Leagas Plays Ball for MVP.com

Parlays Earlier Sports E-Tailer Relationship Into a Major Account
SAN FRANCISCO–Leagas Delaney has been named lead agency on MVP.com’s $50 million account and is putting the final touches on the company’s launch campaign.
Sports superstars Michael Jordan, John Elway and Wayne Gretzky are helping to operate the sports apparel retail site, which has yet to launch. Their participation has already generated significant publicity, setting the stage for Leagas’ national TV, print and outdoor ads, which break this week.
Leagas had been handling the $10 million ad account of another sports gear e-tailer, BigEdge.com, since August. That Chicago-based site, which had an association with America Online, was folded into MVP.com when Elway founded the latter last month, according to BigEdge officials.
The San Francisco agency, which is known for its Adidas work, was initially hired by MVP.com to do project work, but its role quickly evolved, sources said. The client is not conducting any search for additional agency help, said a company representative.
Leagas executives declined to comment.
In the four weeks since its founding, MVP has sold an equity stake to CBS for $85 million. The television network will provide advertising time over a four-year period. Elway, Jordan and Gretzky–who have 15 professional sports season MVP awards among them–also have equity stakes in the project.
MVP.com is also cutting a deal with the online retail divison of SportsLine.com, publisher of the CBSSportsLine Web site.
The account raises the question of possible conflicts for Leagas.
Jordan, who serves as a director of MVP.com, is also chairman of Brand Jordan, a key division of Nike, Adidas’ archrival.