Score: Sports signings

McFarlane laces up with the NHL and NFL...
August 1, 2001

McFarlane laces up with the NHL and NFL

Tempe, Arizona-based McFarlane Toys has cornered a new licensing deal with the National Hockey League permitting it to use the league’s team logos and colors on a line of NHL action figures. The first series of McFarlane’s Sports Picks NHL, slated to hit stores in September, will feature Jose Theodore, Martin Brodeur, Peter Forsberg, Mats Sundin, John LeClair and Ed Belfour.

McFarlane, which had released figures of NHL Players Association members last year-minus the team logos-only recently secured the NHL action figure category. Hasbro had previously controlled the rights through its Starting Lineup brand, but recently nixed its deal with the league, says Ken Reinstein, spokesperson for McFarlane.

In related news, McFarlane also recently inked an action figure deal with the NFL and NFL Players Association-rights that Hasbro had also previously held. McFarlane will release both the NHL and NFL lines under its Sports Picks brand in September. The six-inch dolls will retail for US$8 to US$10.

Shaq lends his big hands to watchmaker

It’s Shaq Time! Shaquille O’Neal, the NBA’s seven-foot center famous for his monster slam dunks, will soon be trying to score points for his new corporate partner Swatch. The Swiss watchmaker has inked a multi-year promotional and licensing deal with Shaq that will see him work with Swatch to develop a line of his own watches. The Shaq Swatches, which won’t hit retail till Q1 or Q2 of next year, will retail for US$80 to US$125 and will be geared to teens and adults. ‘It will be a watch that both a 15-year-old and a 50-year-old can wear comfortably,’ says Venanzio Ciampa, marketing chief for Swatch U.S.A.

The Shaq deal marks the first agreement the watch company-which also maintains endorsement deals with skateboarder Andy Macdonald and golfer Sergio Garcia-has signed with a major North American athlete. ‘Shaq is an icon. He brings us into the mainstream of professional sports,’ says Ciampa.

As for the promotional aspect of the deal, starting in September, Shaq will help to market Swatch’s ultra-thin line of Skin watches by promoting the product in TV spots, print ads, billboards and on the company’s website (

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