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Washington Sports & Entertainment has sold 5,268 WNBA season tickets, which tops the league-imposed ticket goal of 3,000 in order to qualify for a team. The NBA Board of Governors meeting next week will officially decide whether to award Washington and Detroit with WNBA expansion franchises for the '98 season (WSE). In DC, Amy Shipley reports that Washington Sports has also "secured the requisite" local TV and radio deals, with Home Team Sports and WRC-AM, respectively. They have also "committed $250,000 to promotional activities" (WASHINGTON POST, 11/7). MOTOWN LOVES ITS HOOPS: In Detroit, Vartan Kupelian writes that the Pistons will announce that they have sold the required 3,000 season tickets. Pistons President Tom Wilson said that the TV and radio deals "are not complete but progress is being made" (DETROIT NEWS, 11/7).
The payrolls of each NBA team were listed in the Newark STAR-LEDGER by Dave D'Allesandro. The top three, in millions: Bulls, $61.87M; Knicks $53.70M; Magic, $42.48M (Newark STAR-LEDGER, 11/6)....The impact of the NHL's six "prominent" unsigned Group II free agents on the early part of the league's season is examined by SI's Michael Farber. Fox/MSG hockey analyst John Davidson: "I understand business, but the [1994-95] lockout beat us up, and I'd put these players' being out only a little behind that" (SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, 11/10 issue)....The Corel WTA Tour's Kremlin Cup in Moscow will increase its '98 prize money to over US$1M, making it the eight WTA Tour event to top the million dollar mark in prize money. This year's Cup set an attendance record with 59,397 for the week, more than triple its previous best of 17,000 (Corel WTA Tour).
Acting MLB Commissioner Bud Selig said yesterday that "achieving Phase I of realignment doesn't mean he plans to step down" from his post, according to Tom Haudricourt of the MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL. Selig made the formal announcement that the Brewers will shift from the AL to the NL for the '98 season, but said that the "latest development would not prompt him to step aside any earlier than originally planned." Selig: "This doesn't change any of that. There is a commissioner search committee. [Rockies Chair] Jerry McMorris is the chairman. He and I have been spending a lot of time on it" (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 11/7). McMorris told USA TODAY's Hal Bodley that he hopes to have a commissioner recommendation for the Exec Council by the end of this month. McMorris said a list of 12 candidates a month ago is down to 5, including NL President Len Coleman and Selig (USA TODAY, 11/7).
NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue testified Tuesday and Wednesday in the St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission's (CVC) $130M antitrust lawsuit against the NFL. On Tuesday, Tagliabue said that neither he nor league officials had any meetings with the commission, "nor played any role in terms the Rams and the commission ultimately reached" regarding the team's relocation fee from Anaheim. Tagliabue said he only dealt with Rams President John Shaw in negotiating a $29M relocation fee. Tagliabue added that he "wrote" the league's nine relocation guidelines and "conceded that the rule requiring three-fourths approval of league owners for a team to move could be construed as a restraint of trade" (POST-DISPATCH, 11/5). Under cross examination on Wednesday, Tagliabue said that the $20M the CVC paid to get the Rams went to "low-income" NFL teams to pay their bills, according to William Lhotka of the ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH. Tagliabue was "questioned for several hours" by CVC attorney Alan Popkin, "who was trying to show the jury that the NFL's fee assessments were arbitrary and part of a pattern of restraint of trade." The trial is expected to resume on Monday (POST-DISPATCH, 11/6).