SBD/15/Leagues Governing Bodies

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              The NBA player agents advisory group that has been
         working with the NBPA met in N.Y. last Friday and "received
         an ominous report," according to ESPN's David Aldridge. 
         Agents "were told the union has acquired the signatures of
         85% of all players authorizing the union to decertify if
         talks with the league break down."  Decertification would
         "force the league to deal independently with each player and
         leave the league vulnerable to lawsuits."  Aldridge adds
         that the union "appears much stronger" than it was in '95
         and sources say that the Jazz "have come around after being
         one of the strongest anti-union" teams during the previous
         labor negotiations.  Aldridge: "Sources indicate that nine
         of the Utah players have signed the decertification
         agreement, and one of those nine is Karl Malone, who has
         never been a supporter of the union in past years.  Malone
         declined to comment" ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 5/14).  In
         Chicago, Steve Rosenbloom: "[T]his spat will be settled by
         two different groups: the wives of NBA players and the
         mothers of their children" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 5/15). 
              A MILLION REASONS: The NBA announced a 7.1% increase in
         average per-game '98 playoff attendance over last year. 
         Through the '98 Conference Semifinals, 1,058,257 attended 54
         games for an average of 19,597 per game.  In '97, 1,006,694
         attended 55 games for an average of 18,303 per game (NBA).

    Print | Tags: ESPN, Leagues and Governing Bodies, NBA, Utah Jazz, Walt Disney

              One of Indy-car racing's largest problems is a
         "noticeable lack of identifiable heroes," according to Robin
         Miller of the INDIANAPOLIS STAR-NEWS.  It's a "malady that
         plagues" the IRL and, "to some extent," CART, as they
         "battle NASCAR for television ratings, media coverage,
         endorsements and fans."  Miller writes that "long before the
         IRL/CART war of 1996, Indy-car racing had suffered a massive
         star outage," and that the "only recognizable names to most
         of the non-racing world are" Michael Andretti, Al Unser,
         Jr., Bobby Rahal, Arie Luyendyk and Tony Stewart.   He
         blames the "old regime at the United States Auto Club and
         CART's lack of awareness -- plus NASCAR's marketing savvy
         for its drivers."  Miller: "The on-track competition in CART
         and the IRL has been better than NASCAR the past two years,
         but the split and poor TV ratings haven't helped cultivate
         many new national names" (INDIANAPOLIS STAR-NEWS, 5/15).  In
         Chicago, Skip Myslenski writes from the Indy 500 time trials
         that the IRL "doesn't have marquee names to match those in
         CART."  He adds that when IRL Founder Tony George split with
         CART he "drained glamor from this race.  That's why
         excitement is down, anticipation is minimal and scalpers are
         left holding fistsful of tickets" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 5/15). 
              THE COST OF DOING BUSINESS: In Indianapolis, Robin
         Miller also examines the costs of fielding race teams for
         the IRL and CART, and writes that while Tony George's
         pursuit for affordability and cost-conscious rule can make
         it cheaper to run an IRL team, for the "front-runners ...
         the price of speed can be almost as expensive as it is for
         CART."  The cost for one "ready to race car" for the IRL
         goes between $375,000 to $425,000.  For CART, the cost can
         hit $600,000 "before the engine goes in" (STAR-NEWS, 5/15).

    Print | Tags: IndyCar, Leagues and Governing Bodies, NASCAR
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