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ABC'S PADDEN CALLS CUP "OUR OLYMPICS," TARGETS PARENTS, KIDS
Published June 9, 1998
ABC TV President Preston Padden "is hopeful about the success" of the network's 14 World Cup telecasts, according to Richard Sandomir of the N.Y. TIMES. Padden: "I'm not suggesting it will overtake 'Monday Night Football' but it is a building phenomenon. You've got all this built-in marketing, with kids, coaches and parents. We're glad to have the franchise. ... It's our Olympics." Sandomir notes that ABC is "seeking World Cup synergy" by offering soccer- based programming around the Cup. Two examples: Friday night's primetime shows will "present brief soccer features between the programs" and Saturday's cartoon lineup will be used for a soccer contest (N.Y. TIMES, 6/9). NUMBER CRUNCHER: Pilson Communications President Neal Pilson: "The trick will be the U.S. team surviving the first round, and the ratings will likely be off 15 percent or more without them." Pilson estimates that with the U.S. team's tough draw and a six-hour time difference with France, the "combined" ABC and ESPN-ESPN2 rating "can be expected to dip between" 2.1 and 2.5, from the combined 2.9 rating in '94. Pilson estimates that ABC is in "good stead" to make a profit on its $25M rights fee (MEDIAWEEK, 6/8). In Denver, Todd Phipers, on Disney's Cup coverage: "Don't blame television if soccer's World Cup '98 doesn't build interest in the sport in the United States" (DENVER POST, 6/9)....As part of its coverage, Fox Sports World will debut Puma World Soccer on today at 10:00pm ET. The half-hour program, seen daily through July 13, will feature news from the various World Cup venues around France (Fox). MARKET RESEARCH: USA TODAY's Fred Coleman reports on the number of official World Cup partners spending between $100-200M to leverage their sponsorships. Coleman: "Despite the staggering sums, all are confident they will make money on the deal through higher sales and market shares." Big companies "increasingly see the World Cup as the most effective sports sponsorship money can buy." MasterCard VP/Publicity Marianne Fulgenzi touts the on-field exposure they receive: "In the World Cup, we average 7 1/2 minutes per match in which our logo is on camera" (USA TODAY, 6/9). MasterCard Senior VP/Global Promotions & Sponsorships Mava Heffler, on the Cup's international appeal: "It's not just about what's going on in France. It's about what's going on in Hong Kong and Latin America. Whatever it is, we see results triple or quadruple" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 6/9). ...Reebok will sponsor 40 individuals in the World Cup (Ian Phillips, AP, 6/9)....World Cup officials say that 73% of French people watching the '94 Games could recall at least one sponsor, and 60% came away with a "very favorable" view of sponsors (Ian Phillips, AP, 6/9).