SunAmerica/jas/mike1st/mark2nd

By JULIE SABLE

Staff Reporter

SunAmerica Inc., the Century City-based financial services company, is aiming to score big under a new promotional deal it has entered into with NBC Sports.

Under the agreement, announced April 4, SunAmerica's commercials and promotions will air more than 230 times over the next year on NBC Sports broadcasts.

That will probably make SunAmerica the most-visible single advertiser on NBC Sports, whose programs draw some of the network's largest viewing audiences. Among the broadcasts on which SunAmerica promotions will air are NFL Football, the World Series and the Wimbledon tennis tournament.

Another sponsored program, called the "SunAmerica NBC Sports Desk," will feature up-to-the-minute national sports highlights. It will air during events such as the French Open, the PGA Seniors' Championship and the Breeders' Cup.

SunAmerica decided to concentrate its advertising budget on television because its previous TV ads were followed by substantial sales increases. And it decided to focus on sports because the relatively upscale, male viewership matches the demographics of those who most frequently buy SunAmerica's financial products.

"NBC has sponsors that use the umbrella approach such as SunAmerica is doing, but the difference with this deal is that it represents their first major commitment in network television where they are putting all of their advertising into sporting events," said NBC spokesman Ed Markey.

SunAmerica Marketing President Jana Waring Greer said the promotion is part of the company's goal to grow its customer base beyond the current 1.2 million investors.

The sponsorship deal represents a significant increase over the $9 million a year SunAmerica has been spending on television advertising, Waring Greer said. But she would not disclose the value or other details of the deal.

The new promotion comes after earlier SunAmerica TV campaigns that were deemed successful.

A television campaign that kicked off in 1994 and ran for two years resulted in an increase in sales of SunAmerica's retirement products. SunAmerica is projecting $2.6 billion in sales for 1997, a 40 percent increase over last year, said Waring Greer.

In addition to its deal with NBC Sports, SunAmerica also entered into separate deals that will result in its spots airing more than 500 times within the next year on CNN, CNBC and A & E.;

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