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              The NBA "has grown into" a $2B "sports juggernaut in
         the last decade," and Michael Jordan is "in no small way
         responsible" for its 10-20% annual revenue growth, according
         to CNBC's Mike Hegedus, who examined issues facing the
         league on "The Edge."  Hegedus: "But as salaries have gone
         up, so have ticket prices, leading to something new in the
         playoffs -- empty seats."  The Marquee Group's Lee Berke:
         "In the first games of the first round of the NBA Playoffs,
         up to half of the arenas were not sold out."  Berke says
         that while the league is "still very healthy," issues such
         as ticket increases, "bouts with image problems" and a
         potential lockout have "hurt [its] position with the fans." 
         Starter's Steve Raab, on whether sales of licensed
         merchandise have been affected: "You see the consolidation
         at retail, you see the consolidation among licensees.  I
         think that shakeout is going to happen, and I think the
         strong will still be here."  Sara Lee's Champion termed NBA
         sales "flat," but said it will "change its approach." 
         Champion's Nicole Blake: "That means having increasing stock
         on the shelves, quicker turnaround times, quicker shipping
         times, and being able to respond so that the fans can find
         NBA merchandise they want to purchase where and when they
         want to buy it."  Starter's Raab, on future sales: "It
         really depends on who wins this year.  If the Bulls win
         again, I would expect that sales will probably be on par
         with last year.  If it's another team, depending on who the
         team is, you may see something close, you may see a big drop
         off -- it just depends on the market" ("The Edge," 4/29). 

    Print | Tags: Chicago Bulls, Leagues and Governing Bodies, NBA, Sara Lee

              NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue and a "quartet of NFL
         heavyweights," will begin a three-day fact-finding tour of
         L.A. on Monday, "but much to the disappointment of those
         courting league favor, it will not set a target date for the
         return of football," according to T.J. Simers of the L.A.
         TIMES.  NFL Exec VP/League & Football Development Roger
         Goodell said that the league is "focused on getting things
         completed in Cleveland" before focusing on L.A.  Simers
         wrote that while the league is "becoming increasingly
         enamored" with Michael Ovitz's plan for a stadium-mall
         complex in Carson, they "intend to contact" reps from
         Hollywood Park, the New Coliseum Project, Fox and South
         Park.  Tagliabue will be joined by Goodell, NFL President
         Neil Austrian and Stadium Committee Chair/Panthers Owner
         Jerry Richardson.  Simers added that Ovitz "appears to have
         made quite an impression on NFL officials, who like his ties
         to the entertainment industry."  He has given the NFL a list
         of potential investors from L.A., "including some Hollywood
         actors."  He has also met with NFL officials in New York and
         "convinced them that environmental concerns about the
         property, previously a dump site for hazardous waste, will
         not be a significant roadblock" (L.A. TIMES, 4/29). 

    Print | Tags: Leagues and Governing Bodies, NFL

              MLS: MLS Dir of Communications Dan Courtemanche said
         that Cincinnati is in line for an expansion franchise,
         "possibly as early as" 2000 or 2001.  If a team is granted,
         it would play at the Bengals' Paul Brown Stadium currently
         under construction.  Charlotte, Atlanta, San Diego, Houston,
         Philadelphia and Seattle or Portland are also under
         consideration (CINCINNATI POST, 4/29).
              THE FUTURE OF DH: ESPN's Tim Kurkjian examined the
         future of MLB's DH and said, "Any change in the DH will have
         to go through the players association and be done at the
         bargaining table.  And that will be a long, arduous
         process."  Cubs President & CEO Andy MacPhail: "It's one
         issue that will not be resolved to everybody's satisfaction,
         you can guarantee that, because people are passionate on
         both sides of the issue."  Acting MLB Commissioner Bud
         Selig: "If the American League clubs want to keep it, then
         they ought to keep it. ... It's going to take some type of
         crisis, some powerful moment -- maybe more realignment --
         something else that the American League clubs like where the
         DH becomes an issue.  If not, it's no issue" (ESPN, 4/29).
         that Anaheim, CA, has been selected as the site of the '99
         Baseball Winter Meetings.  The convention will be co-hosted
         by the NAPBL and the Angels from December 10-14 (NAPBL). 
              CORRECTION: Tuesday's attendance numbers for the Mighty
         Ducks and Canucks in THE DAILY's chart comparing NHL team
         attendance before and after the league's midseason break for
         the Nagano Winter Games should have read as follows: 
                      PRE-NAGANO             POST-NAGANO          +/-
         TEAM    DATES  AVG.    %CAP    DATES    AVG.    %CAP      %
         ANA      29   17,027    99%     11     17,174   100%    + 1%
         VAN      27   17,221    93%     13     16,906    91%    - 2%

