IN A FLASH, GORDON RUNNING LAPS AROUND MADISON AVENUE
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).