SBD/Issue 136/Sponsorships, Advertising & Marketing

Blocked Shot: NCAA Pulls Hooters' Ad From Final Four Program

NCAA Pulls Hooters Ad
From Final Four Program
The NCAA has pulled a full-page Hooters ad from its men's basketball tournament's Final Four Official Tournament Program featuring ESPN's Dick Vitale and a Hooters girl that commemorated the restaurant's 25th anniversary. Hooters VP/Marketing Mike McNeil: "My understanding is the NCAA had stated they would only consider the ad if we removed the image of a Hooters girl, which is absurd. That would be like telling General Motors you can advertise but don't show a picture of a car." Hooters several weeks ago had heard that the NCAA had concerns about the ad, but the company assumed that a communication from Vitale personally to the NCAA had resolved the matter (Hooters). AOL's Charles Rich wrote under the header, "NCAA Gives Hooters Tremendous Amounts Of Free Publicity." With the NCAA pulling the ad, Hooters gets "more publicity and attention for their restaurant" without having to pay for the ad in the program. Rich: "The fact is that the outfit the Hooters girls wear is no racier than the outfits worn by NCAA-sanctioned cheer and dance squads" (SPORTS.AOL.com, 4/4). SPORTINGNEWS.com's Will Brinson wrote, "The NCAA by banning the ad is just making it more popular/sought after" (SPORTINGNEWS.com, 4/5).

ATHLETE ADS: In Richmond, Paul Woody wrote under the header, "Commercials Add Up To Money For Everyone Except Athletes." Noting a Univ. of Virginia football ad featuring narration by WR Kevin Ogletree and RB Cedric Peerman, Woody wrote when a school uses a "star athlete to promote ticket sales, the money goes to the athletic department." The money also "can go to the coach, if he has a clause in his contract regarding attendance." While coaches "can sell just about anything," a system "should be put in place that permits college athletes to use their fame and public profile for their own benefit." Woody: "Failing that, athletic departments and conferences should be prohibited from using athletes to sell their products. Coaches should be prohibited from endorsing any products except those where the proceeds, in the NCAA's words, 'go directly to the member institution, member conference or the charitable, educational or nonprofit agency" (RICHMOND TIMES-DISPATCH, 4/6).

SOARING SALES: In San Antonio, William Pack reported NCAA merchandise sales over the weekend in the city "could top $2[M]." Stephen Haase, who ran the Team Store trailer by the Alamo, said, "They'll sell out by Saturday night." Meanwhile, five teams of law enforcement officers and Collegiate Licensing Co. officials "fanned out across San Antonio on Friday looking for counterfeit NCAA merchandise" (SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS, 4/5).

CASHING IN: In Charlotte, Kathryn Thier reported Davidson College, which advanced to the tournament's Elite Eight, has seen a "262[%] increase in Web site traffic," and there are "worries there won't be enough freshman housing next year. The Davidson bookstore, which usually sells "about $1,700" worth of merchandise a day, sold "about $40,000 a day during the week of the Sweet 16 and Elite Eight appearances" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 4/5).

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