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Volume 24 No. 159

Olympics

     Avon is close to completing its most "ambitious event-
marketing initiative ever" by signing a "surprise sponsorship" of
the '96 Summer Games in Atlanta, according to Terry Lefton in
this week's BRANDWEEK.  Sources familiar with the deal put the
price tag at $8M, with ACOP granting Avon "rights to Olympic
Rings," and Atlanta's Olympic flame logo.  Avon also plans to
increase its Olympic effort overseas, where sales now account for
around two-thirds of overall revenues, by purchasing sponsorships
from at least eight more countries -- in Europe, Latin America
and Asia.  Avon is reportedly looking for an ex-Olympian
spokesperson for a "campaign with an expected theme of women,
teamwork, and achievement."  According to Lefton, the sponsorship
"furthers Avon's attempts to position itself as THE women's
company, as Avon hopes to "launch a series of Olympic-themed
health and beauty product lines" (BRANDWEEK, 2/20).

     An audit by Price Waterhouse for the Metropolitan Atlanta
Olympic Games Authority says that the $1.58B cost of the '96
Games will be covered by ACOG's fund raising, but the firm
forecasts only a $32M cash cushion beyond that, down from a $60M
estimate in January '94.  The margin would still be within an
"acceptable range" of 5% of the committee's uncommitted revenue,
or 2% of the total budget.  Robbie Pound of Price Waterhouse says
the "next five months are critical" for ACOG.  ACOG COO A.D.
Frazier disputed the audit, saying that Price Waterhouse found a
smaller cushion "because it is less confident than he is about
some revenue projections."  Frazier says around 60% of ACOG's
forecasted revenues have been committed (Melissa Turner, ATLANTA
CONSTITUTION, 2/21).  Frazier said upcoming announcements
regarding sponsorships "should brighten the financial forecast"
(Lyle Harris, ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 2/20).
     NATIONAL PROFILE:  According to Dave Griesing in this week's
BUSINESS WEEK, ACOG must "move swiftly" with signing up remaining
sponsorships to keep their pledge that the Games would go on
without public funding.  Many "would-be" global sponsors have
"balked at the original $40M asking price for 10 major
categories" -- as of now, no domestic auto company has signed on
-- and ACOG President Billy Payne has had to sell "smaller bits
of turf" in close to 50 different categories (BUSINESS WEEK, 2/27
issue).

     ACOG announced its "Olympic Patron Program" yesterday that
will allow fans to purchase a $50,000 package of 64 event
tickets, parking passes, access to housing in private homes and
"patron credentials."  Also available: luxury suites ranging from
$10,500 for a six-seat box at one of the soccer venues to a
$1.32M 54-seat suite at Olympic Stadium.  (Michael Hiestand, USA
TODAY, 2/21).