Fila Holding signed Grant Hill to "one of the richest
sports endorsement contracts ever" with a pact for "at
least" $80M over seven years, according to Stefan Fatsis of
the WALL STREET JOURNAL. The deal, expected to be announced
today, "catapults" Hill into "the sneaker-riches realm" of
Nike's Michael Jordan, and gives him "a sweeping role in the
company's operations." While Fila's stock "has plummeted to
around $28 a share ... from $105 a share a year ago," Fatsis
reports that the company "is counting on" Hill to "revive a
brand he helped create" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 9/23).
GRANT'S SHOW: Hill will receive "a base salary and
minimum royalty guarantees on his signature products, plus
royalties on sales of other Fila products, performance
bonuses and stock options," and will "head a committee to
advise Fila about marketing initiatives and other athletes
the company should enlist." The company "renegotiated the
last two years" of Hill's existing Fila deal which paid him
"around" $6M a year. Under the new deal, Hill will be
"asked to boost the company's profile outside the U.S."
Fila Senior VP/Sports Marketing Howe Burch: "We think Grant
is more than a guy who just sells shoes. We think he is a
brand influencer, not just here but around the world."
Hill, on his new advisory role with the company: "It makes
me feel vested in all the decisions I make." Asked what he
would tell NBA players who tried to use an on-court
relationship to ink a Fila deal: "Give me 10 good reasons
why we should take you on" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 9/23).
SPONSORSHIPS: ProServ has secured more than $2M in
sponsorship for the Rose Bowl's new scoreboard. Sponsors
include GTE, Honda, the L.A. Times, Glendale Federal Bank
and McKesson Water (ProServ)....Ericsson will leverage its
title sponsorship of the NFL Panthers' stadium with a new
spot to air September 29, during ABC's 49ers-Panthers
"Monday Night Football" telecast. But since it is not an
official NFL sponsor, Ericsson will not be able to use team
marks or uniforms (AD AGE, 9/22)....The Coyotes' Jeremy
Roenick has "terminated his endorsement deal" with Nike
(HOCKEY NEWS, 9/26)....USA Baseball inked MA-based Franklin
Sports to become the exclusive batting glove and wristband
supplier of the USA Baseball National Teams (USA Baseball).
GENERAL: NJ-based Score Board Inc., was profiled by
Ewart Rouse of the PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER. The collectible
company "expects a big boost" from a contract with Frontier
Comm., which is paying $20M over five years for the rights
to sell phone cards with the likenesses of the 300 or so
athletes who are under contract with Score Board. Similar
deals have also been made with Hallmark Cards, Coca-Cola and
McDonald's (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 9/22)....MA-based Perfect
Curve Inc., a two-year-old company that makes a small,
plastic device that curves the visor of a baseball cap, is
profiled in the BOSTON BUSINESS JOURNAL. Founder Greg Levin
"expects to pass" the $1M in sales mark by the end of the
year, and plans "on doubling and possibly tripling sales
next year" (BOSTON BUSINESS JOURNAL, 9/22 issue)....In U.S.
markets only, Omega will roll out its limited-edition CART
Speedmaster timepieces (ROBB REPORT, 9/97 issue).
Nike announced it has "severed" relationships with
"several" Indonesian-based contractors "to maintain
compliance with its Code of Conduct requirements for wage
levels and working conditions." In a statement released
during its annual shareholders meeting, Nike said it has
suspended production at the factories until they comply with
its Code of Conduct and improvements are made (Nike). The
WALL STREET JOURNAL reports that Nike cut ties with "four
factories in Indonesia where pay is below the government-set
minimum wage." In the last three months, Nike has also
"scrutinized its operations in China, Vietnam and Indonesia
to ensure compliance" with the code (WALL STREET JOURNAL,
9/23). In the CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR, Brad Knickerbocker
writes on reports of working conditions at some Nike-
contracted facilities in China under the header, "Nike
Fights Full-Court Press on Labor Issue" (CSM, 9/23).
Pro Player next week will launch "a regional ad effort
with Foot Locker targeting the urban market," according to
Jeff Jensen of ADVERTISING AGE. The media plan "is
consistent" with Pro Player's "strategy of spending where
popular pro teams play," as the company is "setting itself
apart" by marketing a "more contemporary style." Jensen
adds that Pro Player "eschews low-end pricing and retail
outlets while supporting its retail accounts with exclusives
and multiple styles of key products." Pro Player President
Doug Kelly said that event-oriented products, like the
company's "Can the Tuna" T-shirts during Bill Parcells'
recent return to New England, "account for 15% of sales ...
a figure that's expected to grow" (ADVERTISING AGE, 9/22).
HALFTIME SHOW LOCKOUT: BRANDWEEK's Terry Lefton reports
that agency sources say Pro Player, in tandem with Foot
Locker, was "bidding hard" for the Super Bowl XXXII halftime
show, but "bad blood" from past dealings between Foot Locker
and NBC "killed the deal." Lefton adds that Pro Player "is
expected to go all out" for rights to the Super Bowl XXXIII
halftime show, "pending completion of a new TV deal and
subsequent network assignment" (BRANDWEEK, 9/22).