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Volume 24 No. 156

Sponsorships Advertising Marketing

     Michael Jordan has reportedly inked a deal with Bijan
Fragrances for his own line of cologne, according to Liz Smith in
this morning's N.Y. POST.  The product will be known as "Michael
Jordan" and be launched in the fall (N.Y. POST,
3/14)....Meanwhile, in the Windy City, Hevrdejs & Conklin note in
the TRIB's "Inc." column that Jordan remains the highest-rated
Chicagoan in marketing circles.  In the semi-annual rating by
Marketing Evaluations/TVQ, Jordan is in the top 20 of 1,125
celebrities rated, "a rare position for a sports figure."  Also
among the top 20 are Clint Eastwood and Robin Williams.  Fellow
Chicagoan Oprah Winfrey was rated in the top 75 (CHICAGO TRIBUNE,

     In St. Louis, Jeff Gordon reports that Degree deodorant will
feature UMass Coach John Calipari more prominently in a
commercial featuring several NCAA coaches.  Sheila Rose, an
account exec for DDB Needham, said the team's top ranking made
Calipari more attractive "for obvious reasons" (ST. LOUIS POST-
DISPATCH, 3/14)....Indiana Coach Bob Knight says the NCAA
Tournament is "out of hand."  Knight told the BOSTON GLOBE there
is "too much corporate involvement" (Bob Ryan, BOSTON GLOBE,
3/13)....USA TODAY's Mike Hiestand notes that Mississippi Valley
St., the only NCAA Men's participant without a shoe contract, has
cut a deal with Nike thanks to alum/Nike pitchman Jerry Rice.
MVSU's gear will come out of Nike's football marketing budget
(USA TODAY, 3/14).

     "Entertainment Tonight" reports that in response to
criticism of Shaquille O'Neal's latest Taco Ball ads, starting
Friday the spots will feature only the basketball on fire ("ET,"
3/13)....Budweiser will premiere its "Kick the Can" TV spot next
week that promotes commemorative Olympic cans (USA TODAY,
3/14)....MasterCard has signed on as Official Sponsor of the
World Figure Skating Championships for the next two years.  The
deal includes exclusivity in the "Official Card" category on-site
and during all telecasts; worldwide rights to the official logo
of the event; and exposure through rink boards (MasterCard).

     MLS announced yesterday that Fuji Photo Film USA would be anofficial sponsor.  The multi-year agreement includes filmcategory exclusivity on TV ads, on-field signage andincorporation into youth programs.  Fujifilm will also be theuniform sponsor of the NY/NJ Metrostars (MLS).     IT'S ALL ABOUT INTEGRATION:  Jeff Jensen profiles MLS'marketing and business structure in the current issue ofADVERTISING AGE, calling it "innovative" and "a program thatshould secure the financial stability and promotional support"its predecessors lacked.  Because MLS investors not only ownteams, but an interest in the league, player salaries shouldremain "sensible."  Also, the structure will allow for"integrated marketing programs."  For example, teams will be ableto sign local TV deals, but MLS sponsors will have "rights offirst refusal" on ad deals.  Without TV timeouts, MLS will findways for sponsor exposure through field boards and jersey logos.Official sponsors, such as AT&T and Budweiser (and now Fuji),signed on at $1M each.  PepsiCo's All Sport and Kellogg areofficial corporate partners, at $500,000 apiece (AD AGE, 3/11issue).     OTHER SOCCER SPONSOR NEWS:  BP Petroleum has become aprinciple sponsor of the NPSL Cleveland Crunch.  BP's deal withthe club will include a uniform and color change to BP's logo andcolors.  The team will also incorporate a new slogan -- "Let'sRock" -- in the spirit of Cleveland's new Rock-n-Roll Hall ofFame (Cleveland PLAIN DEALER, 3/13).

     Sprint is offering the NFL a deal worth $100M annually over
the next five years as part of its bid to become the league's
official telecom provider, according to the current ADVERTISING
AGE.  Sprint's offer "looks to be the leading draft choice" for
the league, according to Jensen & Cleland, but AT&T, MCI and GTE
should not be counted out "just yet."  Sprint's deal is said to
include an "unprecedented rights fee" of $29M a year -- a portion
of which would be directed to teams for individual marketing --
plus up to $70M annually in promotions and advertising.  AD AGE
adds Sprint "may have an added 'in'" with the NFL as both the
company and NFL Properties are clients of Clarion Performance
Properties.  AD AGE notes GTE officials have met with the league
to discuss a counteroffer, and that AT&T's offer "has been
getting more serious consideration in recent weeks" due to that
company's investment with NFL partner, DirecTV.  NFL Properties
has been told by team owners that unless it can get more than
$24M for the telcom deal, the category will go back to the clubs
-- a prospect lobbied for by Cowboys owner Jerry Jones
(ADVERTISING AGE, 3/11 issue).