Turner Broadcasting Systen Inc. has taken over control of
the Goodwill Games in an attempt to turn a profit on the sporting event.
Turner Sports has formed a new division, Goodwill Games
Inc., dedicated solely to organizing and promoting the event. Turner Sports' parent
company, Time Warner Inc., is now the rights owner of the Goodwill Games concept and name.
Turner Sports is the organizer, and TBS will be the main network covering the event.
Time Warner is spending $45 million in hard and soft
dollars promoting the games both nationally and in the New York area on print, radio,
television and billboards, and with extra bus and lamppost advertisements in New York.
Previously, local committees formed by the host cities
organized the games.
Turner executives say the company's top-to-bottom
control of the Goodwill Games will help them better integrate promotions and advertising
sales with the event and media coverage.
"We have complete tactical control," said Mark
Lazarus, senior vice president of sports at Turner Sports. "We're able to
deliver all media and marketing elements along the same axis."
The Games take place July 19 through Aug. 2 in the Greater
New York City area, and will include 1500 athletes from 60 countries.
Turner has culled the 15 most "viewer-friendly"
sports, such as boxing and basketball, from the Goodwill Games traditional lineup of 24
Olympic sports. The company, for example, has eliminated such events as yachting. It also
has included such nontraditional events as the triathlon and beach volleyball. Also,
unlike the Olympics, individual events in such categories as track & field and
wrestling will be finals-only with no preliminary rounds.
Turner is offering $5 million in prize money -- a departure
from the previous Goodwill Games, which focused on amateur athletes. The company hopes
high-profile athletes drawn to the Games -- such as Canadian 100 meter sprint champion
Donovan Bailey, U.S. track champion Michael Johnson and U.S. volleyball star Karch Kiraly
-- will spice things up for TV viewers and ticket holders.
Turner will run the Games for 15 nights in primetime on the
East Coast and rerun them again at 11 p.m. to 2 a.m. to reach West Coast viewers. Turner
is promising advertisers a 4 rating average for the shows.
Turner has reduced programming of the Games from four hours
to three per night. CBS will televise 10 hours of weekend afternoon coverage, and Home Box
Office will show boxing events as part of its Boxing After Dark series.
The Goodwill Games' staff now stands at 120 people and
growing. The budget for the four-year project is $85 million, said Michael Lewellen,
spokesman for the Games.
Lewellen said Turner doesn't expect to make a profit
on the event but that it will be less of a money loser than in past years. He added that
his company's total control of the Games is the reason for the improved bottom line.
Lewellen said his company's main goal is to continue
to fine-tune the production and promotion of the Games for future attempts.
The Games have already pulled in $50 million, mostly from
advertising and sponsorship sales. Other revenue streams include ticket sales, local
marketing programs in the New York area and some merchandise licensing. The company has
sold 85 percent of all ads and sponsorships, Lazarus said.
This year's Games have already pulled in 90 percent of
the revenue earned in the 1994 Goodwill Games, Lewellen said.
TBS president of entertainment sales and marketing Joe Uva
said Turner has already secured the majority of its sponsorships from 13 companies,
including Sony Corp., Johnson & Johnson, Snapple Beverage Corp. and Citgo Petroleum
Steve Jarmon, vice president of communications at Snapple,
said the Goodwill Games were attractive to his company as a great venue to reach consumers
through samples and sales of its beverage. His company is also running ads from April
through August on Cable News Network, TBS, Turner Network Television and CBS as part of a
package that Jarmon said his company customized to their needs.
New York is Snapple's "backyard," so Jarmon
was enthusiastic about the additional exposure his brand would receive from sponsoring the
"We have high expectations," Jarmon said.
"We think the Games have become a first-class event."
Besides advertising revenue, Time Warner will also pull in
revenue from sales of broadcasting rights to foreign broadcasters in 130 countries.
Turner has committed to organizing another Goodwill Games
in either 2001 or 2002. Lewellen said Turner would likely hold the Games a year earlier --
in 2001 -- because 2002 is already crowded with major sporting events.
The Goodwill Games grew out of Ted Turner's attempt to
create a sports event to help counteract tensions on the two sides of the Cold War. The
Games premiered in Moscow in 1986, followed by the games in Seattle in 1990 and in St.
Petersburg, Russia, in 1994.
Turner has refocused the Games on children's causes
now that the Cold War is over. The company has created the SuperChallenge, a program tied
to the Goodwill Games to benefit the Boys & Girls Clubs of America. The SuperChallenge
is a fund-matching program that aims to generate 1 million hours of volunteer time and $1
million for the clubs.
Citgo is the primary sponsor of the SuperChallenge. It will
promote the program at its chain of gas stations. In return, Citgo is its exclusive
corporate partner. Citgo is included in promotional spots for the SuperChallenge and a
ticket-giveaway sweepstakes for the Games. Turner provides all promotional materials for
the SuperChallenge events.
Don Rucks, advertising manager for Citgo Petroleum Corp.,
Tulsa, said the pricing of the promotional package was very appealing. He added that the
TV buy was Citgo's biggest incentive for becoming involved the games.
Citgo is already running spots tied to the Games on Turner
networks. During the Games Citgo spots will run every hour.
Julie Anderson, media director at Citgo, said the
added-value portion of the sponsorship was also attractive. The company will be promoted
on arena signs and the number bibs that athletes wear, as just part of the package.
"There's just a lot of stuff attached to
this," Anderson said.
Turner has also launched the Junior Goodwill Games, the
primary local-marketing opportunity for cable operators. The program is open to kids ages
8 to 13, with competition in track and field, swimming and basketball at 3000 locations.
Time Warner will also make a donation to UNICEF
International as part of the Games.
The Games are the keystone to a summerlong "Summer of
Goodwill" in New York, which Turner is promoting with its parent company Time Warner.
Events include outdoor concerts and a film festival
sponsored by HBO, a Time Warner company. Time Inc. will support the festival with print
advertising in its various consumer print publications.
Turner is betting the promotional power of Time Warner will
boost interest in the Games.
"Turner is now a much different company than [it was
in] previous games," Lewellen said.
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