SBJ/December 17 - 23, 2001/Marketingsponsorship

Reebok expected to become official supplier for AFL, AF2

The Arena Football League and Reebok are expected to sign a deal that makes Reebok the official equipment supplier for both the AFL and its Arena Football 2 minor league.

The one-year deal is expected to be announced this week. AFL officials said they hope the deal will be a precursor to a more comprehensive marketing partnership with Reebok, which has licensing deals with the NFL and the NBA.

Historically, the AFL has failed to attract national sponsors and licensees, but last year, the league created AFL Properties to jump-start its marketing activities. So far, the AFL has landed one blue-chip sponsor, Ford.

The AFL is also negotiating a retail license with Reebok that league officials said will bring added revenue and credibility to the indoor league, which is in the last year of a three-year equity option deal with the NFL.

"A retail license is being discussed with Reebok," said David Haney, AFL senior vice president. "The [expected] deal makes Reebok the league's official equipment supplier, which is something that we've never had before, and we hope to broaden the relationship with Reebok as it goes on."

Reebok officials did not return calls for comment.

Officials at AFL Properties hope the recent addition of NFL owners like Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, who have bought into the indoor league, will help attract increased sponsorship interest.

"There are other things in the mix," Haney said. "There are some folks out there that see that the NFL ownership [of AFL teams] such as Dallas is real and now consider the AFL a good opportunity."

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