SBD/30/Leagues Governing Bodies

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  • JILTED NETWORKS MAY HAVE BIG PLANS: NBC, TBS TALK FOOTBALL

              NBC and TBS, "shut out" of the NFL's recent TV deals,
         "might decide to combine their considerable resources and
         start their own pro football league," according to Rogers &
         Pasquarelli of the ATLANTA CONSTITUTION.  In a statement
         released yesterday, TBS said it was "speaking to" NBC "about
         the possibility" of starting a new league.  The early
         "working title" is the "Fan Appreciation League."  NFL
         VP/Communications Greg Aiello said the NFL had "no comment
         and no reaction."  However, Patriots Owner Robert Kraft and
         Broncos Owner Pat Bowlen, both members of the NFL's
         broadcast committee, reacted to the news, with Kraft saying
         "[W]hen CBS got shut out [on the NFL contract], it talked
         about the same thing and nothing ever happened."  Bowlen:
         "You never say never, but there are a lot of bones out there
         of leagues that attempted to compete with the NFL" (ATLANTA
         CONSTITUTION, 1/30).  The two are considering a league that
         would play Sunday afternoons in the fall, "competing
         directly with the NFL," according to Pope & Shapiro of the
         WALL STREET JOURNAL.  Pope & Shapiro write that an
         NBC/Turner "alliance would have an edge in its programming
         and vast distribution network" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 1/30).
              SOUR GRAPES OR REAL ALTERNATIVE? USA TODAY's Rudy
         Martzke reports that the league would consist of 10-12 teams
         and begin play in '99.  Players "would come from" the CFL, a
         "few NFL stars, taxi-squaders and late training-camp cuts." 
         TV "possibilities" include NBC with a Sunday doubleheader
         and TNT "having one, or possibly two" prime-time games a
         week, while cities "could include" N.Y., Chicago, L.A.,
         Atlanta, Boston and "possibly" teams in other markets with
         NBC O&Os, such as DC and Miami (USA TODAY, 1/30).
              FEASIBILITY STUDIES: The Marquee Group's Mike Trager
         projects that NBC could achieve a 2-3 rating for the league,
         which "likely would take a ratings point away" from NFL
         broadcasts, equating to a 10% drop.  That drop would affect
         CBS' "ability to make a profit" because it would base its ad
         rates on a 10 rating.  Trager: "The issue is, can they sell
         the ad inventory in the (year's) fourth quarter, when
         there's already so much pro football inventory?" (Rudy
         Martzke, USA TODAY, 1/30).  In S.F., Glenn Dickey said that
         for a new league, the old AFL "must be the model."  Dickey
         said he would be "surprised if a new league doesn't start
         within the next couple of years" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 1/30).  
    
    

    Print | Tags: AFL, CBS, CFL, Denver Broncos, Leagues and Governing Bodies, NBC, New England Patriots, NFL, TBS/TNT, Time Warner, Viacom
  • LEAGUE NOTES

              MARTIN CASE: PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem and
         Casey Martin's attorney William Wiswall have contributed
         opinion pieces to ESPN's SportsZone regarding Martin's case,
         which goes to trial Monday.  Finchem: "The PGA Tour strongly
         supports the spirit of the [ADA] ... [b]ut we also have an
         obligation to our members and the sport to provide
         tournament conditions that are equitable for all golfers."  
         Wiswall: "The PGA Tour has missed a golden opportunity to
         embrace a highly talented golfer.  It should accommodate
         Casey Martin" (ESPN SportsZone, 1/30)....In the Bergen
         RECORD, Adrian Wojnarowski criticized Tiger Woods for not
         supporting Martin's quest and wrote that Nike's "most famous
         golfing pitchman is nowhere to be found."  Last year, Woods'
         "mandate" was to make golf "the game of all the people. ...
         Sadly, Woods has learned his Madison Avenue lessons well,
         the ones Michael Jordan has perfected: Courageous stands
         don't push product."  Wojnarowski: "So far, [Woods] seems
         perfectly content to win majors, collect his endorsements,
         and never miss a Planet Hollywood bash" (RECORD, 1/29).
              NHL: Blues F Brett Hull, who lashed out against the
         league Wednesday, saying the quality of play "sucks," spoke
         with Commissioner Gary Bettman yesterday, according to Tom
         Wheatley of the ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH.  Hull: "[Bettman]
         said 'We see everything you do on the ice.  We're addressing
         it.  But we don't need you to say the game sucks.' And he's
         right" (POST-DISPATCH, 1/30).  In Calgary, Jim Kernaghan
         writes that the NHL "will be whatever marketing dictates ...
         [t]his isn't about sports you know, it's about what Bettman
         likes to call 'growing the league' and establishing a
         greater NHL 'footprint'" (FREE PRESS/CALGARY SUN, 1/30).
    
