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SAY GOODBYE TO KENTUCKY IN CONVERSE AS TEAM GOES TO NIKE
Published April 1, 1997
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).