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Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines (RCCL) is "close" to signing a $5M contract to sponsor NBC's Super Bowl XXXII halftime show on January 25 in San Diego, according to Terry Lefton of BRANDWEEK. RCCL President Jack Williams said that the deal "was not yet inked but that he expected to complete it within several weeks." Williams added that RCCL's recent acquisition of Celebrity Classic Cruise Lines gave it a "broad enough sales base" to "justify the expenditure." RCCL also sponsors the PGA and Senior PGA Tours. McKinney & Silver, Raleigh, handles RCCL advertising (BRANDWEEK, 9/15). DETAILS: As part of the deal, RCCL will get two 30- second spots worth $1.3M -- one in the first quarter and one after the Halftime Show; two 5-second sponsor billboards before and after the Halftime Show; and five 10-second "teaser" spots, two during the first half of the Super Bowl, two during NBC's AFC Championship game and one during an undetermined playoff game. RCCL also gets title sponsorship of NBC's "Behind the Scenes at the Super Bowl" show, two in- stadium video screen spots, scoreboard mentions, inclusion in "the usual seat giveaways with other NFL sponsors," a one-page ad in the Super Bowl program, 100 Super Bowl tickets, and additional hospitality (BRANDWEEK, 9/15).
Despite having a "six-figure" shoe contract with adidas, Cowboys QB Troy Aikman has worn Nike shoes for the first two games of the season, according to Terry Lefton of BRANDWEEK. While "there has been some buzz" that Aikman is "unhappy" with adidas, an NFL source said that the "real reason" is that Aikman doesn't like to wear shoes that are taped up, and as part of Nike and Reebok's Pro Line deal with the NFL, any shoes worn by players that are not Nike or Reebok must have their logos taped over (BRANDWEEK, 9/15). PARTY MAN: Sony "has replaced" Sega as sponsor of the "three-day long NFL players meet-and-greet bash" held during Super Bowl week. Sony "hopes to leverage" the "six-figure" sponsorship of "The Playstation NFL Players Party" with a sweepstakes offer and retail appearances by NFL players during the holiday sales period (BRANDWEEK, 9/15 issue).
Michael Jordan is interviewed by Allison Samuels in the current NEWSWEEK to discuss the launch of his new Nike brand last week, among other topics. Jordan, on his relationship with Nike: "It's not rare for my Nike (design team) to come out to my house and just kick it with me for a while. ... [J]ust to get a better definition of who I am, so they can transfer that to the product." While Jordan said the high cost of Air Jordan shoes "bothered me," he added that consumers can now chose from "a variety of Jordan shoes at different prices" with the new Jordan line. Starting this year, Jordan will also donate a percentage of Air Jordan revenues to youth charities. Regarding the rising salary demands by young NBA players, Jordan said, "I am always pro- player when it comes to money." On Kevin Garnett asking for $22M a year, Jordan said: "I think they're paying him for his potential. If he lives up to it, great. If he doesn't, well, I still support him, because they wouldn't give it to him if they couldn't (afford) it" (NEWSWEEK, 9/22 issue). MJ's Nike brand is No. 13 on ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY's "Hot Sheet" for the week: "Nike is producing his line of clothing. But would you buy a tie with a pump?" (EW, 9/19).
AGENCY NEWS: CT-based Phoenix Home Life Mutual Insurance Co. has retained Cronin & Co., Hartford, to develop and execute a regional publicity campaign to promote the Phoenix/ATP Tour World Doubles Championships (Cronin & Co.)....AD AGE reports that the NY-based Nat'l Thoroughbred Racing Association will hear presentations from BBDO South, Atlanta; D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles, L.A.; Merkley Newman Harty, N.Y.; and the Richards Group, Dallas, for a $15M awareness campaign....In other agency news, FootLocker has "contacted" agencies about its $25M account "and is setting up meetings." The retailer was to split the business, "but has now decided" to name one firm (AD AGE, 9/15). SPONSORSHIPS: The A-10 and Asics Tiger have signed a one-year deal for Asics Tiger to be title sponsor of the A- 10's men's and women's cross country championships (A- 10)....Franklin Sports has signed a two-year deal as a Silver-Level Official Sponsor and Supplier for USA Hockey's grassroots, national and int'l programs (USA Hockey). MERCHANDISE: Foxboro Stadium's Pro Shop sold 400 "Can the Tuna" t-shirts at $14.95 during the first ten days they were available (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 9/14)....ABL Reign GM Jim Weyermann, on the team's merchandise partnership with the Sonics' Full House Sports and Entertainment: "This gives us an instant statewide distribution network. Last year, we didn't even have the capital to invest in the inventory to put on the shelves" (SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER, 9/12).