CT-based sports nutritional supplement provider
AmeriFIT will help sponsor balloonist Kevin Uliassi in his
attempt to circle the globe this winter. Uliassi is
competing against four other teams of balloonists racing to
become the first to circumnavigate the globe non-stop.
Uliassi, who is expected to travel 20,000 miles at altitudes
up to 35,000 feet over 7-14 days, will be using specially
chosen AmeriFIT products, including Newt Power, Newt Ade,
the Target Nutrition Systems Energy and Recovery Complex,
and AmeriFIT's Vitamin E-400 (AmeriFIT).
Counterfeit merchandise within the sports industry is
examined by Roger Thurow of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. The
Coalition to Advance the Protection of Sports Logos (CAPS),
was formed in '92 as a joint effort between Collegiate
Licensing Co. and its schools, the NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL and
apparel maker Starter. In using a network of investigators
across the U.S. who "prowl flea markets, investigate
suspicious shipments at customs ports and scour parking lots
before big games," CAPS raids have seized $70M worth of
counterfeit product and production equipment since the
organization's inception. But counterfeiting "is so
endemic," that CAPS and others are "far behind in the
score," as "about" $1B worth of counterfeit sports products
hit the market each year (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 10/24).
BULL-MARKET: In Chicago, Fred Mitchell writes "perhaps
the NBA should expand its surveillance of non-licensed
merchandise overseas." Former Chicago Tribune columnist
Dorothy Collin, who recently returned from a month in the
Baltics and Russia: "I was gone 30 days and 28 of those days
I saw someone wearing a Bulls cap or jacket. They were not
Americans. And they were not licensed NBA clothing. I was
told by our guide that the kids in Russia like the red bull
on the cap" (Fred Mitchell, CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 10/24).
The first TV spot for Michael Jordan's Jumpman athletic
apparel/footwear brand, titled "CEO Jordan," will break on
ABC's "Monday Night Football," according to the AP. The
spot, from Wieden & Kennedy, shows Jordan "rushing from a
Bulls-Knicks game at halftime, shedding" his No. 23 jersey
to switch to a business suit while he enters a building that
is home to "23 Jordan Incorporated." On the way, Jordan
crosses a drawbridge by using "his famed, spread-legged,
slam-dunk leap -- the trademark" for his new brand. Jordan
is greeted in the building by a work force that questions
him on the merchandise, including Jordan endorser Vin Baker,
before going into his office and inspecting a "mountain of
shoes." He begins to inspect each pair, then slips an
"Inspected by 23" label in the box. He returns to the game
wearing his wingtip shoes and the ad ends with a newspaper
headline: "Jordan scores 43 in wingtips!" (AP, 10/23).
SUPER BOWL: CT-based Millsport will handle Royal
Caribbean Int'l and Celebrity Cruises' Super Bowl XXXII
sponsorship. Millsport will work with other agencies,
including McKinney & Silver Advertising and CKS Promotions,
on the cruise line's title sponsorship of the '98 Super Bowl
halftime show (Millsport)....CA-based Sun Microsystems will
make its Super Bowl debut in January as part of a new,
"nearly" $30M brand campaign. The company has also bought
time during the NBA Playoffs (AD AGE, 10/24).
AHL: The AHL has renewed its marketing deal with CCM
through the '97-98 season. CCM will serve as title sponsor
of the CCM AHL Graduate Of The Month & Scholarship Program.
The AHL has also extended its partnership with Air Nova/Air
Canada as the official airline of the AHL in Canada (AHL).
GENERAL: The NFL QB Club selected Toys R' Us VP John
Sullivan to appear in its first print ad campaign. The ad
is timed to break in the "Super Show" editions of sporting
goods, toy and retail trade publications this February
(NFL)....As part of its F.I.R.S.T. SERVE program, the Corel
WTA Tour will donate $100,000 worth of Corel software to
five schools in each borough of NYC (Corel WTA Tour).
The trade "will soon be reintroduced to a new Puma"
which has been "undergoing a brand rebuilding of sorts over
the past six months under the direction of new management,"
according to Mark Tedeschi of SPORTING GOODS BUSINESS.
