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Kmart to End Sports Sponsorships

April 10, 2002

DETROIT (AP) _ Kmart Corp. will end all of its Detroit-area sports sponsorships, citing the discount retailer’s financial state.

The Kmart name has been removed from all signs, banners and related items at Comerica Park, and the remaining signage will be taken down at The Palace of Auburn Hills and Joe Louis Arena at the end of the current season.

The Troy-based retailer also turned down a possible sponsorship at Ford Field, the new home of the Detroit Lions.

``It’s not in the company’s best interest right now to continue with the sporting sponsorships,″ spokeswoman Julie Fracker said Wednesday. She said Kmart doesn’t have sports sponsorships in other cities, and had sponsored Detroit teams for about five years.

Kmart filed for reorganization under Chapter 11 in January. In court documents, Kmart said its sponsorships were ``a drain on cash flow″ and ``not a source of potential value.″

Fracker said financial information about the sponsorships wasn’t available.

The court allowed Kmart to end its two major auto racing sponsorships with the International Speedway Corp. and Haas-Carter Inc., a NASCAR team owned by Carl Haas and Travis Carter.

Kmart was signed as an official corporate sponsor of the Daytona 500 before the retailer’s financial troubles began. According to court documents, the sponsorship would have cost Kmart about $1.4 million for both the 2002 and 2003 races.

In its agreement with Haas-Carter, Kmart paid $19.2 million to sponsor two cars, driven by Joe Nemecheck and Todd Bodine, in the Winston Cup series.

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On the Net:

Kmart Corp., http://www.kmartcorp.com

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