Last night The Walt Disney Co. killed plans to build
Disney's America in Northern VA's Prince William County,
"apparently after deciding that an unexpected national debate"
over its proposal "was hurting the company's image." Although
Disney was on its way to "gaining final zoning approval" for the
project, company execs "decided over the weekend that the
prolonged and increasingly ugly fight could permanently damage
Disney's valuable corporate image." Disney Design and
Development Pres. Peter Rummell: "Implicit in our vision for the
park is the hope that it will be a source of pride and unity for
all Americans. We certainly cannot let a particular site
undermine that goal by becoming a source of divisiveness" (Baker
& Hsu, WASHINGTON POST, 9/29). Disney will hold a news
conference later today.
REAX FROM "GRIM" GOVERNOR: After a surprise meeting last
night with park GM Mark Pacala and Disney Senior VP Robert Shinn,
VA Gov. George Allen -- Disney's most "enthusiastic cheerleader"
-- "emerged looking ashen and grim" and issued a terse statement:
"I'm committed to a Disney theme park in Virginia and the jobs
that will be created thereby. I'm pleased that The Walt Disney
Company shares that commitment" (WASHINGTON POST, 9/29).
DISNEY MANAGEMENT CHANGES: Disney also announced that
Pacala is leaving the company and that John Cooke, president of
the Disney Cable Channel, will now also serve as chair of the
theme park. Dana Nottingham, the park's development director,
will now be its president (WASHINGTON POST, 9/29).
USA TODAY's Michael Hiestand reports in his column today
that Ken Ochetti has signed 10 NFL cheerleading squads and will
make "the first national effort to market cheerleader spinoffs,"
including swimsuit calendars, trading cards, videos, and CD-ROM
programs (USA TODAY, 9/29)....The Knick's starting unit has
filmed commercials for Nobody Beats the Wiz. Frank Markward, Wiz
VP and Creative Director, said "they were all pretty good" and
"seemed especially pleased with Charles Smith" (N.Y. POST, 9/29).
....NationsBank has retained Bear Stearns "to help it explore a
possible bid for ITT Financial Corp." ITT may use the proceeds
of a sale to finance a possible bid for NBC (WALL STREET JOURNAL,
9/29)....Sega Enterprises has will acquire an 8% stake in Atari
and global rights to more than 70 of its patents (FINANCIAL
TIMES, 9/29)....Robert Earl, creator of Planet Hollywood, "is
trying to persuade" Viacom CEO Frank Biondi "to let him create
yet another theme restaurant -- the MTV Cafe" (N.Y. POST,
9/29)....The Smithsonian Institute will observe the NFL's 75th
anniversary with six sessions to give fans "a chance to question
men who were NFL superstars on and off the field." Pete Rozelle
and Paul Tagliabue will kick off the event and discuss the
league's evolution and future on October 5 (Dick Heller,
WASHINGTON TIMES, 9/29).
NASCAR driver Dave Marcis will display photos of missing
children on his race car beginning October 2. The photos,
supplied by the National Center for Missing and Exploited
Children, will appear on his Winston Cup racing cars sponsored by
Prodigy and Olive Garden Restaurants. Marcis: "We have been
interested in doing a program such as this for some time. Olive
Garden and Prodigy were the first companies able to put it
together" (THE DAILY).
According to ADVERTISING AGE's 39th annual ranking of
national advertisers, the nation's top 100 spent $37.9B in 1993,
up 5.2% from 1992. The TOP FIVE, with '93 expenditure levels:
Procter & Gamble, $2.4B; Philip Morris, $1.8B; General Motors,
$1.5B; Sears, Roebuck & Company, $1.1B; and PepsiCo, $1B. AT&T
rose from 18 to 7 by increasing its ad spending from $623.7M to
$812.1M (N.Y. TIMES, 9/29).
Reebok and golfer John Daly "have mutually agreed to suspend
his apparel and shoe contract until he returns to the PGA Tour,"
according to GOLFWEEK, and "like Reebok, Wilson is expected to at
least modify its 10-year contract -- which, with incentives,
could be worth up to $30M -- by Oct. 1." Richie Woodworth, VP
and GM of Reebok Golf: "John's recent decision to withdraw from
play until 1995 has prompted this decision." Graphite shaft
manufacturer UST, in the first year of a three-year contract with
Daly, "has no plans to alter" their deal (GOLFWEEK FAX EXTRA,
MORE FROM REEBOK: In this morning's USA TODAY, Jerry Potter
quotes Woodworth: "John needed to withdraw from golf to get his
act back together. He's not marketable while he's not playing.
We couldn't have built a big advertising program around him. ...
We're not going to be the police, but we're working with John to
see that he gets himself ready to return to the Tour" (USA TODAY,