Walt Disney Co. is among three finalists for developing a
hotel and entertainment complex on 42nd St. and 8th Avenue in New
York, joining Marriot Int'l and Milstein Properties. The "tower
will be the western cornerstone of the long-awaited 42nd Street
Development Project." The Disney group, who call themselves
Dream Team Associates, says that Sega has "expressed an interest"
in leasing the "entire" basement to create an "urban
entertainment center." There are also plans for an ESPN Sports
Bar and Cafe under the Disney group's bid (Jonathan Auerbach,
N.Y. POST, 2/17).
Converse announced yesterday it will release its eighth
"Grandmama" spot featuring the Hornets' Larry Johnson. In the
commercial, Johnson (as "Grandmama") goes to a gym and puts on a
show while playing basketball with "the hot shots of the gym"
with Johnson watching -- while the Commodores' "Brick House"
plays in the background. The commercial debuts nationally
February 20 and will run through March 12 on MTV, BET and in 21
major markets around the country (Converse).
One day after rejecting a bid for title sponsorship from
Tambrands, the WTA Tour signed a deal with IMG that will give IMG
exclusive rights to the WTA's marketing and television rights
(WTA Tour). The four-year deal could be worth as much as $17M
according to the USA TODAY. IMG currently owns six of the sixty
events on the WTA Tour and represents a "substantial" number of
the top stars, including Jennifer Capriati, Mary Pierce and
former players Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert. IMG
currently has a similar deal with the men's ATP Tour, which
raised questions in "tennis circles" of a potential conflict of
interest. IMG spokesperson Linda Dozoretz: "IMG has a vested
interest in tennis, not a conflict. ... They have no interest in
taking over women's tennis so their clients will profit from it"
(Sal Ruibal, USA TODAY, 2/17). According to the WTA Tour's Ana
Leaird, IMG will have responsibility for selling the title
sponsorship to the tour, for which IMG will receive a commission.
The WTA has been looking for a tour title-sponsor since the
tour's association with Virginia Slims ended last year (THE
DAILY). The agreement runs through 1999 and also includes
international television, and licencing rights. WTA CEO Anne
Person Worcester: "By drawing on IMG's resources and long-term
investment in the game, this new alliance will help further our
goals of strengthening the global popularity and stature of
women's tennis as the preeminent sport for women worldwide"
REACTION: The Tambrands deal rejected by the WTA was put
together by Advantage International, which previously held tour
marketing rights. The "timing" of the two deals led to
speculation that rejection of Tampax was "tied to the signing of
the more lucrative IMG deal." WTA Tour CEO Person Worcester:
"The Tampax decision was based on the tour's long-term goals, not
short term financial gain." IMG Spokesperson Dozoretz also said,
"They were two separate deals" (USA TODAY, 2/17). One U.S. TV
exec, on the possible Tambrands sponsorship: "Tampax would give
all other potential tournament sponsors an excuse not to invest
in women's tennis" (Steve Wilstein, AP/DETROIT NEWS, 2/16).
PEPSI: Pepsi is broadening its ad presence on network cable
"with first time ad schedules" on E! Entertainment, Sci-Fi
Channel, USA Network, and BET. A Pepsi spokesperson confirmed
that company is "expanding our use of cable. ... We think it
improves our chances of channel surfers seeing our advertising"
(Jane Weaver, COWLES BUSINESS MEDIA, 2/17).
COCA-COLA: Coca-Cola has introduced new packaging and lower
prices for its fruit drink, Hi-C. It has also tripled its ad
budget to $20M to boost slow sales. Hi-C sales dropped 2.8% to
$187M last year. A new slogan, developed by Lowe and
Partner/SMS: "Drink plenty of Hi-C now, while there's still
time" (Chris Roush, ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 2/17). For the 33rd
year in a row, Coca-Cola Co.'s board of directors increased its
quarterly dividend, this year's increase is up 13% to .22 cents a
share (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 2/17).
ANHEUSER-BUSCH: Jerry Ritter, Anheuser-Busch Chief
Financial and Administrative Officer, predicts rising sales for
A-B beers in the U.S. and abroad this year. Ritter said A-B
officials expect volume growth of 2% or more, "vigorous by beer
industry standards" (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 2/17).
WINE COUNTRY: The NHL "was so impressed" with the May 1994
sales of S.J. Sharkie's Chardonnay, a Napa Valley wine that
Joseph George Distributors labeled with a San Jose Sharks' logo,
that the league commissioned 12,000 bottles be labeled for the
canceled-'95 All-Star Game. George now hopes to sell the wine as
a collector's item for $7.99 a bottle (Joyce Gemperlein, SAN JOSE
MERCURY NEWS, 2/16).
Gatorade Co. and NASCAR have announced that Gatorade Thirst
Quencher will have a revamped, $487,500 NASCAR awards program for
the '95 season. Gatorade Thirst Quencher will sponsor the
Gatorade Front Runner Award in 12 NASCAR racing series, which
will be given to the driver leading the series point standings at
the halfway mark of the season in all 12 series. NASCAR VP for
Marketing and Corporate Communications Brian France: "Gatorade
has been a part of the NASCAR lifestyle for fans and competitors
for many years. The Gatorade Front Runner Award represents a
new, exciting commitment from a longtime friend" (NASCAR).
Reebok International Ltd. "has been warned" by the
State of Massachusetts that it faces a "tough political and
public relations fight" if it insists on a 207-acre site
alongside Route 128 in Dedham, MA, for a new corporate
headquarters. The athletic show and sportswear company said it
wants to move from its present office in Stoughton, MA, where it
is "cramped for space." The land was bought last year by the
state for development as a park, and Michael Hogan, Dir of the
state Office of Business Development, said Reebok was told by
state officials, including Governor Weld, that the company was in
danger of a public relations "battle" if it asks for legislative
help in selling the park land (Jerry Ackerman, BOSTON GLOBE,