    

    Print | Tags: ESPN, Leagues and Governing Bodies, NHL, Nike, PGA Tour, St. Louis Blues, Walt Disney
  • NEW SURVEY SHOWS THAT CANADIANS STILL HOLD CFL NEAR AND DEAR

              Results of a new survey show that "more Canadians are
         becoming football fans," but don't want the NFL in Canada
         "if it spells the end of" the CFL, according to Dan Ralph of
         the Toronto GLOBE & MAIL.  The Gallup Poll, which carries a
         margin of error of +/- 3%, surveyed 1,006 Canadians who
         follow pro football.  Of those surveyed, 18% "don't want the
         NFL in Canada" at all, 12% want it only if it coexists with
         the CFL, and 8% want the NFL "even if it meant the demise"
         of the CFL.  A "resounding" 62% said they "didn't care."  In
         terms of interest, 21% of respondents said that they follow
         the NFL, "up from" 11% in '90.  Fifty-nine percent of NFL
         supporters "also follow the CFL," while 63% of CFL fans
         "keep tabs on" the NFL (Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 1/30).   
    
    

    Print | Tags: CFL, Leagues and Governing Bodies, NFL
  • SPORTS ILLUSTRATED EXAMINES USE OF SUDAFED AMONG NHL PLAYERS

              The use of Sudafed by NHL players is examined by
         Michael Farber of SI under the header "Hockey's Little
         Helpers."  Farber: "It's the NHL's dirty little secret, and
         with the Olympics imminent, it is of great concern to the
         league because although Sudafed is legal, it is on the
         Olympic list of banned substances."  Farber writes that the
         "exact number of players who use Sudafed, a nonprescription
         drug that contains the stimulant pseudoephedrine, in an
         effort to boost their performance on the ice, is unclear." 
         Two NHL trainers "estimate that before a game 20% of the
         league's players routinely take" such over-the-counter
         medications "to feel a little buzz."  The NHL, however,
         "disputes that figure, saying the percentage of players
         using drugs such as Sudafed is much lower and that they use
         them for medicinal purposes only" (SI, 2/2 issue).          
              REBUTTAL: NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, on SI's
         article: "The evidence that we have indicates that [SI's]
         anecdotes aren't born out by the facts, and that if there
         was a problem -- and we're not so sure that there ever was -
         - that it was a while ago."  More Bettman: "[I]f we thought
         we had a problem, our substance abuse program would be
         directed at it, even though we're talking about a perfectly
         legal substance" ("CNN/SI," 1/29).  NHLPA Exec Dir Bob
         Goodenow declined to discuss specific results of pre-Olympic
         drug tests but said those results contained "no shocking
         revelations of drug abuse, nor any indication the use of
         Sudafed was as high" as depicted in SI (GLOBE & MAIL, 1/29).
    
    

    Print | Tags: Leagues and Governing Bodies, NHL, Sports Illustrated, Time Warner
  • SPREWELL FINALLY GETS HIS CHANCE TO TELL HIS SIDE OF STORY

              Latrell Sprewell testified for the first time at his
         grievance hearing yesterday, answering questions before
         arbitrator John Feerick for "about 6 hours and 15 minutes,"
         according to David Steele of the S.F. CHRONICLE.  Sprewell
         started at 9:00am PT, broke for lunch at 12:30pm, and then
         returned at 2:30pm.  In between, Feerick heard testimony
         from Warriors team doctor Robert Albo.  The final witness of
         the day was Warriors VP Al Attles (S.F. CHRONICLE, 1/30). 
         In N.Y., Mike Wise reports sources who said that "in the
         morning session Sprewell answered questions clearly, that he
         never grew upset or became emotional and that his demeanor
         ran between calm and attentive" (N.Y. TIMES, 1/30). In San
         Jose, Jesse Barkin writes the case "ultimately" might be
         decided on whether Feerick "believed Sprewell" during his
         testimony (S.J. MERCURY NEWS, 1/30).  NEWSDAY's Greg Logan
         reports that "no other witnesses were in the same room when
         Sprewell testified.  So, the atmosphere was not as
         emotionally charged as on Wednesday when [Warriors coach
         P.J.] Carlesimo and Sprewell sat across a table from each
         other."  The hearing will continue today in OR and resume
         next week in New York through Thursday (NEWSDAY, 1/30).  
              BEHIND THE SCENES: A gag order imposed by Feerick has
         prevented hearing participants from speaking to the media. 
         But while the NBPA is arguing the league's claim that
         Sprewell returned to the team's practice a second time on
         December 1 in a premeditated attack on Carlesimo, sources
         told Thomas Heath of the WASHINGTON POST that "at least one
         player who testified" has said that "he did not see Sprewell
         strike Carlesimo a second time" (WASHINGTON POST, 1/30).  
              BULLISH BEHAVIOR: The Bulls were in Portland last night
         and Michael Jordan commented on the Sprewell case: "There's
         a morality clause in each and every contract. ... Anything
         detrimental to the league or to the team can terminate you. 
         That's not hidden in the contract."  But Jordan questioned
         the league's disciplinary process: "[T]hey gave three
         different penalties, and it raised a lot of questions and, I
         guess, created an argument for Sprewell" (NEWSDAY, 1/30). 
         Bulls coach Phil Jackson, on the one-year suspension: "I
         think there's some reason to say that might be a little bit
         long" (Terry Armour, CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 1/30).
    
    

    Print | Tags: Chicago Bulls, Golden State Warriors, Leagues and Governing Bodies
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