Carquest Auto Parts signed a three-year deal to become
the title sponsor of the NASCAR Busch Grand Nat'l at the
Gateway International Raceway in IL, according to Ken
Roberts of the ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH. The Carquest Auto
Parts 250 will be televised nationally by CBS on October 17.
Gateway Int'l Raceway President/GM Rod Wolter announced that
5,000 seats will be added to the backstretch of the 1.25-
mile oval, increasing attendance from last year's sellout
crowd of 52,000 (Ken Roberts, POST-DISPATCH, 1/10).
PLAYERS INK: Despite the loss yesterday, Steelers QB
Kordell Stewart "is the NFL's hottest property," as
Stewart's jerseys are "the top-selling piece of player
merchandise" in the NFL this season. NFL Manager of
Corporate Communications Brian McCarthy: "Kordell is number
one nationally" (PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 1/9)....Brett
Favre has designed a range of neckwear for Stonehenge Ltd.
to benefit the cancer-fighting V Foundation, named for the
late Jimmy Valvano. Favre joins Jerry Rice, Troy Aikman and
Joe Theismann in the fund-raising effort (N.Y. POST, 1/11).
NOTES: Coca-Cola "has quietly" asked Wieden & Kennedy
to create advertising for Diet Coke. W&K is creating
Olympic-themed spots for Coke (USA TODAY, 1/12)....FleetBank
Dir of Corporate Communications Jim Mahoney, asked if Mo
Vaughn's DUI charges on Friday morning "could negatively
affect Vaughn's role" as a company spokesperson: "I think
I'd just as soon as pass on that one" (BOSTON GLOBE, 1/10).
The PGA Tour unveiled its new advertising and brand
awareness campaign at its Mercedes Championships season
opener. The Tour worked with TX-based agency GSD&M to
design the campaign called, "These Guys Are Good," which
will include TV and print ads, plus materials for use by
tournament directors. PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem:
"We want to capitalize on the growing enthusiasm for golf by
exposing significant numbers of current and new fans to the
tremendous competitive drama of our sport." The campaign
will promote the PGA Tour, Senior PGA Tour and Nike Tour in
a series of 30-second spots. One spot for the Senior Tour,
called "Football," stars Dan Marino; "Silent Fans,"
promoting the PGA Tour, features Justin Leonard; a Nike Tour
spot, "Graduation," spotlights former Nike Tour players
David Duval, Tom Lehman and Stewart Cink. Two other spots,
"Monday" and "Money List," aim to build awareness of the
Tour's charity support (PGA Tour). "Silent Fans" ran during
ABC's Sunday telecast of the Mercedes Championships. In it,
Leonard strikes a putt, with a full gallery watching.
Background sound includes a heartbeat, with text that reads,
"The only thing more intense than 40,000 screaming fans is
40,000 silent ones." After the putt drops, the crowd
cheers, and the spots fades to the PGA Tour logo with the
"These Guys Are Good" slogan. The spot also ran during the
AFC Championship Game post-game show on NBC (THE DAILY).
BANK SHOT: The PGA Tour also officially announced that
Bank of America will become the Presenting Sponsor of the
PGA Tour's eight-event "West Coast Swing" and be the
official bank of the PGA and Senior PGA Tour through 2002.
Finchem said the addition of a presenting sponsor for the
'98 West Coast events was a "top priority." As part of the
deal, Bank of America will supplement the purse of each West
Coast event by a total of $300,000. The leading money-
winner in the eight West Coast events will be named "King of
the Swing" and earn an additional $100,000 bonus. Bank of
America will also provide $100,000 annually for the
development of youth-oriented golf facilities and programs
and will be featured in the PGA Tour's network and cable
telecasts (PGA). In Dallas, Brad Townsend reported that the
Tour "hopes the extra money will be an enticement to many
Tour pros who, historically, play light schedules early in
the year" and skip the events (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 1/10).
CO-based Sport-Haley signed golfer Fuzzy Zoeller to a
one-year contract to endorse its clothes, according to the
DETROIT NEWS. It marks Zoeller's first sponsorship "since
he was dropped" by Kmart last year after remarks he made
about Tiger Woods at The Masters. Analysts say the deal "is
a positive step" for Sport-Haley. John G. Kinnard & Co.
analyst Tom Emmel, who has a "strong buy" on Sport-Haley:
"He's a well-recognized name, and that's all that matters."
Sport-Haley CEO Robert Tomlinson said Zoeller "will be the
centerpiece" of the company's advertising: "We definitely
think he's on the rebound." Zoeller joins golfer Neil
Lancaster and the LPGA's Terry-Jo Myers and Donna Andrews as
Sports-Haley endorsers (DETROIT NEWS, 1/10).