Group Created with Sketch.
Volume 24 No. 117

Sponsorships Advertising Marketing

          The MLB Giants' Barry Bonds was profiled by Bob
     Nightengale of USA TODAY BASEBALL WEEKLY.  Bonds spoke about
     his career, his relationship with the media and the fact
     that he has no endorsement deals.  Bonds: "Look, white
     America is only going to hand-pick so many black players to
     be a spokesman.  What can you say, I wasn't the chosen one." 
     On his bad-boy image: "I see guys doing stuff and saying
     stuff 10 times worse than me and they get away with
     everything.  Come on, dude, you think if I stayed in a
     separate hotel from the team like Cal Ripken nothing would
     be said?" (USA TODAY BASEBALL WEEKLY, 3/11 issue).
          NIKE SAYS FILA LATER: Bonds "may be the only player in
     all of baseball who doesn't get free shoes."  While not
     under contract, he had been getting shoes from Nike and
     certificates worth $2,000 in apparel.  But after wearing
     Filas in a series last September, Nike ended the free shoes
     and gift certificates.  Bonds: "Nike got so (teed) off. 
     They tell me, 'We don't need Barry Bonds.'  I've got to be
     the only three-time MVP who has got to buy his own shoes." 
     Nike Dir of Baseball Sports Marketing Bill Frishette said,
     "We made an offer to him four or five years ago, before
     [Ken] Griffey was even taken care of. ... [S]ix figures, and
     he turned us down.  His quote to me was: 'I've won more MVPs
     than Charles Barkley, so I should get paid more than
     Barkley.  It's not worth it to me.'  I told him it doesn't
     work that way" (USA TODAY BASEBALL WEEKLY, 3/11 issue).

          Puma's new basketball ad campaign "forgoes pro
     endorsers in favor of the potentially risky strategy of
     using high-school" basketball players, according to Jeff
     Jensen of AD AGE.  The "Back to the Game" campaign, from PA-
     based Gyro Worldwide, will have TV and print support.  The
     young players used in ads "are from Puma's strongest
     markets:" Chicago, Detroit, Houston, Philadelphia, N.Y., and
     L.A.  Jensen writes that some footwear companies have been
     "criticized for targeting and wooing high school" players,
     but Puma Chief Creative Officer Antonio Bertone said that
     the athletes featured in the new ads "aren't being paid, and
     therefore they shouldn't be considered endorsers."  He noted
     that Puma will stop using the athletes in their senior year
     in order to protect their NCAA eligibility.  Puma, whose '98
     ad budget will be 15% of sales, will begin airing the spots
     nationally during the NBA playoffs (AD AGE, 3/9 issue).

          DEALS: Nintendo signed Kobe Bryant to an endorsement
     deal and rebranded its "NBA Courtside" to "Kobe Bryant's NBA
     Courtside" (BRANDWEEK, 3/9 issue)....Taylor Made Golf signed
     an endorsement deal with PGA European Tour player Thomas
     Bjorn, giving the company three of the top six players on
     the '98 money list: Ernie Els, Bjorn and Retief Goosen
     (GOLFWEEK, 3/7 issue)....World Champion Triathlete Michellie
     Jones has signed on to endorse MET-Rx Engineered Nutrition,
     which produces high protein, low fat nutritional drink mix
     and food bars (MET-Rx)....Soccer star Carla Overbeck
     selected Sue Rodin of NY-based Stars & Strategies as her
     exclusive marketing agent.  Overbeck currently has a multi-
     year endorsement deal with Fila Sports, the company's only
     female soccer player (Stars & Strategies).
          NOTES: Hasbro will run TV spots this year touting
     separate Nerf products.  One of the spots will support
     Hasbro's marketing alliance with the NFL (AD AGE, 3/9)....
     MA-based information storage company EMC will be the title
     sponsor of the Senior PGA Tour's Kaanapali Classic through
     2000.  Previously a presenting sponsor, EMC has a three-year
     option to continue its deal through 2003 (PGA Tour).

          Bill Donahue examines ESPN's foray into extreme sports
     in today's N.Y. TIMES.  Donahue writes that extreme sports
     are now "increasingly about money."  Donahue: "Mini-
     industries sprout up around each nascent sport the moment
     it's born, and the manufacturers, tour promoters and
     impresarios of Web sites ... all desperately need ESPN. ...
     ESPN holds the power to make a sport chic."  ESPN
     spokesperson Josh Krulewitz said the network "will continue
     to promote the X Games brand vigorously."  The games'
     soundtrack is now available on a CD, and in April, ESPN's
     roadshow, "Xperience," will begin a 10-city tour.  About the
     same time, ESPN will make its first foray into extreme
     fashion, with JCPenney marketing a line of X Games T-shirts
     and hats.  Krulewitz said the new line is aimed "at a young
     audience ... 12 through 34.  They'll have a hip design, and
     I think they'll sell very well" (N.Y. TIMES, 3/11).

          Ross Rebagliati is expected to announce his first major
     sponsorship deal with Roots Canada this morning, according
     to Justin Kingsley of the CP.  Roots spokesperson Raymond
     Perkins: "We're signing up Ross as a spokesperson -- we'll
     use posters and develop a line of Ross Rebagliati snowboard
     wear."  Rebagliati's rep, IMG's Nathalie Cook, said five to
     six "non-equipment companies" are interested in Rebagliati,
     as are "three goggle and board companies" (CP, 3/11).
          THE GREAT ONE: In Toronto, Steve Buffery reports that
     Wayne Gretzky contacted IMG about representing Rebagliati. 
     Nathalie Cook: "Literally, Wayne went straight to [his agent
     Michael Barnett] and said, 'You've got to talk to this kid.' 
     And that's how we got him."  Cook, on Rebagliati: "Kids
     think he's cool for two reasons -- he told the truth and he
     stuck up for his friends.  And kids can smell somebody who's
     not being honest.  His message to the kids is, 'You know you
     make decisions in life and those decisions have consequences
     and be aware of that'" (TORONTO SUN, 3/11).  

          Champion Products will expand its commitment to the
     fight against breast cancer via its partnership with the
     WNBA.  Champion will again donate a portion of its sales of
     WNBA apparel to the National Alliance of Breast Cancer
     Organization (NABCO) in '98.  In addition, Champion will
     feature the NABCO name and a pink ribbon on all WNBA point-
     of-sale materials and garment hangtags (Champion).