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Bob Gutkowski, former President of MSG, will reportedly form a new company called The Marquee Group that will specialize in sports and entertainment event management. A source told this morning's N.Y. POST, "They're aiming to do what Mike Ovitz did with CAA. That is, to provide a one-stop shop for everything from arranging, promoting and staging events to selling it to sponsors and the networks." Gutkowski will reportedly be joined by "several companies already active in marketing, agenting and producing." The venture is expected to be announced Wednesday at Manhattan's Reebok Sports Club (Neal Travis, N.Y. POST, 12/15).
Topps reported a 13% decline in net income for the third quarter (ended November 25). Net income totaled $1.3M, down from $1.5M last year. Topps, which closed at $4.688, up 6.25 cents, cited the decline in card sales (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 12/15)....The CBA has retained Advantage Int'l to create a series of exhibition games overseas next summer. The CBA will give its players the opportunity to participate, while allowing Advantage to market the events (CBA)....Easton has combined four of its separate operations into a new Team Sports Division. The division will combine sales, marketing and promotion functions with development, manufacturing, warehousing and distribution (Easton)....In Chicago, Barry Temkin notes recent recommendations by an NCAA committee that included treating manufacturers who have contracts with schools like boosters. For example, Nike would not be allowed to talk to prospects of schools with which it has contracts. That recommendation received "a mixed reception" among certain "NCAA constituencies" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 12/15)....Oscar De La Hoya, who will fight Jesse James Leija tonight at Madison Square Garden, is being well marketed in Manhattan, according to this morning's L.A. TIMES. Steve Springer writes De La Hoya's image "is everywhere" in New Yrok -- billboards, newspaper racks, and TV screens. Ticket sales for tonight have been strong, with 14,000 already sold (L.A. TIMES, 12/15)....Reebok is offering customers who visit its new Planet Reebok store in King of Prussia, PA, a free T-shirt upon mention of its ad in today's papers (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 12/15)....In Boston, where BayBanks and Bank of Boston have merged, the HERALD's Steff Gelson notes it is still unclear whether hockey legend Bobby Orr will continue to pitch for BayBanks (BOSTON HERALD, 12/14)....The D.C. United of the MLS has selected Arnold Advertising of Washington as its agency of record. Billings are estimated to be $2.5M over the next three years (ADWEEK, 12/11 issue)....Picabo Street, whose signing with Nike Sports Management was announced yesterday, is profiled in this week's SPORTS ILLUSTRATED. Street, who declined appearances on Letterman and Leno after her medal winning performance in '94, appeared on Sesame Street instead. Street's father, Stubby: "We said to hell with Letterman and Leno. We don't need any late- night, white, yuppie humor. By the 2002 Olympics, people watching Leno will be in rest homes. Picabo talked to the kids. They'll be in the mainstream" (SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, 12/18 issue).
Snowboarding is gaining in popularity and acceptance, but even as the sport gains Olympic medal status in '98, many resorts continue to ban it. The N.Y. TIMES reports that even though the number of major board manufacturers has increased to nearly 20 and snowboarding visits at ski areas rose 17% last season, resorts such as Park City and Keystone continue their bans, claiming boarders are too reckless. Eric Blehm, Managing Editor of Transworld Snowboarding: "Resorts like theirs will have to change because financially, they'll have to. Families who go on vacation want to go to mountains that allow both snowboarding and skiing." NSGA reports the number of U.S. snowboarders grew from 1.5 million in '90 to 2.1 million in '94, while the alpine skiers dropped from 11.4 million to 10.6 million during the same period (Barbara Lloyd, N.Y. TIMES, 12/14). ANOTHER EXAMPLE OF GROWTH: Marker International of Salt Lake City and DNR Sportsystem of Switzerland will begin construction on a new 45,000-square-foot snowboard manufacturing facility in UT. Production capabilities after the completion of the first phase of construction will be 200,000 snowboards annually (Marker International). MIZUNO TO DIVERSIFY INTO RESORT MANAGEMENT: Mizuno Corp. of Japan is planning to design and develop ski areas owned by local governments and corporations in Japan. The company will concentrate on marketing, advertising and retailing while designing ski areas. Mizuno will develop three areas within the next two years, including one in Nagano (KYODO NEWS SERVICE, 12/15).