Sunoco Debuts "Essence Of Racing" Campaign Executive Transactions Isiah Thomas Expected Backlash Over Hiring FanDuel Brings On Most Of Zynga Sports Team Georgia Approves Increased Athletic Budget Kentucky Adding Ribbon Boards At Rupp IndyCar Ponders How To Attract Fans Long Term Jeff Gordon Hired As Full-Time Analyst For Fox Danica's Sponsorship Status To Be Telling For NASCAR Classified Advertisements
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Dorna USA has promoted LARRY WOLFSON to Sr. VP/Sales and FRANK MORASKI to VP/Business Operations (Dorna USA). ....ERNIE ARMSTRONG of Toronto has been named Program Dir of Basketball Canada (TORONTO STAR, 3/16)....Liberty Sports announced that EVA BUSTOS has been promoted to Dir of Marketing for Prime Deportiva (Liberty)....Nevada Pro Sports, owners of the AFL Las Vegas Sting and the CISL Las Vegas Dustdevils, have appointed TONY CORDASCO Dir of Media Relations and Broadcasting (Nevada Pro Sports).
CHARLES BARKLEY is expected to become an investor in the new MLB Arizona Diamondbacks (Riverside PRESS-ENTERPRISE, 3/16)....ROCK NEWMAN, manager of heavyweight boxer RIDDICK BOWE, met with MSG President DAVE CHECKETTS about the possibility of Madison Square Garden being the venue of a Bowe-MIKE TYSON fight. Checketts: "We have a great deal of serious intent." Newman said the ideal date for the fight would be March 8, 1996, the 25th anniversary of the Ali-Frazier fight at the Garden (N.Y. TIMES, 3/16). ....GRANT HILL is expected to appear on the "Tonight Show" tonight performing with Jay Leno's "Dancing Itos" (USA TODAY, 3/16)....AARON SPELLING, the creator of Fox's "Melrose Place" is working on a pilot entitled "Ft. Lauderdale," similar to Melrose. MIAMI HERALD's Liz Doup suggests a character be created in the mold of WAYNE HUIZENGA, whose former company, Blockbuster Entertainment, owns 65% of Spelling Entertainment (MIAMI HERALD, 3/15).
The Michael Jordan watch continued yesterday, but still no announcements on the megastar's plans are expected. COVER BOY: Jordan appears on the March 20 cover of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED in the form of a cartoon entitled "It's SuperMichael ... Or is it?" With a White Sox Cap falling off of his head, Jordan is shown pulling his shirt open with a Bulls jersey on underneath. SI's Phil Taylor describes the "second coming": "The impact of his return on the NBA, should it come to pass, would be of Biblical proportions." Taylor says a Jordan return "couldn't come at a better time for the league, which has been hit with a torrent of negative publicity in recent months." Orlando GM Pat Williams: "They will be doing an Irish jig on the desks of the NBA office" (SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, 3/20). REINSDORF FED UP: In New York, Peter Vecsey reports that Bulls Owner Jerry Reinsdorf is "fed up" with the Jordan rumors and will not comment on the situation until it is finalized. Reinsdorf: "If he says no, that's easy, I'll announce it. If he says yes, there'll probably be some things that have to be worked out, so I won't want to talk until it's over." Vecsey: "In other words, Jordan's getting close to making a decision" (N.Y. POST, 3/16). THIS AIR-LINE NOT IN TROUBLE: ESPN's Grace Lee Nikkel notes that stock prices of Jordan-endorsed products have surged and commercials "satirizing" the decision will soon "fill the airwaves": "All this can make you wonder whether Jordan's delay of game is simply a marketing ploy, designed and carefully crafted like the statue that bears his image" ("SportsCenter," 3/15)....Andrew Gottesman writes, "The Jordan saga, so appealing at first, has managed to become a lot like the Simpson saga -- perhaps even worse in a journalistic sense" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 3/16).