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HOWARD SMITH was named VP/Licensing at MLB Properties. Smith comes from Reebok Int'l, where he served as Group Dir of Sports Marketing. Also, Group Dir of Licensing for Adult Wearable and Client Services MARLA MILLER was promoted to VP/Events (MLBP)....JUD PERKINS, VP & GM of Leisure Management Int'l in FL, will leave June 5 to oversee construction of the new Dallas arena. Perkins had served as the Manager of the Broward County Arena. Arena development Co. President ALEX MUXO will assume Perkins' duties until a successor is named (Fort Lauderdale SUN-SENTINEL, 5/22).
MARTINA HINGIS is the "towering female tennis player of the present day, the only woman on the tour who really matters," according to Alan Richman, who profiles Hingis in a GQ cover story. Richman: "With Hingis time passes not just painlessly but pleasurably. Considering her one- dimensional past, it's hard to imagine how she turned out so well" (GQ, 6/98 issue)....RICHARD WILLIAMS, the father of VENUS and SERENA WILLIAMS, is profiled by Douglas Looney in today's CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR. Looney, who calls Richard's approach with his daughters "unconventional": "[I]n a world in which there is near unanimous agreement that 14 is way too young for a little girl to become a touring professional, this most protective of all the parents abruptly decided that would be the proper next step" (CSM, 5/22)....NBA Coach of the Year LARRY BIRD "declined to confirm" that he would return next year to coach the Pacers again. Bird: "We'll see" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 5/22). ...Former Jets head coach RICH KOTITE will play a coach in a film starring KELSEY GRAMMER. The film is "Jersey Turnpikers" (N.Y. TIMES, 5/22)....A grand jury will not indict either Wizards F JUWAN HOWARD or Kings F CHRIS WEBBER for an alleged sexual assault (WASHINGTON POST, 5/22).
Zapata Corp., the former oil company controlled by Bucs Owner MALCOLM GLAZER, offered yesterday to buy Internet search directory Excite for nearly $1.7B, but the offer "was immediately rejected by the company and ridiculed by some analysts," according to the TAMPA TRIBUNE. Excite cited the "complete lack of synergy" and gaping differences in market value between the two companies (TAMPA TRIBUNE, 5/22). In N.Y., Reed Abelson reports that Zapata CEO AVRAM GLAZER, "cannot understand why he is not getting more respect," as his company aims to become more involved in the Internet. Glazer: "If you look at my family's history, we have a history of going in on new things." Zapata's shares fell 87.5 cents, to close yesterday at $10.50. Excite's shares rose 81.25 cents, to close at $61 (N.Y. TIMES, 5/22). HICK'S LATEST PRIZE: Sources of DAILY VARIETY's Richard Morgan say that HICKS, MUSE, TATE & FURST has won the auction for Pulitzer Publishing Co.'s TV properties and "plans to fold the nine network-affiliated stations into Hicks Muse-controlled Chancellor Media Corp." The deal is expected to be valued at $1.8B (DAILY VARIETY, 5/22). Stars/Rangers Owner TOM HICKS is featured in a FORBES cover story. Matthew Schifrin writes that Hicks "rules over more than 400 radio stations in 100 markets across the U.S," has combined radio revenues of $1.5B and is "by no means finished building his media empire" (FORBES, 6/1 issue).