SBD/10/Leagues Governing Bodies

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  • ARENA FOOTBALL LEAGUE LOOKS FORWARD TO UPCOMING SEASON

         The Arena Football League begins its 9th season this Friday
    and is touting this year's changes:  A lineup of 13 teams, the
    most in league history; five expansion teams (Memphis, St. Louis,
    Iowa, San Jose and Connecticut); a new ESPN announcing crew; and,
    a new revenue-sharing system featuring sports' first payroll tax.
    ESPN's coverage will include Tom Mees, Steve Physioc, Rick "Doc"
    Walker and Mike Mayock.  The league is on the Internet and has
    its own "AFL World Wide Web Page."  The Las Vegas Sting became
    the first AFL team to have their own Web site.  Address:
    http://infolane.com/infolane/sting/ stinghp.html (AFL).  USA
    TODAY examines AFL's goals for the upcoming season.  Among them:
    League-wide attendance of 1 million for the first time; eventual
    franchises in Mexico City, L.A., and New York; and making the
    game more attractive to network TV (Larry Weisman, USA TODAY,
    5/10).
    

    Print | Tags: AFL, ESPN, Leagues and Governing Bodies, Walt Disney
  • BETTMAN ADDRESSES NHL FRANCHISE MOVEMENT, TV, MARKETING

         In an interview on this morning's "Bloomberg Business News,"
    NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman was asked if the relocation of the
    Jets, and the possible moves of other franchises, would give the
    league a "gypsy image."  Bettman: "I hope not -- short-term it
    might.  But what we're in the process of doing is dealing with
    some of the harsh realities of small markets in Winnipeg and
    Quebec, markets that don't have new buildings and that need them
    when there is no prospect of getting them.  And hopefully, in the
    long-term, if the franchises move, it will the league and those
    teams stronger."  Asked about the effect of the lockout, Bettman
    noted the improved ratings on Fox and the 3.5% increase in
    attendance.  Bettman:  "We had a problem, and we dealt with it
    and we got it behind us and our fans have reacted very favorably
    to that."  Posed with the notion that the league has never been
    successful packaging its stars, Bettman said, "Well, in fact, I
    am not sure if that was deliberate.  But our goal is to let
    people know who our great athletes are because that will help
    sell the game.  But it is the chicken and the egg -- not enough
    people know our players, not enough people know our game, and we
    have to teach them about both and that is what we are working on"
    (PBS, 5/10).
         EDMONTON FEELS A DRAFT:  A local Edmonton TV station
    reported that the NHL entry draft will be held in that city.  The
    draft was scheduled to be in Winnipeg, but those plans changed
    with the Jets move (CP/Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 5/10).
    

    Print | Tags: Leagues and Governing Bodies, New York Jets, News Corp./Fox, NHL
  • MLS OPENING LIKELY TO BE DETAILED WITHIN MONTH

         MLS is expected to announce details of its planned opening
    in '96 within a month, according to this morning's USA TODAY.
    The final details are expected to cover the last two teams and
    the investors who will get the league to the financial level
    required to launch -- $50M.  As reported yesterday in THE DAILY,
    Kansas City is expected to be one of the final two MLS cities,
    with Dallas, Denver, and Seattle among the others being
    considered.  MLS Chair Alan Rothenberg:  "We're at the point
    where we have all the commitments we need for financing and
    operating our initial 10 teams" (Jerry Langdon, USA TODAY, 5/10).
    

    Print | Tags: Leagues and Governing Bodies, MLS
  • THE STEINBRENNER PLAN: REORGANIZE BASEBALL'S TOP LEVEL

         Yankees Owner George Steinbrenner will reportedly suggest a
    reorganization of baseball's hierarchy during the owners meeting
    today in Chicago, according to USA TODAY's Hal Bodley.  Under the
    Steinbrenner plan, acting MLB Commissioner Bud Selig would become
    full-time commissioner and AL President Gene Budig and NL
    President Len Coleman would become dual chief operating officers.
    Selig said that while he "appreciated George's support," he has
    not changed his mind on going full-time (USA TODAY, 5/10).  It
    also appears owners are attempting to convince Rob Manfred to
    accept a full-time job with the Players Relation Committee and
    become their lead negotiator.  Manfred is a partner in the
    Washington office of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius -- the firm of
    record for MLB's labor relations issues and employer of former
    PRC head Chuck O'Connor.  In addition, one MLB owner reports that
    MLB Properties has received "several telephone calls" from
    advertisers worried that the players will boycott the All-Star
    Game if the owners fail to guarantee a pension payment
    (AP/ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 5/10).
         GO 'SPOS:  The Expos' three-game series against the Marlins
    outdrew the Yankees' three-game series against the Brewers,
    76,003 to 60,796 (USA TODAY, 5/10).  The success of small-market
    teams is examined by George Vescey in today's N.Y. TIMES.  Vecsey
    writes, "I'm not so sure television money is everything. ... It's
    too soon to be proclaimed a trend, but it bears watching" (N.Y.
    TIMES, 5/10).
         GAMMONS' "DIAMOND NOTES":  ESPN's Peter Gammons reports that
    the Padres' experiment with Fernando Valenzuela -- designed to
    bring in more fans from Tijuana generated only 50 additional
    ticket sales for Valenzuela's last start.  "The Fernando
    Marketing Experience" will continue for one more start, with the
    team looking to bring up more pitching prospects....The Angels
    are holding off on trading Mark Langston because that several in
    the organization believe that recent interest from Disney in
    buying the team "will result in their pushing Peter Ueberroth out
    of the way and bringing in heavier entertainment investment
    dollars"....The Angels are inviting players Chili Davis and Tim
    Salmon to sit in on management meetings "to try and foster some
    understanding of what management tries to do."  Also, Giants
    Owner Peter Magowan and his players split the cost of a park for
    inner-city youth.  Gammons called those moves:  "Two small steps
    for baseball's mankind" ("SportsCenter," 5/9).
    

    Print | Tags: LA Angels, Anaheim Sports, Anheuser Busch, ESPN, Miami Marlins, Leagues and Governing Bodies, Milwaukee Brewers, MLB, New York Yankees, San Diego Padres, Walt Disney, YankeeNets
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