Top officials of the NFL, News Corp. and Reebok took timeout from Super Bowl week to elaborate on the specifics of theWorld League of American Football, scheduled to debut this springin six European cities. Reebok was presented as the league'sfirst sponsor and the official supplier of uniforms, shoes andsideline apparel. In addition, the NFL announced that News Corp.was joining the World League as a 50/50 partner. Joining NFLCommissioner Paul Tagliabue and NFL President Neil Austrian, wereWLAF President & CEO Marc Lory, Fox Sports President David Hill,WLAF consultant Bill Walsh, and Reebok Senior VP of MarketingDave Ropes. The teams: Amsterdam Admirals, Barcelona Dragons,Frankfurt Galaxy, London Monarchs, Rhein Fire, ScottishClaymores. FROM THE LEAGUE: NFL President Neil Austrianwould not expand on any "specific timeframe" for expansion beyondEurope or how the league would measure the WLAF's success there.But he did tell THE SPORTS BUSINESS DAILY that the presence of"strong partners" would differentiate this venture from theWLAF's first effort. Austrian: "Fox, witnessed by Murdoch, hasa great interest in expanding this to Asia and other parts of theworld, and I think they're ready to go as soon as we feelcomfortable. So, whether it's two years, three years, fouryears, I couldn't say at this point. But the overall intent whenwe got together with News Corp. was that this would truly be aWorld League, not just six teams in Europe." Austrian said themarketing of the WLAF in the U.S. would be "totally non-aggressive": "The merchandise will probably walk off the shelvesover here. I think it's great merchandise. But the game itselfis being developed as a European game right now, and we plan tofocus all of our marketing attention right there." Austrian saidthey would encourage Reebok to sell WLAF merchandise in the U.S.Bill Walsh, who is serving as a consultant to the league, notedthe love for soccer in Europe: "We're going to speed up Americanfootball." FOX'S VIEW: News Corp. Chair Rupert Murdoch addressed thenews conference from Washington via video hook-up. Murdoch: "Iknow the tremendously exciting game of American football cantranscend the boundaries of this country." Murdoch said thatNews Corp. would televise the games on Sky TV in Britain and FoxGermany, with every intention of keeping the games live. Afterthe news conference, Fox Sports President David Hill told THESPORTS BUSINESS DAILY said that the sale of ad time would be theresponsibility of the local broadcasters. Asked whether thedecision to partner with the NFL on the WLAF was related to Fox'sNFC contract, Hill said News Corp., as "the world's biggestinternational broadcaster," saw the World League as a "greatopportunity. But they're two totally separate entities." REEBOK: Reebok's Dave Ropes: "Our global alliance with NFLProperties and our sponsorship of the World League of AmericanFootball are significant opportunities for Reebok to advance bothour performance footwear and apparel technologies and enhance ourbrand's visibility." Reebok staged a fashion show of the WLAFuniforms.
Coca-Cola Co. posted fourth quarter net income 22% higher
than the last quarter of '93. In December, the company had
projected a sales hike of 10-12%. Int'l case sales jumped 13%
and U.S. case sales "posted their biggest increase in years" of
8%. The int'l boost was helped by new markets in India, three
new plants in Poland, and one in Moscow. U.S. sales were
credited to "solid increases" in core brands and also of new
products such as the Fruitopia drinks, PowerAde and Minute Maid
Juices To Go (Chris Roush, ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 1/27).
RED WOLF: Red Wolf Lager, the first beer introduced by the
Specialty Brewing Group of Anheuser-Busch, Inc. will expand its
distribution to a nationwide basis beginning Monday. The
national roll-out will hit 31 states across the Midwest,
Southwest, West and Pacific Northwest. To help drive brand
awareness, the beer will be supported by a TV, radio, print, and
outdoor advertising campaign with the theme "Follow Your
MILLER: Miller Brewing Company has jumped into the Chinese
beer market by acquiring a minority investment in Asimco, a
Beijing-based investment company. As part of the deal, Asimco
has purchased 60% stake in Five Star Beer Group, and Three Ring
Beer, giving Miller a minority stake in these companies (WALL
STREET JOURNAL, 1/27).
