David Yates joined Ironman Properties, Tarpon Springs, Fla., in late 1989 and became president in '92 when the triathlon organization relaunched its licensing program. Eschewing sponsorships in favor of using licensed products to promote its events worldwide, Ironman now boasts $150 million in retail sales through licensed products, including Timex watches, Reebok shoes, Huffy bicycles and PR Nutrition bars. Latest entries: Ironman sunblock and lip balm, an Ironman credit card with MBNA and an Ironman licensed sports drink to be named soon.
Insight: The only real sponsorship that makes sense these days is one that moves products. Many sponsorships lack any connection to sales.
Forecast: The WNBA's success will depend on viewer reaction in weeks five to eight, when reality replaces the hype. Track and field won't regain lost sponsorship dollars until it understands retailers' needs.
Opinion: Marketers have confused consumers and diluted loyalty by pumping out too many products and line extensions. Focus on your core products and kill the peripheral products.