SBD/6/Leagues Governing Bodies

NBA PREPARING FOR LIFE AFTER MJ, TO PUSH NEW GALAXY OF STARS

          With the NBA's All-Star Weekend in New York, Stefan
     Fatsis of the WALL STREET JOURNAL examines the state of the
     league under the header, "NBA Bravely Plans For Post-Jordan
     Era."  The league's "shifting business strategy reveals an
     industry laying the groundwork for transition ... testing a
     pack of new players for stardom and renewing sponsorship
     contracts" before Michael Jordan retires.  In addition, the
     league is "undertaking projects deemphasizing the NBA brand
     [and] ... extending its international reach."  Although
     Bulls merchandise accounts for "nearly" 20% of total sales,
     with Jordan's jersey "far and away" the top seller, the NBA
     "maintains it can handle the ball" without Jordan.  Now, the
     league is working with licensees such as Champion to
     "identify which young players deserve the most attention." 
     Fatsis adds that NBC is "joining the game plan."  During
     last weekend's Bulls-Lakers broadcast, the network "hyped
     not Jordan but" Kobe Bryant (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 2/6).
          ALL-STAR NOTES: NBC's "Meet The Press" this Sunday will
     host Stern, Bob Costas, Jordan, Bryant, Tim Duncan and Keith
     Van Horn (NBAE)....NEWSDAY's Shaun Powell writes that this
     weekend's NBA festivities are "almost totally restricted to
     stuffy corporate types and sponsors," with only "a few"
     tickets made available to outsiders."  Powell expects that
     the Sprewell hearing will "spill over into the festivities
     and spoil the mood" (NEWSDAY, 2/6).  Also in N.Y., Karen
     Hunter writes an op-ed in the DAILY NEWS and criticizes the
     lack of tickets for the fans (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 2/6).




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