Following is the full script of Frito-Lay's Doritos adfeaturing Mario Cuomo and Ann Richards. With Auld Lang Syneplaying, Cuomo helps Richards pack up her office. While they aretalking about "change," Richards pulls out a newly designed bagof Doritos. Richards: "Mario, I haven't seen a change like thissince I was knee high to a June bug." Cuomo: "Ann, I was assurprised as you are." Richards: "Well, I should have seen itcoming." Cuomo: "Maybe so, but now I think we ought to acceptthis change, embrace it, be positive about it, because change canbe very exciting." Richards: "You're probably right, Mario. Iguess I'll get used to Doritos' brand-new bag." Cuomo: "Thereyou go." Announcer: "This year's big change is Doritos. Moregreat taste, brand-new bag." Cuomo: "Too bad about the Cowboys,Ann." Richards: "They always won when I was Governor" (Frito-Lay). CNN's Judy Woodruff: "Who said there's not life afterpolitics?" ("Inside Politics," CNN, 1/26). A second Richards-Cuomo spot was featured on CBS last night. Excerpt: Richardsand Cuomo seated on a sofa, watching the game. Richards: "Gee,Mario. Both these teams are great. It's a shame there can onlybe one winner." Cuomo: "Don't I know it" ("CBS Evening News,"1/26).
L.A. GEAR: L.A. Gear Inc. announced that it estimates a
4thQ net loss of approximately $15M and an approximate $22.2M net
loss for its fiscal year ended November 30, 1994. L.A. Gear
Chair & CEO Stanley Gold and President & COO William Benford
reported: "While reporting a loss is very disappointing, we
should not overlook the progress we have made in the past year.
... In 1995, the company will focus on a return to its roots in
the women's and children's markets. We intend to re-establish
our brand identity by becoming more visible to the consumer
through increased marketing efforts," including a print and TV ad
campaign that will launch in March (L.A. Gear).
REEBOK: Looking to expand its boundaries of interactive
communications, Reebok Int'l has launched its first World Wide
Web site on the Internet called, "Planet Reebok." The Web site
offers Internet users a range of opportunities for state-of-the-
art interactive communication and information sharing with
Reebok. "Planet Reebok" can be accessed at
McDonald's Corp. reported higher than expected fourth
quarter earnings up 17% from last year, on earnings of $308.9M
(WALL STREET JOURNAL, 1/27)....The PGA Merchandise Show runs
Friday to Monday in Orlando. Close to 800 manufacturers will
display the latest golf products (USA TODAY, 1/27)....Bell Sports
Corp announced yesterday their net sales for the second quarter
ending Dec 31, '94 increased 13% to $26.3M. Net income decreased
to $582,000 from $2.1M in the previous year period (Bell Sports
Corp)....Walt Disney reported record revenues and earnings for
the first quarter ending Dec 31, '94. Revenues increased 21% to
$3.30B and operating income rose 27% to $790.8M. Net income
increased 31% to $482.4M (Disney).
In this morning's WALL STREET JOURNAL, Fara Warner profilesWilson's '95 ad campaign that kicks off during the weekend:"Wilson was the Nike of the 1950s and 1960s. ... But Wilson lostits footing in many of its businesses, hurt by powerful newcompetitors ... and distracted by a series of management andownership changes" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 1/27)....The finalinstallment of USA TODAY's ad watch features six companies:Honda, Pepsi, Lee blue jeans, Soloflex, Taco Bell and Primestarsatellite service (USA TODAY, 1/27)....This morning's N.Y. TIMESfeatures a chart of all the ads and when they will air and notesthat each ad cost $33,333 a second (N.Y. TIMES,1/27)...."Entertainment Tonight" profiled some of the ads: "RoldGold" pretzels, Pepsi, McDonald's, Masterlock, and Doritos werepreviewed. Ad exec Ronnie Cohen: "When marketers can get theright celebrity, the right product, add humor, against the righttarget, nothing else is going to work better" ("ET," 1/26).
