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SPRINT-ING AHEAD IN THE NFL TELECOM BATTLE?
Published March 14, 1996
Sprint is offering the NFL a deal worth $100M annually over the next five years as part of its bid to become the league's official telecom provider, according to the current ADVERTISING AGE. Sprint's offer "looks to be the leading draft choice" for the league, according to Jensen & Cleland, but AT&T, MCI and GTE should not be counted out "just yet." Sprint's deal is said to include an "unprecedented rights fee" of $29M a year -- a portion of which would be directed to teams for individual marketing -- plus up to $70M annually in promotions and advertising. AD AGE adds Sprint "may have an added 'in'" with the NFL as both the company and NFL Properties are clients of Clarion Performance Properties. AD AGE notes GTE officials have met with the league to discuss a counteroffer, and that AT&T's offer "has been getting more serious consideration in recent weeks" due to that company's investment with NFL partner, DirecTV. NFL Properties has been told by team owners that unless it can get more than $24M for the telcom deal, the category will go back to the clubs -- a prospect lobbied for by Cowboys owner Jerry Jones (ADVERTISING AGE, 3/11 issue).