SBD/19/Leagues Governing Bodies

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              MLS' second season begins this Saturday with most teams
         in action.  In Tampa, Bill Ward examined MLS' second season,
         noting, "In many ways, Major League Soccer's inaugural
         season last year was almost too successful."  Ward:  "For
         all it accomplished, it left MLS executives with a problem: 
         How are they going to top it this year?"  Ward adds that
         "showing modest gains, improving the level of play and
         shoring up the trouble spots will be no easy task in 1997"
         (TAMPA TRIBUNE, 3/16).  In San Diego, Mark Zeigler notes the
         offseason moves made by the league, the league office moving
         to New York, more foreign players, and "talk" of expansion. 
         Ziegler: "Good changes.  Important changes.  Necessary
         changes.  The point is, the league is not standing pat.  It
         isn't because it can't" (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 3/19). 
         League Commissioner Doug Logan said he expects the average
         attendance will rise 15% in '97, from 17,416 to 20,000.  The
         ten MLS teams have sold 34,000 season-tickets, a six percent
         increase over last year (AP/N.Y. POST, 3/16).
              STAR STRUCK:  In N.Y., the DAILY NEWS' Michael Lewis
         noted the MetroStars are 30% ahead of season-ticket sales at
         this time last year at nearly 8,000; the target is 12,000. 
         Lewis wrote an average attendance of 30,000 "isn't out of
         the question" due to the area's extensive fan base and that
         14 of 16 home games are on weekends (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 3/16).
              NEXT STEPS: SI's "Scorecard" previews year two, and
         notes the newly formed MLSPA's class-action suit claiming
         the league is illegally holding down salaries.  SI: "Though
         it poses a formidable challenge to MLS, the suit will take
         anywhere from three to 10 years to get through the courts. 
         Both sides would be wise to avoid acrimony that could tear
         the league apart" (SI, 3/24 issue).
              THROW INS: Nearly 34,000 tickets have been sold for the
         USA-Mexico World Cup qualifying match at Foxboro Stadium on
         April 20.  The match, televised by ABC, will be followed by
         an MLS Mutiny-Revolution contest (U.S. Soccer).

    Print | Tags: ABC, Leagues and Governing Bodies, MLS, New England Revolution, Sports Illustrated, Walt Disney

              NASCAR, currently a $2B enterprise, was the subject of
         a three-part series by Richard Alm of the DALLAS MORNING
         NEWS.  Calling NASCAR "America's fastest-growing spectator
         sport," Alm noted the 31-race Winston Cup series, the top
         tier of NASCAR, drew 5.58 million in attendance in '96, up
         from 3.3 million in '90, and will "top that with ease" this
         season.  Felix Sabates, owner of three Winston Cup cars: 
         "Every racetrack we go to is a sellout.  No other sport can
         say that."  TV ratings "set another record last year," with
         111.89 million households tuning into racing on CBS, ABC,
         ESPN, TBS and The Nashville Network, "double the audience at
         the start of the decade" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 3/16).
              WHO'S BUYING?  Alm wrote that "what the sponsors see in
         NASCAR is a legion of fans."  Alm: "NASCAR chief Bill France
         rules the sport.  Entrepreneurs operate tracks and run
         racing teams. ... But sponsors ultimately pay most of the
         bills -- for NASCAR, the tracks, the cars and the drivers"
         (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 3/18). 
              EXPANSION:  Alm added expansion to "untapped markets
         outside the Southeast" depends on new tracks being built,
         and racing "doesn't get the public subsidies" that go to
         other sports' stadiums.  Alm: "In fact, the most unforgiving
         impediment to expansion may well be the calendar.  There are
         plenty of tracks and untapped markets that could sell
         100,000 or more tickets to a Winston Cup contest, but with
         travel, holidays and a short off-season, it's difficult to
         add new races" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 3/16).
              FELIX & OSCAR?  Calling them NASCAR's "version of the
         Odd Couple," Ben Blake profiles Speedway Motorsports CEO
         Bruton Smith and NASCAR President Bill France in the
         RICHMOND TIMES-DISPATCH.  Blake: "The signs indicate that
         Smith is trying to lever[age] something from NASCAR: dates
         for his race tracks.  He seems to believe France owes him at
         least one date" (RICHMOND TIMES-DISPATCH, 3/18).

    Print | Tags: ABC, CBS, ESPN, Leagues and Governing Bodies, NASCAR, Turner Sports, Viacom, Walt Disney

              NBA Commissioner David Stern was profiled by David
         Moore in yesterday's DALLAS MORNING NEWS under the header,
         "Stern Lacks Flash, But He's Still MVP."  Moore: "As the
         sport celebrates its stars and reminisces about the last 50
         years, it's difficult to find anyone who has had a bigger
         impact on the league than Stern."  Marketing. Revenues. 
         Exposure.  All have flourished under Stern's leadership. ...
         Stern has accomplished this without losing one game on the
         schedule to a strike or lockout. ... Cracks have developed,
         as they do in any successful venture.  But the owners have
         faith that Stern will be able to shepherd them into an even
         more lucrative era" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 3/18).
              WHAT, NO MORE JERRY WEST? NEWSDAY's Rob Parker, on
         Michael Jordan's impending retirement and how the NBA should
         recognize him: "Although it never seemed possible, Jordan
         has reached [Muhammad] Ali status.  If the NBA really wanted
         to immortalize Jordan -- arguably, if even just a little,
         the best ever to play hoop -- it would change its logo and
         replace it with Jordan's likeness" (NEWSDAY, 3/19).
              WORM TO TALK FOREIGN POLICY? The Bulls are scheduled to
         visit the White House April 3 in honor of their '95-96
         Championship (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 3/19).

    Print | Tags: Chicago Bulls, Leagues and Governing Bodies, NBA
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