SBJ/June 12 - 18, 2000/Marketingsponsorship

WNBA lands sweet deal wilth Hershey, will chase it with Diet Coke

The WNBA has added Hershey Foods Corp. as an official sponsor. The company will run advertising during WNBA games on NBC, ESPN and Lifetime, and probably will stage account-specific promotions in about a half-dozen WNBA markets. Because the deal came together so late, Hershey will not run national promotions linked to the league this year. Which Hershey sub-brands will be highlighted under the sponsorship is still being worked out.

Hershey rival Nestlé remains an NBA sponsor, making confections the only category in which the men's and women's leagues have competing sponsors. When the WNBA launched, Anheuser-Busch's Bud Light signed on as a sponsor, while Miller Brewing Co. was still with the NBA. But since then, A-B's Budweiser has replaced Miller as an NBA sponsor.

The WNBA also reports that it finally has added Diet Coke to its sponsorship roster. The Coca-Cola Co. decided last fall to return to the WNBA after sitting out as a sponsor last season. But the final agreement with the league was not actually reached until the start of the season around Memorial Day.

NASCAR KEEPS FOUR SPONSORS: NASCAR will announce this week that four of its lower-profile official sponsors — Eastman Kodak Co., Circuit City, Goody's and Glaval — have renewed their sponsorship deals, effective this season.

Each of the deals had expired at the end of last year.

These sponsors have all been with NASCAR for a least three years, are reasonably well-entrenched and have other related sponsorship or licensing agreements. Kodak and Circuit City both sponsor Winston Cup race teams. Goody's, the official pain reliever of NASCAR, is a title sponsor of races and the short-track Goody's Dash Series. Glaval, a manufacturer of luxury conversion vans, has licensing agreements with several drivers.

JACK DANIEL'S RIDES WITH PRCA: The Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association has signed Brown-Forman Inc.'s Jack Daniel's brand as an official sponsor, replacing longtime sponsor Crown Royal. Jack Daniel's will pick up title sponsorship of the PRCA's weekly standings, which Crown Royal had.

The three-year deal includes arena signs, direct sponsorship of the Wrangler ProRodeo Tour and about 50 PRCA rodeos, exclusive on-site pouring rights and promotional opportunities at rodeos that legally sell distilled spirits.

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