Hakeem Olajuwon's endorsement of low-priced Spalding shoes
is examined by Ron Trujillo in this morning's USA TODAY.
Trujillo notes Hakeem's "Dream" shoe by Spalding, listed at below
$45, hit 12,500 discount retail stores last week. Frank Vuono,
CEO of ISI and Olajuwon's marketing rep, says Olajuwon's recent
deals with Taco Bell, Pepsi and Spalding are helping people
understand what the NBA Finals' MVP is all about. Vuono: "You
won't see Hakeem rapping any time soon or playing a genie in a
movie" (USA TODAY, 10/25).
FORTUNE has named San Francisco as the best city in the U.S.
to do business, displacing New York Among the reasons cited is
3Com's purchase of Candlestick Park naming rights -- "even San
Francisco's famed windswept baseball stadium has acquired a techy
image" (L.A. TIMES, 10/25).... Cleveland-based IMG is in the
process of determining whether or not it will move its world HQs.
IMG's downtown Cleveland office space now has 310 employees,
double from what it had five year ago (CRAIN'S CLEVELAND
BUSINESS, 10/23 issue).... The New England Revolution, Robert
Kraft's Foxboro-based MLS club, has already begun print
advertising for '96 tickets. The tagline, "We're in a whole new
league," is imposed over a background photo of star Alexi Lalas
(BOSTON HERALD, 10/24)....Gillette, sponsor of LPGA Golf Clinics
for Women, presented $100,000 to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer
Foundation at this week's Gillette LPGA Golf Clinic for women in
Dallas (LPGA)....Melville Corp. plans to spin off its toy and
footwear divisions, including its 439 Footaction stores which
produced $332M in revenue last year (WALL STREET JOURNAL,
10/25)....The Devil Rays will sponsor a Fanfest at the
ThunderDome November 5 that will feature former major leaguers
and Q-and-A sessions with team execs. The session will help
educate future ticket-holders about the process of selecting
tickets for the '98 season (TAMPA TRIBUNE, 10/25)....The LPGA
will host the Women in Golf Summit '95 November 13-15 in
Pinehurst, NC (LPGA)....Anna Grego, a 61-year-old grandmother
from Shorham, NY, won a '96 Mercury Sable after kicking a 20-yard
field goal during halftime of last Sunday's Jets-Dolphins game at
the Meadowlands. Grego beat out five other contestants -- all
men -- for the car (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 10/25).
Nike will design New York City Marathon artwork that
"marries its trademark swoosh with the race name," adding to the
"growing competition" between Nike and Reebok for sports
properties, writes Steve Gelsi of BRANDWEEK. Gelsi reports in
return for a share of the sales, Nike will market the Marathon's
logo and line of products. Nike will also provide shoes and
apparel for thousands of organizers and volunteers. Nike's
swoosh will appear on signage throughout the November 12 race
(BRANDWEEK, 10/23 issue).
V Investments, Inc., formerly Vess Beverages, has filed suit
in U.S. District Court against Dr Pepper/Seven Up Corp. for its
alleged inabilities to solve a spoilage problem in its Nautilus
Plus sports drink. Vess claims it lost money after altering
bottling machines, placing ads, negotiating for shelf space and
other work because Nautilus spoiled so quickly on supermarket
shelves, "it became unsellable." The suit, in which Vess is
seeking unspecified damages, claims that Dr Pepper/Seven Up had
assured the bottler that "natural preservatives" would keep the
sports drink from spoiling. Vess had to retrieve all containers
of Nautilus Plus from store shelves (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH,
Reebok and NBA Properties announced their multiyear
licensing and marketing agreement yesterday as expected. In
addition to NBA team licensed apparel that should hit shelves in
the U.S. and Canada in August, Reebok will also continue its ad
buys of NBA coverage on Turner and NBC and be involved in the Jam
Session events at the NBA All Star Games in '96 and '97 (NBA).
Reebok has already premiered a new commercial featuring Sonic
Shawn Kemp in his jersey for the Reebok Kamikaze II (THE DAILY).
Leo Burnett of Chicago will apparently create the Reebok spots
(N.Y. TIMES, 10/25). MORE REACTION: Columnist John McManus
writes in the current BRANDWEEK that Reebok's NBA deal has
"changed the rules in the on-going game against Nike." McManus
believes Reebok's "image building potential" is now "more
credible" with athletes it wants as endorsers, consumers, and
retailers, "who are going to respect Reebok a whole lot more now
that its sales teams get to walk into stores wearing NBA halos."
McManus adds, "Watch how fast Foot Locker, a longtime Reebok
nemesis, comes around once Reebok/NBA apparel hits the
marketplace" (BRANDWEEK, 10/23 issue).
NEW REEBOK DIVISION PRESIDENT SIGNALS STABILITY: Reebok's
hiring of Robert Meers as President and CEO of its brands
division signals the company has "seemingly opted against radical
changes" as it "struggles to keep up" with Nike, writes Chris
Reidy of the BOSTON GLOBE. Reidy reports since last spring,
Reebok Chair Paul Fireman had split the responsibilities of the
brands division with Exec VP Paul Duncan, which corresponded with
their resignation of John Durden and Roberto Muller, who were
division co-presidents. Meers' responsibilities at Brands will
include a role in new designs and helping "improve relations with
Foot Locker," with which "Reebok has struggled." Meanwhile,
Duncan will apparently take many of Meers' current
responsibilities as head of the company's specialties business
group, including the Greg Norman brand, Avia and Rockport. Meers
will continue to report to Fireman (BOSTON GLOBE, 10/24).
The sporting goods industry is adapting to customers, as
sports such as snowboarding, windsurfing, roller hockey and
camping are among the leaders in sales increases, John Simons
reports in U.S. NEWS & WORLD REPORT. Simons notes that the $32B
sporting goods industry "has shown little growth" in the '90s,
and experts say "interest in the old traditional sports is
waning." That's why in-line skating, along with extreme sports
such as rock climbing "have all registered triple-digit growth"
in the '90s. Manufacturers are using unfamiliar tactics to
expand the market, too. Ride, a Seattle snowboard manufacturer,
has signed a deal with Marvel Comics to design a line of
superhero snowboards for children. Activities such as camping
have also seen a jump in sales. The $1.5B outdoor equipment
market has seen sales jump 70% since '89. As for the outlets
where consumers are buying items in the changing market, they've
had to "race to keep up." Simons: "The key to rejuvenation for
the mature sporting goods industry clearly lies with the
sprightly, young companies that are developing hip new products"
(U.S. NEWS & WORLD REPORT, 10/30 issue).