SBD/18/Leagues Governing Bodies

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              NBA Commissioner David Stern "has met several times
         this week" with Latrell Sprewell's attorney Johnnie Cochran,
         according to John Walls of "Fox Sports News."   Walls added
         that Stern "hopes to find a solution to the Sprewell matter,
         thus avoiding arbitration and what he fears will be an
         unfavorable decision for the NBA" ("FSN," 12/17).
              SNAP, CRACKLE, POP: In S.F., David Steele writes the
         NBA "snapped, lost patience, acted rashly, crossed the line
         without seriously considering the consequences" in its
         Sprewell suspension.  Steele calls for a settlement in the
         matter, because in the upcoming arbitration, "everyone's
         dirty laundry will be on display" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 12/18).
              WRITE, JESSE, WRITE: Jesse Jackson writes the "Point
         After" in the current SI: "There are many issues involving
         race and sports worth getting excited about. ... But for all
         the hype surrounding Latrell Sprewell, the incident between
         him and his coach most assuredly does not belong in this
         group."  Jackson said that the issue won't lead him to
         picket or rally or march in support of Sprewell.  Jackson:
         "If the Sprewell episode has a larger implication, it is
         found in a sports-entertainment industry that tells athletes
         at a very young age that they may play by a different set of
         rules than their fellow students, that coddles them and
         spoils them and that showers them with rewards out of all
         proportion to their contributions to society" (SI, 12/22). 
              MORE GOOD NEWS: USA TODAY's David DuPree writes the NBA
         "has seen its attendance take an early-season tumble," down
         2.5% from last season to 16,648 a game.  DuPree noted while
         attendance "usually picks up after New Year's," if the
         numbers hold, "it will be the second season in a row that
         attendance has fallen after an increase in each of the
         previous five seasons" (USA TODAY, 12/18).

    Print | Tags: Leagues and Governing Bodies, NBA, Sports Illustrated

              In St. Paul, Charley Walters writes the "latest word"
         is the NFL "will try to assist" Vikings President Roger
         Headrick "in acquiring financing" to become the team's 30%
         managing partner (PIONEER PRESS, 12/18)....The ABL opened
         its locker room doors to reporters 20 minutes before and
         after games from December 8-15 on a trial basis.  The league
         will ask "for feedback" and is "expected to decide on a
         policy this week."  The league has kept its doors closed to
         the media and players are interviewed in separate rooms. ABL
         Dir of Media Relations Dean Jutilla: "Most of the feedback
         has been positive for keeping them closed" (HARTFORD
         COURANT, 12/18).  In other ABL news, Dwight Chapin wrote
         that with ABL attendance up 20% and the quality of play
         "markedly improved," it "seems to be very much in the game
         against the big-bucks WNBA" (S.F. EXAMINER, 12/17).

    Print | Tags: Leagues and Governing Bodies, Minnesota Vikings, NFL, WNBA

              IBF and WBA heavyweight champ Evander Holyfield has
         told promotor Don King that he wants a unification bout with
         WBC champ Lennox Lewis, according to Greg Logan of NEWSDAY. 
         Sources say that Lewis "has accepted King's purse offer and
         agreed in principle to give King a financial interest in his
         future fights, and Holyfield is prepared to leave Showtime
         for this one fight" to appear on Time Warner's TVKO, which
         holds exclusive rights to Lewis.  Logan: "Only one obstacle
         stands in the way of a Holyfield-Lewis bout in the spring --
          King. ... The major sticking point is King's objection to
         televising the fight on TVKO because of his long-standing
         feud with HBO Sports head Seth Abraham."  Holyfield's
         attorney Jim Thomas said his fighter would prefer to fight
         for Showtime, but added, "We're told the only way the fight
         can be made legally is at HBO.  We have to go there to get
         the unification fight" (NEWSDAY, 12/18).

    Print | Tags: HBO, Leagues and Governing Bodies, Showtime

              The CFL's Board of Governors concluded its two days of 
         meetings in Toronto and announced scheduling changes to be
         more "fan friendly," according to Tony Maraschiello of the
         TORONTO SUN.   Maraschiello: "As part of the new focus on
         the fans, there will be no weekend games next season before
         Labor Day, an indication the CFL is listening to the fans
         who want to spend their summer weekends at the cottage.
         After Labor Day, all games will be either Friday, Saturday
         or Sunday afternoon, giving school kids an opportunity to
         attend games."  CFL Chair John Tory said that it "appears"
         the league will be debt free for the '98 season.  Tory added
         talks are still continuing with the World League about
         playing a World Classic Bowl in June (TORONTO SUN, 12/18). 
         The league also unveiled three marketing slogans for '98:
         Made in Canada for Canadians, Back to Our Future and Making
         Football Fun Again (Mark Harding, TORONTO STAR, 12/18). 
         Tory added that the league schedule will be released Monday,
         "months head" of usual: "Given our history, the schedule
         usually isn't out until March" (GLOBE & MAIL, 12/18).
              TV PACKAGE: The league will continue to play Sunday
         games after September 1 despite being urged by CBC Sports
         head Alan Clark to avoid going up against the NFL.  Tory:
         "[O]ur fans comes first.  [TV] revenue is important to us
         and we want the money and exposure, but when it comes to
         money it probably represents less than 10 per cent of what
         teams take in."  But Tory added that "for the first time in
         league history there will likely" be live broadcasts next
         season of CFL games on ESPN2 (TORONTO STAR, 12/18).

    Print | Tags: CBC, CFL, ESPN, Leagues and Governing Bodies, NFL, Walt Disney
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