WB shacks up with Shaq on license deal

NEW YORK — Warner Bros. Sports Licensing and Reebok Intl. have reached a licensing agreement that will have L.A. Lakers center Shaquille O’Neal serving as spokesman for a new WB-branded line of athletic shoes and apparel.

The four-year deal represents an unusual two-tiered arrangement in which the new WB line, bearing a “Shaq Dunkman” logo, will be sold in mid- and mass-market retail outlets, while Reebok will continue to retain O’Neal as spokesman for its high-end footwear. He also will continue to practice and compete in Reebok shoes.

The WB/O’Neal line, which represents Warner Bros.’ biggest push into sports licensing to date, will include a variety of affordable youth and adult apparel and footwear, with Russell Athletic and ACI as major licensees.

O’Neal wear will become much more broadly accessible with the emergence of the new Warner line: Reebok’s Shaq Dunk Mob sneakers for example, now carry a pricetag of about $110 in athletic specialty shops, while WB’s Shaq Dunkman sneakers will sell for as low as $39 in mass-market retail outlets.

O’Neal, who already pulls in an estimated $23 million a year in endorsement income, is receiving an undisclosed fee.

The deal complements an existing relationship between O’Neal and Warner Bros., which has the NBA superstar taking a turn as a superhero in the title role of WB’s action pic “Steel,” in theaters this summer.

O’Neal is represented by Leonard Armato at Management Plus.

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