Spalding Sports Worldwide is "boosting its TV ad
spending as part of a brand-building campaign under new
owner Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co.," according to Jeff
Jensen of AD AGE. TV spots from MA-based Winstanley
Associates star Hakeem Olajuwon with the tag, "Spalding:
Official ball of the NBA: What are you playing?" The "boost
in TV spending is part of a renewed sponsorship pact" with
the NBA that runs through 2001. Spalding is also a charter
sponsor of the WNBA. The company plans to spend "more than"
$1M in the next month on TV ads during the NBA playoffs on
NBC and Turner, and sports programming on CNN, ESPN and
RSNs. Print ads are also planned. Spalding also plans to
create TV ads to run during the WNBA's inaugural season on
NBC, ESPN and Lifetime telecasts. Joe Baltronis, Dir of
Marketing for Spalding's sporting goods group: "KKR is very
much into brand building. ... We felt we needed to move into
TV advertising as we begin to emphasize and build the
Spalding brand in basketball" (AD AGE, 4/28).
NBA BLOCKS REEBOK? Reebok wanted to include NBA game
footage in its new ads featuring Shaquille O'Neal riding in
an SUV with MTV's Bill Bellamy. But AD AGE's Bradley
Johnson notes the NBA "didn't like the ads and refused to
lend footage." Reebok had to use imitation jerseys and
films actors for the spot. Neither the NBA nor Reebok had
any comment for the report (AD AGE, 4/28).
DIALING FOR A DEFENSE: Bill Parcells will be a
spokesperson for Sprint's personal communication services.
This "deal plays into the broad promo deal that Sprint has
as the NFL's biggest sponsor" (AD AGE, 4/28).
The U.S. Supreme Court declined to consider a challenge
to a city of Baltimore ordinance that bans billboards
advertising cigarettes or beer. The ruling "is likely to
encourage other cities" to ban public ads for tobacco (L.A.
TIMES, 4/29). In the Baltimore ordinance, the Camden Yards
area was exempt (USA TODAY, 4/29)....Coca-Cola unveiled 16
new TV spots under its "Always Coca-Cola" campaign. Of the
16 spots, 15 come from Hollywood agency, Edge Creative and
one from Leo Burnett (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 4/29)....Shell
"has taken a lead sponsorship position" in the 240-acre
World Golf Village being built in St. Augustine, FL. Shell
will receive signage throughout the complex and a client
hospitality venue when the complex opens next year.
...Champion is "expected to ship" its first round of WNBA
apparel to retail in June. A TV ad with Lady Footlocker is
under development (BRANDWEEK, 4/28)....U.S. soccer player
Julie Foudy traveled to Pakistan to tour factory production
before becoming a Reebok spokesperson. Foudy: "I know
there's still other social issues there to be dealt with,
but as far as what Reebok was doing, I left feeling good
about it" (TAMPA TRIBUNE, 4/26)....Investment manager
Financorp Group International Corp. and an affiliate
acquired 5.33% of common shares outstanding in The Sports
Authority. The NY-based group paid $30.825M for the 1.68
million shares, an average of $18.37 a share (N.Y. POST,
4/29)....Nike shares fell 2 3/4 to $53.37 1/2 yesterday
after a Hambrecht & Quist analyst lowered fiscal '98 U.S.
sales growth estimates to 4-5% from 10% and downgraded Nike
to a hold from a buy (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 4/28).
Pinnacle is packing its trading cards inside vacuum-
packed cans in an effort to reduce retail theft and spur
sales, according to Terry Lefton of BRANDWEEK. A player's
photo is printed directly on the can which sells for $2.99.
The initial shipments will hit stores in June and 5,000
stores that "had stopped selling cards of any brand have
planned orders for the can." Lefton notes that Pinnacle is
"using the opportunity to create a whole new brand: Inside
Baseball." Since each of the 24 different cans features a
different MLB player, Pinnacle "is counting on the cans
themselves to be collectible." Pinnacle CEO Jerry Meyer:
"We're hoping that by having an answer to the theft problem,
which is real, but may be more perception than reality, this
will get us back into some different retail accounts and
promote impulse purchases by casual fans" (BRANDWEEK, 4/28).
THE DEAL: Pinnacle's All-Star FanFest during MLB's All-
Star game in Cleveland is profiled by Ed Meyer in the AKRON
BEACON JOURNAL. Meyer: "More than 150 of the nation's top
baseball card vendors and exhibitors will be on hand, and
anyone who attends will be able to buy, trade or sell cards
and other collector's gems" (AKRON BEACON JOURNAL, 4/29).
Wilson Golf announced it will not continue its
relationship with PGA Tour golfer John Daly. In a statement
released yesterday, Wilson Golf Dir of Marketing Jeff Harmet
said, "Through all of his trials and tribulations, Wilson
has always stood behind John. This was by no means an easy
decision. But after reassessing our relationship, we have
decided to bring our relationship to a close. All of us at
Wilson are pulling for John." Wilson President Jim Baugh:
"John has been a good ambassador for Wilson, but eight
months ago we embarked on a new strategy for Wilson Golf and
this move fits that strategy" (Wilson). The decision to
drop Daly comes one month after he was admitted to the Betty
Ford Center for treatment of alcohol abuse, according to Ron
Sirak of the AP. Daly had signed a $10M endorsement deal
with Wilson after he won the PGA Championship in 1991 which
reportedly earned him between $1-3M a year, "depending on
incentive clauses." Daly first entered an alcohol
rehabilitation program in '93 before checking into the Betty
Ford Center last month. Daly's agent, John Mascatello, was
not available for comment (AP/DETROIT NEWS, 4/29).
Wilson Sporting Goods is hoping its basketball business
gets a boost from Michael Jordan's playoff performance,
according to George Lazarus of the CHICAGO TRIBUNE. Chris
Considine, VP/GM Wilson Team Division, noting Jordan's 55-
point performance on Sunday: "With that performance, our
Jordan basketball business ought to get a big lift." In
Wilson's relationship with Jordan, the basketballs are the
"core business" and Wilson is introducing new models of the
Jordan ball, bringing its total to ten. General Mills ran a
FSI newspaper insert on Sunday in the Chicago market as part
of a Wilson Jordan basketball giveaway. The 20 Jordan
autographed balls will be given away in certificates
enclosed in specially marked Wheaties boxes with Jordan on
the front. Odds of winning are 237,500 to 1. Another
Jordan ball will be available to those mailing in a Wheaties
proof-of-purchase (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 4/29).