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Volume 24 No. 156

Olympics

     ACOG announced yesterday Merrill Lynch & Co. will become an
official sponsor of the '96 Games and the '96 U.S. Olympic Team
in the broker/dealer securities, investment advisory services and
investment banking categories.  Past Merrill Lynch Olympic
involvement was as a sponsor of the U.S. Olympic Team during the
'88-92 quadrennium.  Presently, Merrill Lynch Exec VP/Private
Client Group John Streffens is Chair of the USOC's National
Finance Committee (ACOG).  On the timing of the deal -- just
about four months away from the start of the '96 Games -- a
Merrill Lynch spokesperson said, "We still have plenty of time to
enjoy the benefits and capitalize on it" (THE DAILY).

     In bidding for the '98 Games, the city of Nagano promised to
"bear the transportation, meals and lodging expenses of all the
delegations."  Japanese officials now say soaring costs prohibit
them from paying these expenses (N.Y. TIMES, 3/21)....The USOC
has identified the Twin Cities, along with San Antonio and Salt
Lake City, as the first locations of Olympic development centers
intended to "groom" intermediate level athletes (Minneapolis STAR
TRIBUNE, 3/19)....The UT Dept. of Transportation believes a
proposed reconstruction of I-15 in Salt Lake Valley can be
completed for 2002 (SALT LAKE TRIBUNE, 3/21)....Bill Moss,
Managing Dir of Olympic Construction, on safety concerns after
another construction accident this week:  "All the incidents are
unrelated.  There is no real tie to them other than the fact that
they're all facilities being used to host the Olympic Games"
("Today," NBC, 3/21).

     Pontiac execs are "considering" an Olympic soccer tie-in for
an estimated $2M dealer-marketing effort behind the '97 Grand
Prix in five southeastern cities, according to BRANDWEEK.
Separate from GM's corporate sponsorship, this plan would link
Pontiac directly to men's and women's U.S. soccer teams for
promotional programs during the '96 Games.  Pontiac dealers in
Athens, GA, Birmingham, AL, Orlando, FL, Washington, DC, and
Miami, FL, would receive corporate support in the form of sales
incentives, co-op ads and signage near stadiums hosting Olympic
soccer.  Steve Gelsi notes Pontiac could also use the promotion
to reach the "soccer-friendly" Hispanic market (BRANDWEEK, 3/18
issue).