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Canadian Health Minister Allan Rock "signalled" that he will "change tobacco laws to allow motor sport racers to advertise smoking on their uniforms and vehicles," according to Anne Dawson of the TORONTO SUN. Rock: "We made the commitment as a government. Formula One is an important event in Canada and we want to do what we can." CART spokesperson T.E. McHale did not make an official comment until further review of the plan, but said, "It sounds (like) very encouraging news" (TORONTO SUN, 10/29). PPG GETS COMPANY: While CART is looking to bring in a company to share title sponsorship of its series with PA- based PPG, PPG Dir of Sports Marketing Mike Sack said the company "plans to continue its strong presence in racing circuits" even after sharing CART title sponsorship, according to Denise Melilli of CRAIN'S CLEVELAND BUSINESS. CART and PPG execs say that "by bringing in a more consumer- oriented company as co-sponsor, they can raise the profile of the series." PPG is viewed primarily as "a business-to- business sponsor," that uses its hospitality and signage presence at CART tracks to "market products to customers in the automotive and automotive aftermarket industries." PPG spends "about" $8M in motorsports sponsorships and promotions each year (CRAIN'S CLEVELAND BUSINESS, 10/27).
DEALS: Nashville's NHL expansion franchise has awarded its $2M advertising account to Nashville-based Dye, Van Mol, Lawrence (AD AGE, 10/29)....Johnson & Johnson has become a corporate sponsor of the '98 Goodwill Games. As part of its sponsorship, Johnson & Johnson and its "National Safe Kids Campaign" will also participate in the Junior Goodwill Games (CABLE WORLD, 10/27 issue)....MD-based Softspikes, Inc. has named NJ-based Mastro Communications to handle its PR activities (Softspikes)....The city of Lancaster, CA, "Big 8" Softball Complex signed a three-year deal with CA-based Triumph! Sports Energy, to become the softball complex' official sport beverage (Lancaster Sports News). NOTES: State Farm Insurance Companies' Mid-South Region will honor Grambling State Univ. Coach Eddie Robinson at a charity dinner, November 29, in New Orleans (State Farm). ...Fleishman-Hillard will handle PR for the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City (K.C. STAR, 10/30).
"Mired in a prolonged slump," sporting goods chains are hoping the return of the NBA season can "help spark a revival" in the $2.2B basketball shoe business, according to Richard Wilner of the N.Y. POST. The Sports Authority VP/ Merchandise Joe Chichelo: "These are very important weeks coming. I hope the marquee shoes bring some life back into the basketball category." Chichelo said "the non-marquee" basketball shoe priced over $90 has "not been performing as it once was." Modell's Sporting Goods CEO Michael Modell: "The (Allen) Iverson shoe has been very popular and we will be keeping an eye on sales to see how the entire business is doing." Wilner adds that "stores are so desperate to pull in crowds ... they are twisting the arms of sneaker makers for exclusive launch dates." For example, a New York City Foot Locker will be the first to debut Fila's Grant Hill IV shoe on Saturday and Hill "will be on hand to pump [up] the volume of sales" (Richard Wilner, N.Y. POST, 10/30).