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Volume 24 No. 115

Sponsorships Advertising Marketing

     As former winners Al Unser, Jr. and Emerson Fittipaldi
(members of the Roger Penske racing team) failed to qualify for
this year's Indianapolis 500, many reports focused on the
disappointment of their corporate sponsors.  Their defeat was
"shocking not only to the sports world, but also the business
world that spends more than $5 million a year to sponsor each of
the drivers."  By losing out on the Indy 500, sponsors miss an
event that will draw over 400,000 spectators and watched by 8
million viewers.  Eric Wright, VP of the tradeletter, SPONSORS
REPORT:  "This is their Super Bowl."  Penske's main sponsor is
Marlboro, a unit of Philip Morris, with Mobil, clothier Hugo Boss
and auto glass and paint company, PPG Industries, also on board.
The loss could also "cause headaches" for ABC, with the absence
of two of the most popular drivers causing a possible ratings
decline (James Peltz, L.A. TIMES, 5/23).  Goodyear, which
sponsors Unser, said they will not feature him in any ads planned
for Sunday's broadcast.  Carole Swartz, spokesperson for
Goodyear's Racing Division:  "We usually feature people in the
race."  Swartz said spots with Unser will run at some other time
(Glenn Gamboa, AKRON BEACON JOURNAL, 5/23).  Mike Heistand gives
a "thumbs down" to the Marlboro Man, "likely wishing he'd stuck
to horses" (USA TODAY, 5/23).
     ON FIRE: After a 20-year absence, Firestone Co. will return
to the Indy 500, supplying racing tires to eight cars, according
to Raju Narisetti in this morning's WALL STREET JOURNAL.  A
victory could "help restore Firestone's image" and position the
company to win back marketshare from rival Goodyear.  Japan's
Bridgestone Corp., which owns Firestone, is spending close to
$30M on the project, including national TV ads on ESPN and ABC
"bragging that 'The Legend Returns.'"  But there are risks, since
a loss could make Firestone look more "like an also ran."  In
addition, the effect of an Indy win on consumers is debatable.
Meanwhile, Goodyear is ready for Firestone, having directed "more
marketing resources" to its racing group last fall (WALL STREET
JOURNAL, 5/23).
     TOO MUCH? In Chicago, auto writer Jim Mateja criticizes the
excess sponsorship in racing.  Mateja: "There must be a contract
that states any driver seen without a logo hat on and who doesn't
mention his sponsors ... is banished ... The world's fastest
profession isn't all that far removed from the world's oldest"

     Major League Alumni's '95 marketing lineup will "feature
promotions linking its roster of retired greats with Mennen,
promotions with two divisions of Sara Lee Meals, and a return
engagement with six Nabisco cookie and cracker brands," according
to Terry Lefton in BRANDWEEK.  MLAM is a non-profit organization
of retired major leaguers, which is handled by Pittsburgh-based
Hawthorne Sports Marketing.  Among the summer brands to link
themselves to MLAM:  Mennen's Skinbracer will be packaged with
three trading cards commemorating great moments in baseball
history;  Nabisco will offer a Grand Slam Snacks Sweepstakes with
autographed baseball merchandise; Sara Lee's Mr. Turkey is
running a discount ticket policy with minor league teams in 14
cities.  Mr. Turkey will also do a phone-card promo with cards
"bearing the likeness" of former baseball greats; and Sara Lee's
Jimmy Dean sausage will come packaged with trading cards of
former stars such as Mike Schmidt and Catfish Hunter (BRANDWEEK,
5/22 issue).

     MasterCard will become title sponsor of the PGA Tour's
Colonial Invitation Tournament in Fort Worth for the next three
years, according to Jimmy Burch in this morning's FORT WORTH
STAR-TELEGRAM.  A press conference tommorrow will confirm the
details of the agreement.  The Colonial has been without a title
sponsor since Southwestern Bell failed to renew its agreement in
'94.  Earlier this month, MasterCard had signed a separate, one-
year agreement to be "Presenting Sponsor" of this year's event.
The tentative name for the event will be MasterCard Colonial
National Invitation Tournament (FORT WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 5/23).
     FORD RENEWS SENIOR DEAL:  Ford Motor Company has renewed its
title sponsorship of the Ford Senior Players Championship through
1998.  Ford had one year remaining on its original three-year
deal, which began in '93.  Ford's renewal guarantees purses of
$1.5M, $1.6M and $1.7M in '96, '97, and '98, respectively.  The
'95 event will be held July 13-16 at the TPC of Michigan in
Dearborn, MI (PGA Tour).

     Group W Sports Marketing (GWSM) and Rotational Computerized
Sign Automation (RCSA) have entered into a joint agreement
specializing in event sponsorship and signage sales.  RCSA is the
owner of Action View rotational signage.  In a related move, the
two companies have aligned themselves with Network International,
the advertising sales subsidiary of Spectacor Management Group.
Under the relationship, Network International and GWSM will
combine to offer advertisers signage opportunities, including
RCSA's rotational signage in venues worldwide.  One of the first
events under the agreement will be the ATP's RCA U.S. Hardcourt
Tennis Tournament in Indianapolis (Group W).

     Two sponsorship opportunities:  the Women's Professional
Fastpitch League in Minneapolis is seeking sponsors at various
level for its 16 game exhibition series; and the Amateur All-Star
Baseball League in Chicago is looking for sponsors for their
third season of youth baseball tournaments (AD AGE, 5/22
issue)....ThrustMaster, a Portland company that makes computer
joysticks, will introduce Pro Play Golf, its new golf swing
analyzer, on July 4. The product will cost approximately $800
(Portland OREGONIAN, 5/19)....Coca-Cola announced that IBM would
provide exclusive consulting services to Coca-Cola's commercial
customers looking to reduce labor costs, develop new food
concepts, adjust brand identities, or introduce new menus.  The
agreement runs for two-years (N.Y. TIMES, 5/22). ....Regarding
the NFL's possible ban on players wearing bandanas, ESPN's Bob
Ley quoted 49ers' Eric Davis as saying: "Don't you suspect if
they could put an NFL logo on it and market it, they would be
interested then?" ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 5/23).....Publix Super
Markets in FL, which reported a 1% decline in the 1stQ, blamed
the baseball strike and the disrupted spring training (TAMPA
TRIBUNE, 5/23).

     Ryka Inc.'s first quarter earnings released yesterday show
the "troubled maker of women's footwear is just barely limping
along in the aftermath of a failed merger with L.A. Gear,"
according to this morning's BOSTON HERALD.  The company recorded
a $2.2M loss for the quarter and "received a 39-day termination
notice from its lender, Pro-Specs America Corp."  For the
quarter, Ryka announced a net loss of $2.2M, or $.08 per share,
on sales of $4.1M.  The loss includes $683,460 in merger related
costs.  Ryka President Sherri Poe expressed disappointment over
the results, while sources said the company is conducting "due
diligence reviews of two unnamed investment partners" (Steff
Gelston, BOSTON HERALD, 5/23).