SBD/31/Leagues Governing Bodies

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              The Corel WTA Tour has passed the million mark in on-
         site attendance after last week's Lipton Championships.  It
         marks the earliest time in Tour history that women's tennis
         has drawn over a million fans.  The Lipton was the eighth
         consecutive worldwide event to report increased numbers over
         1997, with 228,908 fans for its 10 days.  Overall, the
         Lipton was the 10th of 13 Tour events to show an increase in
         attendance over '97.  Tour attendance is at 1,057,164, which
         is 8.77% ahead of '97.  In other news, healthcare group
         Pfizer will be a presenting sponsor of the Acura Classic
         this August in Manhattan Beach, CA, its initial tennis
         sponsorship.  Also, Acura, United Airlines and Nicholas-
         Applegate financial services have all signed on as sponsors
         of the Toshiba Tennis Classic, which will be played this
         August in La Costa, CA (Corel WTA Tour).  
              OVERNIGHT RATINGS: Saturday's Lipton Championships
         women's final between Venus Williams and Anna Kournikova
         earned a 2.7 overnight rating on CBS (USA TODAY, 3/31).

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              Univ. of TN star Chamique Holdsclaw, who will stay in
         school for her senior year, has taken out an insurance
         policy with American Specialty Underwriters (N.Y. DAILY
         NEWS, 3/31)....The USGA will allow Casey Martin to use a
         cart during qualifying for the U.S. Open.  The USGA, which
         was not a party to Martin's suit against the PGA Tour, said
         it will abide by the "spirit" of the court decision
         (REUTERS, 3/31)....The USBL relocated its Philadelphia Power
         to Camden, making them the Camden Power.  The team, owned by
         Gerald Mitchell and Fred Colon, will play at Rutgers Univ.-
         Camden stadium, which will be leased for $1,000 a game
         (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 3/31)....FIFA General Sec. Sepp
         Blatter formally confirmed that he is a candidate for
         president to replace the outgoing Joao Havelange.  The only
         other declared candidate is Lennart Johansson, of UEFA,
         European football's governing body.  The FINANCIAL TIMES'
         Jimmy Burns: "Some Fifa insiders believe that the race for
         the presidency could be so divisive as to leave the way open
         for Mr. Havelange to stay on for a while as a 'compromise'
         chief."  The election is in June (FINANCIAL TIMES, 3/28). 

    Print | Tags: Leagues and Governing Bodies, PGA Tour, USGA

              MLB opens its '98 season with 11 games on the schedule
         today, including the debut of expansion teams in Florida and
         Arizona.  ESPN will televise three national games live,
         including the D'Backs opener at the BOB.  With the start of
         a new season, many in the media are commenting on the health
         of the industry.  A sampling follows (THE DAILY): 
              SIGNS OF HOPE: In Chicago, Dave Van Dyck writes "there
         is no doubt baseball is improving its image" (SUN-TIMES,
         3/31).  In Cincinnati, Todd Archer wrote MLB is "thriving"
         in markets like Baltimore, Cleveland, Denver, N.Y., Boston,
         Atlanta, St. Pete and Arizona (CINCINNATI POST, 3/30).
              WAIT TILL NEXT YEAR? In Minneapolis, Rosalind Bentley:
         "With snowboarding, figure skating, soccer, basketball and
         football vying for kids' attention, baseball is losing some
         of the luster it once had."   Bentley adds that "most of
         today's children would rather gather around a TV to watch
         sports action -- and baseball just doesn't have enough of
         it, they say" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 3/31).  In Dallas,
         a MORNING NEWS editorial says MLB "has grown up, but not
         necessarily matured.  Its flaws seem more monumental than
         its accomplishments. ... [A]mid rising salaries, free agency
         and labor problems, a growing cadre of once loyal fans are
         finding it harder to return to the sport" (DALLAS MORNING
         NEWS, 3/31).  A S.F. CHRONICLE editorial says MLB attendance
         "is creeping back to pre-strike levels.  But fans are turned
         off by gargantuan salaries and the ever-changing cast of
         mercenaries on the home team" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 3/31).  In
         Miami, a HERALD editorial wonders if today's opener will be
         the "last first pitch" for the Marlins: "Baseball, for all
         the appeal of the game itself, is a troubled business. 
         Nobody's in charge.  Labor relations are dicey.  Payroll
         growth is out of sync with revenue growth. ... Whether a
         team will play here next year may depend in part on how well
         the Marlins ... fare at the gate" (MIAMI HERALD, 3/31).    
              BUILDING BLOCKS: Red Sox P Pedro Martinez is profiled
         by Mark Starr in NEWSWEEK, who writes, "[O]nly in baseball,
         with its clueless marketing and dearth of national
         broadcasts, could the highest-paid player in history be
         virtually unknown to average sports fans."  More Starr:
         "Martinez covets what so many ballplayers eschew -- the
         chance to be a role model" (NEWSWEEK, 3/30 issue).  Yankees
         SS Derek Jeter was profiled by Jack O'Connell in the
         HARTFORD COURANT.  Jeter: "I want to represent baseball and
         the Yankees properly.  ... That's why my attitude has always
         been that I need to come to the park as prepared as I can be
         every day.  You can't do that if you're out partying every
         night."  Jeter currently has six-figure endorsement deals
         with PepsiCo, Fila and Discover Card: "A lot of stuff came
         in, but I took my time and decided I could handle three of
         them" (Jack O'Connell, HARTFORD COURANT, 3/29).  
              INSURANCE CAPITAL: In Hartford, Matthew Lubanko
         examines the process of MLB teams taking out insurance on
         their player contracts in a front-page piece: "As salaries
         rise, so do the premiums.  Industry sources say that some
         teams pay as much as $1 million a year to insure long-term
         contracts that pay $8 million a year" (HART. COURANT, 3/31).

    Print | Tags: Arizona Diamondbacks, Boston Red Sox, ESPN, Miami Marlins, Leagues and Governing Bodies, MLB, New York Yankees, PepsiCo, Walt Disney
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