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NFL CALLING COLLECT: ASKS SPRINT TO PONY UP MORE IN DEAL
Published November 2, 1998
The NFL is seeking a "steep increase" of 25-50% in Sprint's exclusive telecom sponsorship, which is already the "priciest" of any pro league at $24M per year, according to Stefan Fatsis of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. Fatsis notes that part of the reason the NFL is asking for more from Sprint is that it "wants to place a separate dollar value on the TV exposure" Sprint earns from coaches wearing logoed-headsets. Sprint's "counteroffer [is to cut] the annual fee nearly in half in exchange for fewer marketing rights," as Fatsis reports that Sprint "appears willing to part with local marketing exclusivity to concentrate on cities where it wants to boost business." NFL President Neil Austrian said that the league "intends to meet with other" telecom companies." Fatsis: "[The NFL's] success has bred what some sports-industry executives consider a heavy-handed business style, which is prompting some NFL partners to fight back. ... Even some team owners are concerned about the NFL's approach." Bengals President Mike Brown: "When we're perceived as always trying to maximize our money, it puts us in an unfavorable light" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 11/2).