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  • IS MLS GETTING BURNED BY DALLAS MARKET? ATTENDANCE LAGGING

              MLS attendance dropped 8.5% for its first six games,
         "primarily because of a sharp falloff" for the L.A. Galaxy,
         according to a TAMPA TRIBUNE report.  MLS is averaging
         19,452, down from 21,272 for its first six games last
         season.  MLS Commissioner Doug Logan: "We're very, very
         pleased with the condition we're in" (TAMPA TRIBUNE, 3/25). 
         But Logan did express concern with the 11,103 who attended
         the Burn's home-opener in Dallas: "We're not pleased with
         the results in Dallas.  Last week we spent four times the
         amount of money in media (advertising) than we did the year
         before" (Peter Brewington, USA TODAY, 3/25).  In Dallas,
         Steve Davis writes the league "remains handcuffed to mammoth
         football stadiums" and "changes have been slow-going." 
         While the Burn called the Cotton Bowl a short-term solution,
         there are few alternatives.  Davis writes that SMU will
         construct a 32,000-seat facility that would "be a prototype
         for MLS," but SMU's AD Jim Copeland said a partnership isn't
         "feasible" since the school prohibits non-collegiate events
         attended by more than 16,000 (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 3/25).
              AH, CAIRO, JEWEL OF THE NILE! MLS's DC United will make
         the first appearance by an MLS team in Africa when it plays
         Egypt's Al-Ahly club in Cairo on May 5 (AP, 3/25).
    
    

    Print | Tags: AEG, DC United, FC Dallas, Leagues and Governing Bodies, Los Angeles Galaxy, MLS
  • JORDAN SAYS HE'S STILL A UNION MAN IN LATEST LABOR BATTLE

              Michael Jordan "wants to play union activist this
         summer," according to Lacy Banks of the CHICAGO SUN-TIMES. 
         Owners and players are scheduled to begin negotiating on a
         new CBA next Wednesday, and Jordan said, "I'm always going
         to be a pro-union player."  Jordan: "I will speak out when I
         feel the players are being taken advantage of. ... I will be
         involved.  I will contribute" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 3/25).
              LABOR NOTES: Pacers President Donnie Walsh, on
         reopening the CBA: "Not only are we overpaying what we
         bargained for, but we're also distributing it in a way that
         isn't good for the players.  The top players are getting a
         bigger percentage and there are a lot of players at the
         bottom that are taking the minimum" (INDIANAPOLIS STAR-NEWS,
         3/25).  Sonics GM Wally Walker: "[T]here are some smart
         people working on both sides that will work towards getting
         something done that will work for everybody."  Kings Player
         Rep Olden Polynice called NBA Commissioner David Stern the
         key to preventing a work stoppage: "[A]s long as he's there,
         I don't think there will be one" (SACRAMENTO BEE, 3/24).
         ...NBPA Exec Dir Billy Hunter is profiled by Scott Soshnick
         of BLOOMBERG BUSINESS NEWS, who writes that "armed with
         renewed player trust, he will provide the NBA with an able
         negotiation adversary" (BLOOMBERG NEWS, 3/25).
    
    

    Print | Tags: Indiana Pacers, Leagues and Governing Bodies, NBA
  • LEAGUE NOTES

              In addition to the Pilot Pen in CT, tennis tournaments
         in "at least" four other cities -- San Diego, Washington,
         DC, Cincinnati and Mahwah, NJ -- are pursuing the U.S.
         Women's Hardcourt Championships in Stone Mountain, GA
         (HARTFORD COURANT, 3/25)....The PGA Tour has filed a notice
         of appeal in the Casey Martin decision in federal court in
         Eugene, OR.   The case will "probably be heard in six to 18
         months" and is "expected to repeat the PGA Tour's original
         argument that it is a private organization" and exempt from
         the ADA's public accommodation guidelines (OREGONIAN, 3/24).
    
    
    
    
    

    Print | Tags: Leagues and Governing Bodies, PGA Tour
  • REPLAY LIKELY TO BE DEFEATED AGAIN; MARKETS EYE SUPER BOWL

              NFL owners had "a spirited discussion on reinstating
         instant replay for the 1998 season, with more of the debate
         to come Wednesday morning before the final vote," according
         to Leonard Shapiro of the WASHINGTON POST.  Broncos Owner
         Pat Bowlen: "I'd be very pessimistic about it coming back"
         (WASHINGTON POST, 3/25).  In Boston, Will McDonough reports,
         "Unless commissioner Paul Tagliabue steps in and changes
         some votes, instant replay will be rejected again today." 
         He adds that some owners "will continue to vote against it
         because it lengthens the game" (BOSTON GLOBE, 3/25). 
              LET'S GO EUROPE! NFL Europe President Oliver Luck
         expects average attendance in Europe to be over 20,000 a
         game.  Luck: "We've still got a long way to go before I
         could see us playing a regular-season [NFL] game in Europe"
         (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 3/25).  NFL Int'l Senior VP Don Garber,
         on the name change from the World League to NFL Europe:
         "World League wasn't communicating what we believed was the
         proper position for this business" (ELECTRONIC MEDIA, 3/23).
              UNION SAY: The NFLPA said that it "needs to be
         consulted" before the NFL begins fining and suspending
         players for convictions for violent criminal offenses. 
         NFLPA Exec Dir Gene Upshaw: "We're not going to allow
         anything without due process" (USA TODAY, 3/25). 
    
