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The state of the NHL is examined by Kevin Paul DuPont of the BOSTON GLOBE in his "On Hockey" column. DuPont: "Isn't this what we wanted all along, hockey imitating the rest of the world, everybody talking money, really obscene money, players sitting out all over the place because their piece of the apple pie isn't oozing with more millions than they can spend in a lifetime? Well, it's here, folks, and it's only getting worse. By the hour." DuPont chronicles Paul Kariya's holdout from the Mighty Ducks, the offseason contract for the Avalanches' Joe Sakic and the impending free agency for some of the game's top players. DuPont: "Ultimately, there is only one measure of the market, and that's if the fans continue to pay the ticket prices that support these salaries" (BOSTON GLOBE, 10/30). IN THE HUB: Using the Bruins as an example, DuPont notes that through four games, the team has averaged 13,635 at the FleetCenter, a "shortfall" of capacity by 20%. But "more disturbing ... is the no-show factor in the lower bowl." While Boston "has had among the most fertile fan bases in the NHL ... those days are gone, and those empty seats tell us they're gone for good. There is no chance of ticket prices falling. None. Not here. Not anywhere. Not when the likes of Kariya can't be satisfied with $7 million. Not when it will take $10 million or better to bring in [Eric] Lindros next time. The players fault? Management's fault? The blame game is pointless. It's reality that counts, and empty seats equal reality. When Boston is working with a 20 percent vacancy factor, that should send a clear, undeniable message to everyone in the equation -- management, agents, and [NHLPA] -- that the guy on the street just can't pay it anymore" (BOSTON GLOBE, 10/30).
Violet Palmer and Dee Kantner, the NBA's newly named women officials, met the press yesterday and discussed their appointment as the "first two women referees hired to officiate in a major American professional sports league," according to Greg Logan of NEWSDAY. Logan: "But what people really want to know is how they will handle questions of sexual harassment in the workplace. Specifically, what happens when an NBA player pats one of them on the butt during a game?" Kantner: "If it's in the context of an athlete patting you on the butt, this is not something we would misinterpret. If the actions are condescending, I think Violet and I will handle that and disseminate it." Logan: "Both women indicated their surprise at the attention their hiring has received, but the NBA has minimized the possibility of a circus atmosphere." Yesterday's interview was the only one the two will give all season (NEWSDAY, 10/30). Kantner called reports of sexism and criticism by current players "sensationalism" (N.Y. TIMES, 10/30). MORE TROUBLE? In L.A., Mark Heisler wrote that "as many" as 15 NBA referees "are said to be at risk" in the IRS' continuing investigation of officials. NBA Deputy Commissioner Russ Granik: "We don't know. I am told other indictments are possible." Heisler added that "many" refs "are waiting uneasily." One veteran official said he has "spent more than $50,000 in legal fees" (L.A. TIMES, 10/29). EASY DAVE, NO, THE OTHER ONE: On the "Late Show," David Letterman offered his Top Ten Complaints Of The New Female NBA referees: 10) Have to share the ladies' room with Dennis Rodman; 9) The new referee uniforms look conspicuously like Hooters outfits; 8) Always go home smelling like Ben-Gay; 7) Players so obsessed with sports that they never want to just talk; 6) That "Lil' Penny" guy always trying to look up your skirt; 5) Keep getting faint and nauseous from Michael Jordan's cologne; 4) Players keep asking if they can watch you inflate the ball; 3) Whenever you call a foul, they try to get out of it by saying your hair looks pretty; 2) Husbands who keep beating the 24 second clock; 1) Them dudes is sweaty (CBS, 10/29). CHUCKIE'S BACK: Charles Barkley is quoted in today's HOUSTON CHRONICLE as saying that he is "leaning toward retirement" after fallout from Sunday's arrest in Orlando, FL. Barkley: "If the league is not going to stand by me, then I'll say, 'Thank you very much,' and move on." Barkley said that the league wants to interview him to "begin its investigation of the matter" (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 10/30).
MLB: MLB playoff money distribution was examined by Larry Lebowitz of the Fort Lauderdale SUN-SENTINEL. MLB players receive 60% of the net receipts for Games One through Four of LCS and World Series, and 80% of the first three Division Series games. Therefore, MLB owners, the commissioner's office and the league "profit more when the postseason series stretch out." Of MLB's $2,806,700 in net receipts announced from the Indians-Marlins Game Seven, the commissioner's office received $421,005, while the AL & NL offices and both clubs each got $596,424. For the seven game World Series, the player pool received "more than" $6.2M of the $18.39M in net receipts. The commissioner's office received $2.75M, while the league offices and the teams got $2.35M apiece (SUN-SENTINEL, 10/28). SOCCER: Last night at Indiana Univ., 9,776 attended the Dallas Burn-D.C. United U.S. Open Cup Final (U.S. Soccer).