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The Daytona 500 "has reclaimed its spot as NASCAR's top payday," according to Mittman & Miller of the INDIANAPOLIS STAR-NEWS. Daytona International Speedway President John Graham announced yesterday that the '98 Daytona 500 purse will top $6M, which exceeds last year's payout of over $4.69M. The Indianapolis 500 "remains No. 1 on the pay scale among all motorsports events in the world" with a purse of $8.612M (INDIANAPOLIS STAR-NEWS, 11/20). For more news from Daytona regarding the Pepsi 400, see (#6).
NFL: The NFL set an all-time weekend paid attendance record last week when 999,778 fans attended its 15 games. The 15 games averaged 66,652. The previous weekend paid attendance record was set on November 10-11 of last year when 964,079 attended 15 games. Last week, 13 of 15 games sold out in advance of the blackout deadline (NFL). NOTES: The NLL granted a one-year suspension for the Boston Blazers for the '98 season (NLL)....ABL attendance is up 19% over its first 59 games in '96. The league is averaging 4,227 fans, up from 3,560 last year. ABL CEO Gary Cavalli said the ABL's goal of 5,000 per game is possible as its new markets, Philadelphia and Long Beach, "show some growth" (USA TODAY, 11/20). In Denver, Dylan Tomlinson writes that as the ABL "begins its expansion, one can't help but wonder if a Nashville franchise can't be too far off, especially as the ABL and WNBA prepare for a bitter fight over University of Tennessee superstar Chamique Holdsclaw" (DENVER POST, 11/20)....In his ESPN SportsZone column, David Aldridge writes that "one thing" the NBA could "ask for if and when" the CBA is reopened is a "franchise" player designation similar to that used in the NFL. That would prevent a player from negotiating with any other club as long as his original team offers him the average of the top five paid players at his position. Aldridge: "That would be an artificial cap on a team's top-salaried player, which is something owners are desperate to get" (SportsZone, 11/20).
NPSL Commissioner Steve Paxos said that the soccer league, which "took two hits in the summer" when the Toronto and Tampa Bay franchises ceased, will "rebound by next season," according to Dennis Manolloff of the Cleveland PLAIN-DEALER. Paxos: "I foresee us being back to 15-18 teams." Although Paxos declined to name candidates, Manolloff wrote that Paxos "would love to get back" to Chicago, and San Diego is an area "that might materialize." Paxos is "upbeat" about the NPSL's 13-team league: "I'm the most optimistic I've been about this league since I became commissioner. I think the league is very healthy right now. ... There are some prospects for a national TV deal starting after the first of the year" (PLAIN-DEALER, 11/19). BOOGIE NIGHTS IN IHL: Saints Owner Tom Benson wants to bring an IHL team to New Orleans. IHL officials said Wednesday that the league had received an application from Benson, along with a $500,000 deposit. It's Benson's "intention to put the team in New Orleans' new downtown arena, scheduled to be completed in time for the 1999-2000 season." IHL Commissioner Robert Ufer said the league "is absolutely and unequivocally committed to bringing a team" to New Orleans (AP/ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 11/20).
The Corel WTA Tour has taken legal action against the "internal coup" that took place within the Players Association, according to Robin Finn of the N.Y. TIMES. A temporary restraining order "against the revamped Players Association has been obtained by 18 plaintiffs" including Martina Hingis, Steffi Graf and Monica Seles. That means "the recently ousted board members who had represented the players on the tour board will retain their voting rights for this week's meetings." The board "is expected to review five new candidates" for the tour's CEO spot after Anne Person Worcester leaves at year's end (N.Y. TIMES, 11/19).