BIRD WATCHING: LARRY LEGEND'S ENDORSEMENTS EXAMINED IN INDY
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).