SBD/16/Leagues Governing Bodies

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  • ABL TAKES HIT AS MVP MCCRAY SET TO SIGN WITH WNBA

              The WNBA announced today that ABL MVP Nikki McCray has
         jumped leagues and signed with the WNBA.  McCray will join a
         team of 11 WNBA players in Europe this October (WNBA).  ABL
         CEO Gary Cavalli: "The basic reason she left is that the
         WNBA gives her more promotional exposure."  McCray earned
         $125,000 last year with the ABL (Valerie Lister, USA TODAY,
         9/16).  In N.Y., Lisa Olson reports that with a "personal
         services" contract at the WNBA, McCray is "expected to make
         around" $250,000.  Sources tell Olson that McCray will be
         "optioned out" to one of the WNBA's expansion teams.  Olson:
         "The first bullet has been fired, and it's a killer. ...
         [The move] could be the opening salvo in what is shaping up
         to be a bitter war between the two pro leagues" over
         players.  Now that "each league has finished its debut
         season, the gloves are off" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 9/16). 
              TIP-INS: Cavalli said that while the league lost $4-5M
         in its inaugural season, it projects losses of up to $1.5M
         this year and plans to break even by next season.  In other
         ABL news, Fox Sports Net "plans to put microphones on
         coaches, officials and, possibly, players" for its ABL
         coverage this season, according to USA TODAY's Rudy Martzke. 
         Players could be miked on a tape-delayed basis to "avoid
         embarrassing language" (USA TODAY, 9/16).  
    
    

    Print | Tags: Leagues and Governing Bodies, News Corp./Fox, WNBA
  • CART/FEDEX DEAL NOT ABSOLUTELY, POSITIVELY SIGNED OVERNIGHT

              FedEx "begins negotiations this week" with CART to
         "become the title sponsor of its racing series, a spot now
         held by PPG Industries," according to Shannon Stevens of
         BRANDWEEK.  While FedEx "is expected" to land title
         sponsorship, PPG, with CART since '79, "will likely stay on
         board as presenting sponsor" (BRANDWEEK, 9/15 issue).
              OBSESSION: In Baltimore, Peter Jensen on NASCAR: "Call
         it a religion, a fad, a social phenomenon, but NASCAR racing
         is hot right now, and not just in the South."  Stock car
         racing "has become a national obsession -- and a marketing
         executive's dream," the "perfect marriage of professional
         sports and marketing."  Jensen wrote that more than 10.5
         million attended NASCAR events during the February-November
         season, making it a $2B-a-year industry and that the 32
         Winston Cup races "are the most popular races in the world." 
         Gatorade's Dir of NASCAR Marketing Edward Shull: "If we had
         a free dollar in our sports marketing department right now,
         it would go to NASCAR" (Baltimore SUN, 9/14). 
              ATTENDANCE: NASCAR's Country Music Television 300 at
         the New Hampshire International Speedway drew an "estimated"
         crowd of 88,000 Sunday (Lessels & Vega, BOSTON GLOBE, 9/15).
    
    

    Print | Tags: Champ Car World Series, FedEx, Leagues and Governing Bodies, NASCAR, R J Reynolds
  • EWING COMMANDS NEW CENTER OF ATTENTION AS NBPA PRESIDENT

              The NBPA elected Patrick Ewing as its new president,
         according to Roscoe Nance of USA TODAY.  NBPA Exec Dir Billy
         Hunter and Ewing's agent, David Falk, both called Ewing one
         of the top player "experts" on the CBA.  Ewing: "My goal is
         to make sure the players stay unified ... We have a lot of
         important business ahead of us, and there is no limit to
         what we can accomplish if we stay together."  Joining Ewing
         on the Exec Committee are First VP Charles Smith, VPs Tyrone
         Corbin, Juwan Howard, Dikembe Mutombo, Mitch Richmond, Mark
         West and Herb Williams and Secretary/Treasurer Jim McIlvaine
         (USA TODAY, 9/16).  Ewing will serve a four-year term as
         president and now has "one of the strongest voices in the
         union he once tried to decertify" (N.Y. TIMES, 9/16).
    
    

    Print | Tags: Leagues and Governing Bodies
  • HEADING DOWN TO ATLANTA: MLB SET TO DEBATE REALIGNMENT

              MLB owners begin meetings in Atlanta today through
         Thursday in "an attempt to realign" the AL and NL, according
         to I.J. Rosenberg of the ATLANTA CONSTITUTION.  The 13-
         member realignment committee will meet "early this evening,"
         then MLB's Executive Council will meet.  On Wednesday, the
         leagues will meet separately and the full group of owners
         will convene Thursday, "for a possible vote on realignment"
         (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 9/16).  In Chicago, Jerome Holtzman
         writes that Acting Commissioner Bud Selig, "aware he doesn't
         have the votes" for a radical realignment plan, "may
         downsize."  Holtzman writes that, "in the final version, if
         there is one, there would be only three or four" team
         relocations (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 9/16).  In Milwaukee, Tom
         Haudricourt reports the measure could be tabled if no
         proposal gains enough support (JOURNAL SENTINEL, 9/16).
              RINGOLSBY ON MAGOWAN: In Denver, Tracy Ringolsby writes
         on Giants Owner Peter Magowan, who has threatened to sue MLB
         if the A's are put in the same NL division as the Giants.
         Ringolsby: "In his short-range view, he sees a threat of
         erosion of his fan base. ... But that prompts the question:
         What fan base?"  Noting the attendance "woes" of both the
         A's and Giants, Ringolsby asks, "Could a realignment that
         puts them both in the NL do any further harm? ... [B]y the
         turn of the century only one team will remain in the Bay
         Area.  The Giants' plan for a new stadium makes them the
         favorite ... Magowan is so blinded by the red ink of the
         present that he can't see what is needed for a rose-colored
         future" (ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, 9/16).
    
