Despite several wire reports to the contrary, yesterday's
ORLANDO SENTINEL reported that Disney Exec VP Stephen de Kanter's
prediction that the company may build a theme park in South
America "brought swift denial" at Disney headquarters in CA.
Disney spokesperson John Dreyer: "What Stephen told them is we
have no plans to build a park in South America, but if we were
ever to consider it, it wouldn't be until sometime in the next
century." De Kanter, in Chile at the time of his statement, was
quoted as saying the timing of a Latin American theme park would
depend on the performance of Euro Disneyland. Dreyer: "I am 100
percent certain we don't have any plans to build a park in South
America" (Susan Strother, ORLANDO SENTINEL, 12/14). Meanwhile,
Euro Disney officials announced yesterday that the park would cut
admission fees by about 20% as of April 1, 1995 (N.Y. TIMES,
MICKEY'S TIME-SHARE: Disney is nearing completion of a deal
to build a major time-share condo project in Beaver Creek, CO.
The project, Disney's first venture in CO since it opened the now
defunct Celebrity Sports Center in Denver in 1960, calls for up
to 125 condo units valued at an estimated $35M. Disney officials
"emphasized that the time-share development would have none of
the entertainment or amusement uses that has made the company
internationally famous" (Steve Raabe, DENVER POST, 12/15).
IBM, citing a commitment to provide computer technology and
employment opportunities to persons with disabilities, announced
yesterday that it has become a worldwide sponsor for the '96
Atlanta Paralympic Games. The Games will be held August 16-27,
1996, and are expected to attract 4,000 elite athletes with
physical disabilities from more than 100 nations. Elizabeth
Primrose-Smith, IBM's Dir of Worldwide Olympic and Sports
Operations: "Our partnership with and support to the 1996 Atlanta
Paralympic Games will showcase IBM technology including
computers, assistive devices and software tools that IBM provides
to run companies and events worldwide" (IBM).
Sportscard maker Topps Inc., "plagued" by labor problems in
hockey and baseball, saw its stock plummet Wednesday after
announcing it would stop dividend payments because of poor third-
quarter earnings. Shares fell almost 24%, from $5.75 a share to
$4.37 1/2 on the NASDAQ market. Topps' net income for the
quarter ending November 26 fell 68%. Sales fell 8%, from $57.8M
to $52.9M. The company blamed the decision to stop paying
dividends on the NHL and MLB labor troubles (Michael Hiestand,
USA TODAY, 12/15).
The Gabriela Sabatini porcelain dolls sell for $2,495 each.
About 50 of the 100-limited edition dolls have sold since they
were unveiled last month in New York (MIAMI HERALD,
12/15)....General Mills announced that it will spin off its $3.2B
restaurant business, which includes Red Lobster and Olive Garden
chains, "to concentrate on breakfast cereals and other packaged
foods." General Mills' packaged foods include Wheaties (W.S.
Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. has signed a contract
with the IAAF to sponsor the '95 Athletics World Championships.
The sponsorship covers TV/Video/Audio and Mobile Telephone
categories. As part of the package, Matsushita will supply a
number of TV monitors, VCRs, video cameras and telephone products
for the Championships. Matsushita will supply D3 and D5
broadcast VCR systems for the '96 Olympics in Atlanta
Spencer Sports Media of Ardsley, NY, and Network
International of Philadelphia merged to form a new company --
Spencer Network International. The company will pursue
advertising rights at major sports and entertainment properties
throughout the United States. Spencer Sports owns advertising
rights to such entities as Anaheim Stadium, Soldier Field, and
the Anaheim Convention Center. Network has advertising rights in
over 50 facilities linked to Spectacro Management Group's
management contracts. Network will act as managing partner of
the new company, including all administrative and sales functions
Nike Inc. "is stickhandling into the fast-growing ice and
roller hockey market" by proposing to take over Canstar Sports
Inc. of Montreal for US$395M in cash -- "its biggest acquisition
to date." Observers said the deal gives Canstar access to Nike's
"considerable marketing expertise and financial resources,"
allowing Canstar to "accelerate its growth" in the U.S. market.
Canstar manufactures and distributes ice skates and hockey
equipment under the Bauer, Micron, Mega, Daoust, Lange, Cooper
and Flak names, and in-line roller skates and protective gear
under the Bauer label. Canstar's U.S. sales rose 31% in '93 and
the company expects a 77% increase in '94. Execs from both
companies "lauded the deal" (Heinzl & Gibbon, Toronto GLOBE &
MAIL, 12/15). Nike expects the deal to be tendered December 23
with the transaction completed 60-90 days after that. In
Montreal, Francois Shalom notes that Nike's ad budget is "nearly
as much as Canstar's annual sales" (Montreal GAZETTE, 12/15).
Kemper Securities analyst Kevin Dukesherer said the deal "looks
like a very good move for both companies" (N.Y. TIMES, 12/15).
Nike Chair Philip Knight: "Canstar's dominance in the elite ice
skate market is unsurpassed, with more than 70% of NHL players
wearing Canstar branded skates. ... We plan to have Canstar
continue to operate as an autonomous organization without any
change to its structure, operations, management or personnel."
Canstar's Icaro Olivieri: "The joining of these two great
companies represents one of the most strategic moves in the
sporting goods industry" (Nike). Knight and Olivieri will serve
as co-chairs of Canstar for at least three years (Mult., 12/15).
Nike's stock rose two points closing at 68, while Canstar's stock
rose 6 1/8 closing at 19.
NEW ENDORSER: Eric Lindros, who wears Bauer skates, now
joins the lineup of Nike endorsers (USA TODAY, 12/15).
San Francisco's IHL expansion Spiders will feature a
"slightly sinister" logo with a "mean looking" red spider holding
a hockey stick in front of a silver web. The team's basic colors
are red, black and white, with touches of silver and gold (Mike
Weaver, SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 12/15).
The AAU is presently selling ad time for its Sullivan Award
presentation in Indianapolis on February 27. The ceremony will
be broadcast live on PRIME Network beginning at 8:00pm (ET). The
awards go to the outstanding amateur athlete in the U.S. The AAU
is offering three TV packages: 1) The gold package includes
three :30 spots and a :05 opening and closing billboard. The
package also includes: two nationwide replays of the dinner; one
complimentary table at the dinner; 10 invites to VIP reception;
use of "AAU Sullivan Award" in company promotions; full-page ad
in AAU Sullivan Award Media Guide, complimentary exhibit space at
AAU Nat'l Convention as well as other details. Total cost is
$11,000. 2) The Silver package ($7,000) includes two :30 spots
includes some of the gold package benefits but not the full-page
ad in the media guide or the first opportunity of advertising on
future AAU programming. 3) The Bronze package ($7,000) does not
include any spot ads, but does include on-air "branded features"
of Sullivan Award finalists. If interested, please contact Mike
Palmisam or Dave DeCecco at (317) 872-2900 (AAU).