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  • CHASE AIMS TO ADD A LITTLE SPICE TO ITS TENNIS PACKAGE

              The Corel WTA Tour Chase Championships begin today in
         New York at Madison Square Garden.  Tennis promoter John
         Korff, an "unpaid business adviser" to the WTA Tour players'
         association, was asked to provide a "blue-print for jazzing
         up this week's Chase Championships, which has historically
         been a drab, season-ending event" at MSG, according to
         Harvey Araton of the N.Y. TIMES.  Araton: "From the use of
         music to dressing up the arena to fan interactivity to
         introducing players in their home country's language,
         Korff's memo stressed energy and originality. ... But now
         has come an opportunity that should reverse what is at least
         a perception of women's tennis as lagging and could even
         lift it to commercial highs.  Despite no tour sponsor beyond
         next year, no tour chief executive officer beyond this year
         and a sudden uprising by lower-ranked players for a bigger
         piece of the revenue pie, women's tennis has a multitude of
         marketable names."  WTA Tour CEO Ann Person Worcester: "Some
         of John's suggestions have been taken and some have not. 
         But no doubt this year's Chase Championships will be more
         fan friendly" (N.Y. TIMES, 11/16).  Chase's support of the
         WTA Tour was examined by John Barrett of the FINANCIAL
         TIMES.  Chase VP/Sports Marketing Barbara Paddock said the
         bank was targeting women in its advertising and said the
         price of the WTA partnership "was right."  Chase spends $5-
         6M annually on sports marketing (FINANCIAL TIMES, 11/14).
              STAR QUALITY: Martina Hingis was profiled in Sunday's
         N.Y. POST, and was the "Guest Columnist" in Sunday's N.Y.
         DAILY NEWS.  Hingis wrote in support of the WTA Tour's
         modified "Age Eligibility Rule" (11/16).  Amanda Coetzer was
         profiled by Wayne Coffey of the N.Y. DAILY NEWS, who called
         her "the biggest South African sports hero this side of
         Ernie Els, and with her blonde hair, blue eyes and dazzling
         smile, has an appeal that goes beyond the garden-variety
         tennis fan" (Wayne Coffey, N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 11/16). 
    
    

    Print | Tags: Cablevision, Leagues and Governing Bodies, Madison Square Garden
  • FLUTIE MAGIC REIGNS AT GREY CUP; CBC SELLS OUT AD TIME

              The CFL's Grey Cup at Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton
         drew 60,431 as the Toronto Argonauts, behind Doug Flutie,
         beat the Saskatchewan Roughriders 47-23, in front of the
         third-largest crowd in Grey Cup history (Gerry Prince,
         EDMONTON SUN, 11/17).  The game was broadcast on CBC in
         Canada and ESPN2 in the U.S.  In Toronto, Ken McKee reported
         that advertisers bought all of CBC's inventory "at the
         highest rates charged for any sports event -- possibly any
         program, period -- in Canada."  CBC's 30-second spots for
         the telecast, "about 72 of them," sold at an average of
         C$43,000 each.  In comparison, CBC noted that prime-time
         spots for the Nagano Olympics "would bring in about"
         C$40,000 and C$32,000 for the '98 Stanley Cup Finals.  For
         the year, sources say the CFL receives between C$5-6M from
         the CBC, TSN and ESPN/ESPN2 (TORONTO STAR, 11/15).  
              TAGLIABUE VISITS: NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue was
         in Edmonton to discuss the NFL/CFL partnership.  Tagliabue
         said that the NFL is interested in the CFL "serving as a
         development ground" for players who leave college early, or
         don't qualify academically for the NCAA.  He also discussed
         a possible World Classic Bowl between CFL and World League
         teams: "There are a number of subjects still to be addressed
         -- who will play in it, where and at what time, but it's an
         exciting prospect for us" (EDMONTON JOURNAL, 11/15).  
    
    

    Print | Tags: Canadian Broadcasting Corp., CFL, ESPN, Leagues and Governing Bodies, NCAA, NFL, Walt Disney
  • GO BACK TO THE BUTT-HUGGERS? SHORTS SNAFU SNARES STARTER

              The NBA fined the Timberwolves $25,000 Friday and fined
         five of their players another $2,500 each for wearing their
         shorts too long, according to Steve Aschburner of the
         Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE.  League rules say that shorts must
         be no lower than one inch above the top of the knee and the
         league had a representative check the team's shorts before
         Thursday night's game.  But Coach Flip Saunders said that
         Starter, which provides the Wolves' uniforms for the first
         time this season, "should be responsible" for the low
         shorts.  A Starter rep had met with the team for "another
         fitting" of shorts.  Saunders: "We've had Starter in, the
         league in.  It's not like we're trying to be defiant."  But
         an NBA spokesperson said, "Every other team has managed to
         find a way to comply with this rule, including teams
         outfitted by Starter" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 11/15). 
         But team rep Doug West said an NBA official had cleared
         players for Thursday's game and that the union would file a
         grievance over the fines (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 11/17). 
              GET SHORTY: Saunders brought a tape measure with him on
         the floor for Saturday night's game and Wolves VP Kevin
         McHale called the fines "ridiculous."  McHale: "I'm sure one
         of our white, upper-middle class people decided it was a
         gang thing.   Because they're pretty hip with the gang
         scene" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 11/16).   
    