    

    Print | Tags: Denver Broncos, Leagues and Governing Bodies, NFL
  • WHAT'S IN A NAME? HOPEFULLY MONEY: KOSAR LINKS W/MURDOUGH

              Bernie Kosar has teamed with OH entrepreneur Thomas
         Murdough to try to buy the new Browns franchise, according
         to Becky Yerak of the Cleveland PLAIN DEALER.  Kosar and
         Murdough are "trying to put together a group of business
         executives to buy the team."  Currently, the group includes
         only Murdough and Kosar.  Murdough, when asked if he could
         afford the franchise fee: "I'm encouraged by comments from
         Paul Tagliabue that it will be a fair price.  When you start
         getting over $300 million, I question whether that's a fair
         price" (Cleveland PLAIN-DEALER, 3/25).  ESPN's John Clayton
         reported on "a heated debate" among owners regarding the
         Browns' expansion fee.  Clayton said some "hardline owners
         wish to go between $500 million and $1 billion.  But others
         knowledgeable with the process expect it to settle between"
         $300M to $500M ("SportsCenter," 3/24).  Tagliabue said
         ownership could be in place by this summer: "That would be
         ideal" (AKRON BEACON JOURNAL, 3/25).  In Akron, Terry Pluto
         puts Al Lerner and Richard Jacobs as the favorites to land
         the team.  He writes NFL owners "know" and "like" Lerner
         (AKRON BEACON JOURNAL, 3/25).  In N.Y., George Vecsey calls
         the NFL granting Cleveland an expansion team a "delightful
         case of swift justice" (N.Y. TIMES, 3/25).
              L.A. STORY: Going to 31 teams will lead to a new bye
         week format.  Each week will include one team out of action
         and a team will have a bye in week one and week 17.  In
         L.A., T.J. Simers writes that "club officials are grumbling
         already and the new schedule is a year away from being
         released."  Chargers Owner Alex Spanos: "We have to go to 32
         teams."  Bills Owner Ralph Wilson: "Let's face it, L.A. is
         the prime candidate to become the 32nd team, if it just gets
         a stadium."  Simers: "But if the unbalanced schedule favors
         Los Angeles' chances to force the expansion issue, Raiders
         Owner Al Davis has maintained that nothing will get done in
         Los Angeles without his permission."  Davis: "[W]e do own
         the L.A. opportunity for sure."  Wilson: "The hell he does." 
         Simers: "Houston's chances of winning an expansion franchise
         rest on only one thing: Los Angeles losing that
         opportunity."  But Simers writes that "could happen" since
         public money is unavailable and an "owner conceivably will
         have to put out more than" $200M for a stadium and then come
         up with an expansion fee (L.A. TIMES, 3/25).  Davis told USA
         TODAY's Gordon Forbes that the NFL's Finance Committee
         "forced the Raiders to abandon" the L.A. market and move to
         Oakland in '95.  Davis said that while he was in talks with
         Hollywood Park, the league mandated that the Raiders share
         the facility with a second team.  Davis: "They drove me out. 
         They're going to have to adjudicate that and adjudicate that
         there is an offset."   Davis claims the NFL owes him $25M in
         an "offset" fee to move to Oakland.  Asked who would move
         into the L.A. market, Davis said, "I don't know who it will
         be.  I don't know whether we'll be the team or not" (USA
         TODAY, 3/25).  CNBC's Bill Griffeth reported that Michael
         Ovitz bought a stake in a "supermall" in Columbus, OH, and
         will "be in charge of designing the mall's sports and
         entertainment complex."  Griffeth: "Ovitz may also have
         bigger plans up his sleeve, with a proposal to the NFL to
         build a football coliseum and shopping mall outside of Los
         Angeles at Hollywood Park" ("The Edge," CNBC, 3/24).
    
    

    Print | Tags: Buffalo Bills, Cleveland Browns, ESPN, Leagues and Governing Bodies, NFL, Oakland Raiders, San Diego Chargers, Walt Disney, Wilson Sporting Goods
  • WPVA CEASES OPERATION, CITING LACK OF SPONSOR SUPPORT

              The WPVA has "suspended play and is expected to file
         for bankruptcy," according to Sharon Robb of the Ft.
         Lauderdale SUN-SENTINEL.   FL events scheduled for Deerfield
         Beach, Fort Myers and Clearwater were cancelled, along with
         events in Austin, TX, San Diego and Chicago.  WPVA Tour Dir
         Levalley Pattison: "The whole market for volleyball is
         depressed right now.  For some reason sponsors are not that
         receptive.  The crowds are great and TV ratings are good. 
         As far as sponsors -- nothing is out there."  One investor,
         San Diego-based Charles Jackson, withdrew his support of
         seven events in '98, citing "difficulty in securing
         television and sponsorships at such a late date."   WPVA
         officials are "working out long-range payment plans for
         creditors," and several employees have not been paid.  The
         two-person pro tour was entering its 12th season and had
         sanctioned 140 events since '87.  Prize money had increased
         from $48,500 to more than $600,000 (SUN-SENTINEL, 3/25).
              
    

    Print | Tags: Leagues and Governing Bodies
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