SBD/1/Collegiate Sports

SAY GOODBYE TO KENTUCKY IN CONVERSE AS TEAM GOES TO NIKE

          The Men's and Women's NCAA Basketball Tournaments
     concluded over the weekend, with Arizona beating Kentucky
     last night on CBS in overtime action. 
          SWEET LUTE: Joyce Russell, Dir of Sales & Marketing at
     Indy's Westin Hotel, on the weekend: "It will be busier than
     either the Indianapolis 500 or Brickyard 400" (INDIANAPOLIS
     STAR-NEWS, 3/29).  On ESPN's "The Sports Reporters," Bob
     Ryan on the NCAA Tournament: "It's the last great communal
     event in America.  The World Series isn't the same anymore,
     the Miss America Pageant isn't the same anymore and Ed
     Sullivan has been off the air for 26 years" ("The Sports
     Reporters," 3/30).  John Feinstein: "The Final Four has
     reached a level now that it can be mentioned in the same
     sentence with the World Series and the Super Bowl in terms
     of television ratings, media coverage, in terms of being a
     'tough ticket,' and unfortunately, in terms of corporate
     involvement" (Ross Atkin, CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR, 3/31). 
          CATS SAY SEE 'YA TO CONVERSE: Kentucky has signed a new
     basketball deal with Nike, "probably the highest in college
     basketball," according to Rudy Martzke of USA TODAY.  A bid
     by adidas for $1.7M a year "was rejected" by the university. 
     Kentucky was with Converse (USA TODAY, 4/1).
          NIKE, NIKE EVERYWHERE: The CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR's
     Matthew Eisley wrote the Final Four is a "publicity bonanza
     for Nike. ... It's clear for The Swoosh, the Final Four is a
     swish -- nothing but net profits" (CHRISTIAN SCIENCE
     MONITOR, 3/31).  In Cincinnati, host of the Women's Final
     Four, Jeff Harrington: "It's not the swish of the basketball
     taking over Cincinnati during the Women's Final Four; it's
     The Swoosh."  Nike sent around 175 employees to Cincy this
     week, "four times more" than the sports company sent to
     Indianapolis.  Reebok was "working out of an 18-foot
     trailer" and the company "urged downtowners to 'test the
     shoe that beat Nike Air Max.'"  Reebok's Dave Fogelson:
     "Even if our presence is a bit more low-key or subtle, we're
     still getting our message out" (CINCINNATI ENQUIRER, 3/29).
          NCAA SPONSORS FEEL WHOOPEE CUSHION?  BRANDWEEK's Terry
     Lefton writes that the GTE logoed NCAA seat-cushions in
     Indianapolis marks the "first times the NCAA has let
     corporate identification of any kind inside the arena where
     the Final Four is held.  And it's the latest evidence that
     the marquee U.S. sports property with the most stringent
     marketing regulations is loosening up, if ever so slightly"
     (BRANDWEEK, 3/31 issue).  

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