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EX-NIKE SHOE PROMOTER VACCARO HOPES TO BRING LUCK TO ADIDAS
Published July 21, 1995
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).