Yesterday, THE SPORTS BUSINESS DAILY contacted a number of
Nancy Kerrigan's corporate sponsors to see if the recent
controversy surrounding her relationship with ProServ President
Jerry Solomon is having any effect on existing deals. At
present, her sponsors are holding steady and no one indicated any
changes are in the offing.
REEBOK: Stacey Sheridan, Public Relations Manager for
Reebok Int'l: "It would reflect no changes for us. It will go
on as usual." Kerrigan introduces a video next week for the
Reebok slide exercise program.
CAMPBELL SOUP: According to Kevin Lowery, Dir of Public
Information for Campbell's Soup, Kerrigan's contract with the
company runs through December 31, 1994, and there are no plans or
discussions to re-sign her. Lowery did note that Campbell's is a
major sponsor of the U.S. Figure Skating Association, of which
Kerrigan is no longer a member since she turned professional.
MATTEL: Lisa McKendall, Dir of Marketing Communications for
the toy-maker, said, while Mattel had announced last year plans
for a Nancy Kerrigan doll, nothing has been produced yet. Mattel
wanted to introduce the doll at the end of this year, but it has
been delayed. McKendall: "We are looking at the best way to do
it. We think next year possesses more opportunities for us."
Asked if the recent stories on Kerrigan's personal life would
have an effect on production, McKendall said, "That wouldn't
necessarily have an effect."
RAY-BAN: Norman Salik, VP Advertising and Promotions at
Bausch & Laumb, strongly backed Kerrigan as a sponsor, but did
note her role with Ray-Ban is "very small, really it is just
promotional materials." Salik: "Knowledgeable people in the
sport still support her. ... I was concerned about what would
happen (at the "Ice Wars") and she still got the biggest hand.
She got the biggest hand of any skater out there. That is
telling me something."
REVLON: A spokesperson had no comment (THE DAILY).
CFL Commissioner Larry Smith announced that Chrysler
Canada's involvement with the League has been extended to include
the title sponsorship of the CFL's Most Outstanding Player
Awards. Chrysler Canada previously was just a Grey Cup sponsor.
CFL VP/Business Development Paul Brule: "To have a sponsor of the
magnitude of Chrysler Canada pick up the torch and carry on
tradition established years ago is most gratifying" (CFL).
"For the first time in Coca-Cola Co.'s history, it has
abandoned the use of its trademark Spencerian script for a Coke-
branded product in an attempt to capture the attention of
teenagers -- and grab market share from archrival PepsiCo Inc."
A new "graffiti-inspired" logo has been designed to boost sales
of Cherry Coke "while at the same time distance" the product from
Coke's "flagship brand" (Sally Goll, WALL STREET JOURNAL, 11/11).
In other news, Coca-Cola announced yesterday that it had invested
$150M to expand production of its Fruitopia beverage division and
would introduce a new "lower-calorie line of Fruitopia flavors as
well." (Glenn Collins, N.Y. TIMES, 11/11).
For the second year in a row, Jeep, Eclipse TV and Sports
Marketing Inc. are teaming-up in a multi-dimensional sponsorship
and syndication agreement for the Jeep King of the Mountain
Downhill skiing series. As the title "partner," Jeep will have
direct input in a variety of traditional non-sponsor areas, such
as positioning of camera angles and talent section. Eclipse has
also created a variety of added incentives for Jeep to recruit
co-sponsors. Following the competition of each event in the
series, Eclipse TV and Sports Marketing, Inc. will distribute a
one-hour program of highlights via national syndication. Jeep
King of the Mountain Downhill series sponsors and marketing
partners include: Visa USA, Sebastian Salon Hair Care, AT&T,
Charles Schwab & Co., Infinity Car Radio, Mopar, Hawaiian Tropic,
Ski Optiks, American Airlines, Boars Head Red Lager, Duraflame,
Salomon, Skiing Magazine, Bogner, Vail Associates, Westin Hotel
Vail, Heavenly Ski Resort, Harrahs Hotel & Casino, Aspen Skiing
Company & Aspen Meadows (Jeep).
Several sports media columnists picked up on comments made
by Nancy Kerrigan into the camera after her performance during
the first installment of CBS's "Ice Wars: The USA vs. The World"
on Wednesday night. In Boston, Jack Craig & Jim Greenidge
report, "Once again, the television camera has proven an
adversary rather than an ally" of Kerrigan. After her routine
Wednesday, Kerrigan returned to her teammates, sat down and
noticed that CBS was replaying her missed jumps. Then looking
directly into the camera, she said: "You probably just loved
that." Craig & Greenidge note that she was smiling, "but it
would not be described as a warm smile." Dewey Blanton, VP of
Public Relations for ProServ, the firm that represents Kerrigan:
"She's an athlete; she wanted to do well. She was very
disappointed she didn't help her teammates. She was blowing off
some steam" (BOSTON GLOBE, 11/11). The headline over BOSTON
HERALD TV columnist Jim Baker's piece this morning: "Kerrigan
still complaining" (BOSTON HERALD, 11/11). Rudy Martzke reports
Kerrigan told her teammates, "I'm sorry. I sucked." CBS Sports
Senior VP Rick Gentile: "People are ready to pounce on Nancy too
quickly" (USA TODAY, 11/11).
