Dan Dorfman reports that Bally Entertainment CEO Arthur
Goldberg "appears to be coming back to the takeover wars."
Goldberg is threatening to take over Caesars World. "Wall
Street's reaction: ho-hum. That's despite the fact ... that
Bally bought more than 1.5% of Caesars' shares." Bally is also
seeking the FTC's OK to buy more than 15% of Caesar's stock.
"Reason for the ho-hum: Goldberg's lack of credibility among
many pros. In brief, he often buys stakes in companies and then
dumps them after they move up in price." But Dorfman writes that
Goldberg -- "aware his credibility is at stake" -- will not walk
away "easily from his goal of snaring Caesars" (USA TODAY,
The Bruins have until Thursday to notify the NHL of the
changes they intend to make to their uniforms. In Boston, Kevin
Paul Dupont says to look for a new color to be blended in with
the traditional black and gold; a white "home" sweater, a black
"away" sweater and a 3rd sweater for special occasions; and a
spoked-"B" to remain central to the theme. Bruins Assistant GM
Mike O'Connell said a bear motif -- "akin to the biting San Jose
Shark and the growling Florida Panther -- will be incorporated."
It could be weeks or months before the public gets a look at the
new logo (BOSTON GLOBE, 12/11).
In St. Louis, Dan O'Neill examines retail sales of licensed
baseball and hockey apparel, which "are sagging at stores."
Stores such as No Contest, which is operated by Chicago-based
Sportmart, have "adjusted to compensate for disappointing sales
in hockey jerseys and jackets." Matt Powell, VP/Marketing for No
Contest: "We've been able to mitigate the drop in hockey and
baseball by stepping up our assortments in those categories."
Bob Noblitt, VP of Superstar's, which has stores in St. Louis,
Chicago and Detroit, notes that the company has "picked up in
college items." Powell noted that "a more important change than
the work stoppages has been a change in the fashion": "Two years
ago, everybody wanted to wear nothing but licensed apparel. But
people are moving away from it." In-line skates "continue to
sell well. Hiking boots have become big and the market for
sneakers never dies." Also a new market has emerged for old
products. Puma has reissued "Clydes," a basketball shoe
connected with former Knicks star Walt "Clyde" Frazier. Chuck
Taylor All-Stars by Converse "are enjoying a resurgence, as well
as the Stan Smith tennis shoe" (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 12/10).
BASEBALL: Licensing revenue for players is down 14% this
year, "possibly another indication of fans' anger over the
baseball strike." The MLBPA has earned $51.95M in licensing
money so far this year, down from $60.34M during the first 11
months of '93 (Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 12/10).
A ST. LOUIS NOTE: Among the "hot" NFL items in St. Louis is
a Jerome Bettis Rams jersey. Also, the labor problems in hockey
"couldn't be worse for stores that anticipated big sales on Blues
merchandise this shopping season" (Dan O'Neill, ST. LOUIS POST-
SUPERSTORES: In New York, Douglas Martin examines the advent
of "superstores" in NYC: the "category killers, who sell
basically one type of merchandise, be it books, apparel, linen or
electronic goods" (N.Y. TIMES, 12/11).
CREDIT CARDS: MasterCard Int'l reported a record $3.7B in
U.S. sales authorizations for the second week of the holiday
shopping season, an increase of 27% from a year ago (WASHINGTON
Fox Sports and MCI's 1-800-COLLECT are targeting a "young,
techno-literate demo in a promotion called the Virtual Reality
Tour starting this month adjacent to football and music events."
Patty Proferes, Dir of 1-800-COLLECT: "We think this will extend
our brand personality. We're looking to be fresh and new, and
virtual reality is the buzz right now." 1-800-COLLECT has
committed to a 12-month "stint with the traveling fest." On tour
is a 50-foot tractor-trailer that contains two virtual reality
experiences. The virtual reality truck, which was outside the
Chargers-49ers game yesterday and the Billboard Music Awards last
week, will be in Washington, DC, on Sunday for the Buccaneers-
Redskins game, and at the Georgia Dome for the Falcons-Cardinals
Arizona on Christmas Eve. The tour will eventually travel to Fox
affiliates across the country, "making appearances at special
events and provided opportunities for local cross-promotions"
(T.L. Standley, BRANDWEEK, 12/12 issue).
Sun Apparel Inc., a leading jeanswear manufacturer,
announced the signing of its latest representation agreement for
the newly launched X-PRO Jeans brand, targeted to men over 40.
Former NBA great John Havilcek will team up with "Mean" Joe
Greene and baseball great Luis Tiant to represent X-PRO. The
print ad campaigns debut in March '95 (Sun Apparel)....In New
York, John Markoff profiles 3DO Company, the new video game
manufacturer, under the subhead: "A video game entrepreneur finds
that superior technology has yet to translate into profits." He
notes that some analysts wonder whether the company will still be
"in business" by next Christmas (N.Y. TIMES, 12/11). USA TODAY's
"Cover Story" profiles the move by video game companies into
television, beginning with Sega's partnership with TCI and Time
Warner to launch the Sega Channel (USA TODAY, 12/12).
"Looking to pump life into what's perennially the most
desultory of all-star events," the NFL is adding a skills
competition to its Pro Bowl weekend, with Miller Brewing and
Reebok on board as sponsors. The Miller Lite Pro Bowl Battle of
the Gridiron "will pit AFC stars against NFC players competing
for cash prizes, in a contest" held the Friday before the Pro
Bowl game. ABC, in Year One of a 4-year NFL contract that
includes the Pro Bowl, will televise the event on February 4.
Reebok will be the presenting sponsor of the new event. With the
addition of a skills event, the NFL joins the NHL, MLB and NBA,
"all of which have successfully extended their all-star games for
sponsor add-on programs" (Terry Lefton, BRANDWEEK, 12/12 issue).
"One of the biggest questions in airship advertising these
days is what does the future hold for the Bud One blimp?,"
according to Adam Goodman in St. Louis. Bud One is one of nine
blimps criss-crossing the U.S.: Goodyear has three, Met Life has
two, and Blockbuster, Budweiser, Fuji Film and the U.S. importer
of Goldschlager cinnamon schnapps each have one. Airship Int'l
Ltd., the Orlando company that owns the Bud One blimp and leases
it to Anheuser-Busch, "is struggling financially." Last year,
Met Life ended its contract with Airship Int'l. Airship Int'l
Ltd., a publicly held company, lost $9.2M in the first nine
months of this year, is short on cash and has deferred paying
dividends on its preferred stock. But so far, A-B is sticking
with "ailing" Airship Int'l and according to Tony Ponturo,
VP/Corporate Media and Sports Marketing, the A-B blimp program is
"well managed." A-B has a lot riding on Bud One. "It can ill
afford problems with the Super Bowl around the corner on Jan. 29
-- A-B's largest promotional event of the year." Airship Int'l
cut Bud One's monthly leasing fee in half from February to July
as incentive for A-B to re-sign a multi-year contract that runs
through '96. It is believed to be worth around $4M (ST. LOUIS
Outback Steakhouses and Visa "kick off their first joint
promo today tied to the restaurant's sponsorship" of the Gator
Bowl. Outback holiday gift certificates of game tickets
purchased with a Visa card will "trigger an Outback donation" of
free tickets for up to 5,000 youths to attend the Gator Bowl.
Outback VP/Marketing Nancy Schneld hopes to run bigger promos
with Visa next year tied to the Olympic Games. Outback will
raise its marketing budget to $10M in '95 (BRANDWEEK, 12/12