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Volume 24 No. 117

Sponsorships Advertising Marketing

          TV viewers "couldn't escape" a new Nike ad this weekend
     featuring Braves Ps Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine talking
     "about hitting like [Mark] McGwire in hopes of impressing"
     actress Heather Locklear, according to USA TODAY's Michael
     Hiestand.  This "might be good news for baseball, as its
     players are rarely used in national marketing efforts.  And
     baseball might finally have a slogan fans will at least
     remember, thanks to the ad's tag line: 'Chicks dig the long
     ball!'" (USA TODAY, 5/10).  In Boston, Peter Gammons wonders
     if there is "a better ad than the Nike spot. ... Why can't
     [MLB] do stuff like that?" (BOSTON GLOBE, 5/9).

          Rebounding from "last year's nasty slump," the sneaker
     industry is "showing signs of life," as "fashion seems to be
     shifting back to" athletic shoes, according to Evelyn
     Nussenbaum of the N.Y. POST.  First Security Van Kasper
     analyst John Shanley said, "It's a fashion cycle.  It's the
     demise of hip-hop, which is being replaced by more clean-cut
     types of clothes.  And those go better with sneakers." 
     Additionally, consumers are "finally excited about" new
     products on the market.  Black & Company's Jennifer Black
     said, "There's finally enough newness in the mall to attract
     customers."  Nike's $125 "Tuned Air" is "one of the most
     talked-about new products," and Shanley said the "most
     encouraging" aspect about the Tuned Air is that "it's being
     done without an endorsement.  There's no Michael Jordan for
     Tuned Air.  Kids are buying it because they like it."  But
     some industry observers say that they're "not sure whether
     the sneaker business is really growing, or just shifting
     from some brands to others."   One analyst: "There are a lot
     of new players out there.  Nike is maintaining its market
     share.  But below Nike I think there are a lot of people
     just trading places" (N.Y. POST, 5/10).

          Since IMG has had "little success" selling an $8.5M
     global title sponsorship for the WTA Tour, it is "now on the
     street with a scaled down" $3.5M North American presenting
     sponsorship, according to Terry Lefton of BRANDWEEK.  The
     "more localized" sponsor package still includes the sponsor
     patch worn by players, but "that and foreign rights and
     media are excluded from the scaled-down version." IMG was
     selling the int'l deal "based on an estimated" 11 billion
     impressions a year, but has had "no luck in what is an
     increasingly difficult sales environment" (BRANDWEEK, 5/10).
          HOOT, HOOT, HOOVER! The Hoover Co., which became a WTA
     Tour corporate partner earlier this year, will be the
     "Official Floor Care Company" of the '99 du Maurier Open in
     August.  Hoover receives extensive on-site presence,
     including two demonstration seminars a day (Tennis Canada).

          Knicks G Latrell Sprewell is featured in a new 30-
     second TV ad for And 1 called "American Dream," which will
     debut today and air more than 200 times during the first two
     weeks of the NBA playoffs.  Sprewell says in the ad: "I've
     made mistakes, but I don't let them keep me down.  People
     say I'm what's wrong with sports today. ... I say I'm the
     American dream."  The spot was produced by Crispin, Porter &
     Bogusky (CPB), And 1's ad agency, and was directed by David
     Leech.  It will run during NBA coverage on TNT/TBS, as well
     as on Fox Sports/MSG, MTV, BET and CNN/SI (And 1). 
          CONTROVERSIAL SPOT: BRANDWEEK's Terry Lefton calls the
     ad, which breaks during tonight's Knicks-Heat Game Two on
     TBS, "likely the most controversial basketball sneaker spot
     since" Charles Barkley's Nike spot in which he claimed he
     was not a role model.  And 1 "had no plans" to use Sprewell
     in a TV ad when they signed him in April, but "that view
     changed" when the Knicks made the playoffs.  CPB shot the ad
     last week and was "rush-editing it."  And 1 VP/Marketing Jay
     Gilbert: "So much of good marketing is timing.  We just had
     to take advantage of that" (BRANDWEEK, 5/10 issue).         

          NHL LOCKER ROOM RIGHTS: In the "wake of Starter's
     bankruptcy filing," the NHL has "reassigned" the Stanley Cup
     locker room merchandise licensing rights to Pro Player for
     T-shirts and to New Era for caps (BRANDWEEK, 5/10 issue). 
     The SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL's Andy Bernstein puts the value
     of the locker room rights between $3-10M, "depending on
     which team wins" the Cup (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 5/10
     issue)....Sabres G Dominik Hasek has started a sportswear
     company called "Dominator" in the Czech Republic, and "plans
     outposts" for the U.S. and Canada.  Hasek: "Already I'm on
     the phone to Prague almost every day talking about the
     business, about quotas and things" (N.Y. TIMES, 5/9).
          FROM MANCHESTER TO ORANGE COUNTY: Manchester United
     will open a chain of amusement parks called "Theater of
     Dreams" in the Far East.  The United plans to open parks in
     Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Thailand and China (LONDON
     TIMES, 5/7)....In N.Y., Alec Foege wrote that the NASCAR
     concert tour, "NASCAR Rocks," was helped developed by John
     Schreiber and his ad agency, John Schreiber Group.  CBS
     Sports Senior VP Keith Ritter: "Other people got focused on
     the idea that we were doing Nascar Rocks simply as a concert
     series.  John immediately understood that we wanted a really
     cool entertainment experience, but that it also had to serve
     a broader marketing goal" (N.Y. TIMES, 5/9)....Oakley Sports
     Marketing Manager Bruce Fraser, after supplying Heat C
     Alonzo Mourning with protective eyewear: "We spent a lot of
     time and money helping him out.  He said everything was
     great with the glasses.  He definitely feels some loyalty to
     us now" (ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 5/8).
          SURFING: CA-based Ocean Pacific Apparel Corp. has
     officially ended its 17-year sponsorship of the two-week
     beach festival in Huntington Beach, CA.  CA-based apparel
     company Gotcha Int'l will pay $600,000 for title rights to
     the event (ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 5/6).  In San Diego, Erik
     Bratt wrote that in addition to "appealing to men," surfing
     "has gained tremendous popularity with women."  Wholesale
     sales to surf shops and specialty stores increased an
     "estimated" 12% in '97, to $1.68B (UNION-TRIBUNE, 5/9).