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Volume 24 No. 156

Sponsorships Advertising Marketing

     Sporting goods manufacturer Dunlop Slazenger is being sold
to a management buy-out team by owner BTR for more than $462M,
according to this morning's FINANCIAL TIMES.  David Wighton
reports the deal had been expected for some time, as the company
"sat oddly with BTR's policy of focusing on core manufacturing
businesses."  Dunlop Slazenger, still recovering from the
recession and "the downturn in the German tennis market," has
been criticized for failing to "exploit the strength of its brand
name."  Dunlop Slazenger, the self-proclaimed No. 1 tennis ball
maker, owns Maxfli and has Puma's UK distribution rights
(FINANCIAL TIMES, 12/20).

     Three of the five starters on Fresno State's basketball team
are not wearing Adidas -- the brand coach Jerry Tarkanian is paid
$100,000 annually to have his team wear. According to Adrian
Wojnarowski of MCCLATCHY NEWS, the players, who wore Nike and
Converse shoes during an ESPN telecast Saturday, complain the
Adidas models sent hurt their feet.  Adidas officials declined
comment, but have told Tarkanian they are not paying him to have
his team show off the Nike brand.  Fresno State center Rahsaan
Smith, to Tarkanian:  "Hey coach, the shoes are no good."
Tarkanian: "Yeah, but the money is good" (MCCLATCHY NEWS, 12/20).

     Six Phoenix-area manufacturers will add southwestern themes
to Super Bowl apparel and novelties -- including Bola Bola of
Scottsdale, which will produce Super Bowl XXX bolo ties
(NFL)....Indians closer Jose Mesa has secured regional deals with
Wheaties, Continental Airlines, Starter, Rawlings and Shirt
Explosion (ProServ)....The L.A. Sports Council is bidding to host
the '99 World Gymnastic Championships.  The bid was submitted
jointly by the Council, Arrowhead Pond at Anaheim and the Orange
County Visitor and Convention bureau (L.A. Sports
Council)....Alan Bratton, a member of Oklahoma State's '95 NCAA
Championship golf team, has signed with IMG (GOLFWEEK, 12/16
issue)....Former prizefighter Jake LaMotta and son his Joe have
introduced LaMotta's Tomatta Sauce in a few New York stores and
by mail order (USA TODAY, 12/20).

     The Nike "juggernaut has powered its way to another strong
quarter," writes Jeff Manning in the Portland OREGONIAN, as the
company "enjoyed strong sales nearly across the board."  Nike
earned $118.2M in the quarter ended November 30, as revenue also
rose an "impressive" 37%. Earnings were up 38%, with apparel
showing "particular strength."  Apparel earnings grew 100%
domestically to $374M, up from $230M in the same period last
year.  Nike Chair & CEO Phil Knight "casually predicted" they
will surpass sports apparel leader Russell Athletic in U.S. sales
"in the next 18 months."  In domestic footwear, Nike reported
sales of basketball shoes up 12%, men's running shoes up 53%,
women's fitness up 28% and outdoor up 27%.
     NOW THE BAD NEWS?  Manning reports "some less rosy news" for
Nike is its outdoor division, which is unlikely to show
substantial growth in '96, as the outdoor sandal market -- a
major part of Nike's outdoor business -- is seen as  "saturated."
Also, Canstar, the Nike-owned skate and hockey equipment maker,
experienced only a 5% growth year-to-year, "well below
expectation," as analysts notes other manufacturers have flooded
the market with in-line skates, pushing prices down (OREGONIAN,
12/19).  Shares rose to a record after the reports, jumping $2 to
$64.  Nike shares are now up more than 70% this year (USA TODAY,
12/20).

     The Raptors have hired "media coach" Andrea Kirby to assist
their players with handling reporters with the hope that the move
will "improve their chances of seizing a spot in Canada's
marketplace," according to this morning's Toronto GLOBE & MAIL.
Kirby's tutelage of the Raptors has been "so far, so good," as
the team has "emerged as young darlings."  Kirby notes for a
player such as rookie Damon Stoudamire, a good relationship with
media can help with endorsement offers -- as those opportunities
"come far more frequently for athletes when company executives
see them on TV, grinning and looking amiable" (GLOBE & MAIL,
12/20).

     Insiders at Leo Burnett Co. tell the CHICAGO TRIBUNE that
the agency is working on two spots for McDonald's to air during
Super Bowl XXX.  George Lazarus reports one spot will involve
"dancing dinosaur bones" in a takeoff on "Jurassic Park."  The
other is reportedly about a "naughty girl" at Christmastime
rewarded in the New Year by being taken to McDonald's" (CHICAGO
TRIBUNE, 12/19).