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Tucson-based Weiser Lock announced it will drop its sponsorship of the Copper Bowl after four years of sponsoring the event. Sara Hammond reports in this morning's ARIZONA DAILY STAR that company officials cited a desire to reposition and refocus "resources to support the introduction of unique and proprietary new products." Copper Bowl Foundation Chair Billy Joe Varney said the search is on for a new title sponsor, a $1M commitment annually. Varney said the bowl hopes to secure a new sponsor by June and that while they could continue without a major sponsor, "it would take many more smaller corporate commitments" for that to happen (ARIZONA DAILY STAR, 1/18).
In the "Heard on the Street" column in this morning's WALL STREET JOURNAL, Dave Kansas reports on sports-related investments, noting some big winners and losers on Wall Street. Kansas specifically notes Ascent Entertainment -- owners of the Avalanche and Nuggets (which has dropped 20% since its IPO) and Churchill Downs (down 21%) as poor investments. Among Kansas's winners: Speedway Motorsports, builder and operator of NASCAR tracks, which has risen 47% in the last year; Callaway Golf, up 28%; and Gaylord Entertainment, up 10% (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 1/18).
BMW has unveiled a 328i model that will be the official car of the '96 Olympic Torch Relay. The car will be silver and decorated with "multi-colored images of the 50 states" (BRANDWEEK, 1/15 issue)....The new parabolic ski is in high demand at resorts across the U.S. The ski, which features an hour-glass design that makes turning easier, is being compared to oversized golf club and tennis racket designs (N.Y. TIMES, 1/14). In this morning's NEWSDAY, columnist Gregg Sarra reviews the performance of the Elan 193 parabolic model, noting that they enable intermediates "to have more fun." Sarra notes pro shop owners say nearly everyone who demos the design returns to purchase them (NEWSDAY, 1/18)....Wednesday's CHICAGO SUN-TIMES ran a front-page feature on the second annual Electric Football Convention taking place this weekend in Chicago. While only Miggle Toys of Highland Park, IL, still produces electric football games, Miggle Owner Michael Landsman says sales that have doubled each year since '91 (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 1/17)....Reebok announced yesterday it plans a $34M charge for the 4th quarter due to the sale of its Avia subsidiary. Excluding the charge, Reebok expects full-year earnings of $2.60-2.65 a share (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 1/18)....Wal-Mart reports that trading card sales are up 696% over a year ago thanks to the company's World's Most Valuable Card Giveaway in which a Honus Wagner card will be found in a selected pack (Wal-Mart). Unrelated to that news, Wal-Mart announced it expects its first earnings decline in 25 years, "a whopping" 11% drop in the 4th quarter. Wal-Mart stock closed at $20.37 -- its lowest level since '91 (Minneapolis STAR-TRIBUNE, 1/18)....Computer service company EMC has signed a two-year deal to become title sponsor for the Golf Skills Challenge on NBC (INSIDE MEDIA, 1/10-23 issue).... NBR's Cassie Seifert reported that McDonald's plans to open over 6,000 new restaurants over the next two years, most outside the U.S. The company will also buy back close to $2B of its common stock over the next three years. McDonald's stock rose 1 5/8 yesterday to 46 3/8 (PBS, 1/17).
A dust storm that "ripped across" the Phoenix area yesterday caused workers to halt construction of the NFL Experience north of Sun Devil Stadium and destroyed several awnings inside the stadium. Dave Newman, Senior Dir of NFL Properties, said the storm will not prevent the NFL Experience from opening Friday (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 1/18).... Even after many airlines reported adding extra seats in and out of Phoenix for the days before and after the Super Bowl, most flights are booked and remaining seats are "close to full fare." However, Phoenix and Tucson-area residents are being offered very low fares for travel out of the area before the game and back to AZ afterwards (ARIZONA DAILY STAR, 1/18)....USA TODAY's Michael Hiestand reports the lack of limousines in the Phoenix area could leave consumers "faced with a shortage so severe it could rattle society's elite." Hiestand notes there were 800 limos parked outside Super Bowl XXIX in Miami, but only 150 in the entire Phoenix area (USA TODAY, 1/18)....Residents who live near Sun Devil Stadium plan on charging up to $50 for parking on their property during the game. Around half of the 20,000 parking spaces made available by the Host Committee will be reserved for ticket holders (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 1/18)....Pittsburgh as the designated home team in the game will wear their black home jerseys, Dallas will wear white. Pittsburgh is 3-0 in Super Bowls wearing black, Dallas is 4-2 wearing white. Ticket brokers are asking from $1,050 to $4,000 for seats to the game (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 1/18) ....Ocean Spray will sponsor the TableTop Football National Championships on Saturday. The winners will receive $10,000 scholarship for their school and tickets to Super Bowl XXX (Ocean Spray). ADVERTISING NEWS & NOTES: Subway, which is a first-time Super Bowl advertiser, has purchased one 30-second spot in the 3rd quarter, in which the company will feature its current $.96 meatball sub deal. The company will air a new commercial during the spot (THE DAILY)....NTN Communications will poll Super Bowl viewers playing the interactive football game QB1 about their favorite commercials during the game. During the two-minute warning, viewers/players will be asked to rate the commercials at 3,000 bars and via America Online. The winner will receive NTN's first annual award for best Super Bowl commercial. ... Seven- year-old Trent South of Sherman, TX, won the national competition to sing the Oscar Mayer Bologna Song in a commercial that will premiere during halftime. ... Mail Boxes Etc., a first-time Super Bowl advertiser, will air its spot featuring the driver of the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile. In the spot the driver will be shown to depend on Mail Boxes Etc. for on-the-road business needs (AD AGE ONLINE, 1/18)....This morning's "Super Bowl Ad Watch" in USA TODAY features Chrysler-Plymouth's three 30-second spots airing in the 1st quarter. Plymouth will feature its new Breeze subcompact line, showing how carmakers "employed lessons learned in kindergarten" during the production. C-P will also run its "Popcorn" ad that is currently airing (USA TODAY, 1/18).