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Tennis Star Anna Kournikova Runs With Lions

19 Jul, 2001 By: Jessica Wolf

Lions Gate Entertainment is getting into a whole new racket with the release of Anna Kournikova’s Basic Elements: My Complete Fitness Guide.

The video featuring tennis star Kournikova’s personal training regimen broken down for home exercisers marks Lions Gate’s first foray into the fitness video world and streets on VHS and DVD Sept. 25 (prebook Aug. 27). The DVD is priced at $19.99 and the VHS at $14.99.

The high-profile 20-year-old who’s taken the women’s tennis world by storm is the perfect celebrity to launch Lions Gate’s fitness genre,says Ron Schwartz, executive v.p. of North American home entertainment sales and operations.

Schwartz says his company was looking for a way to get into the fitness video business and this title was “the right property with he right nameattached.”

“Her name recognition is tremendous and her marketability is incredible,” Schwartz says. “She is a world-class athlete and shehappens to be a tremendously visible athlete. The marketing aspects were just too good to pass up.”

The Russian Kournikova has been making a name for herself off the tennis court as well as on. The sports marketing firm Burns Sports &Celebrities ranked her the fourth most appealing sports figure for product endorsements. She landed behind Michael Jordan (No. 1), Tiger Woods (No. 2) and Lance Armstrong, a cyclist on the Tour de France anda cancer survivor.

The Forbes Power List ranked Kournikova No. 54 based on press coverage, income and Internet popularity on a list that includes Hollywood’sbiggest stars, the most popular athletes and the most influential politicians.

Octagon CSI produced the video and approached Lions Gate with the distribution rights.

Schwartz admits that breaking into the fitness world can be a challenge with so many fitness video gurus already firmly ensconced in the market. “It is a very competitive landscape with some very competitive names and I don’t think we’re hoping to be in that league right away, but with this we have an opportunity,” Schwartz says.

“There’s a hope for us that we can put together a line of products,” he adds. “We do expect that this will get us into the business along thelines of athletic-related and athlete-related product.”

Above all, Schwartz says, the video provides a good workout that he thinks the predominantly female fitness video consumer will embrace.

The attractive Kournikova is also popular with men. “I think there will also be some men that will buy this as well,” Schwartz says, adding that the company expects to ship “a ton of product.”

The workout video also includes Anna’s nutrition tips and clips of her in action on the tennis court.

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