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Las Vegas was chosen to be the site of the first two post- season basketball tournaments of the expanded 16-team WAC, league officials announced Monday. The deal is for two years with an option for a third. Las Vegas, which guaranteed the conference $1M per tournament, beat out Dallas, Denver and Albuquerque. WAC Commissioner Karl Benson: "The guarantee eliminates the question of whether the event will be financially successful." The events will be held at the 18,500-seat Thomas & Mack Center (Steve Davis, DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 5/2).
Michigan State football coach Nick Saban and basketball coach Tom Izzo have agreed to separate five-year deals with Reebok that will include $1M worth of free Reebok products for the MSU Athletic Department. Izzo, who succeeds Jud Heathcote, will receive "at least" $110,000 from Reebok during his first year, while Saban, who is replacing George Perles, will receive $55,000 (DETROIT NEWS, 4/30).
The Univ. of Minnesota is hoping to lure fans back to football games with promotions such as pre-game rock concerts for students, greens fees at the university golf course and discounts on extension classes. Students are the "main marketing thrust" of the ticket drive. The U has not sold more than 10,000 student season tickets since '69. Last year, only 1,858 were sold. MN Asst. AD Pat Forciea: "There's a tremendous amount of respect for basketball and hockey. We're trying to get football at that level." The U also plans to market the team ot the public as a "door opener" for the rest of the university. Forciea: "One of the things we can do that the Vikes or the Wolves can't is, if a person wants to learn Spanish, we can teach them Spanish" (Jerry Zgoda, Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 4/30).