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NFL: The league announced that its attendance for the first quarter of the '97 season has increased almost 2,000 fans per game over '96. Paid attendance for the first 56 games has averaged 62,287 per game compared to 60,462 last year (NFL)....Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones, on the NFL's TV Committee, says revenues from the next NFL TV contract "could double to more than" $8B over four seasons. Jones: "It wouldn't surprise me if it's in excess of 100%" (USA TODAY, 9/25)....NFLPA Exec Dir Gene Upshaw's employment contracts from the union and Players Inc. will pay him $11.2M over seven years (Mult., 9/24). In Denver, Broncos DL Alfred Williams: "I don't know why I'm banging my body up if I can be become an NFL executive. I'm doing the wrong thing" (ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, 9/25). GENERAL: The CISL and the NPSL have agreed to interleague player loans that would permit indoor players to play both seasons, June-October for the CISL and November- April for the NPSL (CISL).
MLB "will eliminate wild-card teams for the playoffs if the leading realignment plan is approved," according to Hal Bodley of USA TODAY. The NL would have four four-team divisions, putting its four champions in the playoffs. The AL format "is being debated, but the likely structure is two seven-team divisions" with the two division winners and two runners-up making the playoffs (USA TODAY, 9/26). WHAT ABOUT BOB? PART II: In THE SPORTING NEWS, Bob Costas writes his second installment on MLB, offering thoughts on realignment, interleague play, the DH and the future of MLB. Costas: "Baseball's revenues and fan base are massive. That is not to say each could not be improved. It is to say they are more than sufficient for the game to survive if its salary structure and revenue distribution made any sense" (THE SPORTING NEWS, 9/29 issue).
The WNBA plans to announce next Wednesday that Washington and Detroit have been chosen as expansion cities, according to Amy Shipley of the WASHINGTON POST. However, both markets "must get 3,000 season ticket commitments, negotiate" local TV and radio deals and allocate $250,000 to promotional activities by November 3 "to have a chance to join the current eight-team league by next summer." League sources said that WNBA President Val Ackerman is leaning toward assigning former ABL player Nikki McCray to Washington if it wins a franchise. A league source told Shipley that Orlando, "long believed" to be an expansion choice, "was never a leading candidate" (WASHINGTON POST, 9/26). In Detroit, Howes & McCosky report that GM, the WNBA's official automotive sponsor, will be a "key sponsor" of the Detroit franchise and "helped cement the WNBA's decision to award a team to Detroit" (DETROIT NEWS, 9/26).