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  • IS ART MODELL NOT THE MOST POPULAR GUY W/NFL OWNERS TODAY?

              The NFL's new eight-year, $17.6B TV package was
         unanimously approved yesterday by league owners "who also
         were told to expect the player salary cap" to increase from
         $41.5M in '97 to between $53M to $55M for the '98 season,
         according to Leonard Shapiro of the WASHINGTON POST.  The
         final cap amount "will be determined" when the league and
         its TV partners "settle on the payment schedule" for the
         first year of the deal, which "should be completed by the
         end of next week."  Owners were "clearly" in a "buoyant
         mood" in discussing the TV deal.  Afterward, Raiders Owner
         Al Davis said, "In the last contract, as soon as it was
         over, ABC and ESPN were sold to Disney for [$19.6B].  CBS
         was sold for [$6.5B].  One of the outstanding features of
         that difference was CBS not having the NFL.  When you see
         what Fox did (with football), we built that network"
         (WASHINGTON POST, 1/23).  Ravens Owner Art Modell: "Why
         should I be happy?  We are just going to give it all to the
         players, anyway."  In Boston, Will McDonough notes the
         increasing salary cap and adds, "It didn't take long to
         realize that Modell was on the money" (BOSTON GLOBE, 1/23).
              ART HAS HIS: Modell admitted yesterday that the TV deal
         will make it tougher for cities to attain public funding for
         facility financing: "I think it'll be a long time before you
         see a publicly subsidized stadium again, even though most of
         the money goes to the players.  I wish I would say it's not
         so, but that's the case" (Vito Stellino, Balt. SUN, 1/23). 
         Modell, on Broncos Owner Pat Bowlen, who is lobbying for
         public help on a new stadium: "Nobody can stand up now and
         say they need a new stadium and those new revenues in order
         to stay competitive. ... I think Pat has a good, sound
         position on needing a new stadium, but I don't know how
         politically inviting it will be for the city fathers to
         support it.  With this kind of money coming in, that's going
         to be an awfully tough sell."  In Denver, Bob Kravitz: "The
         sound you just heard?  That's Bowlen's jaw dropping to the
         pavement" (Bob Kravitz, ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, 1/23).
              TALKS OFF: In N.Y., Mike Freeman reports that the NFL
         and NFLPA "have reached an impasse" on a CBA extension and
         "both sides feel a pact won't be reached soon."  NFLPA Exec
         Dir Gene Upshaw: "Talks have broken off" (N.Y. TIMES, 1/23).
              NOTES: One of the NFL's int'l exhibition games will be
         played in Vancouver this year, on August 15, between the
         49ers and Seahawks (TORONTO SUN, 1/23)....The forecast for
         Sunday in San Diego is for mostly clear skies with a high
         near 70 (Mult., 1/23)....Bill Walsh contributes an op-ed in
         the N.Y. TIMES on the hiring of minority coaches in the NFL,
         writing that litigation will not solve the "problems of
         hiring in the N.F.L."  Walsh: "Those with the most influence
         have not necessarily been active addressing the social
         undercurrent. ... The reason is that most owners do not
         regularly come into contact with African-Americans other
         than to talk with them after a game" (N.Y. TIMES, 1/23).
    
    

    Print | Tags: ABC, Baltimore Ravens, CBS, Denver Broncos, ESPN, Leagues and Governing Bodies, News Corp./Fox, NFL, Oakland Raiders, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, Viacom, Vulcan Ventures, Walt Disney
  • SI HAS IDEA FOR NHL IN SPICING UP ITS ALL-STAR WEEKEND

              The NHL "should consider" staging a game featuring the
         top 40 Canadian Hockey League prospects during its All-Star
         Weekend, according to Kostya Kennedy of SI.  Kennedy: "The
         NHL dreads the logistical nightmare of adding the CHL game
         to an already overstuffed weekend.  They're also afraid that
         the game might not draw fans in U.S. cities.  But if the
         game is packaged with the All-Stars skill competition,
         spectators will turn out" (SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, 1/26 issue).
    
    

    Print | Tags: CHL, Dallas Stars, Leagues and Governing Bodies, NHL, Southwest Sports Group, Sports Illustrated, Time Warner
  • TEAM SPREWELL LOOKS TO GET ITS ARMS AROUND LEGAL CASE

              Latrell Sprewell's arbitration hearing, which will
         begin next week in Portland, OR, is examined by Mike Wise of
         the N.Y. TIMES.  Sprewell has been in New York since Tuesday
         to "go over the legal brief" the NBPA has prepared and
         yesterday Wise spoke to him and members of his defense team. 
         The matter will be heard by Fordham Law School Dean John
         Feerick, and NBPA Exec Dir Billy Hunter referred to Feerick
         and said, "To what extent is he affected by public pressure? 
         I think the N.B.A. reaped a media bonanza on this thing,  
         and that's one of the reasons we haven't been able to
         settle.  It's been such a windfall for them that any step
         back would be interpreted as a retreat" (N.Y. TIMES, 1/23). 
         Sprewell told Peter Vecsey, "I realize what a big mistake I
         made."  But Sprewell added, "It's as if I'm another O.J.
         Simpson.  Yes, I was wrong, but I didn't kill anybody.  I'm
         not a double murderer" (N.Y. POST, 1/23).
              REF TROUBLE: SI's Jackie MacMullan reports that the
         Federal Government is "poised to indict as many as seven
         referees next month," with 15 still under investigation for
         allegedly downgrading NBA airline tickets, pocketing the
         money and failing to declare it.  MacMullan adds that a
         sampling of NBA coaches and GM's showed that most "agreed
         that the removal of seven refs would be disastrous" to the
         quality of officiating (SI, 1/26 issue).
    
    

    Print | Tags: Leagues and Governing Bodies, NBA, Sports Illustrated
  • THE IRL OPENS YEAR THREE WITH TITLE SPONSOR AND NEW OPTIMISM

              The IRL opens its season this weekend with the Indy 200
         at Walt Disney World Speedway, and Juliet Macur of the
         ORLANDO SENTINEL writes, "After two years of stumbling, the
         IRL hopes to show the racing world that it finally has
         weaned itself from [CART]."  IRL execs "expect the 50,000-
         seat grandstands to be almost full."  IRL Founder Tony
         George "expects this season to be the IRL's strongest yet." 
         The league has signed Pep Boys as its title sponsor, each of
         its 11 races will be broadcast live on network or cable TV
         and "for the first time, there will be drivers who will not
         automatically make it into the race because there are more
         drivers than there are starting spots."  George: "There is
         really no dialogue between CART and the IRL anymore.  Now
         we're focused on our product and they're focused on theirs"
         (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 1/23).  In Ft. Lauderdale, Richard
         Biebrich writes the IRL "is here to stay."  Biebrich:
         "Struggling since its first race in 1996 for an identity of
         its own, the IRL now has a major sponsor in Pep Boys and
         stars such as Tony Stewart" (SUN-SENTINEL, 1/23).  In
         Dallas, Holly Cain: "There are those who figured the [IRL]
         would just go away.  But corporate America has other ideas.
         ... The big-time involvement of a company such as Pep Boys
         sends a message that the series has arrived, whether you
         still question the competency of its drivers or the level of
         competition" (Holly Cain, DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 1/22). 
    
    

    Print | Tags: Champ Car World Series, IndyCar, Leagues and Governing Bodies, Walt Disney
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