SBD/27/Leagues Governing Bodies

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              President Clinton attended Game Two of the Sabres-
         Capitals Eastern Conference finals on Monday night at the
         MCI Center, according to Liz Clarke of the WASHINGTON POST. 
         It marked the first time a sitting U.S. president had
         attended an NHL game.  Clinton watched from the suite of
         Capitals Owner Abe Pollin and was joined by Vice President
         Al Gore, U.S. Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-NY), HUD
         Secretary Andrew Cuomo and NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman. 
         Clinton spent the first period in his seat in the open-air
         suite and then spent "much of the second period" inside the
         owner's box (WASHINGTON POST, 5/26).  During the second
         intermission, Clinton was interviewed by ESPN's Brian
         Hayward.  Clinton, on the game: "Well first of all, it's
         much more exciting in person, even, than on television -- no
         offense to ESPN.  I watch hockey when you show it. ... I'm
         having the time of my life.  I love this" (NHL).  
              NUMBERS: Through the conference semifinal round, the
         league had averaged 18,216 fans per game, playing to 99.2%
         capacity, which is up slightly from last year (NHL).  On
         "The Sports Reporters," ESPN's Bob Ryan, asked if hockey is
         still a major sport: "The issue here is television ratings. 
         It's not the sport.  They have 90-X percent capacity filled
         every year [in] their arenas ... but it doesn't translate
         well to TV."  ESPN's Mike Lupica, asked if a sport is "dead"
         if it doesn't translate well to TV: "I don't think so. ...
         [W]hen you go to see this sport still ... it's a fabulous
         sport" ("The Sports Reporters," ESPN, 5/24).
              CONSTRUCTIVE CRITICISM: In N.Y., Joe Lapointe, under
         the header, "Winter Game, Spring Identity Crisis," writes
         that Bettman and company need to "realistically address a
         few critical problems" over the off-season.  Among those
         listed: "Shortening the season"; "Getting serious about rule
         changes"; "Accepting Constructive Criticism" and "Fixing the
         Fox Problem."  He writes that ratings may be down because of
         the "bizarre, low-ice camera angles"  that Fox has "actually
         increased in recent weeks.  A sport thought difficult to
         televise does not become more telegenic when directors make
         it even harder to follow" (Joe Lapointe, N.Y. TIMES, 5/27). 
              JACOBS' LEDGER: Bruins Owner Jeremy Jacobs, on player
         salaries and the free agent market: "I think the market is
         way out of line because of some stupid things that have been
         done with some of these contracts. ... There are a lot of
         idiots out there, so you never know what is going to happen. 
         Look at the Rangers and their payroll -- and they didn't
         even make the playoffs."  Jacobs also cited contracts given
         out by the Canucks and Penguins and added, "Money is not
         always the answer" (Will McDonough, BOSTON GLOBE, 5/23).

    Print | Tags: Boston Bruins, Buffalo Sabres, ESPN, Leagues and Governing Bodies, NHL, Canucks Sports and Entertainment, Pittsburgh Penguins, Vancouver Canucks, Walt Disney, Washington Capitals

              The NBA's CBA negotiations were examined on "NBA
         Showtime" on Sunday by NBC's Peter Vecsey, who spoke with
         NBA Deputy Commissioner Russ Granik, agent David Falk, NBPA
         President Patrick Ewing and NBPA Exec Dir Billy Hunter. 
         Falk: "I think if you lock the players out, you risk losing
         the fans for the next four or five years and creating Major
         League Baseball."  Granik, asked why a new deal would be
         better from '95, since the same people are doing the
         negotiating: "Well, you know, hopefully we can be a little
         smarter this time."  Ewing, on a hard cap: "We as players,
         we're not going to go for a hard cap because it will be too
         restrictive."  Vecsey: "In any way, shape or form?"  Ewing:
         "In any way, shape or form."  Hunter appeared live from
         Oakland and said that the NBPA is currently awaiting a
         second counter offer from the NBA: "I think [the NBA] will
         admit to you that they were rather surprised at the offer
         that I put on the table from the get go.  It was a creative
         offer, it was a substantive offer, and an offer that's
         generally not made that early in negotiations.  But I came
         to the negotiations with the intent on trying to reach an
         agreement, and I put forth what I thought to be a
         substantive offer -- one that the owners could in fact
         either live with or attempt to negotiate over."  After his
         report, Vecsey said he believed that no games will be lost
         to a lockout next season: "I don't think they're going to
         miss a beat.  I really don't" ("NBA Showtime," NBC, 5/24).
              REAX TO NBC REPORT: USA TODAY's Rudy Martzke wrote that
         NBC "devoted too much attention to viewer-turnoff league
         labor problems" (USA TODAY, 5/26).  But in Baltimore, Milton
         Kent wrote that NBC's report on the CBA negotiations "was a
         welcome change from the normal" (Baltimore SUN, 5/26).  
              MORE CBA: In Denver, Todd Phipers on NBC's report:
         "Bottom-line summation: There still are major differences to
         be settled" between the two sides (DENVER POST, 5/26).  In
         L.A., Mark Heisler wrote, "There is suspicion that [David]
         Stern won't reveal his proposal until bargaining starts in
         earnest, this summer, after the lockout" (L.A. TIMES, 5/24).
              A SOCIAL PHENOM: Pulitzer Prize-winning author David
         Halberstam is writing a book on Michael Jordan scheduled for
         a November release.  Halberstam, whose other NBA book, "The
         Breaks Of The Game," chronicled the '79-80 Trail Blazers,
         said his new book will explore "what made him not just a
         great player but a phenomenon, a social phenomenon that
         transcends basketball, transcends sports and transcends
         national boundaries.  How that happened is intriguing" (N.Y.
         POST, 5/25).  Halberstam: "It's mostly about Michael, but
         also, in the background, are the changes in the league --
         the world of chartered jets and bodyguards and $10 million,
         $20 million salaries" (ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, 5/24).  

    Print | Tags: Leagues and Governing Bodies, NBA, NBC, Portland Trail Blazers, Showtime, Vulcan Ventures

              Memorial Day weekend's racing schedule saw the 82nd
         running of the Indy 500 on Sunday, the CART Motorola 300 on
         Saturday and NASCAR's Coca-Cola 600 on Sunday night.  In
         Indy, Robin Miller wrote that for the "first time in my 35
         years at IMS, empty seats were noticeable on race day." 
         While IMS, in traditional fashion, gave no attendance
         figure, Miller puts his "unofficial estimate" at around
         290,000, down from the usual 330,000 to 350,000.  Miller
         added that while it is "still the largest gathering in
         motorsports," interest in the Indy 500 "continues to
         decline" (STAR-NEWS, 5/25).  In Cincinnati, Tom Groeschen
         wrote that Indy "still can claim to be the largest one-day
         sporting event in America" (CINCINNATI ENQUIRER, 5/26). 
              AT GATEWAY: In St. Louis, Christopher Carey reports
         that racing teams and fans who came to Saturday's Motorola
         300 at Gateway Int'l Raceway spent "about" $6.7M at hotels,
         restaurants and other businesses in the area.  The total
         impact of the race, including the "multiplier effect," will
         bring $16.9M to the local economy over three days, a 12.7%
         increase over last year's race.  Saturday's attendance was
         around 60,000 (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 5/24). 

    Print | Tags: Coca-Cola, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Leagues and Governing Bodies, Motorola, NASCAR
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