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Volume 24 No. 115

Sponsorships Advertising Marketing

          The "appeal" of Venus Williams is profiled by Brad
     Wolverton in BUSINESS WEEK.  At the U.S. Open, some
     "declared Williams the Tiger Woods of tennis, other players
     on the tour took potshots at her, and her father complained
     about racism in the sport.  In the aftermath of all that
     unpleasantness, the unavoidable question is: Has Venus
     damaged her potential as a star spokesperson?"  Wolverton:
     "Hip youth brands might embrace Venus as a feisty young
     woman taking some of the starch out of the largely white
     world of tennis."  Daisy Sinclair of Ogilvy & Mather: "She's
     definitely sellable."  Other than her five-year, $3M deal
     with Reebok for shoes and apparel, Venus "has no endorsement
     deals."  Wolverton: "She is one of the few pro players
     without a racket contract.  Her agent, Seattle lawyer Keven
     Davis, who also represents Tonya Harding, won't disclose the
     names of corporations interested in Williams.  But he says
     25 companies called the day after Venus lost at the Open. 
     Now, if they'll just call back" (BUSINESS WEEK, 9/29 issue).

          Fila USA "has inked a deal that would allow it to use
     NBA uniforms in TV ads for the first time," while adidas "is
     close to signing a deal that would get its shoes on NFL
     fields and apparel on NFL sidelines," according to Terry
     Lefton of BRANDWEEK.  Industry sources told Lefton that
     adidas will "ink a top level NFL Pro Line pact ... possibly
     as soon as next year."  While sources said that adidas could
     possibly land the Bucs and the Raiders, NFLP VP/Worldwide
     Licensing Jim Connelly, through a league rep, denied the
     report.  In regards to Fila, Lefton reports that sources
     said the company "will not initially receive apparel rights,
     but the rights to use NBA uniforms in ads with its marquee
     endorsers."  Lefton: "Thus, the first TV work from agency
     The Arnell Group, N.Y., for the Grant Hill IV shoes, will
     include" Hill in his Pistons uniform.  Lefton: "Fila is also
     expected to get WNBA rights, which it will leverage into its
     new deal with Nikki McCray" (BRANDWEEK, 9/22 issue). 

          In USA TODAY's "Ad Track," the Nike Tiger Woods spot,
     "I am Lucky," scored "big" among 18-29-year-olds, as 46% of
     respondents liked it "a lot" (USA TODAY, 9/22)....Reebok has
     "commissioned" a 150-by-170-foot mural of ABL Blizzard
     players Kara Wolters and Carla Berube to be featured on a
     building in downtown Hartford (HARTFORD COURANT, 9/20). 

          In a licensing deal "linked to the burgeoning men's and
     children's body-care segment, the 30 NFL teams are about to
     come out with their own lines" of body-care products,
     according to USA TODAY's Bruce Horovitz.  The body-care
     division of CA-based MGI, will begin selling the products at
     JCPenney stores "within weeks."  NFL Manager of Corporate
     Communications Brian McCarthy: "[Fans] like to make the NFL
     part of their lifestyle, even in the bathroom."  The NFL
     "wants its piece of the male toiletry market, whose sales
     exceeded" $3.5B in '96.  The league "is expected to collect
     about a 10% royalty on each product" (USA TODAY, 9/22).

          Dr Pepper Co. announced it will sponsor Washington
     Erving Motorsports' Ford race car on NASCAR's Busch Grand
     national circuit in '98, marking the first time the soft
     drink brand has sponsored a race car.  The maroon Dr Pepper-
     sponsored Ford Taurus will debut in February at Daytona
     Beach during Speedweeks, '98 (Dr Pepper).
          AROUND THE TRACK: The QVC network announced that it
     will not sponsor Geoff Bodine's car next year.  QVC said it
     planned to step up its involvement in NASCAR in other ways,
     but did not reveal its plans (Greensboro NEWS & RECORD,
     9/20)....Brett Bodine unveiled sponsorship from the Royal
     Purple Motor Oil Co. at Dover Downs Int'l Speedway Sunday. 
     Bodine "terminated" his sponsorship agreement with FL-based
     Catalyst Communications, Inc. on Friday after they "failed
     to meet its payment obligations."  The CA-based Royal Purple
     will provide Bodine with "full financial support" for the
     remainder of the '97 season (Indianapolis STAR-NEWS, 9/19).