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Volume 24 No. 156

Sponsorships Advertising Marketing

     Nike, Reebok, Puma and Adidas have all "anted up" about
$500,000 a year in their roles as "official supplier" for MLS
franchises that begin play next month.  But each company is
"rapidly learning" that the designation does not prevent
approaching individual players for six-figure endorsement deals,
according to BRANDWEEK.  Reebok has signed a footwear deal with
Clash player Eric Wynalda -- while the Clash have signed with
Nike.  Adidas has signed the Revolution's Alexi Lalas -- a
Reebok-endorsed team.  Nike's pre-existing deal with Marcelo
Balboa will continue even though he plays for the Puma-supplied
Rapids (Steve Gelsi, BRANDWEEK, 3/18).

     In Indianapolis, Robin Miller writes he believes Valvoline
ending its relationship with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway
"because it was tired of being jerked around by the Speedway and
it refused to pay Masters prices for the Nike Tour" (INDIANAPOLIS
STAR-NEWS, 3/20)....Fila stock was up 2 5/8, closing at 23 1/8,
as Goldman Sachs added the company to its recommended list
("NBR," PBS, 3/19)....Phil Mushnick writes on potential marketing
fallout from Dennis Rodman's fifth suspension:  "The thing to
watch now, if you really want to gauge where we're at and where
we're headed, is what the Nikes and Pizza Huts do" (N.Y. POST,
3/20).... Anheuser-Busch will launch three ad campaigns at the
end of the month:  freshness labels on Budweiser, Bud Ice and Bud
Light cans and bottles; a corporate identity campaign with theme,
"It'd be weird without beer"; the centennial of its Michelob
brand (AD AGE, 3/18 issue)....MCI today will unveil a new
corporate logo, replacing their tangerine colored mark with a
"button-down navy blue" MCI with an orange star burst above (USA
TODAY, 3/20)....Blockbuster Entertainment CEO Steven Berrard has
resigned to rejoin Wayne Huizenga as President and COO of Auto
Nation USA (N.Y. TIMES, 3/20).

     An executive close to the Coca-Cola Co. says Chuck Fruit,
the company's VP/Dir of Media and Presence Marketing, has been
approached by MLB to take its to-be-created marketing position,
according to AD AGE.  Fruit has reportedly been "resistant to the
offer," but MLB "remains persistent."  It has been rumored that
Fruit may leave Coca-Cola after the Olympics, but the company
denies the rumors.  Fruit was unavailable for comment (AD AGE,
3/18 issue).

     The recent agreement between the NHL and NHLPA on player-
name royalties may mean "a door is closing for the many team and
licensed shops that specialized in personalized jerseys,"
according to SPORTING GOODS BUSINESS.  Dealers must now choose
from three or four players per team offered by Starter and CCM,
or commit to a dozen per player for a special order.  New
licensee Nike is yet to announce a policy in this area.  The NHL
has stated it will "crack down" on stores doing their own
royalty-free lettering, although the league is working on a
system to give dealers access to small orders for lesser-known
players.  NHL VP of Global Licensing Fred Scalera:  "This is the
first chapter in a book not yet written.  We're not looking to
dissuade someone from doing business, but the name of the player
is something the players have rights to.  Just as we are
adjusting, the retailer will have to adjust."  Scalera noted the
NHL may set up regional distribution centers to handle customized
orders, or they may use a "middle man" to handle some stitching
(Andy Bernstein, SGB, 3/96 issue).

     Sara Lee Corp., a $65M U.S. sponsor and licensee of the '96
Games, is considering keeping its Olympic marketing unit in place
after Atlanta as an "entertainment/sports marketing resource" for
its various divisions, according to AD AGE.  Execs within the
Sara Lee Olympic group are currently "evaluating the
effectiveness" of the unit, which identifies and coordinates
marketing opportunities for their apparel and packaged meat
brands.  Sara Lee wants to remain involved with the Olympics for
the next eight years, and those talks will determine how and if
the unit is extended.  Jeff Bliss, President of Sara Lee's
Olympic Partnership:  "We don't know structurally what it would
look like yet, but the attitude here is to take what we've
learned from the Olympics and invest it into current and future
sports and entertainment marketing programs" (Jeff Jensen, AD
AGE, 3/18 issue).