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The IHL Chicago Wolves have reached a three-year deal with six Chicago-area cable systems to heighten exposure, according to Michael Hirsley of the CHICAGO TRIBUNE. Wolves President Bob McAuliffe said that both the team and cable systems will "make financial and marketing contributions rather than the traditional TV rights buying by networks to TV-time buying by teams." The deal puts the team on 26 channels with a combined reach of "all of the area's 1.6 million cable households." McAuliffe: "We cross-promote the team on channels all over the dial with over a hundred commercials per week. We can offer big regional advertisers wide audience coverage, and offer small local advertisers zoned ads or whichever cable channels reach their potential customers." The cable systems will cover 21 Wolves' games plus a playoff schedule (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 11/28).
The marketing of the Flyers' John LeClair was featured by Ted Ryan of the BURLINGTON FREE PRESS. VT-born LeClair is "rapidly becoming one of the hottest American commodities just as the sport is ready to take center stage at the Olympics in Nagano," and the list of companies "seeking to add LeClair to their stables of athletes is growing and beginning to reach beyond the local markets of" PA and VT. LeClair's agent, Lewis Gross of Sports Professional Management, said LeClair is "involved" in talks with Norelco shavers, ComCast Cellular Phones and Warner Bros. sports apparel about new deals. Gross: "With the Olympics coming, people in the market are looking for someone to grab on to. If the U.S. team does anything, (advertisers) need a guy to be the focus guy." Gross added that LeClair turned down a potential deal with Wendy's when they wanted exclusivity. As for a potential deal with VT's Ben & Jerry's ice cream? Gross: "We spoke with Ben & Jerry's. I thought that was a natural, but they said it wasn't that they weren't interested [in] John, they're just not interested in athlete endorsements" (BURLINGTON FREE PRESS, 11/27).
Bauer will be the exclusive supplier of authentic jerseys for the NHL Nashville Predators. Bauer will also offer replica jerseys available at retail on a non-exclusive basis to other NHL teams currently not offered by Nike (NHL Enterprises)....The Devil Rays have signed a five-year sponsorship deal with coffee manufacturer Melitta USA (ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 11/27)....Nobody Beats the Wiz is "denying industry rumors it will file for bankruptcy protection in the next few months" (Kevin Hunt, HARTFORD COURANT, 11/27). CORRECTION: Henry Kay Jewelers, which has received an NBA license, is based in Chicago, IL (THE DAILY).
The marketing of 13-year-old Australian tennis prodigy Todd Reid was examined by Robin Finn of the N.Y. TIMES in a front-page feature. No 13-year-old male tennis prospect "has ever pocketed this much money or generated this much hype." Reid: "I don't really know how good I am, but it's nice to get all the free stuff" (N.Y. TIMES, 11/30). TOO MUCH, TOO SOON? Reid, whose agent Pete Colbert also acts as his legal guardian, "already boasts five corporate sponsors and a three-year tennis scholarship" to the Bollettieri Sports Academy in FL. Colbert signed sponsorship deals with Qantas, KFC, Head and adidas, which enabled the Reid family to send him to Bollettieri's academy. Todd's father Bob Reid, on his son's sponsorship deals, which total a reported $350,000: "I think there's a difference between exploiting someone and trying to build them a comfortable future." Finn added that "while there is confusion as to whether Colbert initiated contact" with agencies IMG and Advantage Int'l over representing Reid, both agencies say that Colbert "was looking for too much, too soon." IMG's Gavin Forbes: "We suggested to Peter that he should slow it down a little" (N.Y. TIMES, 11/30). LOCAL LEVEL: KFC, which estimates its investment in Reid at the "low-level six-figures" over three-years, is hoping to use its ties to Reid "for a future challenge to McDonald's, a prominent sponsor of Australian tennis." KFC Regional Marketing Dir Greg Creed: "It's about investing some money behind a young kid who needed help. ... And I'd have to say I was a little surprised at the level of exposure that's been provided" (N.Y. TIMES, 11/30).