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Volume 24 No. 156
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     After "pulling out of its decade-long" sponsorship with the
NFL, GTE has signed a four-year deal to become the official
telecom sponsor of the NCAA, according to Terry Lefton of
BRANDWEEK.  GTE will aim to get involved in  college football,
possibly by supplying technology, including coaches' headsets, to
visible NCAA programs within its regions.  But the "full-fledged"
promotional support, including a Final Four promo and a likely
phone card program, "won't be visible" until the college
basketball season starts later this year.  GTE replaces Sprint,
which dropped its NCAA sponsorship after paying $72M for a three-
year NFL deal earlier this year.  BRANDWEEK's Lefton notes an
NCAA source familiar with the deal said GTE feels the NCAA deal
"opens more doors to the kinds of things they want to do to
leverage the sponsorship and with something that's probably less
than a tenth the cost of an NFL package and they can throw more
media weight against it than they were able to put behind the
NFL."  Terms of the deal were not revealed, though Lefton's
sources said it includes a "considerable" exchange of in-kind
services.  Lefton's sources also said that while GTE had
conversations with the NHL, the company felt the academic ties
and demographic connections for GTE's prime markets were stronger
with the NCAA.  GTE's sports marketing agency, Stamford, CT-based
Millsport, declined to comment (BRANDWEEK, 9/9 issue).