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Association Bisnow
January 29, 2008



NFL Hall of Famer Steve Largent knows about quick-strike offenses from his days as a wide receiver for the Seattle Seahawks.  Now leading the charge for the wireless industry as CEO of CTIA (aka The Wireless Association), Steve's doing his latest two-minute drill to score advertising points.  (We know, we know:  Enough with the metaphors.)


On his departure from the Seahawks, the franchise gave Steve this original painting by LeRoy Neiman.  Having a football star as head of the CTIA is fitting, since the first commercial wireless call was placed from Chicago's Soldier Field back in 1983.  CTIA is counting down to the 25th anniversary on October 13 with a list of the top-10 moments in wireless history.  (Kind of like Plays of the Week on SportsCenter.) 


In the fall, Steve thought his members (the five major wireless carriers as well as most smaller ones) were taking unfair criticism—primarily in connection with a debate over the FCC's auction of spectrum in the 700 MHz band—and tasked his communications department to come up with an image campaign.  Working with GMMB, which has produced spots for Barack Obama, they got a TV ad ready to go just a week and a half later.  The ads are meant to highlight reliability, competition, and choice in wireless service within the U.S.  To those who say Europe has it better, Steve points to the 700 different phones available to U.S. consumers (vs. 160 in Britain) and the fact that Americans use their cell phones more than citizens of any other country. The ad campaign was targeted to the D.C. area (the better to be viewed by policymakers) and ran through the end of the year.       


Also a former Congressman (oh, yeah, that), Steve represented Oklahoma's 1st District from 1995-2002.  He cut his final term short to run for Governor in a race he lost by a mere 6,500 votes.  In his football days, he and Seahawks quarterback Jim Zorn (just named the Redskins' new offensive coordinator) did some work for a predecessor company of T-Mobile


This week, Steve's headed out to Arizona, site of Sunday's Super Bowl XLII, to help "Iron" Mike Ditka raise money for physically ailing NFL veterans who played before the age of mega-million-dollar contracts.  But he isn't staying for the game—he got his fill last year, sitting through the rain-soaked affair in Miami.  This time he'll be watching it from a cozy living room on TV . . . or at least getting updates on his cell.

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Reed Smith
Arent Foc

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