With last night's broadcast of the prime-time figure skating
competition, "Ice Wars, The USA vs. The World" -- featuring Nancy
Kerrigan, Kristi Yamaguchi, Brian Boitano, Paul Wylie, Oksana
Baiul, Katarina Witt, Viktor Petrenko and Kurt Browning -- CBS
signaled its intention to make the sport one of its top sports
properties and tap into figure skating's marketing potential.
Frank Litsky writes, "Television has discovered that figure
skating produces the highest Olympic ratings." And CBS, once it
lost the NFL, "has embraced figure skating more than ever." This
week the network will feature the two-hour movie, "A Promise
Kept: The Oksana Baiul Story," on Sunday at 4:00pm against the
Dallas-San Francisco game on Fox. CBS skating commentator Scott
Hamilton: "People have lost their minds putting on figure
skating. From September to next August, I'll be doing 9 or 10
events on TV and 100 shows. It's a new era for the sport.
There's so much demand. Television wants it. Sponsors want it."
CBS "would be delighted" if the Americans won this competition
which concludes this weekend "because American sponsors like
American winners." Skater Paul Wylie: "Is it better for American
TV if the [Blue Jays or Phillies] win the World Series? But no
one has said anything about that, and I don't think any skater is
going to intentionally blow a jump for the greater glory of
American television" (N.Y. TIMES, 11/10).
NANCY ON TOUR: Kerrigan's publicists released her upcoming
events. Nancy Kerrigan's new fitness video, "The Winning Body
Workout," will be in stores on November 19. Kerrigan's
"Northwest Airlines Christmas on Ice" 16-city tour begins
November 23 in Portland, ME, and ends December 18 in West Palm
Beach, FL. On December 17, Kerrigan performs in Charlotte, NC,
which will be aired on TNT (Levine/Schneider Public Relations).
Herman's Sporting Goods owners William Taggert and Alfred
Fasola Jr. are profiled in the latest issue of FORBES. The two
are trying to take their experience turning around three "busted"
transportation companies, and aplly it to Herman's, which had
expereince serious financial troubles. Fasola and Taggert
declared Herman's bankrupt three days after purchasing it.
Despite the "outrage" and "shock" felt by the creditors'
committee, as related by Joseph Zogby of Reebok Int'l, they had
to go along. After emerging from Chapter 11 on September 30,
Herman's expects a $9M profit this year. Fasola, Taggert and co-
investors will end up with 67% of the new equity. If projected
'96 profits of $500M are reached, the annual return will be 40%
on their $55M investment. The investors "hope to cash out" in a
public offering in a couple of years. "Unsecured creditors,"
such as Reebok, Authentic Fitness and Russell Corp., will receive
$.92 per dollar they are owed in both cash and equity. They have
agreed not to sell their $68M in claims to third-party investors.
The investors will own 67% of the common stock, creditors 22%,
and "key" managers 11% (David Fondiller, FORBES, 11/21 issue).
The FINANCIAL TIMES examines the technology used by athletic
shoe manufactures to develop sports-specific shoes (FINANCIAL
TIMES, 11/10)....K-Mart "unexpectedly placed" its $175M ad
account in review, virtually assuring it is ending its 26-year
relationship with Ross Roy Communications (WALL STREET JOURNAL,
11/10)....American Association AAA-basbeall clubs are "wasting
little time in taking advantage of the Michael Jordan baseball
show." The Louisville Redbirds and Buffalo Bisons already are
offering special ticket packages featuring '95 games against the
Nashville Sounds, whose roster is likely to include Jordan. The
Bisons, who open their season against the Sounds, are offering a
"Nashville Pack" featuring 6-12 game packages for the games when
Jordan would be in town. The Redbirds are also offering a
package of Sounds' games but they are warning that the games may
not feature Jordan (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 11/10).
The NBA and Dutch Boy Paints announced the renewal of their
partnership, which will extend through '97-98. Dutch Boy and the
NBA will develop a fully integrated marketing program which
encompasses media, specially-developed paint products, cause-
related programs and in-store promotions. Beginning in the first
quarter of '95, Dutch Boy will advertise on all TNT and TBS
broadcasts and resume its weekly feature "In the Paint," which
highlights top players. Also over the next four years, TV and
print advertising and point-of-sale materials will be developed
to support programs such as the Dutch Boy "In the Paint" Healthy
Families America Team, comprised of NBA centers and forwards from
all 27 teams. The team focuses its efforts on raising funds and
awareness for the prevention of child abuse (NBA).
CNN's Irv Chapman reports on the effect of a Republican gain
of both houses of Congress on bills addressing business concerns,
specifically product liability limitations. Chapman says makers
of medical equipment, new drugs, and "even" sports gear are
"desperate to cut back on lawsuits when products harm consumers."
The industry "says trial lawyers have run costs up to a hundred
billion dollars a year. A bill to limit damages was roadblocked
and is now more likely to pass." Product Liability Coordinating
Committee Exec Director said the legislation "has been opposed
and stopped by a number of very powerful" Democratice leaders or
committee chairs ("Moneyline," 11/9).
While Virginia Slims' sponsor relationship with the WTA
officially ends after the championships at Madison Square Garden
next week. But Slims "still may have a presence" in women's
tennis, according to Meri-Jo Borzilleri of the MIAMI HERALD.
Borzilleri reports a '95 women's legends tennis tour featuring
Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert is being planned. Details
are expected to be announced after the Madison Square Garden
tournament (MIAMI HERALD, 11/10).