In a rare sponsorship of a nonboxing pay-per-view event,
retailer Kmart Corp. and Anheuser-Busch Inc.'s Budweiser Beer will be the co-sponsors of
the "Soul Music Festival," featuring actor/comedian Sinbad, on PPV.
The festival, which Home Box Office has distributed for the
past four years, will premiere on PPV in August.
Featured musical artists include Smokey Robinson, Chaka
Khan, The Gap Band, Morris Day and The Time, S.O.S. Band and a tribute to Marvin Gaye,
Spring Communications president John Rubey said. Spring is distributing the event.
Viewer's Choice will initially run the concert on its Hot
Choice service, but it is expected to carry replays of the event on Viewer's Choice 2 and
other channels, Spring said. DirecTV Inc., TVN Entertainment Corp. and EchoStar
Communications Corp.'s Dish Network will also distribute the event.
Kmart, which has supported past Soul Music Festivals, will
support the show with local print media in its major retail markets, and it may also
provide in-store posters for the event, Rubey said. The company could also offer a rebate
program to help consumers purchasing the show with their back-to-school shopping.
Meanwhile, Budweiser will provide television and radio
support for the concert, Rubey said. He added that both companies recognize the marketing
opportunities that PPV provides.
"They see that PPV offers them an exceptional
marketing opportunity that isn't available in other forms of traditional media,"
Rubey said. "As a result, everyone benefits from the marketing effort."
Representatives from Kmart and Budweiser could not be
reached for comment at press time.
Spring will support the event through various promotional
activities in several major markets, including a potential operator sweepstakes that will
offer a grand-prize trip to St. Thomas, Rubey said.
The markets -- which include Washington, D.C.; Los Angeles;
Philadelphia; Chicago; Atlanta; Detroit; Dallas; Houston; Charlotte, N.C.; and Norfolk,
Va. -- are Kmart's targeted urban markets, as well, providing more emphasis on the show.
In secondary markets, the grand prize is expected to be a
satellite dish or television set.
Spring will also develop campaigns targeting
rhythm-and-blues and urban radio stations in top markets. And the company will provide
video spots for operators to run on cross-channel avails and barker channels, Rubey said.