SBD/22/Leagues Governing Bodies

MLS CLOSE TO DEAL WHICH WOULD SEE UP TO 12 GAMES ON ABC

          MLS' "pending" TV deal will see the ABC/ESPN "combo
     paying a rights fee for around 60 games, 12 of which will be
     on ABC next year," network sources told Terry Lefton of
     BRANDWEEK.  The league's first TV arrangement with ABC/ESPN
     "were via a time-buy arrangement, produced by MLS and
     packaged with media buys from MLS sponsors."  Lefton: "Other
     than the benefits to MLS of sheer on-air time, a truer media
     partnership gives ABC incentive to promote MLS and gives MLS
     more inventory to offer potential corporate sponsors."  The
     deal is "expected to be wrapped up within a month."  In
     other news, the league is expected to hold a "'spring
     training' of sorts for all teams" at Walt Disney's Sports
     Complex and will also implement a "fan balloting element" to
     the '98 All-Star game, "which will likely be sponsored by a
     large" mass-merchant retailer (BRANDWEEK, 9/22 issue). 

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