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Volume 24 No. 112

Sponsorships Advertising Marketing

          Coca-Cola has renewed its pact as the official soft
     drink of the NFL through the 2001 season.  The company will
     execute a national promotion during each NFL season geared
     toward specific fan development efforts and Coke will also
     be the official soft drink of the Super Bowl and Pro Bowl. 
     Coca-Cola receives the right to use all league marks,
     including the NFL shield, and the Super Bowl and Pro Bowl
     logo, in advertising and promo activities.  It has also been
     granted the collective use of the 31 team trademarks, and
     Coca-Cola will co-sponsor the NFL Experience (NFL).  
          STANDOFF: In N.Y., Stefan Fatsis writes that in
     negotiations that "were acrimonious from the start," the NFL
     "blinked," signing with Coca-Cola for "slightly more" than
     $4M per year, a "fraction" of the $15M a year under its
     previous contract and "nowhere near" the $36M per year the
     league sought in January.  As part of the deal, Coca-Cola
     has relinquished its local marketing rights, freeing each
     team to negotiate its own local soft drink sponsor.  NFL
     execs estimate that an average local deal of $750,000 a year
     would more than make up for the lost income on the new deal. 
     The local autonomy is "just what Coke wanted," as it can now
     focus spending "on fewer properties in key markets."  Fatsis
     adds that there "are no guarantees clubs will get rich
     sponsorships," as smaller markets will likely be at a
     disadvantage to larger ones (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 5/22).   
          WHAT IT MEANS: Fatsis reports that the new agreement
     "contains a larger message" to the sports-sponsorship
     industry: In an era of "sponsor overload," the value of
     being an official sponsor "may be eroding."  After rejecting
     asking prices as low as $15M, Coca-Cola last month argued
     for paying no rights fee at all but using its "marketing
     muscle to sell the NFL worldwide, as it currently does" with
     the NBA.  But the NFL "countered that the league, awash in
     TV revenue ... didn't need Coke's marketing muscle," as NFL
     owners and players set aside $100M for grassroots marketing.
     Coke "was ready to walk away from the NFL as recently as
     Monday, but the league responded with a new, lower-fee
     offer."  Meanwhile, NFL execs said that they were prepared
     to "walk away from Coke if it couldn't structure a favorable
     marketing deal."  NFLP President Sara Levinson: "Would we do
     a deal just to have one in the soft-drink category?  I don't
     think so" (Stefan Fatsis, WALL STREET JOURNAL, 5/22). 
          

          FL-based Royal Caribbean Cruises will not return as
     sponsor of the Super Bowl XXXIII halftime show at Pro Player
     Stadium January 31, 1999, according to Tom Stieghorst of the
     Fort Lauderdale SUN-SENTINEL.  Royal Caribbean, which spent
     $5M to host the halftime event last year, said it "would
     rather spend the money elsewhere."  Royal Caribbean Int'l
     President Jack Williams said the money was "well spent," but
     not two years in a row: "We spent a pretty good percentage
     of our marketing budget on it.  This year we're going to do
     some different things."  Stieghorst reports that Royal
     Caribbean spent $62.5M on advertising in '97, and the Super
     Bowl show "ate up 8 percent" (SUN-SENTINEL, 5/22). 
     BRANDWEEK's Terry Lefton also notes that Royal Caribbean
     dropped its sponsorship but says with the Super Bowl in the
     cruise line's "home port" of Miami, "look for some locally
     based marketing activity" (BRANDWEEK, 5/18 issue). 

          MCI was named the official long distance and local
     service provider of the Pep Boys IRL and IMS.  As part the
     deal, MCI and Pep Boys will offer a race fan and an IRL
     driver the chance to split $1M.  The MCI Pep Boys Million
     Dollar Driver sweepstakes begins June 15.  To enter, fans
     must successfully pick the IRL driver who wins three of the
     IRL's TNN-televised races -- Charlotte, Atlanta and Las
     Vegas.  The fan who picks the driver will be entered for a
     chance to share $1M with that driver.  Fans who chose the
     winning driver of two the races will have the opportunity to
     split $100,000 with the winning driver (Pep Boys).
          RACING NOTES: TNN, Texas Motor Speedway and True Value
     have committed to an Indy 500 sponsorship deal with the
     IRL's Greg Ray's Thomas Knapp Motorsports team (DALLAS
     MORNING NEWS, 5/22).  Also at Indy, FL-based TransWorld
     Diversified Services will sponsor the McCormack Motorsports'
     G Force Oldsmobile Aurora driven by Raul Boesel this
     weekend.  The car showcases TransWorld's logo on the top
     rear wing, the two front wings and the side engine covers
     (TransWorld). ...ProLink golf measuring system wil sponsor
     Team Scandia driver Billy Roe at the Indy 500.  ProLink's
     logo will appear on both sides of Roe's racecar (ProLink).