MORE ATTENTION: During the intermission of Saturday's
conclusion of "Ice Wars," CBS will run a 10-minute segment on
Kerrigan's Olympic and post-Olympic experience. The feature will
focus on the "closeness of the judging" that gave the gold medal
to Oksana Baiul, and ignore the recent controversy over
Kerrigan's relationship with her agent, ProServ President Jerry
Solomon. "Ice Wars" producer David Winner: "We give her her day
in court. Who the skaters are sleeping with isn't the show's
province" (Steve Nidetz, CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 11/11). The feature
also examines whether Kerrigan has received a "raw deal" from the
media. CBS announcer Verne Lundquist, referring to CBS picking
offhand comments made by Kerrigan during the '94 medal ceremony:
"We offered Nancy a chance, hopefully, to put in some context
what happened and what was going on. That may have been the one
error we (CBS) made during the (Olympic) coverage" (Milton Kent,
Baltimore SUN, 11/11). Solomon appears in the feature "and
concedes it was a mistake for her to leave the Olympic village
for Disney World before the games ended" (Craig & Greenidge,
BOSTON GLOBE, 11/11).
SkyBox basketball cards ran a full page ad in today's USA
TODAY pushing a new promotion: card wrappers for a Shaquille
O'Neal "Press Sheet" (USA TODAY, 11/11)....Today's "Company
Spotlight" in USA TODAY features Gander Mountain: They are
"aiming to be the Sports Authority of the outdoor sports world"
(USA TODAY, 11/11).....In New York, Suzanne Rostler profiles the
success Jimmy Khezrie has had with his "Jimmy Jazz" clothing
stores. Sales for his 15 stores have grown to more than $30M
annually by selling fashions, like Champion, Fila, etc., to
residents of the city's low-income neighborhoods. Khezrie: "If
stores service the ethnic customer the right way and give the
right services, they will be very successful" (CRAIN'S NEW YORK
BUSINESS, 11/7). ....Quaker Oats CEO Bill Smithburg, asked if he
is surprised at the market's negative reaction to the $1.7B
buyout of Snapple: "Anytime you make an aggressive move and take
on the debt that we did, there is uncertainty." Quaker stock is
down 7 3/4 since the purchase ("Moneyline," CNN, 11/10).
The NFL's first "Stadium Shop" debuted in September at
Macy's San Francisco and will operate through February. It is
part of a new strategy by NFL Properties to develop store designs
with retail partners. The program creates an NFL stadium concept
within stores. The 1,200-square-foot area features an astroturf
rug, goal posts and lockers. Special stands are used as
merchandise displays. Mark Holtzman, VP/Player Relations for NFL
Properties: "The new fixturing program signifies NFL Properties'
commitment to building brand awareness behind innovative
merchandising plans. We are looking to expand this program in
1995 with several of our other retail partners." Top NFL
vendors, such as Starter, Logo 7, Pro Player, Apex and Antiguam,
are featured in the concept shop. Other brands include: leather
jackets by Jeff Hamilton, helmets by Riddell and Upper Deck
Authenticated autographed jerseys (NFL Properties).
OTHER NFL NEWS: The league kicked off fan voting for the
Pro Bowl on Prodigy last week. The league provides each of
Prodigy's members with a player-selection ballot for the Honolulu
game. In the second year of fan voting, ballots also will be
available at stadiums on game days and in 6,600 Radio Shack
stores nationwide (NFL).
"Spiraling" TV sports rights fees are having an "impact on
the bottom lines of advertisers," according to the '94 TV Sports
Overview published by BJK&E Media Group. The analysis finds that
sports are "no longer the most efficient way" to reach adult male
viewers. Among weekend sports, prime time, early evening news
and late-night daypart costs, BJK&E found that sports was the
most efficient place to reach Men 18-49 and Men 25-54 in '89-90.
However by '93-94, only "prime time" was more expensive than
sports in reaching the same demographic groups. BJK&E attributed
the change to escalating sports rights fees which nets have
passed on to advertisers. The beneficiary of higher rights fees
"appears to be" basic cable. While the number of hours watched
of national TV sports in the average household has increased 12%
in the past nine years, basic cable has increased its share 86%
(Joe Mandese, AD AGE, 11/7 issue).
Upper Deck Trading Card Co. will join forces with NASCAR
racer Rusty Wallace to announce a new line of stock car racing
trading cards and Upper Deck Autheticated memorabilia in
conjunction with next year's Hooters 500 race. The new Upper
Deck Motorsports line will feature the "ultimate" stock car
racing collectible -- Wallace's stock car driven in the inaugural
Brickyard 400 -- autographed and authenticated. Future products
include race used clothing and equipment, plus other unique
collectibles (Upper Deck).