SBD/25/Leagues Governing Bodies

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              The ATP Tour Board of Directors approved changes to the
         format and structure of the Tour beginning in 2000.  The
         moves, approved at the ATP World Championships in Germany,
         look to simplify the ranking system by implementing a
         calendar year point system based on 18 events and include a
         reduction of Top Tier tournaments from nine to seven; player
         requirements to participate in the seven Top Tier events and
         four Grand Slam tournaments; a rotation of the ATP World
         Championships -- currently held in Hannover, Germany -- and
         a bonus pool based on participation in Tour events.  The new
         plan will enable the ATP Tour to package domestic and
         international TV and marketing rights for all Top Tier
         events, as the Tour's domestic and international TV
         partnerships all expire after the '99 season.  ESPN holds
         the domestic rights to the Tour (THE DAILY).
              MORE DETAILS: The ATP Tour Championships will remain in
         Hannover through '99.  The event will then move to a new
         venue each year.  ATP VP/Communications Peter Alfano told
         THE DAILY that the Tour can "take the event to where it will
         help us to market the game.  Asia is a great example." 
         Alfano added that the Tour would like to work with the Grand
         Slam Cup Committee to potentially merge the Tour
         Championships with the Grand Slam Cup, that is played in
         September in Munich.  He also added that a decision has yet
         to be made as to which two Top Tier events will be relegated
         to second tier status.  Alfano stressed that the Tour's new
         structure would aid sponsors looking to acquire domestic and
         international sponsor rights and be affiliated with all Top
         Tier and Grand Slam events and the Tour would like to secure
         several umbrella sponsors for the entire series. 
              WORKING IN TANDEM: The ATP Tour is in talks with the
         WTA Tour to unify the seven Top Tier events, with a combined
         season finale.  ATP Tour Chair Mark Miles said that the Tour
         is "flexible" and will work with the WTA Tour in hopes of
         reaching an agreement.  On Sunday, WTA Tour CEO Anne Person
         Worcester said that "we're certainly open to proposals from
         the ATP and will look at them, provided that they are
         consistent with our own goal of strengthening women's tennis
         as its own product. ... It's only logical that the men and
         women would share equally in prize money increased from day
         one of combining events" (THE DAILY).  
              MORE TENNIS: In Washington, Bud Collins wrote a special
         contribution on the state of the game in which he listed his 
         solutions to challenges facing the game.  Among them:  Merge
         the ATP and WTA into the Association of Professional Tennis
         and appoint a commissioner or commission to manage and
         market the sport; change the long schedule to make 20 "top"
         events; and better PR with an open door policy to the locker
         rooms (WASHINGTON POST, 11/23)....New WTA Tour title
         sponsors include Toyota (Tokyo), Samsung (Korea), adidas
         (Sydney), Czech-based auto manufacturer SKODA (Prague) and
         Latin American health care provider Colsanitas (Bogota) (WTA
         Tour)....Officials at the Phoenix/ATP Tour World Doubles
         Championships said that 25,265 tickets were sold for the
         five-day event, "about 4,500 more than last year."  In
         Hartford, Greg Garber writes that "attendance was probably
         closer to 15,000.  About 10,000 of those were there for the
         semifinals and finals" (HARTFORD COURANT, 11/25)....Billie
         Jean King announced that a 25th anniversary celebration of
         her "Battle of the Sexes" vs. Bobby Riggs will be held next
         year at Hartford's Phoenix World Doubles event.  But Phoenix
         Home Life Mutual Chair Bob Fiondella said the event's format
         had not been decided (HARTFORD COURANT, 11/23).

    Print | Tags: Anheuser Busch, ATP, ESPN, Leagues and Governing Bodies, Toyota, Walt Disney, Washington Nationals

              DISNEY SET TO ACQUIRE WPVA?  Walt Disney "is in serious
         talks to acquire" the WPVA, according to a report in AD AGE. 
         AD AGE: "At least one sports marketing executive familiar
         with the situation said the deal has been completed, but ABC
         executives said talks are still ongoing" (AD AGE, 11/24).
              NOTES: Indianapolis Motor Speedway has become part of
         the Int'l Race of Champions series, joining tracks at
         Daytona, FL; Fontana, CA and Brooklyn, MI.  The IROC will
         race at IMS July 31, the day before the Brickyard 400 (STAR-
         NEWS, 11/25)...The AFL's Anaheim Piranhas have ceased
         operation.  The league is reviewing options with respect to
         new ownership (AFL)....The CISL Portland Pride withdrew from
         the league but will work with the league to pursue an
         alternative to keep the team in operation (Mult., 11/20).

    Print | Tags: ABC, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Leagues and Governing Bodies, Walt Disney

              The NBA's early-season attendance was examined by Rob
         Parker of NEWSDAY, who wrote, "All you have to do is look
         around the NBA these days.  Not even the great NBA spin
         doctors can hide this fact: NBA attendance is down in
         several cities and hope for a rebound looks bleak."  
         Parker: "Fans seem to be deciding that the game they have
         been brainwashed to believe is fantastic, simply isn't,
         anymore.  For sure, the reality of commissioner David
         Stern's watered-down league has finally sunk in. ... The
         reason?  It's simple.  There are too many bad teams in this
         league.  Too much expansion has eroded the talent level,
         making many games both uncompetitive and boring to watch."  
         Parker added that attendance is also affected in some
         markets because "the prices at NBA games are outrageous, the
         average ticket now is up to $36.32.  It's a miracle there
         are any kids in the stands" (NEWSDAY, 11/24).   

    Print | Tags: Leagues and Governing Bodies, NBA

              At a New York Bar Association legal forum last week,
         NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue, NHL Commissioner Gary
         Bettman and NBA Commissioner David Stern were asked about
         the leadership void at MLB, and according to NEWSDAY's Joe
         Gergen both Bettman and Tagliabue "downplayed the lack of an
         independent commissioner."  Bettman: "I think it's too easy
         to dump on baseball."  Tagliabue: "I think (the role of
         commissioner) can be given too much importance.  The
         challenges we face go far beyond one person or one group of
         persons. ... I think the commissioner issue is overplayed by
         a lot of people."  But Stern countered, "[W]e're being too
         kind. ... We're in a time when the CEO increasingly is
         expected to set the direction, to look at the big picture. 
         You need someone to worry on a full-time basis, to deal with
         consumers, shareholders and every aspect of the sport.  It's
         a good ideal to have somebody in charge" (NEWSDAY, 11/23). 

    Print | Tags: Leagues and Governing Bodies, MLB, NBA, NFL, NHL
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