SBD/4/Sports Society

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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