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If President Clinton's proposed tobacco regulations go into effect in a year, it "will probably drive cigarette advertisers out of sports," according to Richard Alm in the DALLAS MORNING NEWS. Since the government banned TV ads more than 20 years ago, and last year forced in-stadium tobacco signage to stay clear of TV cameras, Alm notes "most sports have already weaned themselves from cigarette makers' money." He adds NASCAR is a "red-hot property, quite capable of finding another corporate Daddy Warbucks to keep it going." Alm writes beer, however, "is quite another story" as the brewing industry is one of the "financial pylons" supporting American sports, as beer companies sponsor nearly every sport. Beer companies are also a major supporter of sports on TV. Alm notes that the Clinton Administration "hasn't yet" targeted the connection between beer and sports, "but it's hard to see how the mindset that wanted cigarettes out of sports could allow beer to stay in." If Washington decides to try and take beer out, "it will create more havoc than the decision to go after the cigarette companies" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 8/26). ONE MAN'S TAKE: ESPN's Keith Olbermann on NASCAR's tobacco advertising: "Spokesmen for the tobacco industry will actually sit there and tell you with a straight face that their sponsorship of NASCAR, an estimated $10 million a year by R.J. Reynolds alone, is not done to evade the 26 year-old ban on cigarette ads on TV. It's just a coincidence that painting advertising and logos on stock cars and ballparks fences is the only way that cigarette companies can get their products shown or mentioned on TV, live or on highlights shows such as this one. Just a coincidence" ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 8/26). A START OR FINISH? Philip Morris Europe said it was withdrawing its sponsorship of the McLaren Formula One auto- racing team, three years after it won its last championship. German tobacco company Reemtsma will take over sponsorship for its West cigarette brand (Montreal GAZETTE, 8/27).
Visual Edge's developing and marketing of videotape golf lessons with Greg Norman is profiled in GOLF WORLD. Visual Edge's concept features "One-on-One" instruction combining video footage of a golfer's swing with a synchronized split-screen comparison to Norman's. Norman also provides pre-recorded instructional commentary and analysis. Visual Edge CEO Earl Takefman says the company plans to go around the country in 50 vans containing the video and computer equipment, and give the one-on-one lessons as tee prizes for special events and tournaments, or simply as a teaching aid at golf facilities. Each lesson tape is expected to cost $50. Norman's Great White Shark Enterprises Managing Dir Frank Williams is a board director of Visual Edge, as is White Sox Vice Chair Eddie Einhorn. According to GOLFWORLD's Steve Pike, Norman's deal with Visual Edge calls for him to be paid $3.3M over three years, with that royalty applied against a royalty equal to 8% of Visual Edge's new revenue (GOLF WORLD, 8/23 issue). GOLF NEWS AND NOTES: Spalding Worldwide Senior VP & GM/Golf Scott Creelman "dismissed" any notions that new parent KKR would apply its "divide and plunder tactics" with Spalding (GOLFWEEK, 8/24 issue)....Mark Brooks' agent, David Winkle, says Brooks' PGA Championship victory figures to be worth "at least" $5M over the next five years when factoring in new endorsements and appearance fees (GOLFWEEK, 8/24 issue)....In Chicago, George Lazarus profiles Tommy Armour Golf, noting the company will finish FY '96 with sales "a bit less than" $100M, but industry sources say Armour can hit sales of $150M in FY '97 (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 8/27).
New York-based Topps Co. has named Griffin Bacal, New York, for its $7-10M ad account (AD AGE ONLINE, 8/27). ...WorldCom agreed to buy MFS Communications in a stock deal worth approximately $12B. WorldCom signed Michael Jordan to an endorsement deal earlier this year (N.Y. TIMES, 8/27). ...Cleveland-based Crooked River Brewing Company will be the official beer of the '97 Medic Drug Grand Prix of Cleveland (Medic Drug Grand Prix)....Adidas Marketing Exec Marc Scales on endorser Keyshawn Johnson: "We see Keyshawn as being a leader among the new generation of athletes that not only take their on- the-field job seriously, but take their off-the-field job seriously as well" (SPORT, 10/96).
Sprint will begin its NFL sponsorship September 2 with new ads promoting its Spree calling cards, according to Kim Cleland of ADVERTISING AGE. A TV, radio and print campaign from Bernstein-Rein, Kansas City, MO, stars Bills QB Jim Kelly and Coach Marv Levy praising the "no bills" benefits of the cards. Sprint is expected to spend $60M this year to promote their NFL deal and will launch a new NFL ad campaign featuring spokesperson Candice Bergen. J. Walter Thompson, San Francisco handles. Sprint Dir of Sports Marketing Mike Goff said their NFL plans will build toward a "crescendo" at playoff and Super Bowl time, "when the bulk of our media will air." Sprint has "basically finalized" marketing deals with every NFL team, except the Cowboys (AD AGE, 8/26). BLITZ-KRIEG: Starting Monday, Sprint begins their "Sense Dime Blitz," a 17-week regular season promo giving fans the chance to purchase game tickets and airfare to see NFL games. The first winners will be announced Monday in Dallas, where they will pay a dime-a-minute for a 260-minute round trip flight to and from Chicago -- or $26 times two for winner and a friend, for Monday's Cowboys-Bears game. Similar events will be held in Miami, Boston, San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago, Atlanta and Houston (Sprint).