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Volume 24 No. 117

Sponsorships Advertising Marketing

          With the NFL "struggling to net an increase in a soft-
     drink category that has been its cash cow, NFL owners ...
     may finally be ready to address the question of whether" the
     league "should fundamentally change the way it sells
     corporate sponsorships," according to Terry Lefton of
     BRANDWEEK.  Recent "industry buzz" has incumbent Coca-Cola
     offering $18M and Pepsi $14-15M, "but with little
     enthusiasm," for the category.  And while NFLP Senior Dir of
     Corporate Sponsorships Steve Phelps said that fast-food
     negotiations have been "put aside" pending a soda deal,
     "insiders say Taco Bell balked" at the $10M price tag the
     league was "hoping to get from incumbent McDonald's." 
     Without being specific, Phelps said that those numbers have
     changed and added, "we will land a soft-drink deal within a
     month, and we will get an increase if we grant certain
     rights."  Strike Ten VP/Marketing John Sohigian on the NFL's
     negotiations: "Rights fees are going down as far as pure
     cash, so to get an increase, the value has to go up
     significantly."  MLS Exec VP Randy Bernstein: "Sponsors
     don't care so much about logo exposure, it is their caseload
     and are you moving that?" (Terry Lefton, BRANDWEEK, 3/23).
          HOW MUCH IS TOO MUCH? Lefton adds that the "larger
     issue" is whether the NFL should expect rights fee increases
     "when sponsors may see as much as a 30% increase in the cost
     of advertising on NFL games."  Sprint VP/Advertising &
     Sponsorships Tim Kelly, on the $24M annual rights the
     company pays: "I'm pretty confident in telling you we won't
     be able to buy much more."  The NFL has 17 categories up for
     renewal, and Phelps said, "We are going to have a record
     year as far as renewal percentage as well as renewal dollars
     and activation."  Lefton adds that the value of the TV and
     Sprint deals "may have also convinced ownership that there
     is similar revenue potential in corporate sponsorship." 
     IMG's Gary Jacobus, a former NFLP Sales Exec, said, "Some
     owners think they should be getting that (amount) in every
     big category.  It just can't be done" (BRANDWEEK, 3/23). 

          SPONSOR SEARCH: The Detroit Free Press Int'l Marathon
     Presented by M-CARE is searching for a title sponsor.  The
     October 16-18 event is managed and operated by IMG (IMG).
          NOTES: In AZ, D'Backs Manager Buck Showalter is
     starring in TV ads for Bank One.  A future ad will include
     one that is tied to Bank One Ballpark's 8,000 tons of air
     conditioning.  It will feature Showalter and D'Backs
     pitching coach Mark Connor wearing parkas (ARIZONA REPUBLIC,
     3/25)....NY-based ANC Sports Enterprises has signed multi-
     year agreements with the Braves, Dodgers, Devil Rays and
     Padres to serve as the exclusive supplier of rotating
     signage at their ballparks.  ANC Sports now serves six MLB
     teams, and will work with the Dodgers in selling inventory
     for the signage (ANC Sports)....The MLBPA has licensed WA-
     based Pacific Trading Cards to create and distribute MLB
     player trading cards.  The first product released under the
     new license will ship to retailers in May (MLBPA)....MA-
     based Woolf Associates has been retained by Boston College
     QB Matt Hasselbeck for representation (Woolf Associates).
          SOUTHERN MEN: The Southern League of Professional
     Baseball Clubs announced a new marketing partnership with
     FL-based AirTran Airlines that includes several advertising
     components, an AirTran home run/triple promo and presenting
     sponsorships.  In addition, Southern Ford Dealers have been
     named title sponsor for the '98 Southern League All-Star
     Game June 22 in Mobile, AL (Southern League).  

          Fishing is a $108B-a-year industry "that marketers are
     turning into one of the hottest marketplaces" in the U.S.,
     according to USA TODAY's J. Taylor Buckley in a "Money"
     section cover story.  Mass marketers from GM to General
     Mills are now "solidly hooked," and companies from Northwest
     Airlines to Land O' Lakes "are writing checks of $250,000
     and more just to be identified" as fishing event sponsors. 
     The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimates that 35.2
     million recreational anglers spent $37.8B directly on
     fishing trips and gear in '96.  Making those numbers "light
     up even brighter are the sport's demographics."  Close to 11
     million of the 35.2 anglers are ages 15 and younger, and
     about three quarters of them male, "an especially attractive
     group for marketers."  Buckley calls General Mills' decision
     to put a pro fishing champ on a national Wheaties box "a
     breakthrough" that sends "a powerful message to mass
     marketers."  General Mills joins a list of "nontraditional"
     sponsors that includes Coca-Cola, Fuji film and Citgo. 
     Citgo even "shelved its usual regional promotion" tied to a
     PGA Tour event in Hartford, CT, this year in favor of one
     built around the Wal-Mart FLW bass tournament slated for
     June.  Teamed with other tournament sponsors, Citgo will be
     giving away a truck, soft drinks and merchandise coupons
     redeemable at Wal-Mart (J. Taylor Buckley, USA TODAY, 3/25).