SBD/10/Leagues Governing Bodies

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              ABL player contracts, along with league and coaching
         hires, have "delayed" the league's expansion announcement,
         according to Bruce Berlet of the HARTFORD COURANT.  But "it
         appears Nashville will be the ABL's 10th franchise," as ABL
         CEO Gary Cavalli visited the city twice "the past two
         weeks," and it "apparently" beat Tampa and St. Louis in the
         "expansion sweepstakes."  Cavalli: "We've done a lot of
         careful analysis and it looks like we're going to
         Nashville."  In other news, Cavalli said the league's third
         season "could begin" two weeks later (around November 1) to
         avoid the World Series and have "less time opposite" the
         NFL.  Talks are also "continuing" with national TV networks
         about coverage next season (HARTFORD COURANT, 3/10).
              LEAGUE FINALS: The Long Beach StingRays and Columbus
         Quest are currently playing in the league finals, and Game
         One of the best-of-five drew a sellout crowd of 4,005 in
         Long Beach (DISPATCH, 3/9).  After watching the game,
         columnist Bill Dwyre called the ABL "the best ticket bargain
         in pro sports at the moment" with pro athletes "actually
         playing hard all the time" (L.A. TIMES, 3/9).  In S.F.,
         Glenn Dickey wrote the ABL "is doing fine" in year two and
         said of the two leagues, the ABL is "the better alternative. 
         It's run in the best interests of women's basketball, while
         the WNBA has a condescending, paternalistic approach.  And
         the ABL has a better game" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 3/6).

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

              While MLS's third season is set to kick off Sunday,
         league officials are "uncertain what to expect," according
         to Frank Dell'Apa of the BOSTON GLOBE.  The expansion Miami
         Fusion will host the DC United in a game televised live on
         ABC, yet the Fusion "have sold only 1,000 season tickets and
         7,000 tickets for the opener."  MLS Commissioner Doug Logan:
         "I'm concerned. I'd prefer to go in with 15,000 advance
         sales.  But we are a week away and we don't know the
         dynamics of the marketplace.  We'll see.  We learned about
         markets in other cities as we went along."  Logan added that
         he has been "disappointed by the New York/New Jersey
         MetroStars' total of 4,000 season tickets."  Logan: "I urged
         all of our teams to get an early start on season-ticket
         sales for this season, and some started last August.  The
         MetroStars waited until December, which was disturbing, but
         some of that had to do with ongoing discussions about Giants
         Stadium."  Dell'Apa calls this "a season for MLS to maintain
         some equilibrium."  While competing against the World Cup in
         France, MLS "should concentrate on increasing attendance in
         questionable markets such as" K.C. and "be certain" the MLS
         Cup in Pasadena on October 25 is a "showpiece event" (BOSTON
         GLOBE, 3/10).  Logan said that the Revolution is tops in
         league season ticket sales with 5,500, while 35,000 season
         tickets have been sold league-wide (USA TODAY, 3/10).
              LOOK, UP ON THE BIG SCREEN: MLS is planning in-stadium
         doubleheaders with a World Cup game shown on the Jumbotron
         via a TV feed before a league game (N.Y. TIMES, 3/10).

    Print | Tags: ABC, AEG, DC United, Leagues and Governing Bodies, MLS, New England Revolution, Walt Disney

              NBA: In N.Y., Ian O'Connor writes under the header,
         "Trouble Brewing In NBA: Face Lockout, No Jordan."  He
         writes that the NBA "is about to suffer a crisis of
         charisma" and as NBA Exec Dir Billy Hunter has "established
         himself as a worthy opponent" to NBA Commissioner David
         Stern, the union is "more galvanized than ever."  The
         "marriage of employer and employee, a partnership built on
         trust, grows more frayed by the hour" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS,
         3/10)....UNC junior/ACC Player of the Year Antawn Jamison
         said that an NBA work stoppage would impact his decision to
         turn pro a year early: "I don't want to sit out while the
         college season is going on" (Mult., 3/10).
              NHL: In Boston, Kevin Paul Dupont wrote that with NHL
         VP/Operations Brian Burke likely leaving his post this
         summer, "names being bandied about" to succeed him include
         Isles GM Mike Milbury and former Canadiens GM Serge Savard. 
         Dupont floats former Bruins Coach Terry O'Reilly for the
         post (BOSTON GLOBE, 3/8)....On ESPN, Michael Wilbon decried
         "thuggery" in the NHL and noted the Ducks' Paul Kariya may
         miss the rest of the season due to a concussion from a hit
         by the Blackhawks' Gary Suter, who was suspended for four
         games, Wilbon said, "What good is any league if it won't
         protect its No. 1 asset, its best players? ... One would
         hope that the NHL powers that be, who've allowed this ugly
         environment to exist, will wake up and listen up before
         anyone else is so seriously and needlessly injured" ("The
         Sports Reporters," 3/8)....In N.Y., Dave Anderson writes on
         "Hockey's Concussion Concern" (N.Y. TIMES, 3/10).

    Print | Tags: Boston Bruins, Chicago Blackhawks, ESPN, Leagues and Governing Bodies, Montreal Canadiens, NBA, NHL, Walt Disney

              Title sponsorship of the WTA Tour is being offered for
         $25M over three years, which "may seem a bit pricey compared
         with" the three-year, $12M deal that departing sponsor Corel
         paid in rights fees, according to Terry Lefton of BRANDWEEK. 
         Lefton: "But WTA rights broker, IMG, Cleveland, has
         repackaged the sponsorship in proportion with what it claims
         is a remarkable 11 billion impressions over a year's worth
         of TV broadcasts to more than 20 countries."  The Tour has
         "increased in-game sponsor ID with the addition of sponsor-
         branded statistical and scoring updates, and an additional
         dedicated camera specifically designed to catch sponsor
         exposure vehicles. ... Also included is a grass roots
         program, the usual hospitality and tickets and the tour's
         close working relationship with its players." Virtual
         signage could also be added if the concept is "high" on a
         sponsor's list.   Lefton adds the price is "likely to raise
         a few eyebrows."  WTA Tour CEO Bart McGuire: "We have some
         really marketable athletes and I really feel ($25 million
         is) relatively inexpensive for a year-round property that is
         the most global of any women's sport" (BRANDWEEK, 3/9). 

    Print | Tags: IMG, Leagues and Governing Bodies
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