STIR-IT UPS: ADIDAS CLOSE ON MLB DEAL, BACKS OFF NBA TALKS
MLB "is expected to announce" a new licensing agreement
with adidas in the next several days, according to Jeff
Manning of the Portland OREGONIAN. adidas Dir of Sports
Marketing Robert Erb said "some issues remain unresolved"
between adidas and MLB, with the fundamental question, "How
much autonomy do the local owners have to market their own
teams?" Erb confirmed that as part of the pending deal,
adidas and the Yankees will drop their lawsuit against MLB.
Manning also reported that while Russell Corp. and Wilson
Sporting Goods have "both abandoned" their NFL licensing
agreements in recent months, adidas has gained on-field
status and will outfit the Bucs. Erb also "confirmed" that
talks are also taking place regarding a possible apparel
deal with the Redskins. Manning added that adidas does not
appear "to be headed for an on-court deal with the NBA, at
least anytime soon." Erb confirmed reports that in recent
talks with the league, NBA officials "raised the
possibility" of adidas "taking some or all of financially
strapped Starter's nine NBA teams." But adidas decided
against pursuing the deal "in part because many of Starter's
teams have losing records or play in small markets."
Starter and NBA officials "denied there is any change
pending in their relationship" (Portland OREGONIAN, 4/10).