Chrysler is on the verge of striking a $7-8M deal with Fox
Sports that would make Chrysler the exclusive car sponsor of the
network's NHL telecasts, according to the current issue of INSIDE
MEDIA. On each Fox NHL telecast, Chrysler will run about 12 30-
second spots, touting its Dodge and Jeep-Eagle divisions (INSIDE
MEDIA, 2/14 issue).
NBA All-Star Weekend telecast on NBC was the stage for
Gatorade's debut of "Life Is A Sport. Drink It Up" -- a new
national ad campaign. The scope of the new campaign includes
multiple TV, print, radio and outdoor ads, and point-of-sale and
in-market event executions throughout the year. According to
Gatorade, the TV ads are "fast-paced commercials featuring high-
impact images of active people against dramatic audio tracks"
Gillette will team with Sprint to "step up support of its
disposable razors" in a promotion tied to the NCAA Final Four.
Gillette will put pre-paid calling cards, good for five free
minutes of long-distance calls from Sprint, in four million
packages of its Good News and Daisy disposable razors. The cards
feature basketball-themed graphics, with 35 designs in all.
Point-of-purchase displays will flag the promotion, which was put
together by Clarion Performance Properties (Pam Weisz, BRANDWEEK,
Rockets center Hakeem Olajuwon signed a new deal with
Spalding. Olajuwon-sponsored shoes will sell at mass
merchandisers such as K-Mart and Target for "no more than $60,
starting this fall." Ralph Greene, Exec VP of Olajuwon's
investment company: "On a fee basis he is getting something
similar to what he could get with the other companies" (N.Y.
TIMES, 2/12)....A federal jury awarded Anheuser-Busch $5M in a
trademark dispute with Labatt Breweries over ice-brewed beers.
Labatt had claimed it invented ice beer, but the jury rejected
Labatt's claim that ice beer are trademarks (Mult., 2/13).....The
BRANDWEEK "Rumor Mill" has Roadmaster eyeing MacGregor Golf and
Nike pondering Titleist/Foot-Joy" (BRANDWEEK, 2/13 issue).
PepsiCo will "mobilize its soft-drink and fast-good units
for a synergistic multi-target, triple-play across the summer,"
according to Terry Lefton in the current issue of BRANDWEEK,
which includes a planned sponsorship of tennis' U.S. Open. Pepsi
is close to a deal on the Open, which would include concession
rights for Pepsi, All-Sport sports drink and Taco Bell. Sources
said the expected 3-year deal includes signage and has a price
tag of close to $2M. While The plans come as Coke preps for an
Olympic ticket giveaway in May with PowerAde and a replay of its
$300M "Red Hot Summer" promotion. Pepsi's other plans include
cross-promotion of Amblin Emtertainment's films "Casper" and
"Congo," both due this summer, with restaurant subsidiaries, Taco
Bell and Pizza Hut (BRANDWEEK, 2/13 issue).
IRS INVESTIGATING NBA REFEREES: According to a report in
Sunday's Portland OREGONIAN, the IRS is investigating 35 NBA
referees for evading income taxes on millions in "allegedly phony
travel expenses." The paper cites "several sources" who claim
that "some of the referees might have earned $100,000 or more on
airline tickets during a five-year period ending with the 1993-94
season." The referees apparently "swapped first-class tickets
for cash," and gave the league receipts for the tickets, but did
not report the earnings to the league or IRS. Some referees
claim the league "knowingly paid inflated travel costs as a
substitute for giving them better pay." One referee, who
requested anonymity: "The league knew we were making extra money
on our plane tickets. That's a known fact." NBA Deputy
Commissioner Russ Granik would not comment on the investigation
(Portland OREGONIAN, 2/12).
LOTTO LOSS IN CANADA: The NBA announced that the expansion
Grizzlies and Raptors will not have an opportunity to get the
first pick in the NBA draft until 1999. Both teams "have been
aware of this fact" since the expansion agreement was drawn up a
year ago (Neil Campbell, Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 2/11).
TV TALK: The latest INSIDE MEDIA features an interview with
Ed Dessner, President of NBA TV Ventures, and Mike Dressner, NBA
Properties' VP/Media and Marketing Group. Dessner said , on
whether U.S. or Canadian companies will sponsor broadcasts of the
two new Canadian teams: "It depends. ... Some categories cross
the borders better than others. In the U.S., banks are generally
local or regional. In Canada, banks are national. Automotive is
a category that is very much the same" (Mike Reynolds, INSIDE
MEDIA, 2/14 issue). NBC's potential national deal with CTV could
mean a blackout of NBC's Sunday games if there is a corresponding
CTV telecast of a Raptors or Grizzlies game. Talks between the
NBA and CTV continue (Howard Tsumura, Vancouver PROVINCE, 2/13).
Suns President Jerry Colangelo told THE SPORTS BUSINESS
DAILY that All-Star Weekend has meant about $25-$30 million in
economic impact to the city of Phoenix, but he noted that those
numbers were based on preliminary estimates. Colangelo: "We're
going to set all kinds of records for Jam Session. ... We have
put the focus of the basketball world on Phoenix, Arizona. It's
big" (THE DAILY).
