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World Series Winners Can Expect Commercial Offers

October 29, 1986

NEW YORK (AP) _ Winning the World Series will mean a plateful of banquet invitations for New York Mets players and a chance for some to star in commercials, advertising executives and talent negotiators say.

But advertisers know the emotion attached to today’s heroes will soon fade, the experts say, and they expect only a few well-established players to convert their prime-time Series exposure into lucrative, long-term national ad assignments.

The Mets and the Boston Red Sox slugged it out in seven nationally televised prime-time contests over the past two weeks, ending with New York’s 8-5 victory in the deciding game Monday night.

On Tuesday, a crowd estimated by police at more than 2 million turned out for a ticker-tape parade to honor the city’s newest heroes.

″In terms of personal appearances, this skyrockets it,″ said Marty Blackman, president of Blackman and Raber Ltd., a New York-based consulting firm which advises advertising agencies on use of sports celebrities.

Demand for personal appearances by Mets players will be strong from groups ranging from Little Leagues to corporations, especially those based in the New York area, Blackman said Tuesday.

Players who have been getting between $300 and $1,000 for an appearance may now be able to command fees of $750 to $2,500, he said.

But Blackman said only a few players - ″the Gary Carters of that team″ - will find national television commercial offers coming their way.

Blackman counts the Mets catcher as ″the safest bet″ to win a national commercial contract not only because of a solid World Series performance but because of Carter’s long record of baseball accomplishments, drawing power in All-Star balloting, civic involvements and proven ability to make commercials.

Carter has already appeared in network TV commercials for Ivory soap and in network radio ads for Polaroid cameras, and is seen frequently in the New York market for New York Newsday and Chemical Bank.

Stephen Levitt, president of Marketing Evaluations-TVQ Inc., a Port Washington, based firm which measures consumer attitudes toward celebrities, said third baseman Ray Knight may be the Met who will benefit the most from his World Series exposure.

After a sub-par season in 1985, Knight rebounded this year, delivered seeral key hits in the Series and was named its most valuable player.

″That introduced him to millions of people who didn’t know him before, to people in cities where the Mets are not household words,″ Levitt said.

Knight’s marriage to golf star Nancy Lopez makes the couple an attractive combination for an advertiser with the right campaign, he said.

But Blackman said Knight’s up-and-down performance over the past few years carries risks for advertisers who might wonder how he will do next year.

Jerry Saviola, the celebrity talent negotiator for Grey Advertising in New York, said winning the Series doesn’t necessarily mean players will be able to command more money for appearing in commercials, only that they move to the top of the list when advertisers need a baseball player.

″Now when you say ‘ballplayer,’ a Met pops into view,″ he said.

In addition to Carter and Knight, Saviola said the series also may have made national commercial candidates of the hard-charging center fielder, Len Dykstra, and the polished pitcher, Ron Darling.

None of the experts spotted an athlete in this World Series with the charismatic personality that quarterback Jim McMahon and defensive lineman William ″Refrigerator″ Perry displayed en route to the Chicago Bears’ football championship last year.

McMahon has since made commercials for Honda motorbikes, while Perry appeared for McDonald’s hamburgers.

Bertrand W. Lanchner, a senior vice president and chief legal officer at the advertising agency N.W. Ayer Inc. in New York, said World Series exposure enhances the national prominence of players on both teams.

Even though they lost, Boston third baseman Wade Boggs and manager John McNamara ″are more attractive for having been in the Series,″ Lanchner said.

The same applies to players who may not have performed as well as had been expected, he said. ″Participation in the World Series can help a guy who is a big star in the Series, but it won’t hurt a guy who had a bad Series.″

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