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Volume 24 No. 158

Sponsorships Advertising Marketing

     Converse Inc. announced yesterday they will cease operations
of its Apex One, Inc. subsidiary effective immediately.  In
connection with the announcement, SR VP of Converse and co-
founder of Apex, Michael Lewis has resigned.  The announcement
comes less than three months after Converse acquired the sports
apparel company (Converse).  The news "came at the end of a bad
day" for the sneaker manufacturer, according to Tom Nutile of the
BOSTON HERALD.  Earlier, second-quarter earnings estimates were
lowered, and Dean Witter analyst Scott Emerman downgraded the
company's stock to "neutral" from "buy."  Converse stock dropped
$1 to close at $7, only .25 cents above its all-time low, before
they "halted trading in the afternoon to announced closure of
Apex."  Company President Gil Ford said fall orders for Apex
"haven't been as strong as expected" and that they will focus
their "resources on the operations of Converse, including our own
apparel program."  Converse expects a loss of close to $6M from
footwear operations for the quarter.  Nutile writes Converse's
contract with the NFL to be the official footwear for the league
is "still up in the air."  The deal had been with Apex, but was
renegotiated and transferred to Converse.  Spokesperson Jennifer
Murray: "It's a little premature.  We're still having
discussions" (BOSTON HERALD, 8/10).

     Starwave Corp. and Gatorade Thirst Quencher announced a
World Wide Web sponsorship package for the next year.  Gatorade
become's a major sponsor of ESPNET SportsZone and Outside Online,
two of Starwave's Web sites.  Financial details were not
disclosed.  ESPNET SportsZone and Outside Online will provide
Gatorade with rotating ad banners throughout the services while
giving users connections or "links" to the Gatorade home page.
The Gatorade Cooler Site is at http://www.gatorade.com
(Gatorade).

     The Mariners will be hosting "Buhner Buzz II" night on
August 23.  All fans who are bald will get into the game for
free, and those with hair will have the unique opportunity to get
their head shaved for a free pass to the game.  This is the
second year the team has centered a promotion around outfielder
Jay Buhner,  Last year's promo was done pattered after Buhner's
marine style hair-do (Mariners).

     Miller Brewing Co. is "quietly conducting a review" of its
Genuine Draft and Genuine Draft Light account.  The four agencies
vying for the account, which has estimated billings at $70M,
included Cordiant's Bates USA, D'Arcy Masius, Benton & Bowles,
Young and Rubicam, and WPP Group's Ogilvy and Mather (WALL STREET
JOURNAL, 8/10)....Izzy, the mascot of the '96 Games, debuts its
own TV show on TNT Saturday.  Federal regulations "prohibit Izzy
ads during the show" (Michael Hiestand, USA TODAY, 8/10).....Penn
State yesterday finalized their deal with Nike to provide shoes,
uniforms, and apparel to 26 of their 29 teams.  The deal began
last fall and will run for two more years and is worth a reported
$2.6M to Penn State (USA TODAY, 8/10).

     Cal Ripken Jr's "predicted publicity bonanza" as he closes
in on Lou Gehrig's consecutive game streak is examined by Michael
Hiestand of USA TODAY.  The Tufton Group, the MD-based firm who
handles Ripken's marketing, say there are "already about 30
Ripken licensees," but that they hope to "close breakthrough
national deals with a car maker, cereal and apparel maker" The
Curtis Management Group, a division of the Indianapolis-based CMG
Worldwide who represent Gehrig, is offering increased licensing
and marketing opportunities during Ripken's run at the streak.
Hiestand reports Curtis Management has "recently signed about a
dozen Gehrig licensees" (USA TODAY, 8/10).

     Fotoball USA Inc., the manufacturer of sport ball products
with imprinted images of athletes and logos, reported a net loss
of $134,653 or $.05 cents a share for the second quarter ended
June 30, down from a net income of $650,343 from the year before.
Sales over the three month period were down over $3M. The company
said lack of a settlement in MLB's labor dispute and the
"diminished fan support" has decreased demand for the company's
product.  Fotoball USA President Michael Favish said the company
is "aggressively pursuing potential NFL and NCAA football
promotions" to increase sales (Fotoball).