    

    Print | Tags: Leagues and Governing Bodies, Minnesota Timberwolves, NBA
  • HOLLYWOOD PARK'S NFL BID ADDS A TROJAN HORSE WITH JOHN MCKAY

              John McKay, son of the former USC and Bucs coach, "has
         agreed to be the point man in Hollywood Park's renewed
         efforts to build a football stadium for an NFL expansion
         team in time to play in 2001," according to T.J. Simers of
         the L.A. TIMES.  McKay, who was hired by Hollywood Park CEO
         R.D. Hubbard, "intends to deliver a draft of a finance plan
         for a new stadium in Inglewood to NFL owners before their
         annual meetings in March."  McKay gives Hollywood Park a
         spokesperson "with immediate access to NFL owners because of
         his name.  He also has a sense of history and an intimate
         knowledge of present-day circumstances to make him more
         effective locally."  Simers added that there "has been an
         obvious shift in NFL momentum in recent weeks as it relates"
         to L.A. and "there is now a strong feeling in the NFL front
         office that it is time to prepare" L.A. as the logical
         choice for a second expansion team after Cleveland in '99. 
         McKay: "I took a harder look at Hollywood Park when I became
         convinced it was not going to happen at the Coliseum." 
         While Dodgers Owner Peter O'Malley and News Corp. have
         expressed an interest in football in L.A., the NFL is "still
         concerned" that O'Malley and News Corp. "will not be able to
         react in time to meet the window of opportunity that will
         exist if Cleveland gets its expansion franchise."  Simers
         added that Hollywood Park "is probably the only site" in the
         L.A. area "that can take advantage of the NFL's window of
         opportunity."  McKay said he will soon begin meeting with
         potential owners and interested parties (L.A. TIMES, 11/15).
         
    

    Print | Tags: Leagues and Governing Bodies, Los Angeles Dodgers, News Corp./Fox, NFL, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  • NBA'S POWER PLAYERS PROFILED; LABOR TALK HEATS UP

              NBA Commissioner David Stern was profiled by Richard
         Wilner in the N.Y. POST under the header, "Giving It His
         Best Shot.  NBA Commish's Job Is Filled With Big Bucks And
         Big Headaches."  Wilner: "[W]hy is the 55-year-old native
         New Yorker, the man regarded as a master marketer and the
         best of the sports league commissioners, so worried?" 
         Stern: "I call it positive stress.  I come to work each day
         as if the car is parked right next to the cliff, ready to
         fall off. ... Well, maybe that's an exaggeration, but I'm
         always worried about what is going to go wrong.  I firmly
         believe that if it ain't broke, fix it so it will be better"
         (N.Y. POST, 11/16).  Meanwhile, NBPA Exec Dir Billy Hunter
         was profiled by Ian O'Connor of the N.Y. DAILY NEWS. 
         O'Connor: "[A]s the league spends the coming months deciding
         whether to exercise its right to trash the current labor
         agreement in pursuit of a sweeter pot, Stern had better
         weigh the risks against the rewards.  Hunter is the first
         opponent worthy of the challenge."  Hunter: "I know how to
         brawl. ... I'm tenacious as hell. ... I'm going to be in
         there fighting for these players" (DAILY NEWS, 11/16).
              EARLY POSTURING: Hunter responded to comments made by
         Stern that the NBA had more lucrative TV rights offers on
         the table, but "all things being equal, the nod should go to
         the people that brought you here."  Hunter: "If teams are
         suffering, why turn down a deal for more money?  Why not
         entertain possible better offers?" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER,
         11/16).  Agent Marc Fleisher, on a potential lockout: "I
         don't believe David Stern when he says they're going to opt
         out of the deal."  Fleisher said Hunter "is considerably
         tougher" than former Exec Dir Simon Gourdine.  Fleisher:
         "I'm guessing (Stern) is going to be a lot happier with what
         he got from Gourdine, who he had in is back pocket, than
         what he'll get from Billy Hunter" (CHAR. OBSERVER, 11/16). 
    
    
    

    Print | Tags: Leagues and Governing Bodies, Milwaukee Bucks, NBA
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