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U.S. OPEN'S SUPER WEEKEND: A NIKE CONSPIRACY?

     As the U.S. Open heads toward its final weekend, the
following players and apparel manufacturers are still alive in
the singles bracket.  MEN: Becker (Lotto) vs. Agassi (Nike),
Sampras (Nike) vs. Courier (Nike).  WOMEN: Seles (Nike) vs.
Conchita Martinez (Ellesse), Graf (Adidas) vs. Sabatini (Head).
Filip Bondy of the N.Y. DAILY NEWS asks, "Has Nike bought the
very sole of the U.S. Open?"  Bondy writes the Nike Chair Philip
Knight's "invading army took over Flushing Meadows by corporate
storm these last two weeks."  Some players have criticized Nike's
for alleged influencing the schedule, but it is obvious that
Monica Seles "is suddenly everywhere ... and with her goes the
corporate emblem."   Becker on Nike's role:  "Nothing personal
against Andre or Pete Sampras.  They are fortunate enough to have
such a strong company behind them."  Jana Novotna says she used
to get upset about scheduling and other things, but now she
realizes it's a "television decision.  Nike decision."  Jim
Courier, sarcastically:  "Phil pretty much just decides what
court he wants to sit and watch a match on."  Bondy writes, "As
their strength has grown, the Nike athletes have grown defensive
about their star power. ... The impression is unmistakable.
America's top players are more visibly Nike than they are red
white and blue" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 9/8).  George Vecsey writes
that "Monica-mania has been getting worse as she rampaged
through" the Open.  Seles has "been the most fascinating player
in this tournament, even if she plays for Nike, that rogue
corporation" (N.Y. TIMES, 9/8).
     NEWS AND NOTES:  CNBC's "Sports View" reported on the
sponsorship dollars at this year's U.S. Open.  USTA President &
CEO Les Snyder:  "Because of the nature of the Grand Slams you
get a deeper market penetration, so we are broadcasting to 137
countries, so many of our sponsors are international sponsors."
CNBC's Mabel Jong reported, "The stakes are rising.  It's a $3
billion industry that has been growing at double digits for the
past ten years, and is gaining more momentum as more and more
companies see it as a powerful marketing tool" (CNBC, 9/7). In
Detroit, Jerry Green writes on the marketing of Pete Sampras.
Sampras believes the Pizza Hut commercial with John McEnroe "came
off pretty well" (DETROIT NEWS, 9/8).  Sampras talked about
Nike's ads after his match yesterday, saying he believed they
have helped his image (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 9/8).
     INFRASTRUCTURE: Wallace Matthews of the N.Y. POST writes on
the publicly financing going towards a new stadium being built by
the USTA as a future home for the Open.  Then-NYC Mayor David
Dinkins made a deal with the USTA where the city "took 42 acres
of prime real estate intended for the free use of the public and
gave it over to the Westchester-based USTA for the next 99
years."  Even though the Open's "projected gross profits this
year are more than $46 million," the city will only get $400,000
in rent plus 1% of profits after the first $25M are deducted.
Matthews: "The greed of Steinbrenner is one thing.  The arrogance
and elitism of the USTA is quite another" (N.Y. POST, 9/8).
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Nike, USTA, Washington Nationals

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