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TD Monkey Is Big Business for Colts

December 1, 2000

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) _ A little monkey business has meant big business for the Indianapolis Colts.

The ``Touchdown Monkey″ started as nothing more than a prop in a TV commercial for the Colts.

Then came the phone calls. Team officials were swamped with calls from fans wanting to know where to get the stuffed creature.

The only problem was, they didn’t exist.

``We couldn’t believe the response,″ said Ray Compton, Colts vice president of sales and marketing. ``People were calling us and writing us asking, ’How can we get a ``Touchdown Monkey?‴ We quickly found a way to get them developed.″

The blue-and-white stuffed animals have their arms raised, as if signaling a touchdown or extra point. The larger ``Touchdown Monkey″ is about two feet long, the smaller ``Extra Point Monkey″ about a foot.

CSA Promotions produced 1,000 limited editions of the ``Touchdown Monkey″ and the ``Extra Point Monkey,″ complete with a special tag and a certificate of authenticity. Fans went wild over the monkeys, which quickly sold out.

Larry Konfirst, owner of CSA, said another 15,000 monkeys were made, and at last count more than 9,000 of each had been sold. The ``Touchdown Monkey″ retails for $24.95. The ``Extra Point Monkey,″ a smaller version, sells for $14.95.

``Our big sales are before a home game,″ Compton said. ``They have become icons. They appeal to football fans and non-football fans.″

Konfirst agreed, and said that was an important part of the monkey’s success.

``One of the things that appeals to people is just the monkey face with the big smile,″ he said. ``I think they’ll be around for a while. It will be right up there with the Cheeseheads in Green Bay.″

Fans have come to games dressed as a ``Touchdown Monkey.″ Mike Ditka held one up on a CBS pregame show. There has been a ``Touchdown Monkey″ band, and a 25-foot inflatable version of the monkey was on display at a pregame rally.

The Colts are sponsoring the ″2000 Touchdown Monkey Tour″ in early December at destinations to be selected by fans.

The ad agency that created the commercial has made a two-minute ``Behind the Music″ parody that tells the history of the monkey, how he was injured as a child when he was hit by a shanked punt and later bounced around from job to job where he met his long-lost brother, ``Extra Point Monkey.″

``It’s taken on a life of its own,″ said Mike Karnuta, an account executive for Bates USA. ``Fans embrace the little guy.″

Is the monkey a one-year wonder, or will it hang around for a while?

``We’ll study it after the year to see if it has some legs,″ Compton said. ``We’ll see if we might add to the family. So much of it has to do with fan participation. That’s where this whole success has come from.″

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