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Volume 24 No. 116

Sponsorships Advertising Marketing

          Buick Motor Division announced that it will retain
     sponsorship of the Buick Invitational PGA Tour tournament
     through 2002.  Buick assumed title sponsorship of the event,
     played at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, CA, in '92 (Buick).
          HEY, THEY CAN PLAY: The LPGA will launch its first
     agency-created ad campaign, which will begin airing today
     during ESPN's coverage of the Standard Register Ping
     tournament.  TV and print ads, from Dallas-based DDB
     Needham, will use the tag, "Hey, we can play" (WALL STREET
     JOURNAL, 3/19)....In GOLFWEEK, Lynn Henning reports that
     consumer response to Spalding's new System C and System T
     Top-Flite golf balls -- marketed around Callaway and Taylor
     Made metalwoods, respectively -- "has been much heavier than
     Top-Flite had imagined."  Spalding Sports' Kevin Martin said
     its '98 System sales projection "was reached within three
     days of the ball's release, and that orders then doubled
     during the ensuing three weeks" (GOLFWEEK, 3/14 issue). 

          NJ-based Integrated Sports Int'l has been retained by
     General Mills (GMI) to serve as GMI's licensing rep for its
     Wheaties brand on non-food products (ISI)....Phil Rizzuto
     and Jim Lampley will appear in TV ads and infomercials for
     NY-based National Finance Corp. lending division (N.Y. DAILY
     NEWS, 3/19)....The marketing of Canada's Don Cherry is
     examined by Shawna Richer in the Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, who
     writes that Cherry is "the most ubiquitous media figure in
     Canada."  Richer reports that Cherry "spurns many more
     endorsement offers than he accepts" (Toronto GLOBE & MAIL,
     3/19)....ESPN Latin America added Chrysler to its
     advertising roster.  The deal includes sponsorship of ESPN's
     Spanish League Football's '98-99 season, and partnership in
     consumer promos in Brazil and Argentina (ESPN Int'l).

          Sara Lee Corp.'s Champion Products unit "is re-
     entering" the athletic footwear market in a licensing
     arrangement announced yesterday with Woolworth Corp.,
     according to George Lazarus of the CHICAGO TRIBUNE.  Under
     the alliance, Woolworth will design, manufacture and retail
     running, basketball, tennis, cross-training and football
     shoes under the Champion brand name.  The line will be
     available at retail in July or August.  The deal's "big
     attraction" is that the Champion footwear line will be sold
     "exclusively through Woolworth's Foot Locker and Champs
     Sports retail chains, which number 2,000 and 650,
     respectively."  Asked if there might be a celebrity
     endorsing the new line, Champion President Michael Flatow
     said there's nothing "immediate": "There's only one
     celebrity who matters in footwear (Michael Jordan) and he's
     already taken" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 3/19).  For more on the
     footwear category, see (#17) and (#18).

          Julius Erving and Joe Washington, founder of
     Washington-Erving Motorsports, are "finding life at the
     racetrack a little more difficult than anticipated,"
     according to Erik Arneson of USA TODAY.  While their Grand
     National team is "up and running," the formation of a NASCAR
     Winston Cup team "has been indefinitely stalled."
     Washington-Erving has yet to secure a sponsor and its
     driver, Rich Bickle, has been "vocal" in his disillusionment
     with the organization.  Bickle: "They said they had $6
     million and were ready to go racing.  Truth was, they didn't
     have anything."  Washington-Erving President Kathy Thompson:
     "We still have companies interested; I think maybe we can
     set something up for about five races to get things rolling
     this season.  We still hope to be ready for a full schedule
     in 1999."  Arneson reported that Washington-Erving's Grand
     National sponsor, Dr Pepper, "says it is happy with its
     relationship with Washington-Erving" (USA TODAY, 3/18).
          NOTES: In Atlanta, Tom McCollister reports that Darrell
     Waltrip will sell his race team after Sunday's race at
     Darlington Motor Speedway.  Waltrip: "I've spent $1 million
     out of my own pocket so far this season, and I can't keep
     doing that" (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 3/19)....Ralph Sanchez
     sold his remaining 10% stake in the Miami-Dade Homestead
     Motorsports Complex to MI-based Penske Motorsports and FL-
     based Int'l Speedway Corp.  The two companies bought 80% of
     the track last year (SPEEDNET, 3/18)....In Hartford, Lori
     Riley profiles World Sports Enterprises President Patti
     Wheeler, whose company handles TV production of racing
     events.  Many women are now getting involved in motorsports,
     "mostly behind the scenes in marketing and promotions,
     television and within NASCAR" (HARTFORD COURANT, 3/19).