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Volume 24 No. 117

Events Attractions

          Dozens of companies, from BankAmerica, TransAmerica,
     Pacific Bell and NationsBank to CA-based companies such as
     Callidus Software, PeopleSoft and Hartmann Studios, have
     each paid "more than" $120,000 for hospitality tents at the
     '98 U.S. Open at the Olympic Club, according to Swartz &
     Howe of the S.F. CHRONICLE.  Overall, 152 companies are
     spending "an estimated" $11M to rent space at the Open, and
     that doesn't include food or alcohol.  All fees for tent-
     renting go to the USGA.  There are four "tent villages" at
     the Open, each housing several 40-foot-by-40-foot air
     conditioned and carpeted tents.  For the fee of over
     $120,000, companies can rent the tent for the week, as well
     as receive over 100 Open tickets, at least 40 parking passes
     and other amenities (S.F. CHRONICLE, 6/17).
          IS IT WORTH IT? Caddilus, a San Jose-based start-up
     software company, is spending more than $160,000 during the
     Open to bring the company "to the attention" of top execs.
     Senior VP/Marketing Phil Ressler said that he "could have
     launched his marketing campaign" at this week's PC Expo in
     N.Y. at a cost of about $80,000, but that "everybody else in
     the corporate software business is there, too."  J.P. Morgan
     bought half of a tent for $65,000 for the week, and is
     splitting the cost among four divisions in the company.  The
     company brought in NBC's Johnny Miller to talk with some
     "favored customers."  BankAmerica's tent is "modeled after
     the TV series 'Cheers,'" and the company will bring in
     Masters champ Mark O'Meara to speak to a group of VIP
     customers (Swartz & Howe, S.F. CHRONICLE, 6/17).  

          FIFA President Sepp Blatter said that Iranian exile
     groups have threatened to disrupt the Iran-U.S. match on
     Sunday in Lyon, according to USA TODAY's Fred Coleman. 
     Blatter refused to "comment on possible groups involved or
     actions contemplated," and he "expressed confidence" that
     French police could handle any problems (USA TODAY, 6/18).
          OTHER NOTES: In N.Y., Michael Starr writes that while
     ABC Sports is "happy" with its 3.1 average rating for three
     games, spokesperson Mark Mandel said that the U.S.'s Sunday
     game "could determine how the network fares for the rest of
     its World Cup coverage."  In other news, Univision is more
     than doubling its ratings in the N.Y. market with its Cup
     coverage.  Games in its 8:00-10:30am time-slot have averaged
     a 1.9 rating, up 90% from the 1.0 it averaged in May. 
     Numbers in the 11:00am-1:30pm time slot have increased 75%
     to a 2.1.  Nationally, Univision "measures its ratings in
     Hispanic households only, and thus far" has averaged a 9.7
     rating through 13 matches (N.Y. POST, 6/18).

          The theme for this summer's ESPN X Games is "big," as
     the sports network "is trying to provide a 'bigger
     experience' for families," according to Caitlin Rother of
     the SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE.  In an effort to make the event
     more fan-friendly, Games organizers have added 2,000 more
     bleacher seats this year, and plan "more activities to
     entertain spectators between competitions, better access for
     the handicapped and more dining choices in a new food
     court."  X Games spokesperson Chris Stiepock: "We're trying
     to do more things that a family can go to."  The games begin
     tomorrow with qualifying events and officially get underway
     next Friday.  Events will run through June 28, and ESPN
     plans nearly 40 hours of coverage (UNION-TRIBUNE, 6/18). 
     USA TODAY's Sal Ruibal previews the X Games today under the
     header, "Still Cool, X Games Getting Hot."  Although Nike
     "dropped" its Games sponsorship this year, adidas America
     replaced it "just one week later."  In-line aggressive
     skater Eitan Kramer, on the public perception of the event:
     "In the beginning, the X Games were looked upon as just
     another corporation trying to make money off our sports. 
     Now it's as American as apple pie" (USA TODAY, 6/18).