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Volume 24 No. 112

Sponsorships Advertising Marketing

     Following a successful year in '94, NFL Properties revealstheir merchandising plans for '95-96 in the current issue ofSPORTING GOODS BUSINESS.     INSIDE THE NUMBERS:  A SGB survey of 207 retailers,representing 1,935 stores, shows that sales of NFLP merchandiseincreased 4.1% in '94.  Department stores and mass merchants hadthe strongest year with sales growth of 10.1%, but sporting goodstores/team dealers "were not as optimistic, signaling a growth"of only 1.1% over the past year.  Due in part to the success ofthe Lions, Packers, Bears, and Vikings, the North Central regionshowed the greatest increase at 6.3%, with the West up 5%, theSouth up  2.7%, and the Northeast up 2%.  The Northeast's weakshowing was due largely to the decline of the Giants and Eagles,and the warm weather at Christmas.  Of top selling brands,Starter led three of four categories, including headgear,fleece/sweatshirts, and outerwear (Greg Pesky, SGB, 3/95).     BACK TO THE FUTURE:  With sales possibly hitting a ceiling,NFLP plans to "focus more closely on the core equity of footballand the NFL," including its three-tiered merchandising plan and"the program each tier umbrellas:" Performance (Pro Line),Lifestyle (Throwbacks), and Family (NFL Kids, NFL at Home, Backto School, and Game Day).  Part of the plan is also to add largeapparel companies such as Reebok, Russell, and VF Corp to reducethe "base of licensees" and "create a greater scarcity" ofproduct to "revitalize demand."  NFLP VP/Worldwide RetailLicensing Jim Connelly: "There is a feeling now that our productis too spread out, that there is not enough innovation upstairsand too much dumping of our product downstairs."  Connelly citesReebok's "marketing prowess" as a key component to the NFL ProLine, and says NFLP will continue to push jerseys by giving moreinterpretations of the uniform, similar to the  Throwbacks.  NFLPDir of Youth Licensing Peter Lapointe said NFL Kids is an areafor more growth.  Lapointe says home products, back-to-schoolmerchandise, and video games are "untapped and growing areas"that are perfect for children. Lapointe also wants promotionsthat bring a "broad spectrum of corporations together to drive"retail sales.  Lapointe: "Let's use McDonald's ads on Fox todirect purchases at JCPenney stores where all kids licenses aredisplayed in one shop concept."  Also stressed is "NFL at Home,"which includes domestic products, electronics and homefurnishings, among others (Alisa Klemm, SGB, 3/95 issue).     GONE HOLLYWOOD:  NFLP Dir of Marketing Doug Quinn feels the"Hollywood Factor" or the "link between TV drama and sports maybe growing stronger."  For example, expect to see NFL playerswith cameos on "Melrose Place" and other Fox shows, as well asNFL merchandise placements.  Quinn sees this as a way to appealto women, much as the way the film "Little Giants" worked withchildren.  Besides Hollywood, the division is also "committed tosupporting sales at the retail level."  NFLP Senior Dir ofMarketing Ray Katz:  "We really feel we are way ahead of theother leagues in the area of retail support."  The league willcontinue with successful promos like the "Painted Bus Promotion"where fans win a trip to an NFL game on the painted bus andreceive a Starter bag and a tailgate party catered by McDonald's.Katz also plans to work closer with retailers like JC Penney,Foot Locker, Macy's and The Sports Authority regarding the way"we present our product in the store, and the way we support itin an environment that is appealing, exciting and sets up apart."In addition, NFLP may look to "design permanent and semi-permanent fixturing similar to that offered" by Reebok and Nike(Alisa Klemm, SGB, 3/95).     1994 WINNERS:  The issue gives its top three prizes for theSGB/NFLP Retail Merchandising Awards.  First prize went to CarsonPirie Scott and VP Chuck Luckenbill for "his visualquarterbacking of the retailer's NFL-specific display at itsChicago location" (SGB, 3/95 issue).

     Senior PGA Tour players Tom Weiskopf, Gary Player, Dick
Rhyan, Lee Elder and Orville Moody have agreed to form "Team
Bayer."  The team will become part of "Strokes Against Strokes,"
a new awareness and fundraising initiative to help fight strokes.
The fight will be led by Bayer Corp., the American Heart
Association and the PGA Tour (Bayer).
     CARLYLE:  Denver-based Carlyle Golf Inc. has signed a
multiyear agreement with pro golfer David Frost to endorse the
company's golf apparel (Carlyle).

     In the current issue of TENNIS magazine, Editor Donna
Doherty defends the latest Nike campaign that features hats and
shirts that proclaim "tennis sucks," even though she admits that
she doesn't "love" the campaign.  Doherty calls it the "ultimate
in anti-hero marketing," and writes, "C'mon guys, lighten up"
(TENNIS, 4/95 issue)....The Collegiate Licensing Co. has
announced its top selling manufacturers and universities for '94-
95 fiscal year-to-date.  The top five colleges:  Michigan, FSU,
UNC, Tennessee and Alabama.  Heading the licensee list:  Starter,
Champion, Nutmeg Mills, Brazos Sportswear and CS
Crable....(SPORTING GOODS BUSINESS, 3/95 issue).... Madison
Sports & Entertainment Group, Inc. has signed a letter of
agreement to acquire Bizarre Snowboards Inc. (Madison
Sports)....The LPGA has formally announced plans for a Dinah
Shore Scholarship Fund to be administered through the LPGA
Foundation (LPGA)....According to preliminary results of the '94
Int'l Health Racquet & Sports Club Assoc./American Sports Data
study on health club trends, the number of health club members in
the U.S. grew by 10% for the second consecutive year (IHRSA).
     CLARIFICATION:  Sony's release on Sony Signatures' selection
as exclusive licensing and merchandising company for World Cup
'98 incorrectly identified the World Cup's representative.  It is
ISL Marketing AG of Switzerland.

     Officials from Mobil Corp., in conjunction with Cotton Bowl
executives, announced that the company is dropping its
sponsorship of the bowl game, effective immediately.  Mobil cited
the bowl's lost tie-in with the soon-to-be defunct Southwest
Conference as its primary reason for breaking an association that
began in August '88.  A clause in the 7-year, $10M contract
allowed Mobil to break the agreement in the event the SWC
champion no longer participated in the game.  Cotton Bowl
Athletic Association President John Crawford said Mobil provided
a $1M grant to bowl officials to use during the transition period
until another title sponsor can be found.  Crawford said they are
seeking a replacement sponsor and confirmed they have had talks
with Dr Pepper and Southwest Airlines.  The '96 game is not in
jeopardy if a sponsor is not found.  Starting next year, the
Cotton Bowl will match the second choice from the future Big 12
Conference with either the WAC champion or the No. 2 team from
the Pac 10.  In Ft. Worth, Jimmy Burch notes that the Cotton Bowl
finds itself searching for sponsorships at the same time as the
area's three pro golf tournaments:  The Colonial, Byron Nelson
Classic and the area's Senior PGA Tour event (FT. WORTH STAR-
TELEGRAM, 3/29).