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  • SIMPSON JURY'S OPINION CARRIES LITTLE WEIGHT IN MARKETPLACE

         As swift and sure as the jury's verdict of "not guilty,"
    there is a clear consensus this morning that O.J. Simpson will
    not be able to step back into some of the roles he held before
    the trial -- particularly pitchman and sports commentator.
    However, there are other possibilities for the  acquitted star --
     including pay-per-view and book deals.  A sampling of opinion
    and reaction from today's coverage:
         NBC SPORTS:  Simpson's last job in sports before his arrest
    was as a football commentator at NBC Sports.  NBC Sports
    spokesperson Ed Markey told THE DAILY yesterday that the network
    did not think it was "appropriate" to make a comment on the
    verdict (THE DAILY).  But NBC Sports President Dick Ebersol told
    ESPN he stands by his comment of 10 months ago recounting a visit
    to Simpson in jail.  Ebersol:  "I said if the time comes when you
    are free of these horrible circumstances we can sit down and
    cross the bridge of your future employment.  And he looked me in
    the eye and said, 'I don't think I ever want to do any of that
    stuff again.  I want to get my kids and I want to move a long way
    away and I just want to enjoy them'" (ESPN, 10/3).
         THE TRUTH HERTZ:  As George Lazarus reports in Chicago, the
    "overwhelming consensus" among ad agency, p.r. and marketing
    execs is that Simpson has "almost zero marketability" as a
    pitchman (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 10/4).  Sean Cassidy, Senior VP at Dan
    Klores & Associates:  "The O.J. Simpson story is incredibly
    marketable.  But I don't know how marketable he is as a product
    endorser.  He has lots of news value, but he does not have the
    image that Madison Avenue wants pushing their products" (BOSTON
    GLOBE, 10/4).  Brandon Steiner, of Steiner Sports Marketing:
    "Corporate America is not going to be looking at him.  He won't
    be a spokesman anymore, no company will use him as a
    spokesperson.  But to show up for an event, to create a crowd,
    yes" ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 10/3).  NBC's Fred Francis:
    "Industry observers say the bulk of Simpson's commercial value
    has been left here at the Los Angeles County jail; most of his
    advertising endorsements, his movie contracts, and perhaps his
    sports broadcasting."  AD AGE's Bradley Johnson:  "Any marketer
    that ties into this controversial man will be guilty by
    association" (NBC, 10/3).  Sports marketing consultant Marty
    Blackman, on his potential in sports:  "He's through, and no one
    will dare associate with him.  But he'll make a lot of money from
    TV, film and publishing" (Paul Tharp, N.Y. POST, 10/4).  Ad exec
    Jerry Della Femina says, "He's poison."  But Richard Kirshenbaum
    believes Simpson will find himself "in a very lucrative position"
    after the furor dies down.  Kirshenbaum:  "There are many
    untraditional companies who will be ready to jump on the
    bandwagon" (N.Y. TIMES, 10/4).
         PAY-PER-VIEW:  Several media reports note rumors of a pay-
    per-view interview, with speculation on the amount Simpson could
    make ranging anywhere from $10M to $100M.  The N.Y. TIMES reports
    that CNN was approached, but that Ted Turner rejected the idea
    "because of the feeling it was improper to pay for a new
    interview" (James Sterngold, N.Y. TIMES, 10/4).  Mac Lipscomb, of
    Showtime Entertainment Television:  "There have been feelers from
    individuals, but it's unclear who represents O.J.  It's
    speculative.  At the moment, we don't have any plans to do pay-
    per-view."  But Time Warner's Seth Abraham said, "No one has
    contacted me, nor would I take the call" (Rudy Martzke, USA
    TODAY, 10/4).
         SOMEONE WILL PAY:  In L.A., Joseph Cerrell of Cerrell &
    Associates was more optimistic:  "Trust me.  O.J. will get offers
    ranging from the serious to the bizarre.  He will get business
    offers, athletic offers, endorsement offers. ... He'll get all
    those offers, and Johnnie Cochran and he will get to pick and
    choose" (L.A. TIMES, 10/4).  David Burns, of Burns Sports
    Celebrity Service:  "He'll be making more than when all this
    started" (Baltimore SUN, 10/4).  Burns, who estimates that
    Simpson was making only $500,000 in endorsements a year before
    his arrest, believes the "real money" for Simpson is in speaking
    engagements, with $50,000 per speech possible now (BOSTON HERALD,
    10/4).  MONEY magazine estimates Simpson's post-trial earning
    potential at $10M (AP/TORONTO STAR, 10/4).  Entertainment
    attorney Pierce O'Donnell, in a "CBS Evening News" report:
    "We're talking 10 figures, something in the tens of millions. ...
    There's the pay-per-view, followed by the book deal, and then
    followed by the movie.  But I think in the end, O.J. might find
    that his life is a raw deal" (CBS, 10/3).
    

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