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  • COUNTDOWN TO NAGANO: THESE WINTER GAMES HAVE SOME 'TUDE

              The Nagano Games open Friday and the media has begun to
         arrive in Japan.  The "most intriguing aspect of the Nagano
         Games may be a generational shift, represented by the
         prominence of under-30 athletes who come from non-
         traditional, even nonwinter, sports such as skateboarding
         and inline skating, and who carry nontraditional attitudes
         into the Winter Games," according to Jere Longman of the
         N.Y. TIMES.  In some aspects, the Games "will more closely
         resemble ESPN's X Games or the Grunge Games than a
         traditional Winter Olympics" (N.Y. TIMES, 2/1).   
              CENTER ICE: In Philadelphia, Frank Fitzpatrick wrote
         the "centerpiece of these Games could well be the men's
         hockey tournament" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 2/1).  In N.J.,
         Mark Czerwinski wrote that unlike the NBA Dream Teamers,
         "When NHL players take the ice in Nagano, Japan, they won't
         be trying to sell sneakers or jerseys or french fries. 
         They're selling hockey, and the world is their target
         audience" (Bergen RECORD, 2/1).  In L.A., Helene Elliott
         wrote "don't confuse" the NHL Olympic program "with the
         NBA's Dream Team debacles" (L.A. TIMES, 1/31).  BUSINESS
         WEEK's Madigan & Hyman examine the potential boost from the
         Games.  CBS will profile NHL players in prime time, exposure
         which "could give a financial lift to rink stars who
         perennially trail other pro athletes in the endorsement
         category."  Agent Tom Reich: "The opportunities are going to
         be aggressively explored once the competition is over."  A
         "mild success" could give the league a boost as it sets to
         renegotiate its TV deal.  NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said
         that the league is happy with its relationship with Fox and
         ESPN, "but he wouldn't mind if ABC or CBS 'showed interest'
         at entering the TV talks" (BUSINESS WEEK, 2/9 issue).
              SHREDDING EVIDENCE: Snowboarding's debut continues to
         receive considerable media attention.  Rick Gentile, CBS
         Sports' Exec Producer of the Games: "We think snowboarding
         is going to be popular this year. ... We're going to have
         some young people out there who are snowboarders, who are in
         that world, who speak that language" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER,
         2/1).  NEWSWEEK's Debra Rosenberg writes that CBS plans to
         highlight snowboarding events.  But snowboarding "devotees
         fear that the sport could lose its soul in an Olympic
         avalanche of commercialism and red tape" (NEWSWEEK, 2/9).
              OUT OF THE PACK: In N.Y., Wayne Coffey offered his four
         U.S. "budding stars to watch" in Nagano: Women's ice hockey
         assistant captain Karyn Bye; Slalom skier Kristina Koznick; 
         Luge teammates Mark Grimmette and Brian Martin and
         speedskater Casey FitzRandolph (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 2/1).
         NEWSWEEK's Mark Starr writes that while new sports "may
         provide much of the excitement" -- men and women's ice
         hockey and snowboarding -- Michelle Kwan "appears destined
         for the Games' greatest glory" (NEWSWEEK, 2/9 issue).
    
    

    Print | Tags: ABC, CBS, ESPN, NBA, News Corp./Fox, NHL, Olympics, Viacom, Walt Disney
  • JAPANESE CITY READY TO OFFER ITS "TRADITION AND CULTURE"

