Devil Rays draft city ad agency

Baseball team account is a first for Leffler, firm for 4 NFL teams

September 09, 1999|By June Arney | June Arney,SUN STAFF

The Leffler Agency Inc., a Baltimore advertising and public relations-marketing company, has landed a $3.5 million advertising account with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, the agency's first major league baseball win.

The firm's client roster already includes four NFL teams: the Baltimore Ravens, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Cincinnati Bengals and Denver Broncos.

"We've been known for football, but now we're breaking into baseball," said Bob Leffler, founder of the company that bears his name. "Football games are 10 or 12 events. This is 81. So it's a different kind of sell."

And just a few days ago, the Naval Academy added its name to the list of Leffler's sports customers. Leffler said the agency will handle advertising and help with sponsorship and broadcasts for Navy's home football games, but he declined to say how much the account was worth. The job also will include helping to boost merchandise sales.

With the new business, Leffler thinks he has more advertising accounts for sports and entertainment clients than any other agency in the country. That information could not be independently verified yesterday.

Despite the long list of sports and entertainment accounts, which includes the Maryland Jockey Club and Baltimore-Washington Ticketmaster, that category represents only about 30 percent of the agency's overall business, Leffler said. Other clients include: Town and Country Management Company, Valu Food, Mr. Mattress Stores and Surgery Center of Maryland.

Other client categories range from TV stations and attorneys to heating and air conditioning companies.

About a year ago, Leffler decided to try to expand his agency by including business accounts, which now represent about 20 percent of the agency's work. Media clients make up another 20 percent, while institutions and other endeavors make up the remaining 30 percent.

The Leffler Agency, which also has an office in Tampa, Fla., was founded in 1984. The agency has 18 employees and $18.9 million in annual billings, Leffler said.

Pub Date: 9/09/99

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