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Volume 24 No. 157

Sponsorships Advertising Marketing

          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).