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The All American Football League (AAFL) has signed the NY-based Marquee Group to provide a variety of services. The Marquee Group will serve as the AAFL's network TV negotiator; provide production crews for AAFL telecasts; and handle the sales, marketing and licensing responsibilities for the league. Marquee Group CEO Bob Gutkowski: "After our reviewing a variety of options, we have advised the AAFL to point to the spring of 1999 to launch the new league." Both groups said that additional details on the progress of the league will be announced shortly (The Marquee Group).
The NBA retail market is examined by Dana Parker in NSGA RETAIL FOCUS. Since winning their fifth championship, Bulls merchandise "has been outselling other teams' at a rate not seen after their earlier successes." All other teams are a "distant second, though there's some scattered support" for Lakers, Knicks, Jazz and T'Wolves merchandise. Pro Image's Dave Riley: "[O]verall the league has lost steam; it's slowed way down in the past six months. MLB is doing better. ... For us, it's just the Bulls and the Lakers. Kevin Garnett and [Allen] Iverson have hurt themselves with the lunch-pail crowd. We need more people like Grant Hill." Champion replica jerseys "continue to be the single most important item in apparel," but most retailers say that their "current level of sales 'ain't what it used to be.'" Parker adds the NBA "seems to understand the current situation" and "has plans to help diversify the product on a local level" (RETAIL FOCUS, 9/97).
In a strategy "aimed at forging brand loyalty by tapping regional preferences," CA-based Dreyer's Grand Ice Cream Inc. is teaming with the NFL to produce a series of "football flavors" featuring team colors and logos, according to Douglas Robson of the S.F. BUSINESS TIMES. Bolstered by its "successful launch" of Pittsburgh Crunch last season, Dreyer's will "unveil" a total of five NFL flavors in '97, including Buffalo Blitz, Carolina Panthers Chip and Frozen Tundra Chip for the Packers. Dreyer's uses the Edy's brand name in markets east of the Mississippi River. Robson writes that while Dreyer's "gains positive exposure with football enthusiasts ... the NFL becomes associated with a product predominantly purchased by women and enjoyed by all ages." Robson adds that the alliance could account for "up to" 10% of Dreyer's sales in a given market (S.F. BUSINESS TIMES, 9/15 issue).