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The FTC's "stunning retreat" of proposed "relaxed standards" concerning the "Made in U.S.A." label was examined by Eric Schmitt of the N.Y. TIMES. The commission said last week it was dropping its proposal, recommended by New Balance, among others, after "an avalanche of criticism from organized labor, state officials, consumer groups, more than 250 members of Congress and a large chunk of the nation's small businesses." Schmitt wrote that the "ferocity of the response -- part grass roots, part high technology -- shocked the commission," as the issue turned into an "often-times emotional referendum on product quality, truth in labeling, the power of unions and old-fashioned patriotism." Schmitt added that "conspicuous by its absence" was a well-organized campaign by any companies that supported the proposed changes, including shoe manufacturers and bicycle companies. DC lobbyist Jason Clawson: "Where industry failed is that companies tried to do everything through trade associations and didn't step forward themselves" (N.Y. TIMES, 12/6).
PROS AND CONS: In N.Y., Phil Mushnick noted Converse dropping Latrell Sprewell for behavior "inexcusable and unsportsmanlike." Mushnick: "What a farce. This is the same Converse that last season won a bidding war with Nike for [Dennis] Rodman" (N.Y. POST, 12/7). But in Miami, Greg Cote gave "cheers" to Converse and told readers, "Show your appreciation. Take out a loan and buy a pair of Converse shoes" (MIAMI HERALD, 12/6)....Carolyn Davidson, who created Nike's swoosh logo, was featured on "Extra." Nike CEO Phil Knight said he didn't like the design when he first saw it: "That's just my nature. I don't ever like anything" ("Extra," 12/5)....Reds GM Jim Bowden contacted Nike "to suggest the repositioning" of spikes on the bottom of its cleats after three Reds players who wear Nikes have had bone and foot injuries (CINCINNATI POST, 12/7). OTHER NOTES: In Philadelphia, Bobby Hoying jerseys have become "this year's version of the Tickle Me Elmo doll ... high-demand, low supply." The Eagles made Hoying jerseys available through their AOL site on Wednesday and sold 21 jerseys in six hours (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 12/6)....Mark Messier shot a new TV commercial for Lay's Potato Chips that will run nationally in the new year (VANCOUVER SUN, 12/7). NOTES: Imperial Tobacco announced Friday its decision to pull $50M in sports and cultural sponsorships effective October '98, putting the finances of sports and cultural events across Canada "into uncertainty." Imperial Tobacco parent company, Imasco, is a "major" sponsor of Toronto's Molson Indy (TORONTO SUN, 12/8)....Despite selling its in- stadium signage to Casio for World Cup '98, A-B will air three TV spots on network and cable TV World Cup broadcasts as part of its ad campaign (AD AGE, 12/8).
Did you ever wonder exactly who is wearing what on their feet in the NBA? If so, we've got some answers. THE DAILY found that of the 403 players in the NBA as of Friday, November 28 -- including those on either the injured or suspended list -- 262 currently wear Nike shoes, while a combination of 10 companies provides shoes for the remaining 135 NBA players. Reebok outfits 75 players, followed by Converse with 16, Fila and adidas with 14 each, And 1 with eight and Apex with three. Karl Kani provides sneakers for two players, while Spalding, Nautica and Asics each have one player. Six players -- Greg Anthony, Keith Closs, James Collins, Tom Chambers, Stephen Howard and Aaron Williams -- are currently testing different shoe brands (THE DAILY). METHODOLOGY: THE DAILY compiled these figures with the cooperation of Reebok, Converse, adidas, Fila, And 1, Apex, Karl Kani, Asics, Nautica, Spalding and NBA teams. Information about Nike was gathered independently. NOTE: The players wearing of a certain brand does not necessarily mean they are under contract with that particular company. LOOK FOR MORE: All this week THE DAILY will feature the brand, model and shoe size of the NBA players wearing brands other than Nike. Look for a listing of Reebok's 75 NBA players in Tuesday's issue. The following breaks down each company's share of the entire league (THE DAILY):COMPANYPLAYERS% OF NBA
Nike26265% Reebok7519% Converse164% adidas143% Fila143% And 182% Apex3<1% Karl Kani2<1% Asics1<1% Nautica1<1% Spalding1<1%
When TriStar's "Jerry Maguire" appears on Showtime next month, it will be 47 seconds longer than it was in theatres, according to the AP. The film will now end with a fictional Reebok commercial that Writer-Director Cameron Crowe had originally edited out. While "nobody is saying why the commercial is back," it was the "core complaint of a product- placement lawsuit" filed by Reebok against Sony's TriStar Pictures, which was settled in September. Reebok and TriStar, which confirmed last week that a new version of "Jerry Maguire" will be broadcast on January 17, both refused to discuss the deal. It was "unclear" whether Crowe had approved the change (AP/Baltimore SUN, 12/7).