The latest edition of BUSINESS WEEK ranks the 1000 "Most Valuable" companies in America, based on their market value as of February 28. The Top Ten: GE (1), AT&T (2), Exxon (3), Coca- Cola (4), Wal-Mart (5), Merck (6), Philip Morris (7), Procter & Gamble (8), IBM (9), DuPont (10). Other sports-related companies spotted on the list: PepsiCo (21), Walt Disney (26), McDonald's (33), Gillette (44), Viacom (50), Time Warner (55), Anheuser- Busch (56), NationsBank (58), Capital Cities/ABC (61), TCI (66), Sara Lee (68), ITT (82), Nike (188), Fleet Financial (232), CBS (250), Turner Broadcasting (256), Champion Int'l (263), Comcast (273), Reebok Int'l (335), Jefferson-Pilot (355), Great Western Financial (386), Gaylord Entertainment (412), Russell (691), Callaway Golf (715), Infinity Broadcasting (723), New World Communications (755), Electronic Arts (778), Ogden (838) (BUSINESS WEEK, 3/27 issue).
Sponsorships Advertising Marketing
Although ad deals for Sunday's Bulls-Pacers game featuring the much-anticipated return of Michael Jordan were finalized long-ago, several advertisers scored big with what were expected to be playoff-type ratings for a regular-season game. Ratings were not available as of 11:00am EST. RIGHT PLACE, RIGHT TIME: Chrysler, Toyota and Miller's Lite and Ice brands led the pack with four spots while Gatorade had three spots -- all featuring Jordan. Taco Bell, Goodyear and Sharp also ran three ads apiece. Reebok ran its "Shaq vs. Shaq" spot and Grant Hill was featured in one of GMC Trucks' two spots. Others: Miller's Red Dog beer (2), Schick (2), Castrol GTX (2), A-B's Red Wolf beer (2) Bud Ice (2), AT&T (2), Oldsmobile (2), Army, Navy, Old Spice, Wendy's, Speed Stick, McDonald's, Coast, Prudential, Chevy Trucks, Coke, Midas, IBM, Molson Ice, Lexus, Miller Genuine Draft, Nike, Pringles, Pizza Hut, Dodge Trucks, Carnation Coffeemate, Lincoln Continental, Lynx Black Cat Irons, Top Flite, and Freeport McMoran Copper & Gold all ran one ad (THE DAILY). Ad time on NBC's NBA games are sold out through the playoffs. Only Games 6 & 7 of the Conference Finals and NBA finals have slots available. Turner's NBA broadcasts are sold out (Dottie Enrico, USA TODAY, 3/20). JORDAN BACKERS: Wheaties distributed black-and- white placards outside Market Square Arena: "Jordan's back! And he's eating his Wheaties" (Baltimore SUN, 3/20). It is expected that General Mills will produce a special Jordan Wheaties box (Tim Jones, CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 3/19). A new McDonald's Looney Tunes promotion featuring Jordan, Larry Bird, Charles Barkley and other NBA stars, begins April 1 (McDonald's). Stock prices for all of Jordan's corporate partners, including Sara Lee (Hanes), McDonald's, Nike, Quaker Oats (Gatorade) and General Mills, were up last week (L.A. TIMES, 3/19). Gatorade debuted a new ad saluting Jordan's return with footage of some of Jordan's great moments. The spot aired during Sunday's game (Gatorade). STRUTTING PEACOCK: Rather than show the Bulls-Pacers game in just 53% of the country as originally planned, NBC expanded its scope to 98% sending the Jazz-Hornets game to only the teams' home markets. Yesterday's noon slot has been the lowest-rated of NBC's NBA telecasts because it competes with CBS' NCAA Tournament coverage. NBC Sports President Dick Ebersol: "I'd assume we'll do much better. We're down 3 to 4 percent this year, and we should make it back today" (Richard Sandomir, N.Y. TIMES, 3/20). NBC broke into its programming on Saturday to report Jordan's return. In Chicago, Steve Nidetz writes, "Networks used to break into programming to report the ending of wars or the assassination of a president. Now they interrupt shows to report that a jock, finding himself unable to play another sport, is returning to his first love." An NBC official was asked Saturday why the news bulletin was necessary, when the network could have waited until 1:00pm, when it had a sports show planned. She said Jordan's comeback "meant as much to business as it did to sports" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 3/20). RATINGS: Nielsen Media Research VP Ward Woodhead predicted 25% of households in Chicago and 12% of households nationally would tune in (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 3/19).
The baseball strike is being blamed for "flat" 2ndQ earnings for Rawlings Sporting Goods Co. Rawlings CFO Craig Mankowski: "We're not facing a decline; it's just flat compared to last year. The leagues have already made their (spring) order." Mankowski notes that "the problem could come later if the baseball strike continues and people start to lose interest in the game" (Rawlings).
Russell Corp. announced Friday that "disappointing results" in the Russell Athletic and Licensed Products Divisions will limit 1stQ sales gains to 3-5% and cause earnings to be $.03-05 per share below last year's 1st first quarter. Russell Chair & CEO John Adams: "We expect the results for the balance of 1995 to be more in line with street estimates" (Russell).
Bill Koch, founder of the all-female America's Cup racing team America3, added a male crew member to the team. Dave Dellenbaugh, a rules expert and starting helmsman for Koch's victorious men's team in the '92 Cup, came aboard as of Saturday. According to Barbara Lloyd of the N.Y. TIMES NEWS SERVICE, Lifetime Television, which has committed nearly $1M to the team, did not know of the change until this weekend. Lifetime President Doug McCormack: "I was having breakfast and drinking my coffee when I got a phone call from Bill Koch. What he had to say hit me like a ton of bricks. I'd by lying if I said we weren't disappointed." McCormack agreed to the new plan, "but there was no doubt his vision for this competition had been altered. The concept of backing the first all-women team in the 144 years of America's Cup history had given way to a women's team with a male strategist -- still unusual, but without the cache of going it on their own." McCormack: "We're operating under the assumption that this is something the women brought on themselves. ... I'm not going to come in here with an Armani suit and tell them how to run this thing." Other America3 sponsors include: L'Oreal, Yoplait, Chevrolet, Citizen and Glamour Magazine. None knew of the change until this weekend, yet talks within America3's camp began more than a week ago. New Team Captain Dawn Riley: "It's nice to say, well, all-women was the only way to go. But you get tired of it when you're always in women's programs, and they say, 'You didn't win, but that's OK.' We'd rather say, 'We won'" (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 3/20).