SBD/9/Leagues Governing Bodies

LEAGUE NOTES

          HOCKEY: In Philadelphia, Rich Hofman writes that no NHL
     teams "are sprinting toward the Stanley Cup playoffs," and
     blames the Olympics for the quality of play: "Our heroes
     have returned from the great worldwide stage, for the most
     part, with neither medals nor legs.  They have rejoined
     their teams ... and most of them have pretty much just
     limped along."  He adds, "If there has been one microscopic
     particle of benefit from these Olympics for the NHL's paying
     customers, well, you really do need a microscope to see it"
     (PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 4/9)....The Canadian Hockey
     League, a 51-team junior-hockey league, set a single season
     attendance record of 5,712,284, up over 290,000 from last
     year.  Western Hockey League (WHL) clubs led the way with
     2,605,284 fans at 648 regular season dates, an average of
     9,174 (GLOBE & MAIL, 4/8). The WHL drew a record playoff
     crowd of nearly 13,000 for its semi-finals at the Canadian
     Airlines Saddledome last night (CALGARY SUN, 4/9).
          OTHER LEAGUES: MLS Commissioner Doug Logan confirmed
     yesterday that the price for a league franchise has risen
     $15M since its inception in '96.  He added that the league
     was close to a deal granting MLS Founder Alan Rothenberg
     operating rights to the Clash for $20M. Three years ago,
     franchises were awarded for $5M.  Logan said MLS investors
     "agreed not to accept any offers for less" than the $20M
     that was paid by Ken Horowitz for the expansion Fusion last
     year (N.Y. TIMES, 4/9)....In S.F., Ira Miller questions NFL
     owners about Eddie DeBartolo possibly reclaiming ownership
     of the 49ers and writes, "[S]everal NFL owners -- while
     stressing they do not have all the details of DeBartolo's
     legal problems in Louisiana -- said they would be concerned
     about an NFL club owner who was also involved in casino
     gambling." Bills Owner Ralph Wilson: "The further away we
     can stay from gambling, the better.  There is going to be a
     very big (gambling) blowup someday, and that could really
     hurt professional sports" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 4/9)....PGA Tour
     Commissioner Tim Finchem, on whether other Tour pros have
     inquired about using a cart after the Casey Martin trial:
     "[They] have inquired, but haven't requested" (ESPN, 4/8).
     ...The Ladies Pro Baseball league awarded a franchise to
     Homestead, FL, joining sites in Long Beach, Scottsdale, San
     Jose, Buffalo and Augusta, NJ (MIAMI HERALD, 4/9).
          
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