This summer's Goodwill Games may be the closest thing
to a two-week, cable-exclusive, Olympic Games-scale event, but the greatest cable-operator
and local-advertiser interest seems to be closest to its origination point -- New York.
From July 19 through Aug. 2, TBS Superstation and
commercial-free Home Box Office will cover a combined 56 hours of the quadrennial sports,
with TBS having sold out its national sponsorships to clients like Anheuser-Busch Co., MCI
Communications Corp. and Sony Corp. CBS will cover just 10 hours.
Larry Fischer, president of Time Warner CityCable, the
ad-sales arm for Time Warner Cable of New York City, said that system -- which began
inserting on TBS in its Manhattan-only zone in April -- had sold one-half of its Goodwill
avails before July 1.
"We're doing well with it," he said, noting
that a tourism account and a health club each bought a one-quarter sponsorship in the
TWCC's CityCable Productions unit also scored in the
process, having produced a spot for the event's "Summer of Goodwill
passport." The passport book -- containing discounts for merchandise and events
ranging from Atlanta Braves Major League Baseball games to the Super Bowl -- includes
sporting-goods chain Modell's, Macy's and Tower Records among its tie-in
TBS has been running ads in cable trade magazines to get
operators busy on selling local avails for "this summer's biggest event."
But operators beyond the New York DMA seemed less certain about that event's sales
In Syracuse, N.Y., Bill Dugan, account executive for the
area Time Warner Cable system, said local clients have expressed "decent
At Cable Advertising of San Antonio, general sales manager
Phil Johnson said he does not expect the Goodwill Games to perform well there, and CASA
has consequently not mounted much of a sales effort behind it.
The Goodwill Games enjoyed "a lot of success" in
years past at Tele-Communications Inc.'s TCI Media Services in the Midwest, but this
year, it's more of a "moderate success" so far, regional vice president
Jeff Carter said.
At Cable One, Ron Pancratz, vice president of ad sales,
said there's been no "significant" advertiser interest, other than among
Hispanics "in a few markets."
One interconnect executive who requested anonymity said, "There hasn't been much
buzz" about the event.
Turner Network Sales officials were unavailable for their
projections on the Goodwill Games' local sales.
The TBS marketing side is doing its part to drum up viewer
interest in the live sports spectacular, which showcases "the world's best
athletes," from track superstars Michael Johnson and Jackie Joyner-Kersee to figure
skater Michelle Kwan.
Alan Smith, TBS' director of sports marketing, said
the network will follow its current on-air Goodwill promos with ads in the top 20 radio
markets; USA Today and newspapers in other top 10 markets; and Sports
Illustrated and People (both owned by Time Inc., TBS' sister company).