Rookie to endorse apparel, star in vid games

Universal Studios’ consumer products arm, continuing its drive into sports sponsorships, has moved into professional basketball by signing rookie star Wally Szczerbiak of the Minnesota Timberwolves to an exclusive endorsement deal.

“As part of our sports initiatives, we are seeking out talented athletes like Wally Szczerbiak,” said Timothy Rothwell, senior vice president of licensing, merchandising and retail development. “Our thinking is that sports don’t go out of style so we’re looking to bring on young athletes at an early age.”

Rothwell said Universal was attracted by Szczerbiak’s “All-American” image and his success with the Timberwolves. Possible merchandise to be marketed under the multi-year pact includes a line of Wally World apparel and use of the player in interactive videogames with other U characters.

Universal has signed several NASCAR drivers in recent years and has also ventured into Formula One Racing and the National Football League with a Classic Monsters promotion.

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