SBD/27/Leagues Governing Bodies

MLS ONLY HAPPY WHEN IT RAINS? FINAL PLAYED AGAIN IN DOWNPOUR

          A crowd of 57,318 attended the MLS Cup '97 at RFK
     Stadium yesterday as DC beat Colorado 2-1 in a "cold rain"
     (William Gildea, WASHINGTON POST, 10/27).  MLS also awarded
     its '98 championship game to the Rose Bowl, marking the first
     West Coast site for the game (N.Y. TIMES, 10/26).
          YEAR IN REVIEW: MLS Commissioner Doug Logan: "I can
     confidently say the terrible twos are over.  We turned three
     last week.  The MLS is here for the long run.  We are on the
     right track" (S.F. EXAMINER, 10/25).   More Logan: "In year
     two, the gods were all against us.  New York and L.A., for
     much of the season, both were in last place and neither team
     had an attractive personality.  We had a freak number of
     weather days. ... The fact that we have weathered it as well
     as we have is a good sign."  In reviewing the league's second
     season, the AP's Brian Trusdell wrote that its "drop in
     attendance and cable TV ratings was perhaps not as bad as
     some might have expected" (AP/HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 10/26).  In
     L.A., Grahame Jones noted that with MLS' TV deal with
     ABC/ESPN and Nike's $120M sponsorship deal with U.S. Soccer,
     American soccer "is ending on an extraordinarily high note." 
     But MLS attendance "remains troublesome," TV ratings "also
     were off," and stadiums "remain a thorny issue."  MLS had
     budgeted for a $23M operating loss in its inaugural season
     "but actually lost" $4M less than that.  This season, it will
     lose slightly more than $13M, which was expected (L.A. TIMES,
     10/26).  In Hartford, Jerry Trecker wrote that while MLS has
     demonstrated "health at the gate" and "staying power," the
     quality of play "is still well below the top national league
     standards of Europe and South America."  Trecker: "If MLS has
     already beaten the naysayers who predicted disaster, it has
     yet to win over the general sports fan or talk show host"
     (HARTFORD COURANT, 10/26)....In other news, MLS sold in first
     "high-profile" U.S. player when it reached a deal to send
     Crew goalkeeper Brad Friedel to the English League club
     Liverpool for around $1.6M (WASHINGTON POST, 10/25). 

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