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Volume 25 No. 28
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EWING ATHLETICS FILES SUIT OVER DISTRIBUTION SNAFUS

          Patrick Ewing's Ewing Athletics has filed a $28M suit
     against NY-based Next Sports, Inc., the now-defunct
     distributor of the "Patrick Ewing 33" shoe brand, charging
     it with "scheming to defraud" the sneaker company, according
     to Richard Wilner in the N.Y. POST.  The case could go to
     court next spring.  The Bahamas-based Ewing Athletics Co.
     was "one of the most successful business ventures ever
     undertaken by an active athlete," and industry estimates say
     the venture provided Ewing with annual royalties of almost
     $2M per-year.  But distribution decisions recently forced
     Ewing to close the seven-year-old company.  The "Patrick
     Ewing 33" brand had grown "over the years" into a $40M a-
     year sales operation and Ewing hoped to eventually sign
     other players to sponsorship deals and take more of an
     active management role once he had retired.  But earlier
     this year, the shoe "started showing up in discount stores
     and flea markets" and the "discounting" of the brand slowed
     sales to full-price retailers like Foot Locker and "forced
     Ewing Athletics to close its doors."  Ewing now wears Nike
     shoes, and while the company said it is not paying him,
     market sources indicate Ewing is "receiving some Nike cash
     for his marketing efforts" (N.Y. POST, 12/12).