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LeMond Taking PTI
Holding To Court
Greg LeMond’s LeMond Cycling Inc. has sued New York-based bike accessory manufacturer PTI Holding in U.S. District Court for breach of contract after it replaced LeMond’s brand with Schwinn in ‘03, according to Shannon Prather of the ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS. After signing LeMond to a multimillion-dollar deal in ’99 to “put his name on a series of mass-marketed bike gear,” PTI “tried to dump the 10-year contract in 2003 through an e-mail that concluded LeMond was no Lance Armstrong.” But LeMond claimed that a “lack of marketing – not Armstrong’s rising star – tanked his product line designed for discount retailers, including Target and Costco.” LeMond was to be paid a minimum of $500,000 annually under the deal and hoped his line would generate $30-50M in revenue. LeMond already had a “successful high-end bicycle brand made by Trek when he signed the accessories deal,” and said that he took a “calculated risk when he agreed to put his name and face on moderately priced bike products.” Target wanted PTI to produce a Target brand of gear. PTI agreed to give Target “exclusive rights to sell LeMond bike products,” which occupied “half the aisle, and PTI would produce a cheaper brand to fill the other half.” LeMond said that “consumers weren’t fooled.” LeMond: “It was a huge price difference for the same product” (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 2/1).
SUPER BOWL: SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL’s Andy Bernstein notes Fox Senior VP/Sports Sales Jim Burnette is holding the $2.4M price for a 30-second Super Bowl spot, “even for less-desirable placements in the second half.” While some media buyers wait for prices to drop to the $1.7M range, Bernstein writes Burnette’s message is: “Wait all you want. We both know you want to be in the Super Bowl, and you’ll pay the going rate like everyone else” (SBJ, 1/31 issue). A-B VP/Brand Management Bob Lachky said that a “key priority” of A-B’s Super Bowl ads this year will be “re-establishing Bud Light’s message of fun and humor.” The company has ten ads in this year’s game, and Lachky said, “A lot of the game will be devoted to Bud Light.” Bud Light’s “Skydiver” spot, in which a master “finds a hilarious way to deal with a nervous parachute jumper on his first try,” will run in the first ad spot after kickoff (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 1/30).
BASEBALL: In N.Y., Matt Richtel cites a source as saying that Take-Two’s eight-year deal with MLB is worth $200-250M, “a figure that includes a commitment by Take-Two to advertise the games” (N.Y. TIMES, 2/1). Reports yesterday had the deal worth over $150M (THE DAILY)....In Atlanta, Tim Tucker reported the Braves have retained Atlanta-based marketing and ad agency Blue Sky, which also reps the Hawks and Thrashers (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 1/30).
ON LOCATION: In Charlotte, Ronnie Glassberg reported that at least five companies – Lowe’s, Domino’s, Carquest, Enterprise Rent-A-Car and Trimspa last month filmed ads at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. The Domino’s ads featured NASCAR Nextel Cup drivers Michael Waltrip and Dale Earnhardt Jr. ordering pizza (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 1/30).
X Marks The Spot: ABC, ESPN Netting
Up To $30K For Spots
A 30-second spot in ESPN’s coverage of Winter X Games Nine, which began Saturday and ends tonight, runs $25,000-30,000, according to sources cited by Randi Schmelzer of AD WEEK. Brands running ads during the 15 hours of live coverage on ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC included X Games sponsors Mountain Dew, Taco Bell, Jeep, Right Guard XTreme Sport, Edge shaving gel, Schick Quattro Midnight, Sony PlayStation 2 and Campbell’s Soup, as well as non-sponsors Apple and 20th Century Fox’ “Alien vs. Predator” DVD, (ADWEEK, 1/31 issue). Winter X Games GM Chris Stiepock said that while “stock commercials” were shown five years ago during the X Games, “now sponsors not only have X Games athletes in their spots, but they see the advertising as ‘another form of entertainment’” (ASPEN DAILY NEWS, 1/30).
COLLECTOR’S ITEM: SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL's Noah Liberman reports the licensing and marketing group of the four snowboarders known as The Collection Ross Powers, Kelly Clark, Andy Finch and Gretchen Bleiler has secured Snickers as a presenting sponsor for the next two seasons. The group through June ’06 will be called “The Collection Fueled By Snickers.” Snickers replaces PowerBar, “which signed a short-term deal last winter, when The Collection was formed.” Former Octagon exec and Arrix Sports Founder John Arrix, who owns and operates The Collection, said that the deal is “valued in the mid-six figures over the two seasons.” All four snowboarders are repped by Octagon Dir of Olympic and Action Sports Peter Carlisle (SBJ, 1/31).
Ohio-based Goodyear Tire & Rubber has paid Pistons G Richard Hamilton to wear his cornrow-styled hair in the “tread pattern of the company’s Assurance TripleTred product,” according to BLOOMBERG NEWS. Goodyear spokesperson Ed Markey said that Hamilton first wore the style during last Saturday’s game against the Knicks in Detroit and “plans to keep it for about a week.” Neither Markey nor Hamilton’s business manager Josh Nochimson would say what Hamilton was paid, but he did receive free tires. Nochimson “hopes the publicity stunt leads to an endorsement” with Goodyear. Nochimson: “I’d love to do something national.” Goodyear said that it selected Hamilton “for a variety of reasons, including his team’s success and location in Detroit” (BLOOMBERG NEWS, 1/31).