AMF Bowling has announced plans to build "an elaborate
bowling center" in Chicago, according to Fred Mitchell of
the CHICAGO TRIBUNE. AMF President Doug Stanard "hinted the
yet-unnamed new facility will be called the Michael Jordan
Lanes." Jordan became an AMF spokesperson in October after
AMF acquired Michael Jordan Golf (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 1/28).
PIN NEWS: Strike Ten named Budweiser and Bud Light the
Official Beers of Bowling. The multi-year deal includes a
new consumer promo, "Budweiser/Bud Light Bowling Night,"
which will offer POS materials and various promo concepts
through '98. Strike Ten also signed with Party Express, a
division of Hallmark, to enhance the in-center birthday
party experience. Party Express will offer six themed
packages, sold by bowling center proprietors, including
invitations, cups, plates, napkins and hats (Strike Ten).
The OR Arena Corp. and the Blazers announced a five-
year sponsorship deal with Coors, through the unveiling of
the new "Coors Rocks Portland" media totem located on the
main concourse of the Rose Garden. In addition to the media
totem advertising, plans call for the "Coors Rocks Portland"
message to be featured in print, radio and outdoor ads.
Coors joins Coca-Cola, Panasonic and Visa as totem sponsors.
Terms were not disclosed (Blazers). Coca-Cola and Panasonic
paid a reported $395,000 per-year for ad rights, while Visa
USA is believed to pay somewhat less up-front (THE DAILY).
The marketing of Jeff Gordon is examined by USA TODAY's
Liz Clarke. Bob Brannan, JG Motorsports VP and Gordon's
personal business manager: "Our goal is to hook Jeff up with
the right companies to help him transcend our sport. And in
doing so, bring the sport to a new audience that might not
currently follow our sport." New ventures for Gordon
include a shoe deal -- Brannan says Nike "is among the
suitors" -- and an appearance on the CBS sitcom "Everybody
Loves Raymond." Gordon is also seeking deals in the apparel
and telecom category, as well as a financial provider.
Clarke reports that signing Gordon as a spokesperson is a
seven-figure proposition, or more, "depending what rights go
with the deal." Action Performance CEO Fred Wagenhals said
"women are probably buying 50% of" Gordon's product. Gordon
is also the first NASCAR driver to be represented by the
William Morris agency. William Morris' Raul Mateo: "Every
day the worlds of sport and entertainment are becoming
closer. They're becoming one" (USA TODAY, 1/29).
FIRST CALL: TX-based Firstplus Financial has signed a
pact with ESPN for '98 Winston Cup Racing which includes a
multi-million dollar ad buy for 17 Winston Cup events.
Firstplus will sponsor in-car camera positions on ESPN's
Winston coverage and its ads will also be seen on ESPN/ESPN2
coverage of other sporting events (Firstplus Financial).
IL-based Intersport has been named the official
sponsorship sales and TV production arm of the Arena
Football League and will work to secure national sponsorship
and advertising opportunities as well as create and produce
specialized programming. The AFL is set to announce a 21-
game TV schedule on ESPN/ESPN2 with the league's title game,
Arena Bowl XII, shown live on ABC on August 23 (Intersport).
The LPGA signed a three-year deal with Mercury for
title sponsorship of the Mercury Titleholders Championship,
April 30-May 3 in Daytona Beach, FL. CBS will televise the
competition live on May 2-3 (LPGA). In Orlando, Jeff
Babineua reports that in addition to Mercury, FL-based
Budget Rent A Car signed as a secondary sponsor, "providing
the tournament an important presence from the Daytona Beach
community." The event lacked a title sponsor since Sprint,
which paid an "estimated" $4M for title rights in '97, opted
not to renew its deal, ending its eight-year involvement
with the event. LPGA Commissioner Jim Ritts said he was
"not going to make a short-term decision" to find a title
sponsor, adding, "If I had to sit out 1998, I would have
done that." Ritts said that there was "ample interest in
the event," but the timing was such that several potential
sponsors already planned their '98 budgets and could sign on
no sooner than '99 (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 1/29).
BILLY JACKED: Southern Company, a GA-based energy
company, has signed an endorsement deal with PGA Tour golfer
Billy Andrade. Andrade will display a Southern Company logo
on his cap and shirt sleeve during all PGA Tour events and
related appearances, and will make several personal
appearances on behalf of the company (Southern Company).
The L.A. TIMES' Business section runs a special on last
weekend's Super Bowl ads today, which includes interviews
with creative directors, marketing experts, and the general
public on their opinions of the ads (L.A. TIMES, 1/29)....NV
sports books took in a record $77.2M in Super Bowl bets "but
barely managed to make money." The 133 legal books won
$472,033, 0.6% of the total wagered (USA TODAY, 1/29).
...Jelena Dokic, a 14-year-old Australian tennis player, was
featured in the MELBOURNE AGE. Dokic already has
sponsorship deals with Nike and Prince, while IMG and
Advantage Int'l are negotiating with her father, Damire,
about her future management (AGE, 1/29)....UNC-Charlotte
men's basketball coach Melvin Watkins signed a multi-year
contract with NC-based Hawk Sports Management (Hawk).
McDonald's will "let its relationship with the NFL
lapse" following the Pro Bowl and end its affiliation as an
official league sponsor, according to the WALL STREET
JOURNAL. McDonald's Dir of World-Wide Sports Alliances
Jackie Woodward said the company is taking "a more global
perspective" and cited its "strategic alliances" with the
World Cup, Olympics and the NBA. Woodward said the NFL is
"very specific to the U.S.." She added that cost was not a
factor in the decision. An NFLP spokesperson said the two
sides "mutually decided some time ago" to part ways. No
replacement sponsor was named (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 1/29).
DOMINO EFFECT? Domino's Pizza "is in talks" with CBS to
sponsor the net's NFL halftime show beginning next season.
Domino's is the exclusive pizza chain sponsor of CBS'
broadcasts of next month's Winter Olympics (AD AGE, 1/28).
Super Bowl MVP Terrell Davis has attracted "interest
from at least two drug companies that want him to be a
spokesman for their migraine medications," according to an
AP reports in the CHARLOTTE OBSERVER. Davis' agent Neil
Schwartz wouldn't say whether any companies called him, but
Novartis Pharmaceuticals and Bristol-Meyers Squibb "said
they're interested" (AP/CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 1/29). ISI Exec
VP Steve Rosner, on Davis' endorsement potential: "The
challenge of Davis' representatives is to get his name out
there more and not let it dry up at this point. He can go
regional and he can go national. ... This is his opportunity
to break out. It may not be immediate. It might take six
months. It might take a year" (AP/DETROIT NEWS, 1/29).