Baseball spurns Nike

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Nike has struck out with Major League Baseball. The No. 1 athletic footwear and apparel marketer's offer of a reported 10-year, $200 million marketing deal has been rejected by MLB owners. It would have begun with the 1998 season and given Nike an apparel license to 15 to 18 teams. MLB owners reportedly shot down the deal because of feuding among owners over which teams would be aligned with Nike and because those teams couldn't do in-stadium ad deals with Nike's competitors. Insiders also say that money was an issue, as was the inability to get cooperation from the MLB Players Association, which still doesn't have a labor deal with owners. MLB's new marketing chief, Greg Murphy, was negotiating the deal and was believed to have reached an agreement in principle with not only Nike but Reebok International and Starter Corp. months ago.

Copyright November 1996, Crain Communications Inc.

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