    

    Print | Tags: Anheuser Busch, Leagues and Governing Bodies, MLB, Oakland Athletics
  • LEAGUE NOTES

              CBA: CBA Commissioner Steve Patterson has "made it
         known" that his league "would be shifting its focus,"
         according to Michael Arace of the HARTFORD COURANT.  Arace:
         "The CBA wants bad students who can fill it up" (HARTFORD
         COURANT, 9/14).  NBA Kings GM Jerry Reynolds: "It sounds
         like the CBA is getting pretty desperate.  The league is
         struggling as it is, and to go get guys out of high school
         and pay them a lot more money than they've been paying
         regular players doesn't make sense" (STAR-TELEGRAM, 9/13).
              MLS: With "pathetic attendance figures" in Denver,
         K.C., Dallas, and "lately" L.A., "it all adds up to dark
         storm clouds on the horizon" for MLS, according to Grahame
         Jones on ESPN SportsZone.  But Jones points to the well-
         attended World Cup qualifying game in Portland earlier this
         month and writes, "Something dramatic needs to be done.  A
         statement needs to be made.  A three-way agreement between
         MLS, the city of Portland and Nike would be such a
         statement. ... Soccer should concentrate its efforts in
         areas where it is strongest instead of trying to blanket the
         country.  Portland could be a model" (SportsZone, 9/14).
              
    

    Print | Tags: ESPN, Leagues and Governing Bodies, MLS, Nike, Sacramento Kings, Walt Disney
  • NHL ALL-STAR WEEKEND SET TO PLAY TO WORLD PARTY

              The NHL announced that the '98 All-Star Game will
         feature a new format with the North American All-Stars
         playing the World All-Stars.  The international game will be
         played on Sunday, January 18, at GM Place in Vancouver. 
         Players from the U.S. and Canada will represent the North
         American team and will face the top players from the rest of
         the world.  All-Star balloting in Canada is sponsored by
         McDonald's and by Russell Athletic in the U.S.  The New
         Dodge is presenting sponsor throughout North America (NHL). 
         In Toronto, Neil Campbell reports that the new format,
         reflecting the international theme of the season, "will
         likely be a one-year wonder."  NHL Senior VP Steve Solomon:
         "We're looking at a one-year event" (GLOBE & MAIL, 9/16).  
              OLYMPIC EFFORT: NHL participation in the Olympics and
         the efforts of Commissioner Gary Bettman, NHLPA Exec Dir Bob
         Goodenow and IIHF President Rene Fasel to gain approval for
         the plan, are featured by Joe Lapointe of the N.Y. TIMES
         under the header, "The N.H.L.'s Olympic Gamble: Stars
         Participation in Nagano Could Raise Sport's Profile." 
         Lapointe: "When the Olympics arrive, the league will shut
         down for 17 days, an unprecedented hiatus that entails
         numerous calculated business risks.  With the Olympic hockey
         games regulated to late-night [TV], with the national teams
         hastily thrown together, and with the fans back home without
         their regular N.H.L. teams to follow, the whole plan could
         backfire and be remembered as another slip on the ice for a
         sport that never seems to find as broad an audience in the
         United States as its big-league competition."  Bettman:
         "We're going to get exposure like the world has never seen
         for hockey.  This is about 120-plus of the world's elite
         hockey players playing for pride and playing for their
         countries.  It will give us a tournament of high magnitude. 
         It will be quite compelling" (N.Y. TIMES, 9/16). 
              NOTES: In N.Y., Larry Brooks wrote about "rumors that
         the league is attempting to apply some pressure on Disney"
         to sign holdout Paul Kariya of the Mighty Ducks "in order to
         ensure that he'll be with" the team when it opens a two-game
         series in Tokyo.  Brooks: "[W]e discount the veracity of
         those reports. Disney is in the business of applying
         pressure, not receiving it" (N.Y. POST, 9/14).  In Toronto,
         Damien Cox interviews Bettman on a number of league issues,
         including the Kariya talks.  Bettman: "The league doesn't
         get involved in individual player-club negotiations.  But as
         a practical matter, no particular players were promised, and
         the games are sold out anyway" (TORONTO STAR, 9/16).
    
    

    Print | Tags: Anaheim Ducks, Anaheim Sports, DaimlerChrysler, Dallas Stars, Leagues and Governing Bodies, McDonalds, NHL, Canucks Sports and Entertainment, Southwest Sports Group, Walt Disney
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