          PITCHER PERFECT: David Wells could earn $350,000 in
     endorsements following his perfect game.  In Boston, Nick
     Cafardo reports that one company "hot for his services" is
     South Paws, which sells a line of T-shirts and jeans.  Two
     memorabilia companies have offered "upwards" of $175,000 for
     a collection of "perfect game" balls signed by Wells (BOSTON
     GLOBE, 5/22)....Kerry Wood jerseys went on sale in the Cubs
     gift shop this week for $129 (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 5/22).
          NOTES: Sabres G Dominik Hasek has "deals in works" for
     an arcade game, memorabilia and "Dominator" clothing to be
     sold in the Czech Republic (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 5/22).
     ...In CA, John Reger wrote that Liquidmetal clubs "could be
     one of the most important innovations in golf since the
     introduction of titanium."  With a set of irons costing as
     much as $2,700, Liqiudmetal CEO James Kang said, "We're
     trying to reach the purist.  We want the guy who wants the
     Ferrari or the Rolls Royce" (ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 5/21).
     ...In L.A., Greg Johnson examined Magic Johnson's business
     dealing, and wrote that if his upcoming TV show and
     businesses are successful, he may eventually join a "select
     group" of former athletes, including Roger Staubach and
     Roger Penske, "known as much for their business coups as
     their sporting achievements" (L.A. TIMES, 5/21).

          England's Football Association yesterday agreed to the
     country's largest kit deal ever, a five-year deal with Umbro
     worth $80M, according to the AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE.  The FA
     decided to stick with British-based Umbro despite "big-money
     bids" from Nike and Puma.  The design of future English kits
     will change on a "strict" two-year cycle.  As part of the
     deal, the FA will make a $20M investment in youth football,
     including "cash for redevelopment of Wembley as England's
     new National Stadium as well as money for a sports science
     unit and support for Centres of Excellence and Football
     Academies" (AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE, 5/21).

          TX-based sports management group Capital Sports
     Ventures and Washington, DC-based law firm Patton Boggs have
     joined to provide sports representation and sports property
     development.  Capital Sports Ventures is led by William
     Stapleton, who represents cyclist Lance Armstrong, pro
     golfers Larry Rinker and Jenny Lee and beach-volleyball
     player Lisa Arce.  Patton Boggs is led by partner Herbert
     Hecht, who has represented sports figures and worked on
     various sports-related initiatives, and lawyer/lobbyist
     Thomas Boggs, Jr.  Other Patton Boggs firm members include
     former NBA player Len Elmore, former pro baseball player
     Michael Hoog and MLBPA advisor John Fithian.  The groups
     will remain in Austin, TX, and Washington, DC (CSV).

          Five women's activewear makers "are working with the
     entertainment industry in an effort to put their products in
     the youth market," according to Rosemary Feitelberg of
     WOMEN'S WEAR DAILY.  Puma, Groove, adidas, Crunch and
     Rollerblade are "trying approaches" which include sponsoring
     concert tours, hosting a hair-cutting contest and courting
     costume designers.  As part of its plan to launch a women's
     apparel line in the U.S. next year, Puma is "working
     closely" with Arnon Milchan's Regency Enterprises.  Milchan
     founded Regency and is Puma's principal stockholder.  The
     company recently acquired worldwide TV rights to the Corel
     WTA Tour.  In addition, Regency "is considering" using Puma
     endorser Serena Williams for video, TV and film appearances,
     and in the recent Regency film "City of Angels," actress Meg
     Ryan sported Pumas (WOMEN'S WEAR DAILY, 5/21).  
          OTHER COMPANIES: Groove, a subdivision of CA-based
     Groove Track Productions, "is suiting up" Boyz II Men for
     their tour this summer, which will feature a stage and light
     show with images of the Groove logo.  adidas sponsored a
     hair-cutting contest at Harlem's Apollo Theater which had
     more than 500 participants, and finalists in the contest
     received $500 worth of adidas merchandise.  Rollerblade is
     planning to offer demos and giveaways during this summer's X
     Games in San Diego, where fans can test Rollerblade
     equipment.  The company plans to spend "more than" $100,000
     for its presence at the event (WOMEN'S WEAR DAILY, 5/21).