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Cleveland native Peter Stern, 32, spent several years with New York's Katz Media before forming Strategic Sports Group in late 1996, a boutique shop billing itself as an ad agency specializing exclusively in sports media. He holds the title of president. Clients of the four-person agency have included Internet portal AltaVista, Block Drug Co. and Gulf Oil Corp. Western Union is a long-term client for grassroots and ethnic marketing efforts.

Insight: Local and grassroots marketing is very powerful, and still untapped by many major marketers that perceive the execution as too complicated.

Hot: Major League Baseball. On its way back to the top, it's a great value and offers local opportunities.

Biggest shock: The power of cable TV wrestling. It's rich with creative, customized marketing options. Also, bass fishing. We used to laugh about it, but it's become a fast-growing sport taken seriously by sponsors like Wal-Mart Stores.

Watch for: Internet marketing rights to be sold separately from telecommunications sponsorships. Also, technology convergence will drive right fees up. Sponsors must embrace these realities early to reap benefits.

Prediction: The cross-ownership of media and teams will create conflicts. Owning a piece of a sport could become an obstacle to corporate sponsorship and

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