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Volume 24 No. 117
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This Week's Newsmakers: Mercedes Deal A Win For Brand, Saints, Local/State Government

THE DAILY each Friday offers our take on the performances over the past week of people and entities in sports business. Here are this week's newsmakers:

WIN: MERCEDES-BENZ SUPERDOME -- The deal was met with mixed reviews and we get the questions -- Mercedes does not need the brand awareness; Superdome does not easily equate to "luxury."  But we like the deal for the brand, the Saints and the city. The Dome has been virtually re-created with a number of high-end premium experiences, and with more to come, Mercedes-Benz obviously sees value in being attached to such a renowned facility with big-ticket hospitality opportunities from the major sporting events on the horizon, including the '12 Sugar Bowl, BCS Nat'l Championship, Final Four and '13 Super Bowl. The deal is also big for cash-strapped Louisiana, as the $50-60M price tag eliminates the need for the state to pay any subsidies to the Saints.

LOSE: HANK WILLIAMS JR. -- The country music star loses his high-profile "MNF" gig after he becomes the third ESPN personality to make a comparison to ADOLF HITLER in recent years. Following Williams' notorious appearance on Fox News' "Fox & Friends" -- after which even the Fox anchors felt obliged to distance themselves from his comments about PRESIDENT OBAMA -- ESPN had no choice but to make the move. While Williams was never an ESPN employee, his weekly question of whether we are ready for some football arguably made him the person most identified with the net's highest-rated property.

DRAW: TIGER WOODS -- Tiger scores his first new major endorsement since his personal scandal broke two years ago, adding Rolex as a sponsor, with news of a new bag deal also on the horizon. But at the same time, EA Sports announces a contest to see which golfer will share the cover for its "Tiger Woods PGA Tour 13." Not exactly the biggest vote of confidence for Woods if he has to share space on a video game bearing his name.