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The Goodwill Games, taking place from July 19 to August 2 in Manhattan and Nassau County, NY, are "about" marketing, media, prizes, show business and "promoting Time Warner," according to Harry Berkowitz of NEWSDAY. With Time Warner operating its first Goodwill Games, it "has a lot to prove," including that "there is still justification" for the event and that it can draw interest. It must also "show sponsors paying a total" of $50-60M "that they can benefit and not get embarrassed by the lack of interest among sports fans or overshadowed by the focus on Time Warner units." The company "must" also prove that it can "put on a spectacle pulling together an array of corporate resources, talents, and hoopla the way Walt Disney Co. does." In presenting the Games, Time Warner said that it is in "full control," which is "a key to avoiding past financial and logistical problems." They own the Games and official sponsors can be assured that they won't be ambushed by "advertisers who are unofficial add-ons or who just pay to run TV spots." TBS will have 45 hours of Games coverage, with HBO handling boxing. Time Warner also bought 10 hours of weekend time on CBS and will produce that coverage and sell the ads. Goodwill Games President Mike Plant said the operating budget is $100M "hard cash" with $100M in in-kind and promotional support. Sponsors include Canon, Chrysler, Citgo, Discover Card, Energizer, Master Lock, Swatch, Sony, A-B, Gillette and Johnson & Johnson (NEWSDAY, 6/1). GOODWILL HUNTING: NEWSDAY's John Jeansonne reported that Warner Syndication is selling the int'l TV broadcast rights and Warner's music division is producing the opening and closing ceremonies. Turner networks are providing $17M in "free on-air promos," and Time Inc. publications will contribute 46 pages of free ads. The Games will benefit the Boys & Girls Club of America and UNICEF (NEWSDAY, 5/31). ...Nassau County may sell naming rights to the recently opened Aquatic Center that will host the swimming events. Speedo is reportedly interested (NEWSDAY, 5/31).
Two weeks before the World Cup, the U.S. Soccer Federation (USSF) on Friday outlined "an ambitious" $50M plan that is "intended to guide" the U.S. to victory in the World Cup by 2010, according to Grahame Jones of the L.A. TIMES. The plan, "quickly dubbed the 'Rothenberg Initiative,'" will feature an "unprecedented commitment" to the development of players in the U.S., "beginning at the under-14 level and progressing all the way to the full men's and women's national teams." Included in the program is the establishment of a training program at the Bollettieri Soccer Academy in FL; the formation of a national scouting system to target young talent; and the expansion of the joint USSF and MLS Project 40 program, which has players turning pro out of high school with USSF and MLS funding the players' education (L.A. TIMES, 5/31). In Baltimore, Lowell Sunderland said the plan will provide a "broader, richer training for teen-age players" (Baltimore SUN, 5/31). DRINKING FROM THE CUP: The World Cup is previewed in BUSINESS WEEK and the FINANCIAL TIMES. The event, with a projected 37 billion viewers worldwide, has sponsors paying as much as $30M to be official global partners. Official partners include Coca-Cola, adidas, Opel, MasterCard, Canon, Fuji Film, Gillette, JVC, McDonald's, Philips and M&M Mars/Snickers. But eight companies have paid the French Organizing Committee a total of $100M to be "suppliers," including Hewlett-Packard (BUSINESS WEEK, 6/8 issue). A-B is also an official World Cup partner. A total of 45 companies are sponsoring the World Cup, paying an estimated $456-489M, and for sponsors, the "key" word when it comes to the World Cup is "global" (FINANCIAL TIMES, 5/31). NOTES: Time Inc. New Media is introducing its "first big worldwide on-line project," a Web site devoted to the World Cup. The site, at www.time.com/worldcup, has signed Hewlett-Packard, Nokia, Royal Philips Electronics and Varig Brazilian Airlines. Time execs "valued the cost of the sponsorship for the four advertisers" at $500,000, with promotions related to the site (N.Y. TIMES, 6/1)....In St. Paul, Tom Powers wrote that the U.S. population is "reacting with their usual yawn" over the World Cup (PIONEER PRESS, 5/31)...U.S. Soccer's Rothenberg said that "realistically" he does not expect the U.S. team to advance beyond the first round of the event (N.Y. TIMES, 5/31).