Puma's new team, headed by former Diadora President Jim
Gorman, "has expanded Puma's running, basketball and cross-
training segments and will reintroduce the brand to
retailers at a special retailer conference" later this
month. Puma Dir of Sales & Marketing Jay Piccola said that
"by leveraging its soccer heritage, offering strong product
in all areas and focusing on the nuts and bolts of the
business, Puma has the ability to make it back to a
leadership position as one of three true sports brands in
the world." Piccola added that Puma's goal is "to rely on"
its "heritage, or classic styles" less, as "basketball,
running and cross-training increase" (SGB, 10/14 issue).
SEARS STOCKED: SGB's Andy Bernstein reports that Sears
"won't be playing second fiddle" to JCPenney in the licensed
apparel department "anymore." Sears has "stepped up its
promotion and floor space for licensed products
substantially," reporting "strong gains" in MLB and NFL
sales. Sears Senior Licensed Buyer Danny Kim said the chain
is "achieving double-digit increases in pretty much all
league categories," with exceptions being the NBA and NCAA.
But Kim said that Sears witnessed "tremendous" sales of WNBA
merchandise in the eight league markets (SGB, 10/14 issue).
NOTES: Tretorn will "hone its niche as a women's
lifestyle brand," and will "expand into more seasonal and
fashion items." Tretorn CEO Bill Kirkendall said the brand
"will concentrate on active lifestyle footwear for women in
the 18 to 24 age range".....Nike's baseball batting glove
business is "thriving," and has "quickly become the bread
and butter of Nike's equipment division," according to SGB's
Andy Bernstein. Nike "has considered delving" into baseball
fielders' gloves, but development costs could "be
prohibitive at the outset" (SGB, 10/14 issue).
As part of an NFLP initiative, Pro Line licensees will
introduce new sideline headwear during marquee games this
season. This weekend, Starter will debut its new sideline
cap, "The Defender," around Monday night's Packers-Patriots
matchup. During the game, all Patriots players will sport
the new look on the sidelines, except four who have headwear
deals with other Pro Line companies, including QB Drew
Bledsoe (Nike/Sports Specialties); RB Keith Byars (Logo
Athletic); WR Terry Glenn (Nike/Sports Specialties); and RB
Dave Meggett (Reebok). Packers TE Mark Chmura and RB Dorsey
Levens will also wear "The Defender." Also debuting
Starter's new lid this weekend will be Cowboys RB Emmitt
Smith, Dolphins LB Zach Thomas, Steelers RB Jerome Bettis,
Raiders QB Jeff George, Bears LB Bryan Cox and Jaguars WR
Keenan McCardell. Logo Athletic and Nike/Sports Specialties
will also debut new headwear in the upcoming weeks (NFLP).
Dallas-based The Marketing Arm (TMA) has become the
marketing rep for the Knicks' Allan Houston, the Hawks'
Steve Smith and the Raptors' Damon Stoudamire (TMA). TMA GM
Ray Clark told THE DAILY that the marketing strategy for all
three will be primarily focused on regional deals, "with the
hope of expanding to a national focus" (THE DAILY).
THREE AMIGOS: TMA has lined up three deals for Houston,
including a three-year deal with Sprint PCS, NY. Houston is
also close to signing a regional deal in the quick-service
category. Regarding Smith, Clark noted the Hawk guard's
$2.5M donation last year to build a student-athlete academic
center at his alma mater, Michigan State, as part of his
appeal: "Steve, with his character, is exactly the type of
individual that corporate America wants to align with."
Smith is also close to inking two regional deals, in the
soft drink and quick-service categories. Stoudamire, the
'95 NBA Rookie of the Year, recently signed with TMA. He
was represented by his father, who will remain as his
contract agent. Stoudamire currently has deals with Wilson,
Nike, Kellogg's Canada, and Pert Shampoo. By playing in
Toronto, Clark said Stoudamire is an ideal candidate for
U.S. brands looking "to develop a stronger presence in
Canada." Clark: "Clearly, we want to represent players who
have a chance to be on the next Olympic team, and I think
all these guys have a good chance to do that" (THE DAILY).
LONG RANGE: TMA also represents Scottie Pippen and
Clark told THE DAILY that the Bulls' forward has signed a
new, four-year deal to serve as a spokesperson for IL-based
Ameritech Corp. and Ameritech Cellular. The deal is worth
more than $4M in stock and cash. TMA currently represents
18 NBA players in marketing transactions, and Clark said the
company is close to signing three more players, with hopes
of finalizing those deals by the All-Star Game (THE DAILY).