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The Doral-Ryder Open attracted a record 53,000 spectators for Sunday's final day (MIAMI HERALD, 3/9)....In honor of its 50th birthday, NASCAR will hold "NASCAR's Night in Hollywood -- A Golden Celebration," a black tie affair May 1 to honor the league's founders and heroes. ESPN will air the event the following night, May 2, as a two-hour, prime-time special (NASCAR)....In Dallas, Steve Davis reported that there are only 2.5 million tickets available to the World Cup, "about 1 million fewer than at USA '94." Each country gets 8% of the stadium's capacity, which leaves the U.S. delegation about 2,500-3,000 tickets. Davis added that "even the media have felt the bite of limited tickets." The French Organizing committee gave U.S. Soccer about 50 media credentials to distribute (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 3/8).
The financial impact of the NCAA Tournament was examined by CNN/SI's Bob Lorenz. The NCAA projects $17.1M of gross revenue will be produced by this year's tournament, $600,000 "more than last year." Lorenz also noted how tournament exposure benefits schools: "Connecticut [UConn] is a perfect example of a program that developed into a national power by becoming an NCAA Tournament regular." In '88, the year UConn won the NIT, "the school netted less than $20,000 in merchandise sales." Heading into its seventh NCAA tournament of the '90s, UConn's "net licensing revenue" now is more than $500,000 annually" (CNN, 3/7). HOCKEY: In Boston, Will McDonough wrote that the NCAA hockey tournament at the FleetCenter will be the "biggest ... of all time." All three games are sold out, including both the afternoon and night games on April 2 (BOSTON GLOBE, 3/8). ESPN will offer cable and satellite subscribers the first round and nat'l quarterfinal games of the NCAA Hockey Championship Tournament on a pay-per-view basis March 27-29. Suggested retail will be $29.95 for the complete eight-game package, and $14.95 for all games on any date (ESPN).