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By Published on .

Reebok International is sponsoring a new in-line skating league, the Professional Hockey Ball Association. And, in a deal brokered by TPP Inc., the startup league will be televised by ESPN 2.


That project is one of several coming to fruition for TPP, a consortium of 10 leading advertisers involved in programming development.

TPP's activity will increase with the recent appointment of Gary Moss, former VP-global advertising at Campbell Soup Co., as president of TPP Communications.

TPP also has a new three-year deal with Paramount Television and Fox to produce four TV movies a year. TPP will retain a percentage of advertising for clients that participate in each film.

A remake of Paramount's 1960 classic "The Time Machine" is now in development. It is what is known as a back-end pilot; if it does well in the ratings, a series could be developed.

The deal is separate from Paramount's pact with Procter & Gamble Co. to produce programming.

TPP also is developing a sitcom for Fox with Columbia/Tri-Star TV, and has a development deal for a USA Network series as well.

In addition to Reebok, TPP clients are AT&T Corp., Campbell, Clorox Co., Coca-Cola Co., Coors Brewing Co., General Motors Corp., MasterCard International, McDonald's Corp. and Sears, Roebuck & Co.

"We're creating a different paradigm," Mr. Moss said. "The key is anchoring the programming opportunities around marketing strategies."


Mr. Moss, who brings client-side expertise to TPP, said the "perfect blueprint" for the programming/marketing plans TPP would like to sculpt is the Diet Coke/"Friends" tie-in earlier this year.

He also plans to vertically build TPP's consulting business with its international sales and Myers Reports.

Reebok's sponsorship of the new hockey league promises to be the beginning of an aggressive push into in-line skating and hockey for the apparel marketer. Reebok has licensed its Pump technology and Pump name to CCM, an in-line skates marketer.

In 1994, rival Nike acquired Canstar, one of the world's largest marketers of hockey equipment. Nike will launch its own line of branded skates and equipment this fall.

In-line skates is "a category we've been looking at for quite some time, in terms of doing something on our own," said a Reebok spokesman. "But we want to come in with a point of differentiation, given there is so much product on the market right now."

The hockey ball association, starting up in May, will be a "total marketing platform" for Reebok, said Jack Myers, TPP chairman-CEO. Reebok will get on-site signage, and run a sweepstakes.

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