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Published January 22, 1998
Mattel is expected to announce an exclusive, multiyear licensing agreement with the NBA today, giving it worldwide rights to all NBA-themed toys and games, according to Lisa Bannon of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. The deal is "expected to generate more than" $300M during the next five years. Mattel said the deal, which includes rights to the WNBA and women's U.S. Olympic team, "will broaden" the company's toy and game market to include "new sports consumers, and new distribution channels, such as sporting-goods stores, sports arenas and sports-collectible stores." Bannon reports the deal includes basketball-themed merchandise "across all Mattel toy categories," including Barbie, Sesame Street, Cabbage Patch, Hot Wheels and Matchbox. The NBA will also include the Mattel merchandise at its flagship store in N.Y. While Hasbro also is licensed to produce male action figures called Starting Lineup, the NBA portion of that license expires this summer. NBA CMO Rick Welts said that it chose Mattel "because it will provide an established international-sales network as well as access to the growing girls' and women's market" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 1/22).