In an effort to "streamline costs," Avia Group Int'l laid
off about 10% of its 225 employees companywide. Avia
spokesperson Carey Burns: "This is part of our long-term strategy
to remain efficient and focused." The cutbacks came as no
surprise to analysts who said Avia, a wholly-owned subsidiary of
Reebok, is following the philosophy of its parent company.
Reebok has been "pushing its divisions to trim overhead and
bolster margins." Jennifer Black Groves, an analyst at Black &
Co. in Portland, OR: "Avia has done a great job at improving
their sales, but their margins aren't as good as other divisions
in Reebok." Avia has undergone a "serious makeover in the past
two years, restructuring its management team and streamlining its
product" (Christine Gonzalez, Portland OREGONIAN, 4/13).
The Holiday Bowl will begin a three-year association with
Plymouth, the game's new title sponsor. The Plymouth Holiday
Bowl will be played in Jack Murphy Stadium on December 29 and be
televised by ESPN, as the new deal includes a three-year
agreement with ESPN. Dean Bonham, President of The Bonham Group
of Denver, negotiated the contract with Plymouth. The alliance
continues the bowl's relationship with Chrysler Corporation which
began in 1991 when Thrifty Car Rental became title sponsor.
Thrifty is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Chrysler (Holiday Bowl).
The labor problems in sports and its own restructuring "took
a toll" on Score Board Inc. The sports memorabilia company
yesterday "reported a dismal fourth quarter and an equally
unsatisfying fiscal year." Score Board CEO Ken Goldin: "Our
disappointing fiscal 1995 financial results masked much of the
internal progress we achieved. With our overhead structure
reduced substantially, improved profit margins, reduced inventory
levels and the resumption of he baseball and hockey seasons, the
company is now positioned for a return to profitability."
Another cause for optimism, according to Jane Von Bergen of the
PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, is that one of Score Board's chief
competitors, Upper Deck Co., shut down its autographed sports-
memorabilia business. Score Board attributed its 4thQ loss to
its withdrawal from entertainment and minor-league product
categories and sports labor strife (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 4/14).
John Raybin, Exec Producer and host of The Sports
Collectors' Radio Show Network, has established Raybin
Communications, a new communications consulting agency. Based in
New York, the firm specializes in advising the collectibles
industry in public relations efforts (Raybin).
....Ticketmaster and Viacom's MTV Networks Inc. are planning to
expand a joint marketing venture to sell concert tickets and
merchandise directly to viewers of both MTV and VH-1. While
Ticketmaster may launch its own channel to promote such sales,
according to President Fredric Rosen, they will continue to host
as many as four shows on VH-1 to sell concert tickets this year
(WALL STREET JOURNAL, 4/14).... Coors is testing a new beer that
is both low in calories and alcohol content. The company will
begin test marketing the product in San Diego, Pittsburgh and
Baltimore. The new offering is similar to Anheuser Light, a 75-
calorie brand that Anheuser-Busch began testing two weeks ago in
several markets (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 4/14).
The NHL unveiled the "Mike the Minuteman" logo for the 46thNHL All-Star Game in Boston, scheduled for January 20, 1996. Thelogo is a colonial Minuteman on skates taking a slapshot. In thebackdrop is a star, with "Boston 1996" written along theencompassing circle. David Haney, NHL Dir of Creative Services:"The 'Mike the Minuteman' logo illustrates both the heritage andfuture of the city of Boston. It is presented in thecontemporary style to reflect the new FleetCenter, while blendingin elements of the Bruins' insignia" (NHL THIS WEEK, 4/16 issue).
The NBA's expansion Raptors unveiled their secondary logo
yesterday. The new logo, called "biting Raptors," features a
baby Raptor wrapped around a basketball. The Raptor figure is
depicted in the team's official Raptor Red color with black and
purple trim. Official NBA licensees will begin shipping products
bearing the new mark in early April. David Strickland, Raptors
Dir of Consumer Products: "It will be a great compliment to our
team logo and a more collegiate look compared to the TR secondary
logo released just two months ago." This new secondary logo is
expected to appear on the team warm-up suits that are worn during
the pre-game shoot-arounds and while on the bench. The Raptors
have ranked seventh out of the 29 NBA teams in merchandise sales
the last two quarters (Raptors).
MINI-SERIES: Northern Sky Entertainment, a Toronto-based TV
sports production company, has been contracted by the team to
produce two specials about the Raptors. "Fresh Paint," a 60-
minute pre-NBA draft special, will be broadcast on Toronto's
CityTV and CKVR on Monday, June 26, two nights before the NBA
Draft. The second special will be a 90-minute feature about what
it took to get the team on the court. That special is scheduled
to air in early November on the night before the Raptors' first