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Fila Holding signed Grant Hill to "one of the richest sports endorsement contracts ever" with a pact for "at least" $80M over seven years, according to Stefan Fatsis of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. The deal, expected to be announced today, "catapults" Hill into "the sneaker-riches realm" of Nike's Michael Jordan, and gives him "a sweeping role in the company's operations." While Fila's stock "has plummeted to around $28 a share ... from $105 a share a year ago," Fatsis reports that the company "is counting on" Hill to "revive a brand he helped create" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 9/23). GRANT'S SHOW: Hill will receive "a base salary and minimum royalty guarantees on his signature products, plus royalties on sales of other Fila products, performance bonuses and stock options," and will "head a committee to advise Fila about marketing initiatives and other athletes the company should enlist." The company "renegotiated the last two years" of Hill's existing Fila deal which paid him "around" $6M a year. Under the new deal, Hill will be "asked to boost the company's profile outside the U.S." Fila Senior VP/Sports Marketing Howe Burch: "We think Grant is more than a guy who just sells shoes. We think he is a brand influencer, not just here but around the world." Hill, on his new advisory role with the company: "It makes me feel vested in all the decisions I make." Asked what he would tell NBA players who tried to use an on-court relationship to ink a Fila deal: "Give me 10 good reasons why we should take you on" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 9/23).
SPONSORSHIPS: ProServ has secured more than $2M in sponsorship for the Rose Bowl's new scoreboard. Sponsors include GTE, Honda, the L.A. Times, Glendale Federal Bank and McKesson Water (ProServ)....Ericsson will leverage its title sponsorship of the NFL Panthers' stadium with a new spot to air September 29, during ABC's 49ers-Panthers "Monday Night Football" telecast. But since it is not an official NFL sponsor, Ericsson will not be able to use team marks or uniforms (AD AGE, 9/22)....The Coyotes' Jeremy Roenick has "terminated his endorsement deal" with Nike (HOCKEY NEWS, 9/26)....USA Baseball inked MA-based Franklin Sports to become the exclusive batting glove and wristband supplier of the USA Baseball National Teams (USA Baseball). GENERAL: NJ-based Score Board Inc., was profiled by Ewart Rouse of the PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER. The collectible company "expects a big boost" from a contract with Frontier Comm., which is paying $20M over five years for the rights to sell phone cards with the likenesses of the 300 or so athletes who are under contract with Score Board. Similar deals have also been made with Hallmark Cards, Coca-Cola and McDonald's (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 9/22)....MA-based Perfect Curve Inc., a two-year-old company that makes a small, plastic device that curves the visor of a baseball cap, is profiled in the BOSTON BUSINESS JOURNAL. Founder Greg Levin "expects to pass" the $1M in sales mark by the end of the year, and plans "on doubling and possibly tripling sales next year" (BOSTON BUSINESS JOURNAL, 9/22 issue)....In U.S. markets only, Omega will roll out its limited-edition CART Speedmaster timepieces (ROBB REPORT, 9/97 issue).
Nike announced it has "severed" relationships with "several" Indonesian-based contractors "to maintain compliance with its Code of Conduct requirements for wage levels and working conditions." In a statement released during its annual shareholders meeting, Nike said it has suspended production at the factories until they comply with its Code of Conduct and improvements are made (Nike). The WALL STREET JOURNAL reports that Nike cut ties with "four factories in Indonesia where pay is below the government-set minimum wage." In the last three months, Nike has also "scrutinized its operations in China, Vietnam and Indonesia to ensure compliance" with the code (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 9/23). In the CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR, Brad Knickerbocker writes on reports of working conditions at some Nike- contracted facilities in China under the header, "Nike Fights Full-Court Press on Labor Issue" (CSM, 9/23).
Pro Player next week will launch "a regional ad effort with Foot Locker targeting the urban market," according to Jeff Jensen of ADVERTISING AGE. The media plan "is consistent" with Pro Player's "strategy of spending where popular pro teams play," as the company is "setting itself apart" by marketing a "more contemporary style." Jensen adds that Pro Player "eschews low-end pricing and retail outlets while supporting its retail accounts with exclusives and multiple styles of key products." Pro Player President Doug Kelly said that event-oriented products, like the company's "Can the Tuna" T-shirts during Bill Parcells' recent return to New England, "account for 15% of sales ... a figure that's expected to grow" (ADVERTISING AGE, 9/22). HALFTIME SHOW LOCKOUT: BRANDWEEK's Terry Lefton reports that agency sources say Pro Player, in tandem with Foot Locker, was "bidding hard" for the Super Bowl XXXII halftime show, but "bad blood" from past dealings between Foot Locker and NBC "killed the deal." Lefton adds that Pro Player "is expected to go all out" for rights to the Super Bowl XXXIII halftime show, "pending completion of a new TV deal and subsequent network assignment" (BRANDWEEK, 9/22).