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Volume 24 No. 115

Sponsorships Advertising Marketing

     The decision to add a male crew member to the previously
all-female America3 yacht racing team "has the potential to
create far more consequences down the road than winning or losing
the right to defend the America's Cup," according to Barbara
Lloyd of the N.Y. TIMES (see THE DAILY, 3/20).  The team won an
important race yesterday with new tactician Dave Dellenbaugh.
They need to win five of the next seven races to have a chance at
defending the Cup.  While most of the all-female crew has "toed
the company line so far in accepting the addition of a male
counterpart on the boat, only time will tell whether such an
important decision so late in an America's Cup campaign turns out
to be fortuitous."  Writes Lloyd, "The switch was made in haste
and apparently without the knowledge of more than a handful of
the crew."  And Dellenbaugh's presence has "raised questions,
including a watchful eye by corporate supporters of America3 who
bought into sponsoring an all-female crew."  Lloyd also notes
that "still at issue is whether the women actually pushed for the
change, or whether it was an idea imposed upon them by male
management" (N.Y. TIMES, 3/21).  Michael Hiestand gives America3
owner Bill Koch a thumbs-down for his decision to add a male crew
member: "If you're selling novelty, you should deliver" (USA
TODAY, 3/21).  But Koch said that the sponsors of America3 are
"at peace" with the decision: "All the sponsors that we talked
to, including the one who had a contract that said we could not
have a man on the boat, said they were all for the decision.  And
they were behind it 100 percent" (WASHINGTON POST, 3/21).

     With sales down and employees "reeling from a layoff
announced" late last week, execs at Asics Tiger Corp. are meeting
today to "map out a new long-term strategy and figure out how to
slash expenses."  The sport shoe and athletic clothing maker is
looking to reduce spending in every phase of operation.  The
layoffs have been a result of "sluggish sales."  Last year, Asics
sales fell 10%, "though how many dollars that represents isn't
clear."  The company, which disclosed sales in the early '90s,
when it was growing at a rate of about 20% a year, now keeps
specific sales data private.  A spokesperson would only say that
Asics generates at least $250M in revenue a year.  Asics, like
other athletic shoe makers, "has been hurt by the popularity of
boots and sandals."  Asics spokesperson Lisa Brama:  "The hip-hop
trend has gone on longer than we anticipated.  Our hope and
belief is that athletic shoes will become fashionable again,
particularly next year with the Olympics" (Andre Mouchard, ORANGE
COUNTY REGISTER, 3/21).

     From '92-94, the official poster for the Lipton
Championships in Key Biscayne, FL "was a cross between Gone With
the Wind and Miami Rhapsody, tasteful paintings of the 2-year-old
Lipton Stadium and photos of palm trees and beaches.  And then
there's the 1995 Lipton poster -- an orange fireball vaguely
similar to the Miami Heat logo, centered on a stark black
backdrop."  According to first year Lipton Championships CEO
Laurence Kashdin: "This is about seeing tennis in a different
way."  Eric Conrad of the Ft. Lauderdale SUN-SENTINEL writes,
"There is a transformation under way at the 1995 Lipton event,
but the Lipton is just one snapshot in an industrywide response
to depressing tennis participation and equipment-sales numbers
served up since 1990."  How tennis can become "cool" may be the
"biggest test" the sport has faced.  "The most striking clash of
images at this year's Lipton Championships may be the strong
presence" of MTV-Latino Network.  But Lipton's '95 changes go
beyond MTV.  Roughly five acres at the tennis complex is covered
with fan-interactive exhibits, from a large Nike play area to a
Bacardi sand bar to games where fans can smash overhead lobs
alongside Pete Sampras and other players.  Kashdin:  "Tennis,
outside the Grand Slams, is not that profitable.  If we have to
surround tennis with entertainment to validate it, that's how
we'll validate it" (Ft. Lauderdale SUN-SENTINEL, 3/20).

     Madison Sports & Entertainment Group, a diversified sports
and entertainment conglomerate, completed the acquisition of Ski
Trails USA.  Ski Trails builds mobile mountains for snowboarding
(Madison Sports)....Cowboys WR Michael Irvin is entering the
sportswear business.  Irvin and his partners, former Cowboy
Alfredo Roberts, Blake Davenport and designer Ricky Talkington,
are scheduled to introduce a sportswear line, Masterpeace Ragz,
March 31 at the Int'l Menswear Mart in Dallas (FT. WORTH STAR-
TELEGRAM, 3/20)....Sport Supply Group Inc. said Friday its chairm
may consider buying out the company or putting it up for sale if
its stock price does not "improve dramatically."  Chair Michael
Blumenfeld set a public market trading price of $26 a share to be
reached by the end of next year.  On Friday, shares rose $2 to
$14/share as a result of the announcement (DOW JONES NEWS)....The
Mighty Ducks announced plans for their 2nd Annual Mighty Ducks
FanFair charity event to be held at Disneyland for an exclusive
private party, April 27.  All proceeds for the event will benefit
Disney GOALS, a public charity established by Walt Disney Co. in
'94 that seeks to create positive social alternatives for
disadvantaged kids (Mighty Ducks)....The Buick Southern Open has
been renamed the Buick Challenge and its purse increased from
$800,000 to $1M.  The tournament, to be played September 28-
October 1 at Callaway Gardens, GA, will be televised by ESPN (PGA
Tour)....Coors announced plans to introduce George Killian's
Irish Brown Ale on May 1.  The new ale will join Killian's Irish
Red in establishing an "Irish family of brands" to be marketed by
UniBev Ltd., Coors' marketing and specialty import division of
(Coors). ....Frito-Lay is leveraging its "heavy" buy during the
NCAA Tournament with the introduction of the Doritos/Taco Bell
Taco Supreme.  The product is the first co-branded offering from
the intra-PepsiCo product development partnership  (BRANDWEEK,
3/20 issue)....Sears announced their Women's Final Four Fantasy
promotion from March 16-26.  In conjunction with the NCAA and the
Women's Basketball Coaches Association, Sears is hosting
exclusive coaches appearances in select Sears stores and offering
prizes including trips to the Women's Final Four in Minneapolis
(Sears).