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SBD/23/Sponsorships Advertising MarketingPrint All
GM's $3.5M sponsorship of the WNBA is an attempt "to build relationships with women, who are estimated to make 80 percent of the consumer buying decisions in America today," according to Jon Pepper of the DETROIT NEWS. GM's involvement comes "at two levels," at the "higher end," GM is buying commercial time on the WNBA's TV broadcasts, and at the "lower end," it is using grassroots marketing, having WNBA players represent it at schools, shopping centers and charitable events. GM VP/North American Advertising & Marketing Philip Guarascio: "There's a purity about the game, an innocence that gives it more of an Olympic feel than an NFL feel." Mark Hines, GM's Assistant Brand Manager for Buick Regal: "We're not looking at it as political correctness. It's a great opportunity to connect with people." Meanwhile, the WNBA expansion Detroit Shock has sold 17,000 tickets for its June 13 opener, and Palace Sports & Entertainment President Tom Wilson said he expects a league-record 22,000 for the game (DETROIT NEWS, 3/22).
AGENCY NEWS: Fleer/SkyBox Int'l named FCB, NY, to handle its SkyBox trading cards, from Rockett, Burkhead, Lewis & Winslow, NC. Spending was estimated at less than $5M (AD AGE, 3/23)....In N.Y., Stuart Elliott writes advertising execs predict that under new Chief Marketing Office Charles Frenette, Coca-Cola is "likely to concentrate its relationships with a few larger core agencies while retaining several smaller shops for creative alternatives" (N.Y. TIMES, 3/23). Coca-Cola spokesperson Bob Bertini: "We don't anticipate an immediate change in our approach to agencies" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 3/23). OTHER NOTES: In NJ, Colin Stephensen reported that money might "have been a factor" in Seton Hall basketball coach Tommy Amaker's decision to withdraw his name from consideration for the Univ. of MI's head coaching job. Amaker's three-year contract at Seton Hall pays him about $350,000 annually, and his shoe contract with Fila "pays about the same." Michigan has an exclusive contract with Nike, "meaning its coaches cannot negotiate their own deals for extra income" (Newark STAR-LEDGER, 3/21). But Amaker later said "money was never the issue" (STAR-LEDGER, 3/22). ...David Letterman will sponsor Indy Lights driver Tim Moser for the remainder of the season (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 3/21). ...In Tampa, Dillard's department store violated MLBP's logo policy Thursday when it included an unauthorized photo of Devil Rays OF Dave Martinez in uniform in a full-page ad in the St. Petersburg Times. Martinez was to have appeared at a Dillard's store. Friday, Dillard's apologized on a full- page ad in the newspaper, saying, "Dillard's deeply regrets this unauthorized use." Martinez's appearance was cancelled (TAMPA TRIBUNE, 3/21)....Angels OF Tim Salmon will appear in an ESPN "Net Boy" spot. Salmon, who has never been selected to an All-Star team: "The guys who make the All-Star team are consistently out there, and that's where I realize I may be hurting myself. ... But I'm starting to get old, and I want to go to the All-Star game" (L.A. TIMES, 3/22).
USA Boxing will receive $1.51M from the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation in CT in a three-year sponsorship deal announced Friday for a series of bouts at its Foxwoods Resort Casino, according to Terry Price of the HARTFORD COURANT. The sponsorship "is the first by an American Indian tribe for a U.S. Olympic national governing body." USA Boxing President Gary Toney said that the pact is the largest signed by USA Boxing (HARTFORD COURANT, 3/22). Under the sponsorship, USA Boxing will stage four events in each of the next three years at Foxwoods. It held events in '94 and '95 at the casino. The agreement calls for sponsorship amounts of $456,000 the first year, $501,000 the second and $556,000 the third. The first Foxwoods event will be a dual match May 9 between the U.S. and Mexico. The series of events will culminate with USA Boxing staging its 2000 Olympic box-offs there (WASHINGTON POST, 3/23). MEET ME TONIGHT IN ATLANTIC CITY: The resurgence of boxing in Atlantic City was examined by John Hassell of the Newark STAR-LEDGER, who quoted Time Warner Sports President Seth Abraham as saying, "Right now, Atlantic City is the boxing capital of the world. The boxing world has tilted away from Las Vegas and toward Atlantic City, although it will not stay that way forever." The number of fight cards in NJ rose from 29 to 41 last year, while NV's dropped from 40 to 31. Furthermore, NJ's revenue rose 218% between '96 and '97, while NV's fell 13% (Newark STAR-LEDGER, 3/22).
Nike said Friday that it will cut 480 jobs in Asia, accounting for about 30% of its global reductions, according to Didi Tatlow of the AP. Nike spokesperson Martha Benson said that Asia's economic troubles have "hurt sales" in the region. Benson: "The cost of a shoe suddenly grows quite significant when your currency drops in half." Nike's 22,000 person global work force will be cut by 7%, accounting for $30M-$45M of an estimated $175M in restructuring costs. Benson did not give details as to where the Asian job cuts would occur (AP, 3/21). An OREGONIAN editorial Friday addressed Nike's Asian layoffs: "[M]aybe there's one bright side to this story. Maybe now the U.S. labor activists who have made such a stink about the 'exploitative' manufacturing jobs in Nike's Asian subcontractors will lay off for a bit" (OREGONIAN, 3/20). OR, THEN AGAIN, MAYBE THEY WON'T: In its "occasional series on chasing cheap sweatshop labor," the PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER examines Nike's contracting out to Vietnamese factories under the header, "Vietnam Gives Nike A Run For Its Money." In a front-page piece, Jennifer Lin writes that Nike's foray into Vietnam "has been anything but business as usual for Nike in its constant global search for cheap labor." Although the company "found the eager, low-wage workforce it covets, it did not bargain on such a rude welcome from this Communist nation, where more than lip service is paid to workers' rights. Nor did it anticipate hostile local press coverage in a nation with no free press." For Nike, one out of every ten pairs of its shoes now comes from Vietnamese subcontractors, and Lin writes that CEO Phil Knight will have to convince critics that "$1.84 a day is a fair wage for Vietnamese workers" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 3/23). In a related piece, PA State Rep. Robert Belfanti has proposed a resolution that would "force" Penn State Univ. to sever its ties with Nike because of the company's "reported mistreatment of Asian workers." Penn State recently extended its original deal which was signed in '94 worth $2.6M over three years (INQUIRER, 3/23).