery said his system has the potential to
    make games more enjoyable for viewers both at home and at the
    stadium.  McCleery: "It has the advantage of possibly shortening
    the games.  Less [TV] advertising can cut the game time down and
    keep the revenue the same.  Also, because it's only seen by the
    viewing audience, you can keep areas of the stadium, the tennis
    court and so forth, signage-free."  Dean Jordan of the Marlins,
    on the possible impact of the system on the marketplace:  "This
    has the potential to be a big one" (THE DAILY).
    

    Print | Tags: Comcast-Spectacor, Miami Marlins, General Motors, MLB, NFL
  • WILL FILA BRING SUIT AGAINST SELES' DESPITE RETURN?

         Monica Seles continues to wear Fila apparel despite the
    company's $3M suit against her for breach of contract.  The
    Italian sports shoe and apparel company "bizarrely finds itself
    in court seeking to unhitch itself from its star just when that
    star is shining brightest in hype heaven," according to Roger
    Thurow of the WALL STREET JOURNAL.  The suit stems from Seles'
    27-month absence from the WTA Tour, as Fila said it was advised
    Seles would return on three different occasions and spent
    millions to prepare and advertise new apparel lines.  Fila claims
    to have lost more than $3M in potential sales.  But Seles
    "pointedly drapes herself in Fila T-shirts as she practices and
    promotes her return, defiantly refuting the breach of contract
    charges."  During her absence, Seles was not paid by Fila, or
    racquet sponsor, Yonex, but her relationship with Yonex is more
    "harmonious" than that with Fila.  Yet, there may be a chance for
    a "happy reconciliation."  Fila, "despite its words and actions,"
    hasn't yet decided whether to "drop its suit against Seles and
    re-woo her should see really resume her career this time" (WALL
    STREET JOURNAL, 7/21).
    

    Print | Tags: Fila USA
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