NFLPA Exec Dir Gene Upshaw, Asst Exec Dir Doug Allen, andGeneral Counsel Richard Bertelson held a news conference toreview the past year and look ahead to '95 from the vantage pointof the league's players' union. Topics discussed were the firstyear of the salary cap, a survey of NFL players on the league'splaying surfaces, and the union's new for-profit marketing arm,Players Inc. PLAYERS INC.: Allen: "We're the first sports union thathas created a for-profit marketing subsidiary, and it's the onlymarketing company that is dedicated to marketing all of theplayers in a professional sport. ... The way the law works, asports union can license player rights for passive royalties, butthe players enthusiastically supported doing much, much more thanthat." THE CAP: Upshaw outlined the effect of the salary capsaying that the CBA ensures "labor peace" through 2000. Upshawreleased figures that showed 18 teams spending over the cap of$34.6M and that the players' share of Direct Gross Revenues($1.706B total) was $1.092B, or $39.002M per team. That was an8% improvement over '93. Upshaw: "Our players are living on 64%of revenues, and that stays in the locker room. ... The system isworking." LEGAL ISSUES: Bertelson outlined the state of legal actionover the CBA. Several players who are challenging the CBA arenow deciding whether to appeal an 8th Circuit decision supportingthe cap to the Supreme Court. If they decide not to appeal,$150M in damages awarded to the players will be freed. On theruling by the 2nd Circuit Tuesday, Bertelson: "The NBA's players,unfortunately, are faced with the same dilemma that we were facedwith in 1989 -- Do you continue the union in existence, whichonly, under this ruling, would protect the owners not theplayers? Or do you decide you don't want to have collectivebargaining rights, and pursue your individual rights?" SURVEY: Not surprisingly, the players overwhelmingly prefernatural grass. 85% like grass, 7% turf. 70% say the playingsurface plays a role in their free agency decisions.
NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue gives his state of theleague address this morning in Miami. In a preview, columnistBill Plaschke examines what he calls "the biggest problem" facingthe league as it heads to the turn of the century, "racialinequality" (L.A. TIMES, 1/27).
STADIUM SIGNAGE: The following is a survey of the in-stadium signage that will be seen in Joe Robbie Stadium thisSunday. AROUND THE BOWL: Arby's (2), Gatorade (4), Budweiser(3), Bud Light (1), Burger King (1) Toyota (4), Blockbuster (2),TCBY (1), 610 WIOD-radio (2), Bacardi (1), Domino's (1), BellSouth (1), Marlboro (2), Magnivision (1), Don Shula's restaurant(1), Miami Herald (1), Carvel (1). TUNNEL: Bud, Bud Light. ENDZONE SCOREBOARDS: Budweiser, Coke, Marlboro, Miami Herald.ROTATING SCOREBOARD SIGNS: Diet Coke, Blockbuster, Office Depot,Burger King, Coke, Delta, Alamo Rent-a-Car, News Channel 10.SEAT IMPRINTS -- GTE is visible on each side of the upper deck,but only when stadium is empty (THE DAILY). MR. CHARGER: CNBC's Neil Cavuto interviewed Chargers OwnerAlex Spanos on "Business Insiders." Spanos, when asked if beingin the Super Bowl is more important than building a real estatebusiness from scratch and becoming a multi-millionaire: "Well,let me put it this way, that's what helped me get here. Let'sface it, without that I wouldn't be here today" (CNBC, 1/26) CUT! AND THAT'S A PRINT: NFL Films' official Super BowlXXIX video will be available in stores on February 23, accordingto Polygram, distributor of the tape (NFL Films). LOOKING AHEAD TO NEXT YEAR: Top officials of the Panthersand the Jaguars delivered updates on their inaugural '95 seasons.Panthers Owner Jerry Richardson noted the private financing ofCarolinas Stadium and called his team's sponsorship deals "thebest in the history of sports." Jaguars Owner Wayne Weaver re-introduced the team's new logo: "The logo has really beenaccepted well in the marketplace" (THE DAILY). MULTI-MEDIA WATCH: Prodigy Services announced has selectedCBS Sports' Pat O'Brien to host the first-ever Super Bowlpregame show via an online service. Beginning at 3:00pm onSunday, O'Brien will moderate live chat sessions on Prodigy aswell as report any "inside" news (Prodigy). OPPOSITE THE GAME: NBC airs a made-for-TV movie aboutPrincess Diana; Fox will air its normal lineup of "The Simpsons"and "Married ... With Children," both are repeats; CBS will re-broadcast the 25th anniversary special of "60 Minutes"; TNT airseight hours of "Starsky and Hutch"; Discovery premieres "SharkBowl '95" -- 12 hours of "jaw-dropping footage"; And A&E airs amarathon of mystery movies (USA TODAY, 1/27).
The Illinois High School Assoc, which claims they hold the
trademark to the "March Madness" slogan, has joined forces with
Chicago-based Intersport to license the "catch phrase." The
company, called March Madness LLC, says "they aren't looking for
the NCAA or CBS Sports to stop using the slogan, but would like a
licensing deal." CBS Sports Pres. David Kenin expects to
continue to use the phrase, but "wouldn't say whether CBS would
be willing to pay for the privilege" (Jon Lafayette, ELECTRONIC
MEDIA, 1/23 issue).