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  • LPGA INKS LCI ON LONG DISTANCE; NEW SPOTS DEBUT THIS WEEKEND

              VA-based LCI Int'l signed a three-year deal with a
         joint option to become the official long distance provider
         of the LPGA, the company's first major women's sports
         sponsorship.  LCI will provide prepaid calling cards to LPGA
         Tour players; long distance service to the LPGA and the LPGA
         Tournament Sponsors Assoc.; have on-site sponsorship of
         selected LPGA events; hold category-exclusive TV ad rights
         for selected events and on-site sponsorship and TV
         advertising for the '98 Solheim Cup in Dublin, OH (LPGA).
              THEY CAN PLAY, AGAIN AND AGAIN: Helen Alfredsson,
         Karrie Webb, Annika Sorenstam and Kelly Robbins will star in
         three, 30-second TV spots that will debut during CBS's
         coverage of the Mercury Titleholders Championship this
         weekend.  The spots, by DDB Needham, were directed by Joe
         Pytka and feature the tag, "Hey, we can play."  One spot,
         "Rivalry," opens with Sorenstam and Webb discussing their
         rivalry and their non-combative quotes are juxtaposed with
         scenes showing Sorenstam drawing a mustache on Webb's
         publicity poster, and Webb keeping a Sorenstam voodoo doll
         in her locker.  These spots, along with earlier ones
         featuring Nancy Lopez and Michelle McGann, will air during
         LPGA telecasts on CBS, ABC, NBC, ESPN, ESPN2, The Golf
         Channel and Lifetime.  A print campaign also runs (LPGA).
              GLOBAL GOLFING: In Tampa, Mick Elliott profiles the
         LPGA and writes that, "For all the visionary talk by the
         men's tours, it is the LPGA that has proved itself the real
         global stage," with 74 foreign golfers representing 16
         countries active on the Tour (TAMPA TRIBUNE, 4/30). 
    
    

    Print | Tags: ABC, CBS, ESPN, LPGA, NBC, Viacom, Walt Disney
  • MARKETPLACE ROUND-UP

              MORE WITH MICK: N.Y. POST gossip columnist Neal Travis
         reports that ICM, which recently signed to rep Mickey
         Mantle's widow and three sons in future entertainment deals,
         "has no handle" on Mantle's "longtime mistress and agent,"
         Greer Johnson, who is "well along with her own book about
         life with The Mick."  Travis adds that Greer's book is
         attracting "film and TV interest" (N.Y. POST, 4/30).
              NOTES: In Ft. Worth, Jimmy Burch reports that
         negotiations "are ongoing" to extend MasterCard's title
         sponsorship of the PGA Tour's Colonial tournament. 
         MasterCard is in its final year as title sponsor, with a
         one-year option to extend the pact to '99 (STAR-TELEGRAM,
         4/30)....Buick renewed its commitment to the Buick Open,
         announcing that the tournament will continue at Warwick
         Hills Golf & Country Club in Grand Blanc, MI, through 2002
         (Buick)....Budweiser's Louie the Lizard will be featured on
         the car of NHRA Top Fuel dragster Kenny Bernstein during the
         Lone Star Nationals this weekend at Texas Motorplex (USA
         TODAY, 4/30)....Wong Doody won the Grandy Award at the 34th
         annual Int'l Andy Awards for creativity for a TV campaign
         for the Sonics.  Doody won $50,000 (N.Y. TIMES, 4/30)....As
         part of his settlement with former NBA star Kareem Abdul-
         Jabbar, Dolphins RB Karim Abdul-Jabbar will be know as
         "Abdul" for the purposes of commercialism (Mult., 4/30).
    
    

    Print | Tags: Anheuser Busch, General Motors, MasterCard, Miami Dolphins, NBA, NHRA, PGA Tour
  • SGB NEWS & NOTES: NIKE STILL A HOT-SELLER AT RETAIL

              Several retailers told SPORTING GOODS BUSINESS' Andy
         Bernstein that Nike replica team jerseys "consistently kept
         pace with the competition despite" a price difference that
         saw its jerseys sell for around $15 more than its
         competitors at retail.  Nike will lower the price of its NFL
         replicas for fall '98.  Gaylan's reported that Nike's
         college jerseys were "among its best-selling licensed
         products."  Bernstein writes, however, that "it's clear that
         Nike is far from being an industry leader overall.  In fact,
         insiders tell SGB that Nike failed to meet its NFL's minimum
         royalty requirement last season."  Nike OTS Licensed
         Division Dir Bruce Kaplan declined to comment on the
         payment....In other news, retailers tell SGB's Mark Tedeschi
         that they are "bewildered by all the negative attention"
         Nike has received.  City Sports footwear buyer Sean O'Brien
         said that Nike's basketball apparel "hasn't been that strong
         and cross training has been slow, but that's industry wide,
         not just Nike.  Their running has been huge this spring." 
         The Finish Line Senior VP Joe Wood said Nike made up about
         66-67% of the companies business last year, "now they are
         about" 60%. Woods: "There is a lot more bad press than
         reality" (SPORTING GOODS BUSINESS, 4/15 issue).
              NOTES: PA-based Mitchell & Ness, manufacturers of
         nostalgic baseball apparel, will "soon join" the NBA ranks
         producing replica NBA uniforms.  Mitchell & Ness has been
         working with the NBA to license the Back Court Collection, a
         tribute to the NBA's 50-year history.  The line will launch
         at NSGA show this year....Bob's Stores President & CEO Marc
         Balmuth is featured in a Q&A.  Balmuth, on the number of
         brands consumers can see at Bob's Stores: "Just about
         everything may be stepping out too far, but I think we're
         giving the brands a lot of space and I think that we have
         most of the brands out there that are exciting to the
         consumer.  So in the younger businesses, I think we're
         making as strong a statement as anybody" (SGB, 4/15). 
    
    

    Print | Tags: NBA, NFL, Nike
  • USSF AND IMG AIM TO TARGET CHILDREN IN NEW PARTNERSHIP

              In its new partnership with the U.S. Soccer Federation,
         IMG will distribute the "friendly" games that men's and
         women's USSF teams play against other countries between
         World Cup matches, and no World Cup or MLS games will be
         included, according to Steve Donohue of ELECTRONIC MEDIA. 
         In discussing the deal, IMG Senior Exec VP Bob Cain said,
         "It's hard to think that it (soccer) will do anything but
         keep growing.  The dividend will start paying years from
         now." As part of the agreement, IMG will distribute at least
         10 hours of children's soccer programming, with Nickelodeon
         as a "potential cable carrier."  IMG hopes to "build the
         sport by attracting younger demographics."  ESPN
         VP/Programming Steve Risser said that the net, which has a
         deal with the USSF that expires this year, sees soccer as a
         "growth sport," but "isn't ready to commit to buying more
         than 14 games each year."  IMG is "targeting" Lifetime as a
         "solid candidate" to air women's games.  ESPN's Risser said
         that another challenge is scheduling, as the USSF schedules
         its games 60 days in advance, while ESPN "tries to program"
         its schedule 90 days in advance (ELECTRONIC MEDIA, 4/27).
    
    

    Print | Tags: ESPN, IMG, MLS, Walt Disney
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