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Resort Sports Network announced that LARRY COLLINS has joined as full-time sales rep for NYC and Chicago (Resort Network)....Ventura Entertainment Group, a sports marketing event promotion and infomercial producer, announced additions to their Board of Directors. WILLIAM EBERLE of Showscan Entertainment and BENNET SMITH, President and CEO of Soundview Media have been named to the board. DAVID WARD, formerly a senior partner at Deloitte & Touce, was named Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer (VARIETY, 11/2).
MAGIC JOHNSON was a guest on NBC's "Today Show." Johnson, who owns 5% of the Lakers talked of the rookie salary cap. Johnson: "I want the players to get as much as they can get. ... If you deserve the money and you earned it. Here it is." But he was critical of the high-priced demands of rookie. On Glenn Robinson's demands: "No way, the franchise of Milwaukee is worth only $90 million. ... Nobody is worth a $100 million." Johnson jokingly said, however, that he, Michael Jordan and Larry Bird would be worth that much if they were still playing Magic. More seriously, Johnson said Jordan would have been the first $100M player if he had stayed in the NBA (NBC, 11/3).
Former Patriots GM PAT SULLIVAN now serves as President of Game Creek Video, a "10-employee firm that rents out its two 48- foot video production trucks to television networks and stations large and small" (BOSTON GLOBE, 11/2).... VINCENT PIAZZA and VINCENT TIRENDI, the two businessman "rejected as potential investors" in a '92 effort to move the Giants to Tampa/St. Pete, received a formal apology from MLB yesterday over statements made by one exec on the Piazza's and Tirendi's backgrounds (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 11/3)....For the first time, prosecutors have "detailed an incident" in which money from the L.A. Kings was improperly used to help BRUCE MCNALL's severe cash flow problems. Prosecutors charge as much as $7M was diverted from the "elite Senate Seat program at the Forum in '93 to support McNall's collapsing business empire" (L.A. TIMES, 11/3)
Donna Lopiano is Executive Director of the Women's Sports Foundation. For this week's "Insider Interview," Lopiano spoke with THE SPORTS BUSINESS DAILY on the emerging role of women in sports, as consumers, fans, viewers -- as well as the prospect of future women's pro leagues. THE DAILY: With all the labor problems in major league sports, why isn't there more talk about women's sports? LOPIANO: If women's professional sports were already developed, they might be considered an alternative to striking leagues. With the exception of the LPGA, WTA and some pro beach volleyball, there has literally been little or nothing except individual participation. ... The history of women's professional team sports in the U.S. has been a litany of investors with terrible strategic plans, placing franchises in markets where they're going head to head with already developed men's sport products --and doomed to fail. Coupled with the fact that many of these were started 10 to 15 years ago when women did not have the opportunities and did not have skills that you would call professional level. ... It's really changed in the last 10 years. You now have a large enough pool where -- I don't care what the sport is -- you can put together a pro women's team sport. THE DAILY: Is there a change going on in terms of women's sports participation and viewing habits? LOPIANO: No question. When you look at participation data, prior to 1977 only one in every 27 high school girls played varsity sports. That figure today is one-in-three. And the figure for boys is one-in-two. So women are probably halfway there, in terms of where guys currently are. For the very first time, we've got eight years of athletes who've had the opportunity to weight train, to have quality coaches, to have had athletic scholarships in schools. Athletic scholarships didn't happen until 1975. THE DAILY: What does it take to attract the female demographic (18-39), from a viewer and consumer standpoint? LOPIANO: I would think it only takes someone who has an interest in a sport. And you are more likely to be interested if you've played it and therefore understand it. It's very hard just to observe it and demonstrate a passion. ... It's no accident that NBA Properties has a woman's line and is selling actively to women, even though most of their demographics are still men. Forty percent of their in-arena spectators, I understand are women and thirty percent of their TV spectators are women. THE DAILY: Who are the leaders in the sports industry in terms of appealing to women? LOPIANO: There's no doubt that there are a number of companies who have grabbed the gauntlet, in terms of changing the face of sports to include women. Reebok, who made their money off of women's fitness, is now jumping head over heels into women's sports. The kind of money and the kind of effort they're going in with to promote female athletes, as opposed to women's fitness, is really extraordinary. But you can look at companies as diverse as Gillette. Gillette has a history in men's sports and now they're getting into women's sports. A product like milk is going big time into women's sports because of the osteoporosis connection. All of these companies are seeing the marketing value of playing to an untapped market, and they're going in big time.