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Volume 24 No. 116
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          As MLB opens its season today, its sponsorship and
     licensing revenues are "up double digits, while starting
     from an admittedly small base," according to Terry Lefton of
     BRANDWEEK.  But the "primary sticking point" for MLB's
     "stalled on-field apparel program" is Yankees Owner George
     Steinbrenner.  MLBP President Bob Gamgort: "The biggest
     thing standing between us and a new program is settling the
     Adidas lawsuit and I think we are closer than we have been." 
     Lefton's sources said that a settlement was discussed during
     the recent MLB owners meetings, "with a major impediment"
     being Steinbrenner's desire to be reinstated to MLB's Exec
     Council.  He was removed from the committee last year after
     his adidas deal.  Lefton adds that new on-field brands "are
     expected to include" Pro Player and adidas.  New Era, MLB's
     exclusive cap provider, is "close" to a five-year extension
     which a source "pegged at more than" $60M (BRANDWEEK, 3/30).
          LOCAL STRATEGY: MLB's "new ad strategy" in '99 will see
     national spots "complemented in local markets by ads
     featuring a similar concept specific to each team,"
     according to Jeff Jensen of AD AGE.  The "goal" is to create
     "one voice with which the league and its 30 teams can
     promote the game to fans."  A "test" involving one team is
     planned for this year.  The campaign will continue with the
     "What A Game" tag created by Lowe & Partners/SMS, N.Y. 
     Plans for '99 would have "news bulletin" spots customized
     for every team which would follow the team's progress
     throughout the season (Jeff Jensen, AD AGE, 3/30 issue).
          MLB NOTES: Starter took out a full-page ad in USA TODAY
     promoting their satin MLB dugout jackets.  From the ad:
     "Opening Day Dress Code: Jackets Required" (USA TODAY,
     3/31)....MLB's Public Service Campaign for '98 will promote
     the partnership between the league and its official charity,
     the Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA).  Two 30-second TV
     spots feature MLBers who are alumni or active supporters of
     the BGCA.  Players involved include Alex Rodriguez, Ken
     Griffey Jr., John Olerud, John Smoltz and Frank Thomas.  The
     first spot will run today on ESPN's Opening Day coverage,
     and both spots will run throughout the season during MLB
     coverage on Fox, FSN, FX, ESPN and NBC (MLB)....BRANDWEEK
     reports that Blimpie Subs & Salads is linking with Morgan
     Creek Productions for a promo around the April 17 release of
     "Major League III: Back to the Minors" (BRANDWEEK, 3/30).