SBD/23/Sponsorships Advertising Marketing

BIRD WATCHING: LARRY LEGEND'S ENDORSEMENTS EXAMINED IN INDY

          In the NBA's "age of the celebrity coach," there is "no
     scarcity" of Larry Bird sightings, but the Pacers' coach
     "would be even more pervasive" if he signed with every
     company seeking his endorsement, according to Sean Horgan of
     the INDIANAPOLIS STAR-NEWS.  Jill Leone, Owner of FL-based
     Leone Star Services, which has handled Bird's endorsements
     since '79: "We are probably only able to do about 15 or 20
     percent of what we're offered.  Larry is very selective." 
     Bird has long-standing national deals with McDonald's,
     Converse, Viking Computer Co., Viewsonics computer company
     and Miller Brewing.  In IN, he has local deals with Marsh
     Supermarkets, for which he stars in a TV spot, as well as
     print or billboard ad deals with Thomson Consumer
     Electronics, Nordstrom and The Finish Line.  Horgan writes
     that Bird's endorsement portfolio "is shrinking. By choice." 
     Bird: "They're down to where I don't hardly do any anymore. 
     With this job, it takes too much time" (STAR-NEWS, 4/23)  
          LARRY'S LEGEND: While Leone wouldn't give specifics,
     sports marketers say that Bird "commands about" $45,000 for
     a personal appearance and anywhere from $300,000 to $750,000
     for a one-commercial national deal.  Bird: "I'm getting to
     the age now where I really don't care, unless it's a
     corporation that comes to me and really shows a lot of
     interest, and I have the time in the summer."  Horgan writes
     that Bird "has loyalty that shows up in his relationships
     with sponsors, which he chooses with care and stays with
     over the long haul."  Bird: "I never dealt with companies
     that I didn't have a lot of faith in.  I try to pick
     companies that are going to be around for a long time and
     have a good rapport with customers" (STAR-NEWS, 4/23).

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Related Topics:

Converse, Indiana Pacers, McDonalds, NBA

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