SGB's Mark Tedeschi reports that CA-based Sketchers
"has served notice that it intends to be a major player in
the athletic arena." Sketchers will introduce a new line of
men's sport shoes "to help further build its men's business
in sporting goods channels" (SGB, 5/15 issue)....The
Missouri-Illinois Dodge Dealers and Pepsi have agreed to
sponsor the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Ram Tough 200,
presented by Pepsi, September 17-19 at Gateway Int'l Raceway
in MO (SPEEDNET, 5/21)....MA-based Mullen Advertising signed
with the N.Y. Yacht Club's Young America Challenge as the
official marketing services agency of the America's Cup team
(Young America)....MCI will sponsor the '98 Goodwill Games
Figure Skating Competition (MCI).
MasterCard signed a four-year extension to title
sponsor the MasterCard Colonial through 2002. MasterCard,
the official card of the PGA and Senior PGA Tour, will
continue to use the tournament in ad and promotional
programs, and will receive ad spots during and around CBS's
broadcast of the event, in addition to opening and closing
billboards during each telecast (MasterCard). Colonial
officials say the '98 tournament is sold out. Based on
tickets distributed, anticipated daily crowds will range
between 40,000-45,000 (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 5/21).
SPONSORS NEEDED: PGA Tour VP Duke Butler said "steady
progress" has been made in trying to secure sponsors for the
proposed August '99 tour stop at the TPC in Snoqualmie
Ridge, WA, according to Craig Smith of the SEATTLE TIMES.
The $2M event will play opposite the NEC Invitational World
Golf Championship in Akron, OH (SEATTLE TIMES, 5/20).
Nike yesterday announced plans for a girls basketball
league in all 10 WNBA markets, according to W.H. Stickney of
the HOUSTON CHRONICLE. The program, geared toward girls age
eight to 18, "is an extension of Nike's successful
grassroots initiative to increase awareness and interest for
women's basketball" (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 5/20).
NIKE REFORMS: In a N.Y. TIMES op-ed, Bob Herbert writes
on Nike's planned labor reforms, "Let's not be too quick to
canonize Nike." While there is "both merit and a lot of
smoke" in Nike Chair Phil Knight's recent child labor
initiatives, the "biggest problem with Nike is that its
overseas workers make wretched, below-subsistence wages,"
which Nike failed to address. Nike "blinked last week
because it has been getting hammered in the marketplace and
in the court of public opinion." But the company's "current
strategy is to reshape its public image while doing as
little as possible for the workers. ... Nike's still got a
long way to go" (N.Y. TIMES, 5/21). In an op-ed piece in
USA TODAY, Lorraine Dusky writes that while Nike "can give
away dazzling, multimillion-dollar piles of money to dozens
of athletes ... surely it can afford to pay a living wage to
those who make the shoes." Despite a 15% raise this year,
Nike workers "are faring poorly." Dusky adds, "[W]hether I
like it or not, my Nikes and I are at least partly to blame
for the current crisis in Indonesia, no matter how far
removed it all seems from us" (USA TODAY, 5/21). S.F.
attorney Alan Caplan, a lead figure in CA's public-interest
lawsuit against Nike which claims false advertising and
unfair business practices, said Nike's recent initiatives
"won't affect our litigation" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 5/19).
Packers QB Brett Favre will "decorate the cover of
Wheaties cereal boxes this fall," according to Bob Wolfley
of the MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL. The boxes will have an
action shot of Favre on the front and a picture on the back
with a "brief biography." Favre will join Bob Richards,
Bruce Jenner, Mary Lou Retton, Chris Evert, Pete Rose,
Walter Payton, Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods as the only
athletes featured on national Wheaties packaging. A General
Mills spokesperson would not confirm the report. In other
Favre news, the Green Bay City Council voted 7-5 on Tuesday
to send a proposal renaming part of a city street near his
planned restaurant as "Brett Favre Pass" back to committee.
Some council members suggested that "living quarterbacks"
are inappropriate choices for street names, and said that
government officials, war veterans and business leaders are
"better choices." Green Bay Alderman Eugene Schmitz: "I'm
not saying he's not a good football player. But what if he
commits a crime?" (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 5/21)
Four new 30-second TV spots for the Brewers, produced
by WI-based Kohnke & Hanneken, "make you smile," according
to Bob Wolfley of the MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL. In one
spot, called "Hit the Showers," Brewers Manager Phil Garner
and pitching coach Don Rowe watch as "Hank," a senior County
Stadium parking attendant, tires out during his duties
waving cars into the lot. Garner: "The guy's struggling,
Don." Rowe agrees: "We need to get him out of there."
Garner then walks up to Hank and relieves him of his duties,
to which Hank says, "I'm good for a few more, skipper.
Please let me get that station wagon." Garner: "No. I gotta
take you out." Hank, who then kicks over a pilon, mutters,
"I coulda got that guy" (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 5/20).
Following a three-year recovery period at retail, MLB
licensed sales "are staging a credible comeback," according
to Marianne Bhonslay of SPORTING GOODS BUSINESS. Some
specialty store dealers say baseball "is currently the best
seller in licensed" wear, and its sales are approaching '94
pre-strike levels due to "improved delivery to the fashion
or 'pop' colors in licensed merchandise." CA-based Chick's
Sporting Goods has posted a 25% gain for its MLB licensed
products. Part of the sales increase is attributed to new
product, such as MLBP licensee Majestic Athletic's tackle
twill jerseys with "bright lime, gold and scarlet," and
Starter's classic satin jacket, which is among the items
"stimulating" MLB sales at JCPenney (SGB, 5/15 issue).