              In a "marked contrast to the garish commercial scene"
         in Atlanta, in Nagano, "other than the colorful assortment
         of Olympic flags dangling from light poles, there are
         virtually no advertisements on display," according to
         Shipley & Sullivan of the WASHINGTON POST.  Japan "intends
         to display its unique traditions and culture in a tasteful
         setting" during the Games (WASHINGTON POST, 2/1).
              IS NAGANO READY? In an interview with NEWSWEEK, NAOC
         Dir General Makoto Kobayashi said, "I have no concerns.  We
         are ready."  Kobayashi, asked if he would ever take the Dir
         General job again: "No, no, never.  I would turn it down"
         (NEWSWEEK, 2/9 issue).  IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch
         called the Nagano Main Press Center "one of the best I've
         ever seen in my life" (KYODO NEWS, 1/29).  In Toronto,
         William Houston, on the media's set-up: "Broadcasters are
         raving about the facilities. ... Networks' needs and request
         were met.  Everything works" (GLOBE & MAIL, 1/31).  In
         Montreal, Jack Todd: "A week before the start of the Nagano
         Games, things are already running better then they did in
         Atlanta at the time of the closing ceremonies.  The phones
         work.  The computers work" (Montreal GAZETTE, 1/31).
              NOTES: Traffic in Nagano remains a concern for
         organizers (KYODO NEWS, 2/2)....The IOC reports that
         sponsorship for the Nagano Games totals $212M, or 27% of the
         overall $780M revenue (AP/PHILA. INQUIRER, 1/31).
              SPONSOR SUPPORT:  BUSINESS WEEK features a "Special
         Report" on the Olympic Games and Neff, Echikson et. al.
         write that "most corporate sponsors profess great
         satisfaction with their Olympic connection."  TOP sponsor
         John Hancock Mutual Life Insurance was soured over the
         commercialism in Atlanta, but President David D'Alessandro
         said, "Both the Japanese and the Australians have gone out
         of their way to learn the lessons of Atlanta."  BUSINESS
         WEEK adds, "Despite the risks, the number of sponsors-in-
         waiting and communities eager to play host is growing"
         (BUSINESS WEEK, 2/9)....The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Raju
         Narisetti profiles IBM's Nagano program, as the company will
         end up spending about $100M for the 17-day event and looks
         to bounce back from the "black eye" it suffered in Atlanta. 
         Ogilvy & Mather will create 10 TV spots that tie IBM's role
         to athletes in the games (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 2/2). 
              WILL PEACOCK LIE LOW? CNBC's Jerry Cobb: "Some say NBC
         is trying especially hard not to compete for the Olympic
         audience in order to help CBS score high ratings.  Those
         numbers could be of big help for NBC when it sells ad time
         for its broadcast of the Winter Games in 2002."  TV Guide's
         Max Robins: "I don't think there's some kind of grassy knoll
         conspiracy going on here, that they're just going to roll
         over and play dead so that they can do well with the Winter
         Games next time around" ("The Edge," CNBC, 1/30). 
              POINT, CLICK AND SCORE? AD AGE examines Web tie-ins to
         the Nagano Games.  CBS SportsLine is spearheading "one of
         the largest online efforts," and among sponsors of its
         Olympic coverage are A-B, AT&T, Bugle Boy Industries, Ford
         Motor, IBM, Shell Oil, Visa USA, Xerox and Sony.  SportsLine
         would not reveal the cost of its sponsorship, but "it's
         believed that they're in line with the price of its ad
         banners, which sell for $35 per thousand impressions." 
         While not spending on Web advertising during the Games, Nike
         will focus its Olympic coverage on Nikebiz.com site where it
         will offer athlete information (AD AGE, 2/3 issue).
    
    

    Print | Tags: Anheuser Busch, ATT, CBS, IBM, IOC, John Hancock Mutual Life Insurance, NBC, Nike, Olympics, SportsLine.com, Viacom, Visa, Xerox
  • USOC AND TWI JOIN TO CREATE FULL-TIME OLYMPIC VENTURES

              The USOC and TWI formally announced that they have
         joined in a TV and marketing venture designed to create new
         events and programming centered around the Olympic movement
         in the U.S.  The first project will be a 26-part series
         called "U.S. Olympic Gold," which will target NBC affils by
         feeding the half-hour shows bi-weekly to accommodate the
         stations' weekend sports schedules.  The magazine-style show
         will profile American athletes training for the games and
         includes news and info on Olympic preparations.  U.S.
         Olympic Gold is available to stations on a barter split for
         airing beginning in the '98 third quarter (USOC).
    
    
    

    Print | Tags: IMG, NBC, Olympics, USOC
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