    Print | Tags: LA Angels, Anheuser Busch, Chicago Cubs, Cincinnati Bengals, ESPN, Leagues and Governing Bodies, MLB, MLS, NHL, Canucks Sports and Entertainment, Vancouver Canucks, Walt Disney

              After appearing with other NHL execs before a House of
         Commons subcommittee on Tuesday, Flames Chair Harley
         Hotchkiss said he felt the group's presentation on the state
         the game in Canada "was pretty well received by the members
         of the commission," according to George Johnson of the
         CALGARY SUN.  But Hotchkiss adds that "some of the media
         people, in my opinion, totally misread our intentions." 
         Hotchkiss: "They regarded it as nothing more than a quick
         tax grab.  I don't think that's right and I don't think
         that's fair.  That's just a shallow viewpoint.  We wanted to
         present some of the problems we as an industry face. I think
         the members of the commission listened to and understood our
         dilemma."  One potential source of money for teams could be
         a lottery prize bond (CALGARY SUN, 4/30).
              A TOUGH SELL WITH MEDIA: In Ottawa, Earl McRae
         dismisses the contention made by NHL Commissioner Gary
         Bettman and team execs who compared pro hockey to the
         Canadian lumber, agriculture and gas exploration industries,
         writing those are "economically 'essential.'  Hockey is not. 
         It's a diversional entertainment, nothing more" (OTTAWA SUN,
         4/30).  In Calgary, Mark Miller writes that the NHL "needs
         to first look in the mirror for solutions" before receiving
         government aid.  Miller: "The truth is that the NHL is run
         by a board of governors largely indifferent to the fate of
         Canada's small-market franchises. ... The haves of the NHL
         will continue to exploit the have-nots with irresponsible
         free-agent signings and the players association will stand
         idly by and let it all happen, because, their mandate is to
         get as much as they can" (Mark Miller, CALGARY SUN, 4/30).

    Print | Tags: Calgary Flames, Leagues and Governing Bodies, NHL

              One year ago, the ABL "cleaned up in signing the top
         college seniors.  This time, the mop was in the hands of the
         rival WNBA," according to Mel Greenberg of the PHILADELPHIA
         INQUIRER.  The WNBA got commitments from 44 of this year's
         "roughly" 60 top seniors, and "the ABL only a handful." 
         Woolf Associates VP Andrew Brandt, at yesterday's WNBA
         Draft: "A lot of players turned down significantly better
         financial offers by the ABL after seeing the WNBA on TV last
         summer."  The WNBA held its Draft yesterday, one day after
         announcing the signings of All-American's Nykesha Sales from
         UConn, Kristin Folkl of Stanford and Ticha Penicheiro of ODU
         (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 4/30).  Yesterday's top three picks
         of the WNBA's first round will earn a base salary of
         $50,000, picks 4-7 earn $44,000, picks 8-10 earn $37,500. 
         Second-round picks earn $25,000, third round, $22,000 and
         fourth round earn $19,000 (Valerie Lister, USA TODAY, 4/30).
              CAN THE ABL BOUNCE BACK? ABL CEO Gary Cavalli said he
         offered Sales, Folkl and Penicheiro between $150,000 and
         $175,000, and added that the WNBA might have outbid the ABL:
         "I think they came up from last year.  They sweetened their
         deals."  The WNBA did not reveal contract terms (Portland
         OREGONIAN, 4/29).  In Hartford, COURANT Associate Editor
         Jeff Rivers, under the header, "Sales' WNBA Choice Is Right
         One For Her," writes that the "seemingly inevitable march of
         the WNBA to the forefront of women's professional basketball
         is yet another sad example of a people trained to gorge on
         the sizzle rather than savor the steak in our society."  But
         Rivers doesn't "blame" her for her decision (HARTFORD
         COURANT, 4/30).  Also in Hartford, Riley & Berlet write that
         the ABL "couldn't deny that losing most" of the college
         seniors to the WNBA "looks bad."  Riley & Berlet: "And while
         perceptions may be worse than reality, at least one ABL
         executive would like to see the process for recruiting top
         players improved."   Quest GM/Coach Brian Agler said that
         coaches "need to be more involved" in the recruiting season
         (HARTFORD COURANT, 4/30).  In L.A., Earl Gustkey writes that
         "the war in women's hoops has turned and the ABL's future is
         clouded.  If this trend continues, the players the ABL now
         has will keep it a strong league through, perhaps, 2000. 
         Then the slide will begin" (L.A. TIMES, 4/29).  

    Print | Tags: Leagues and Governing Bodies, WNBA
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