GM's Oldsmobile unit has partnered with SportsLine USA
to sponsor "various on-line sporting events," including the
NCAA basketball tournament, IRL races and the Ryder Cup.
The price of the sponsorship is undisclosed....AOL is "in
the lead" to sponsor U2's upcoming world tour for $12M.
...Industry execs tell AD AGE that Fox Sports has awarded
its estimated $20M ad account to Foote, Cone & Belding, San
Francisco (AD AGE ONLINE, 1/13).
True Value Hardware will use Oriole Cal Ripken Jr. as
national spokesperson for its MLB sponsorship, according to
Terry Lefton in BRANDWEEK. Ripken will appear in print ads,
POP displays, and "at least" three Leo Burnett, Chicago, TV
spots, scheduled to debut during the last week in March.
Media buys include ESPN, local MLB broadcasts and NBC's
Thursday night prime-time line-up. A Fox buy "is being
negotiated." True Value plans an opening day promo in 19 of
28 MLB ballparks in which commemorative baseballs will be
handed out with coupons. True Value will also produce a
Sports Illustrated booklet on the history of opening day.
The booklet will be distributed at stores, and bound into
3.5 million editions of SI's MLB preview (BRANDWEEK, 1/13).
SI Senior Writer Jaime Diaz, on endorsement deals in
golf, following last week's signings of Ernie Els with
Taylor Made and Steve Brooks with Callaway: "This is a Tiger
[Woods] related story. The ceiling has been raised because
he's playing for Titleist for $20 million for five-years,
four million a year. That's unprecedented; that had a
ripple effect in the whole industry." ("CNN/SI," 1/11).
....Denver-based Strategic Marketing International will
market "GolfWatch," to debut at the Nissan Open in L.A. on
February 26-March 2 (SMI)....Upper Deck had made plans to
market a Jeffrey Maier trading card. Maier is the 12-year
old fan who caught a disputed homerun during Game 1 of the
Yankees-Orioles ALCS last fall. But Maier's parents have
said no to any plans on a trading card for their son
(Baltimore SUN, 1/11)....USA TODAY's Melanie Wells profiles
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's Coors Light ads, noting that Abdul-
Jabbar is Muslim and doesn't drink alcohol (USA TODAY,
1/13)....The Sports Authority dropped 4 1/8 to 17 1/2 Friday
after an analyst at Alex Brown & Sons cut the firm's fourth
quarter earning estimates (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 1/13).
Former Suns Sam Cassell and Michael Finley were both
figured prominently on Phoenix billboards "touting" the Suns
and the team's pay-per-view games, according to Richard
Ruelas in the ARIZONA REPUBLIC. Now, with their trade to
the Mavericks, new Suns billboards will be up by the end of
the month, starring other players. Cox Communications
VP/Marketing Paul Gregg said that the cable company has
"given up" choosing a "marquee player" for the PPV ads. The
players spots on the six billboards were painted over with
just the Suns' and Cox's logos (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 1/11).
"Several" NBA teams will update their uniforms next
season, according to SPORTING GOODS BUSINESS. Teams include
the Pacers, Knicks, 76ers, Nets, Warriors and Hornets.
...Wall Street "is abuzz" with rumors that The Gap will
carry Converse footwear. A Gap spokesperson told SGB "she
had heard nothing about it"....The "word out of Portland,
OR" is that Fila has "been drawing heavily" on Nike talent
to staff its newly opened design and product development
center in that city. Fila is also "searching" for a new
"high profile endorser" for a line of signature shoes next
summer....Chicago-based basketball apparel maker Ball'N is
introducing a full-line of basketball and cross training
shoes at the fall '97 Super Show in Atlanta to retail for
$65-75. Former Lakers G Norm Nixon owns "a stake" in the
company, along with 90% co-Owners Rodney Jeter and Mark
Nixon. Jeter said the company expects to sign five NBA
players by the start of next season and he said one player
is already signed, but there won't be an announcement until
his current footwear contract expires (SGB, 1/6 issue).
Ads airing during Super Bowl XXXI will "be sprinkled
with more celebrities (both dead and alive) than an Academy
Awards broadcast," according to Dottie Enrico in USA TODAY.
USA TODAY begins to preview Super Bowl spots, and today
looks at a 60-second Nike ad called "Lil' Penny's Super Bowl
Party." In the ad: Tiger Woods; Ken Griffey Jr.; "Jerry
Maguire" star Jonathan Lipnicki; Jackie Joyner-Kersee and
Michael Johnson; model Tyra Banks and Gabrielle Reece.
"Space Jam" director Joe Pytka directs the Wieden & Kennedy
spot. Cindy Crawford will appear in Super Bowl ads for
PepsiCo and Cadillac, while Shaquille O'Neal will star in a
BBDO PepsiCo spot. About half of the game's viewers,
depending on where they live, will see two ads for Coca-
Cola's new drink "Surge," while the other half will see
Diet Coke promo spots (USA TODAY, 1/13).
SHRED THE CHEESE? In Boston, Chris Reidy writes that
Pro Player President Doug Kelly estimates a Super Bowl
victory by the Patriots would mean an additional $5M in
retail sales, while a Packers win could mean $6-8M (BOSTON
GLOBE, 1/12)....The Packers will wear their green jerseys in
the Super Bowl (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 1/13)....Luther Vandross
will sing the national anthem (USA TODAY, 1/13).
Dennis Rodman is "unofficially" wearing Converse
sneakers instead of Nike, according to Terry Armour of the
CHICAGO TRIBUNE. Rodman debuted his Converse shoes Friday
(CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 1/12). USA TODAY notes Rodman said Friday
he would start wearing Converse (USA TODAY, 1/13). Nike
Senior Public Relations Manager Jim Small told THE DAILY
that Nike "has an offer out to Dennis, and as far as we
know, we're still in the negotiation process" (THE DAILY).