Lifetime Television has made some changes to its support of their $1M sponsorship of the all-female America's Cup racing team, America3 since tactician Dave Dellenbaugh was added to the crew. The network's eight daily TV spots have been pulled from the air, and Lifetime is "frantically editing new spots that couch the all-women issue." Brian Donlon, Lifetime's VP/Public Affairs, "was clearly rattled," but said the network would continue with "full support": "It's going to cost a lot more to remake everything." A special on America3 to air April 8 was "scrapped." A new show is being shot (Lara Weber, CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 3/26).
Sponsorships Advertising Marketing
"After a disappointing holiday season, the slumping sports- retailing business faces a big challenge: Can spring and summer sales make up for a mild winter and labor disputes," according to Molly Baker in her small-stock focus in this morning's WALL STREET JOURNAL. Sports superstores are getting "mixed reviews" on Wall Street and a disappointing 4th quarter at Sports & Recreation and a bankruptcy filing by SportsTown have brought most stocks to new lows. Some analysts are showing no interest in sports retailers' stocks, but others see this as a time to buy while they are "at real value and the superstore penetration of the sporting goods market is a mere 5% to 6%." So far this year, Sports & Recreation is down 59% while The Sports Authority has slipped 7.4% -- both on NYSE. SportMart has fallen 24% on Nasdaq. Analysts say superstore companies are going to have to meet, if not exceed, expectations for at least a few quarters before investors "take notice." The return of Michael Jordan "has added a few extra points to mild" 1st quarter sales (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 3/27). NOT IN THE CARDS? Topps' 4thQ net income fell 78% on lower sales as the company "continued to feel the effects of labor disputes in professional sports." The company said that net income for the three months ended February 25 totaled $1M, compared with $4.6M a year earlier. Sales fell 12% to $56.6M from $64M. For the year, net income fell 41% to $15.7M from $26.6M a year earlier (N.Y. TIMES, 3/27).
The Walt Disney Co. is teaming up with the Dodgers to handle the team's merchandising operations at Dodger Stadium. The agreement is the first that Disney has signed that does not involve any of its own products. Terms were undisclosed, but it was disclosed that no Disney characters will be involved. Dodger and Disney officials say they are considering "creating a host of new Dodger merchandise, ranging from fashionable jerseys to a possible team mascot. Even a Tommy Lasorda doll might not be out of the question." Dodger VP/Marketing Barry Stockhamer: "We'll be examining a lot of different things." Chuck Champlin of Disney's consumer-products division said the agreement with the Dodgers is a natural evolution for the company after its merchandising success with the Mighty Ducks and the play "Beauty and the Beast on Broadway." The Dodger deal could be the first of other merchandising agreements for Disney. Champlin: "In cases where it makes sense, ... we'd like to pursue it" (Kelly Barron, ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 3/26).
The marketing appeal of Canucks winger Pavel Bure is examined by Neil Campbell of the Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, who notes that two months of "lackluster play and controversial headlines have done little to smooth the Bure sales pitch." Glen Ringdal, VP/Marketing for the Canucks, who take an undisclosed percentage of any endorsement revenue: "There are going to be ups and downs during any long-term period, times when an athlete is hot and times when he's not. Our estimate is that within five years Pavel's full marketing potential should be understood." Campbell notes that the team, along with New York-based marketing firm J. Michael Bloom, have been working to "milk" Bure's potential: A Vancouver-based author is being sought to write a pictorial bio of Bure for the holidays; a video biography will be released in late summer; Bure has landed a bit part in Disney's next Mighty Ducks movie; the NHL has bought marketing rights to seven Russian hockey teams -- with Bure to pitch uniform jerseys; Canstar is launching an equipment campaign based around Bure and the "Pavelocity" slogan; Nike is apparently "extremely interested" in using Bure for both cross-training and street-hockey campaigns; and, Coca-Cola and GM are possibile endorsements. Ringdal: "We have reason to believe he could achieve the levels of Mario Lemieux, perhaps even Wayne Gretzky at some point. ... Because of his language barrier and his personal demeanor he comes across in a James Dean sort of way. He's got the look and the attitude" (Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 3/27).
Homestead Motorsports Complex has secured Jiffy Lube as title sponsor for its grand-opening race November 3-5. The Jiffy Lube 300, NASCAR's South FL debut, will be televised live on CBS (MIAMI HERALD, 3/24)....Time Warner, seeking to reduce its debt load, plans to sell part or all of its 24.5% stake in Atari (BLOOMBERG BUSINESS NEWS, 3/25)....Microsoft unveiled its '95 version of the Microsoft Complete Baseball Guide. The Microsoft Baseball Daily online service, which works with the Guide, is available for $79.95 per season (MLB).... Spalding Sports Worldwide and the Women's Sports Foundation announced the establishment of the Spalding Team Ball Grant Program designed to provide balls to girls' sports teams that cannot afford the equipment they need (Women's Sports Foundation)....Paul Kariya of the Mighty Ducks has signed an exclusive agreement with Easton Sports to use and endorse the company's ice and roller hockey products (NSGA RETAIL FOCUS, 3/95 issue).
Participation in different sports and exercise activitieswas surveyed by the Nat'l Sporting Goods Association. In-lineskating showed the highest-growth from '93 to '94 among the 53sports surveyed. In-line skating drew 19.5M participants in '94,a 57% increase over '93 and roller hockey grew 50%. The top 10participating increases/decreases for 1994 follows:
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|In-line skating|| |
|Roller hockey|| |
|Power boating|| |
|Hunting w/guns|| |
|Exercise w/equip|| |
|Roller Skating (2X2)|| |
|Ice Hockey|| |
|Water Skiing|| |
New Bucs Owner Malcolm Glazer plans to "ditch the swashbuckler and orange and white colors that have graced Tampa Bay's uniforms and helmets since the team's first season." The change will not take place in '95 since the league deadline for logo change requests has passed. Once the Glazers decide on new colors and logo for '96, they must seek approval from the NFL before September 1. In Tampa, Nick Pugliese notes the team is traditionally at the bottom of NFL merchandising sales (TAMPA TRIBUNE, 3/25).
Sega Sports is launching its "Final Five" sports games: World Series Baseball '95," "NBA Action '95 Starring David Robinson," "NHL All-Star Hockey," "Golf Magazine Presents 36 Holes Starring Fred Couples," and "ATP Tour Championship Tennis." Hockey, golf and tennis are available in stores, with baseball and basketball due March 28 (Sega).