SBD/14/Sponsorships Advertising Marketing

STIR-IT UPS: ADIDAS CLOSE ON MLB DEAL, BACKS OFF NBA TALKS

          MLB "is expected to announce" a new licensing agreement
     with adidas in the next several days, according to Jeff
     Manning of the Portland OREGONIAN.  adidas Dir of Sports
     Marketing Robert Erb said "some issues remain unresolved"
     between adidas and MLB, with the fundamental question, "How
     much autonomy do the local owners have to market their own
     teams?"  Erb confirmed that as part of the pending deal,
     adidas and the Yankees will drop their lawsuit against MLB. 
     Manning also reported that while Russell Corp. and Wilson
     Sporting Goods have "both abandoned" their NFL licensing
     agreements in recent months, adidas has gained on-field
     status and will outfit the Bucs.  Erb also "confirmed" that
     talks are also taking place regarding a possible apparel
     deal with the Redskins.  Manning added that adidas does not
     appear "to be headed for an on-court deal with the NBA, at
     least anytime soon."  Erb confirmed reports that in recent
     talks with the league, NBA officials "raised the
     possibility" of adidas "taking some or all of financially
     strapped Starter's nine NBA teams."  But adidas decided
     against pursuing the deal "in part because many of Starter's
     teams have losing records or play in small markets." 
     Starter and NBA officials "denied there is any change
     pending in their relationship" (Portland OREGONIAN, 4/10).

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