SBJ/September 1 - 7, 2003/Other News

News in Brief from the SBD

SPONSORSHIP & MARKETING

BANK SHOTS: Wachovia Corp. announced a five-year sponsorship agreement with University of North Carolina athletics that makes it the Tar Heels' official financial services provider. The agreement includes sponsorship of the "Inside Carolina Basketball with Roy Williams" television show. Wachovia was also set to announce an agreement with the University of Virginia's athletic department. For more on Wachovia, see New York Giants sign Wachovia.

WHAT ABOUT MARTINA? In a Q&A with New York Times Magazine, Martina Navratilova, who has

Navratilova
endorsement deals with Subaru and Prince rackets, said: "You'd think [more] advertisers would want me because they would be trying to hit the middle-age market. Women my age are the ones who are buying clothes — they have the money and the kids. But I guess advertisers haven't figured that out."

SPORTS MEDIA

GOOD NIGHT: ESPN cited low ratings in canceling "RPM 2Night." The show is airing only on Sundays, and the last broadcast will be Nov. 9. "RPM 2Night" is averaging a 0.23 (194,000 households) cable rating this year, down from a 0.37 (285,000 households) rating two years ago.

Meanwhile, last Tuesday's premiere episode of "Playmakers" on ESPN earned a 2.4 rating (2,079,000 average households), nearly nine times larger than the comparable Tuesday time slot a year ago. While the network said that the show scored well among male demos, NFL players didn't seem impressed. The Pittsburgh Steelers' Tommy Maddox told a Pittsburgh newspaper, "It was horrible." Steelers wide receiver Antwaan Randle El added, "It's terrible. My wife was like, 'It better not be [like that].' "

LEBRON'S PORTFOLIO: LeBronJames.com relaunched with a multimillion-dollar sponsorship from Winner International, which signed a three-year deal to promote its new rechargeable Juice Batteries on the site, according to espn.com.

LEAGUES & GOVERNING BODIES

AROUND THE NHL: Carolina Hurricanes owner Peter Karmanos told The (Raleigh) News & Observer that he is considering selling part or even all of the hockey team, depending on the outcome of the NHL's labor negotiations. Karmanos: "From the Hurricanes' point of view, we couldn't keep operating a team under the current CBA."

Meanwhile, Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs discussed the NHL's labor situation and was quoted in The Boston Globe as saying, "The commissioner is dedicated to having cost certainty when it comes to a labor agreement. Labor is the largest cost we have in operating a team."

FRANCHISES

SENATORIAL PRIVILEGE: Ontario-based Biovail Chairman and CEO Eugene Melnyk completed his purchase of the Ottawa Senators and Corel Centre. Melnyk paid a reported C$130 million purchase price ($93 million in U.S. currency) for both properties. The Eagles will perform a private concert for Senators season-ticket holders, sponsors and suite holders Oct. 8 at the Corel Centre.

JETS RUN REVERSE: Facing a local media backlash, the New York Jets altered their $50 fee to remain on the team's season-ticket wait list so that the payment will now be credited against the eventual purchase of season tickets. Jets President Jay Cross said, "After evaluating the feedback from our fans, we realize a change is in order."

DONTRELLE DOWNTIME: Agent Matt Sosnick has asked the Marlins to decrease the amount of marketing around his client, All-Star pitcher Dontrelle Willis. Sosnick told the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, "Dontrelle does nothing else except give interviews and pitch and sleep." Marlins VP of communications P.J. Loyello told The Miami Herald that he would begin turning down many of the requests for appearances for Willis.

NAMES IN THE NEWS

RED, RED WINE: Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Montana and his wife have opened a small vineyard in the Sonoma Valley of California. Wine Spectator reported that the couple joined with Beringer to create a limited-edition red wine that will debut next month at $75 a bottle.

For more on these stories, visit our sister publication, The Sports Business Daily, at sportsbusinessdaily.com.

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