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Volume 24 No. 159

Sponsorships Advertising Marketing

          In the NBA's "age of the celebrity coach," there is "no
     scarcity" of Larry Bird sightings, but the Pacers' coach
     "would be even more pervasive" if he signed with every
     company seeking his endorsement, according to Sean Horgan of
     the INDIANAPOLIS STAR-NEWS.  Jill Leone, Owner of FL-based
     Leone Star Services, which has handled Bird's endorsements
     since '79: "We are probably only able to do about 15 or 20
     percent of what we're offered.  Larry is very selective." 
     Bird has long-standing national deals with McDonald's,
     Converse, Viking Computer Co., Viewsonics computer company
     and Miller Brewing.  In IN, he has local deals with Marsh
     Supermarkets, for which he stars in a TV spot, as well as
     print or billboard ad deals with Thomson Consumer
     Electronics, Nordstrom and The Finish Line.  Horgan writes
     that Bird's endorsement portfolio "is shrinking. By choice." 
     Bird: "They're down to where I don't hardly do any anymore. 
     With this job, it takes too much time" (STAR-NEWS, 4/23)  
          LARRY'S LEGEND: While Leone wouldn't give specifics,
     sports marketers say that Bird "commands about" $45,000 for
     a personal appearance and anywhere from $300,000 to $750,000
     for a one-commercial national deal.  Bird: "I'm getting to
     the age now where I really don't care, unless it's a
     corporation that comes to me and really shows a lot of
     interest, and I have the time in the summer."  Horgan writes
     that Bird "has loyalty that shows up in his relationships
     with sponsors, which he chooses with care and stays with
     over the long haul."  Bird: "I never dealt with companies
     that I didn't have a lot of faith in.  I try to pick
     companies that are going to be around for a long time and
     have a good rapport with customers" (STAR-NEWS, 4/23).

          Following last week's endorsement deal with Links
     Direct, SI's "Golf Plus" notes that Fuzzy Zoeller "completed
     the six-step program of image rehab: gaffe, denial, loss of
     endorsements, apology, reacceptance, endorsements regained"
     (SI, 4/27 issue)....Pacific Trading Cards signed Padres OF
     Tony Gwynn as its spokesperson.  Gwynn will appear in all
     print and TV ads, as well as on display boxes, wrappers and
     other promo materials during the '98 season (O.C. REGISTER,
     4/22)....Jaguars QB Mark Brunell was named spokesperson for
     Players Inc, the marketing arm of the NFLPA (Players Inc).  
          NOTES: TX-based Duckster, a maker of golf rain gear,
     shirts and hats, has purchased Pro-Line Cap, which makes
     headwear for sports teams, corporations, colleges and
     related entities.  Bill McCoy, a member of Duckster's board
     of directors, has been named President of Pro-Line (FT.
     WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 4/23)....ESPN's Pro Beach Hockey will
     feature the first-ever continuous rotational signage for
     hockey supplied by ANC Sports.  ANC will supply 100 feet of
     its Space and Time signage (PBH)....Gatorade will sponsor
     "Breaking Barriers: It's a Complete Game," a new, multi-
     curricular classroom educational program that uses the story
     of Jackie Robinson to teach kids about American history,
     life skills and ideals (MLB)....In Italy, "some lawmakers
     want to sever that country's soccer ties with Nike over
     allegations of labor abuse in Nike's Asian factories.  A
     leftist political party is behind the effort which gained
     steam recently when the Italian team unveiled their World
     Cup uniforms that features a Nike swoosh on the chest" (Bob
     Ley, "SportsCenter," ESPN, 4/22).

          The Univ. of Memphis, "reacting to criticism from some
     boosters, is reviewing the sponsorship" by a MS casino of a
     Tiger Clubs golf tournament, according to David Williams of
     the Memphis COMMERCIAL APPEAL.  UM AD R.C. Johnson: "I don't
     know that our position has changed any, but I certainly
     think it merits taking a look at it. ... [W]e have two
     choices.  We go as we are, or else I send them the money
     back."  The Horseshoe Casino is paying UM $10,000 for the
     Tiger Clubs/Horseshoe Casino Spring Golf Fling, scheduled
     for May 11.  The Tiger Clubs are the fund-raising program
     for the UM athletic department, and Johnson said that he
     thought a Tiger Club outing, "something away from the
     campus, not involving student-athletes," was an event for
     which he could utilize the casino's sponsorship (COMMERCIAL
     APPEAL, 4/22). In Memphis, Geoff Calkins: "We have gone so
     far with this endorsement stuff, we take so much of it for
     granted, that sometimes it's important to step back and
     remember that universities aren't supposed to exist for the
     sole purpose of making money" (COMMERCIAL APPEAL, 4/22).