Monday, November 22, 1999

The Ankur Report ~ by Ankur Shah

Have you ever dreamed of going one-on-one with Anna Kournikova? Well, I had a chance at the launch party for her new site,, which is hosted by AthleteDirect, on Monday, November 22. Unfortunately, however, I double-faulted by only meeting a round of marketers for the party and the website.

As I got to the party, I was told that she was in the back room, where a makeshift press tent had been created. As I got to the press area, I saw that ABC, NBC, E!, and many other networks were present. I began to think an interview would be very hard to come by. I was right. I did meet Mr. Steve Fedonchik, the Marketing Director for P.O.V. magazine, the sponsor for this party, who promised to get a hold of a representative of AthleteDirect for me to talk to. As I waited around, Anna and her entourage came into the main bar area and took some pictures. I was only about two or three feet from her, but there was a wall of photographers between her and me.

After Anna left the party, I met another marketer--Mr. Igal Litovsky, the Vice President of Marketing for AthleteDirect. I learned that Anna was just one piece of the AthleteDirect puzzle. The company creates and maintains websites for over 225 athletes, including Troy Aikman, Steve Young, Brett Favre, Ken Griffey, Jr., and Kobe Bryant. Basically, AtheleteDirect creates an "online home" for the athlete. At the site, the athlete has his/her own store to sell merchandise. Also AthleteDirect has an exclusive relationship with the athlete and the athlete's agent, so one can find all the official news on their favorite athlete.