SOLD-OUT JAM SESSION: "It was a Jam Session, all right,"
writes Mark Shaffer in the lead story in Sunday's ARIZONA
REPUBLIC. Attendance at the NBA Jam Session, held at the Phoenix
Civic Center adjacent to America West Arena, was estimated at
44,000 for Thursday and Friday and 40,000 for Saturday. But
thousands of other fans were turned away, including those who had
purchased tickets the day of the event. By Saturday, the
attendance more than doubled the four-day totals at the two
previous Jam Sessions in Salt Lake City and Minneapolis. The
league honored all unused tickets on Sunday (ARIZONA REPUBLIC,
2/12). Fleer is title sponsor of the Jam Session, an interactive
fan festival featuring displays and games sponsored by
Nestle/Baby Ruth, Gatorade, Topps, AT&T, McDonald's, Reebok,
Miller, Disney, Nickelodeon, Huffy Sports, FootLocker, Nike,
Skybox, Upper Deck, IBM, Champion and Salem Sportswear.
SWEET DEAL: Nestle announced its promotion to offer one
grand prize winner a chance to attend the 1995 Finals as a member
of the "NBA Inside Stuff" crew (NBA/Nestle). Pacific Bell
brought the All-Star Game to two United Artists theaters in CA in
the first "practicable application of Pacific Bell's Cinema of
the Future" (Pacific Bell).
RADIO FREE PHOENIX: In addition to NBC's U.S. broadcast and
the over 100 international TV outlets covering the game, all 114
NBA Radio affiliates were contracted to carry the All-Star Game
encompassing 12 markets and 70.66% of the U.S. (NBA Radio).
BASKETBALL ON-LINE: Microsoft announced the release of its
new CD-ROM, "Microsoft Complete NBA Basketball," and put the new
title on display at Jam Session. Microsoft's CD-ROM is endorsed
by NBA Hall of Famer Rick Barry (Microsoft).
TRIBUTE TO THE SUNS: From an editorial in Saturday's
ARIZONA REPUBLIC: "The fact that the league office relied more
on the Suns organization in preparing for the event than it has
in other host cities is testimony to the organizational and
marketing ability of Suns President Jerry Colangelo and his
staff. The All-Star Weekend in Phoenix already is being called
the best ever. We never doubted it" (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 2/11).
In his annual State of the Game Address, delivered Friday as
NBA All-Star Weekend kicked off in Phoenix, NBA Commissioner
David Stern announced that the winner of the 1995 Finals would
participate in an international tournament in London in October
and that the players and owners had settled on the "parameters"
of an agreement on a new CBA.
MCDONALD'S CHAMPIONSHIP: Stern and FIBA Secretary General
Borislav Stankovic announced that the NBA Champion would
participate in the 1995 McDonald's Championship, to be held
October 19-21 in London. The entrants in the tournament will
include the champions of the English Basketball League and
Australia's National Basketball League, as well as the winner of
Europe's Final Four. Two other European teams will round out the
final six. McDonald's Senior Exec VP of Marketing Paul Schrage:
"As the founding sponsor of this tournament, McDonald's has
always shared a vision with the NBA and FIBA that the event would
one day become the world's basketball championship. And today we
are realizing that dream" (NBA/McDonald's). BACK HOME: On
domestic issues, Stern addressed the negotiations over a new CBA
with the NBPA. Stern: "Watching the other guys [MLB, NHL]
caused us to appreciate the relationship that we have with our
players. We're banging away pretty hard, and sometimes it gets
pretty loud. But when the owners say to the players, 'You're
entitled to the majority of the revenues,' and when the players
say back to the owners, 'You're entitled to make a return on your
investment,' then you've got the real parameters of a deal. Then
you're talking about how you're going to divide up somewhere
between a billion and a billion-and-a-half dollars" (Lee
Shappell, ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 2/10). Until the issues are
resolved, "the threat of a work stoppage will loom like an anvil
over the heads of the owners and players" (Shaun Powell, N.Y.
NEWSDAY, 2/12). Stern, on TNT's "All Star Friday": "We're
having some very intense discussions with the players, we've
given them every bit of economic data, they have complete
information" (TNT, 2/10).
IMAGE: Stern also the "renegade behavior among some"
players: "We have 350 or so players, and in the balance, I'd say
they are consummate professionals" (Shawn Powell, NEWSDAY, 2/12).
But Karl Malone said the NBA is to blame: "They are the ones who
created this monster. ... They go out and promote all the
craziness, all the yelling and screaming and taunting. Well, now
they've gotten what they deserved, and it's their job to go out
and change it. And they better hurry" (Jackie MacMullen, BOSTON
REAX: "It was hard" for Stern to "paint his typically rosy
picture" of the league, according to Anthony Cotten of the
WASHINGTON POST. "Normally a master of spin control, Stern's
answers ranged from monosyllabic to near-confrontational"
(WASHINGTON POST, 2/11). With the Vernon Maxwell incident, the
slow labor talks and the criticism of some of the league's stars,
Stern went "global," writes Ailene Voisin (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION,
2/11). The NBA "appears just too pleased with itself,"
according to Bernie Lincicome (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 2/12).
A three-year, $15M initiative from the USTA and the Tennis
Industry Association received a positive response from retailers
and others at the Super Show, writes Richard Sandomir of the N.Y.
TIMES. The plan combines a 25-city campaign to offer free
lessons to novice tennis players and an "image-boosting" ad
program aimed at youngsters to "prove that tennis is as cool as
basketball." Six-thousand teaching pros will be deployed for
"Play Tennis, America," which organizers hope will turn on
"enough new players to pay for instruction and equipment." An ad
agency has yet to be chosen for the image campaign (N.Y. TIMES,