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ORLANDO SPORTS COMMISSION IN JEOPARDY; L.A. GET AUTHORITY
Published August 10, 1995
If the Orlando Area Sports Commission doesn't improve their performance in the next year "the agency is doomed," according to Gene Yasuda of the ORLANDO SENTINEL. Created in '92, the commission was "unveiled as a turbo-booster of sorts, promising to make Central Florida a sports capital while feeding the area's tourism industry." But in two years, the commission "has endured two leadership changes, struggled to raise money from the region's private corporations and now is on the verge of losing the political support" that helped create the group. The new President, Randy Johnson, faces the challenge of revamping the commission. Johnson: "We're the No. 1 tourist destination. There's no reason why we can't become the sports capital of the world, too." Part of Johnson's strategy is to "link the commission to more popular, mainstream" pro sports, such as getting the Devil Rays' to set up their spring-training headquarters in Seminole or Osceola counties, and asking the Magic to apply as a host site for one of the five U.S. Olympic basketball exhibitions that will be played by Dream Team III. The commission's support from the private sector has been "lukewarm at best" and some business leaders "aren't convinced" the commission's events will produce enough benefits to entice major corporations to donate funds (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 8/7). L.A. STORY: The city of Los Angeles has named Diane Hovenkamp as President of the "newly formed" L.A. Sports and Special Events Authority, according to the L.A. BUSINESS JOURNAL. The authority is a unit of the L.A. Convention and Visitors Bureau. She was formerly President of the Orlando Area Sports Commission (L.A. BUSINESS JOURNAL, 8/6 issue).