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The ATP Tour and EXPO 2000 Hannover announced yesterday that the ATP World Championship, the year-end event of the men's pro tour, will be held in Hannover, Germany, from '96-99. The event's five-year run in Frankfurt ends after '95. In addition, The World Championship will be a showcase event for EXPO 2000 Hannover, the organizer of the World Exposition to be held from June 1-October 31, 2000. EXPO 2000 Hannover also made a commitment to a worldwide ad and promotional campaign to increase the international awareness of the World Championship and World Exposition (ATP). BEHIND THE DEAL: Yesterday, THE SPORTS BUSINESS DAILY spoke with ATP COO Larry Scott about the change of venue. Scott cited two reasons for the move: "One was to build our asset by moving to Hannover and increasing our [seating capacity] from 9,000 seats in the Festhalle, to where we can sit 14,000 people in the new facility. ... Secondly, the overall promotional gain that partnering with the World EXPO gives the ATP Tour. We are the arguably the second most popular sport in Germany and now we have a partner that will back that up with promotions and advertisements." Part of EXPO 2000's support will be by running ads and promotions for both the Championships and the World Expo on their TV-partner broadcasts and at ATP events. EXPO 2000 will also have on-site promotions with Mercedes, a new ATP sponsor, and other ATP sponsors including Lufthansa. Scott: "They are promoting the World Expo through tennis, and it gives much more stature and value to the World Championships." The event will be televised internationally and seen in the U.S. on ESPN, but Scott noted the ATP is in discussions to put the men's final on U.S. network TV. In addition, Scott said that World Sports Marketing (WSM), the German-based sports marketing company, will help EXPO 2000 Hannover in staging the event. Their efforts will be overseen by tennis guru Ion Tiriac, who is a consultant to WSM. Scott said staying in Germany was "a reflection of where tennis is strongest. There was some consideration to move back to the U.S. (where it was known as The Masters and held at Madison Square Garden), but it didn't make sense to us" (THE DAILY).
The NHL announced yesterday plans for a travelling off-ice (street and roller) hockey tournament and summer festival called NHL BREAKOUT '95. The tour is designed to "capitalize on and enhance the growing interest in hockey" across North America. The festival, created by the NHL and produced by Streetball Partners Int'l, will begin at Soldier Field in Chicago on July 15-16. In addition to tournaments, a variety of hockey-themed activities and entertainment will be featured, including skills clinics and interactive events, as well as music, food, merchandise, and the chance to meet NHL players. The tour is sponsored by Bauer, Campbell's Chunky Soup, Coca-Cola, Dodge, Nike, Sports Illustrated for Kids in cooperation with USA Hockey Inline and Canadian Hockey and supported by Hyper Wheels. NHL BREAKOUT '95 hits the following areas this summer and early fall: Chicago, Toronto, Philadelphia, Edmonton, Washington, Detroit, Dallas South Florida, and L.A. (NHL). BURKE AND THE BABE: NHL Senior VP Brian Burke was a guest on ESPN Radio's "Fabulous Sports Babe" Wednesday. Excerpts -- On franchise movement: "We think it's a sign of instability; we don't like it." On expansion: "Are there enough players that can play at the NHL level to sustain expansion? We feel there are, if we have two teams. The next factor is the venue, but that's also owner driven. If the right owner steps forward and wants a team in Atlanta or Portland or Phoenix, then it may happen. That may happen over the summer" (ESPNet SportsZone, 6/2).
Lawyers for both MLB owners and the MLBPA continue to meet "under much secrecy," reports Hal Bodley of USA TODAY. MLBPA Asst General Counsel Lauren Rich has been representing the union, "often accompanied" by agent Steve Fehr, brother of MLBPA Exec Dir Don Fehr, with attorneys Stan Jaspen and Rob Manfred representing the owners. Bodley reports that "communication has been excellent" and the relationship between the two sides "has improved dramatically." One scenario discussed "includes a temporary agreement that would extend through the 1996 season. The union might go for that; owners likely would not" (USA TODAY, 6/2).
Soccer in the U.S. "is suffering a post-World Cup letdown" as the lack of a major league or national coach is cultivating "skepticism," according to Jere Longman in this morning's N.Y. TIMES. However, Longman writes that U.S. soccer officials "remain enthusiastic about the future" and point to increased participation, development fund and TV contract from last summer's World Cup. MLS officials say that $50M in financing "is in place" for the league's inaugural season starting next April. USSF Secretary general Hank Steinbrecher, on MLS: "If you're looking at 10,000 people on average to get the product on the shelf, and increasing the market share every year, then the league can be successful" (N.Y. TIMES, 6/2). MLS announces their ninth and tenth investors and cities on Tuesday (MLS).