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REEBOK/NBA PROPERTIES DEAL BECOMES OFFICIAL
Published October 25, 1995
Reebok and NBA Properties announced their multiyear licensing and marketing agreement yesterday as expected. In addition to NBA team licensed apparel that should hit shelves in the U.S. and Canada in August, Reebok will also continue its ad buys of NBA coverage on Turner and NBC and be involved in the Jam Session events at the NBA All Star Games in '96 and '97 (NBA). Reebok has already premiered a new commercial featuring Sonic Shawn Kemp in his jersey for the Reebok Kamikaze II (THE DAILY). Leo Burnett of Chicago will apparently create the Reebok spots (N.Y. TIMES, 10/25). MORE REACTION: Columnist John McManus writes in the current BRANDWEEK that Reebok's NBA deal has "changed the rules in the on-going game against Nike." McManus believes Reebok's "image building potential" is now "more credible" with athletes it wants as endorsers, consumers, and retailers, "who are going to respect Reebok a whole lot more now that its sales teams get to walk into stores wearing NBA halos." McManus adds, "Watch how fast Foot Locker, a longtime Reebok nemesis, comes around once Reebok/NBA apparel hits the marketplace" (BRANDWEEK, 10/23 issue). NEW REEBOK DIVISION PRESIDENT SIGNALS STABILITY: Reebok's hiring of Robert Meers as President and CEO of its brands division signals the company has "seemingly opted against radical changes" as it "struggles to keep up" with Nike, writes Chris Reidy of the BOSTON GLOBE. Reidy reports since last spring, Reebok Chair Paul Fireman had split the responsibilities of the brands division with Exec VP Paul Duncan, which corresponded with their resignation of John Durden and Roberto Muller, who were division co-presidents. Meers' responsibilities at Brands will include a role in new designs and helping "improve relations with Foot Locker," with which "Reebok has struggled." Meanwhile, Duncan will apparently take many of Meers' current responsibilities as head of the company's specialties business group, including the Greg Norman brand, Avia and Rockport. Meers will continue to report to Fireman (BOSTON GLOBE, 10/24).