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BIRD WATCHING: LARRY LEGEND'S ENDORSEMENTS EXAMINED IN INDY
Published April 23, 1998
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).