Wilson Sporting Goods has licensed Tennessee Sports Co. to
manufacture Michael Jordan signature baseball bats. Young
consumers will be targeted with little league and teeball sized
bats, while memorabilia collectors will be targeted with an adult
model. Charles Parish, Tennessee Sports VP: "We decided we
would try this line when he first started with the Birmingham
Barons. Most people didn't give it much thought. They kind of
snickered at it." Wilson's Jeff Fiorini: "I think it'll do very
well. The overall following that Michael has is so incredible in
anything that he does" (AP/SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 11/20).
BRANDWEEK reports that NBC Sports "will anchor a standalone
licensed athletic clothing boutique" to be rolled out in 1995 at
Sears stores nationwide. The boutiques, called "NBC Sports
Presents," will sell NBC-licensed clothing, along with garments
from Starter, Sports Specialties, and Salem. The shops "have
been in test at three Orlando-area Sears stores since late
October" and feature "a TV showing NBC Sports videos, and the
network has promised player appearances through its NBA
connections." A nationwide rollout "would solve a distribution
for NBC and gives Sears a central location for its customers to
buy licensed apparel" -- rivaling the "Simply Sports" boutiques
at JC Penny (Terry Lefton, BRANDWEEK, 11/21 issue).
NFL STADIUM SHOP OPENS IN WALT DISNEY WORLD: The NFL has
opened a league Stadium Shop at Walt Disney World Village in
Orlando. The store features licensed apparel from Starter,
Champion, and Logo Athletic, and will be open through February 15
as part of the celebration surrounding Super Bowl XXIX in Miami
Once trademark settlement documents are signed with the NFL,
Jim Speros, owner of the Baltimore CFL Football Club, will have
180 days to remove "Colts" from the $200,000 worth of team
merchandise now in storage. Any items not altered will be
destroyed. Results of a contest to name the team will be
announced this week, but Speros "believes fans will prefer to go
without a name legally" and "that they will continue to call the
team the Colts." Speros: "I've been told that CFL stands for
Colts For Life. I'm willing to leave it the way it is" (Ken
Murray, Baltimore SUN, 11/19).
In a full-page advertorial that appears this morning in
newspapers across the country, Seth Schofield, Chairman and CEO
of USAir, announces that the airline has appointed Gen. Robert
Oakes, a former Air Force commander, to "oversee USAir's safety
and operations" and commissioned PRC Aviation to conduct "a
complete and independent audit" of the airline's "flight safety
operations." According to the ad, which takes the form of an
open letter to "Travelers," Oakes is "a proven dynamic leader of
men and women who fly, maintain, and support high-performance
aircraft in a high-density, highly-visible aviation environment."
Schofield also writes, "There will be no limits to [PRC's]
inquiry." USAir has title sponsorship of the USAir Arena, home
to the Washington Capitals and Bullets (THE DAILY).
Philip Morris and Virginia Slims "will be back on the road
with women's tennis next year" and have organized a tour "that
marries the greats of tennis with some 'legends' of music,"
according to Karen Benezra in this week's issue of BRANDWEEK. A
formal announcement is expected today, but BRANDWEEK reports that
the six-city "Legends" tour will feature weekend matches between
Martina Navratilova, Chris Evert, Billie Jean King, Tracy Austin
-- followed by concerts with Gladys Knight and Barbara Mandrell.
Karen Daragen of Philip Morris: "We've always celebrated the
successes of women through the ages. Here we're doing it with
women in sports and music" (BRANDWEEK, 11/21 issue).
DRESSING UP: Following the lead of Nike and Mary Pierce,
the tennis dress is once again "a smash hit" for the sports
fashion industry, according to the "Style" section in Sunday's
N.Y. TIMES. Nike, Ellese, Le Coq Sportiff, Love 40, Quantum, and
Tail "all have new dresses slated for the upcoming tennis
season." And, "unlike the old custom of wearing lacy panties
under dresses, the new undergarment of choice is fitted white
Lycra shorts, cut like those worn by track stars." Mark Mason,
president of the U.S. Tennis Retailers Association: "Dress sales
are up 100 percent for '94, and we expect another 100 percent
increase in '95" (Kristina Zimbalist, N.Y. TIMES, 11/20).