SBD/2/Leagues Governing Bodies

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              NBC Sports President Dick Ebersol denied reports that
         NBA execs have told TV partners to expect a work stoppage
         during CBA negotiations, according to Howard Manly of the
         BOSTON GLOBE.  Ebersol: "It's not true. In fact, I have been
         told not to anticipate a work stoppage" (BOSTON GLOBE, 6/2). 
         On ESPN SportsZone, Jeffrey Denberg reports that NBPA VP
         Dikembe Mutombo has told team reps not to attend Monday's
         scheduled meeting with league negotiators.  Mutombo: "What's
         the point?  Why should they go for nothing?  They want to do
         away with the Bird exception.  They want a hard (salary)
         cap.  They want to tax teams who spend more.  We can't live
         with that. ... They want to cut us back to 48 percent (of
         gross revenues).  We can't accept this, so there is no point
         in talking."  More Mutombo: "At first, I thought they wanted
         a new drug policy and to modify some things.  But now I
         think they want everything and it can't happen" (ESPN, 6/2).
         George Willis calls on the NBA to instill a hard salary cap
         in the next CBA, similar to one in the NFL.  Willis writes
         that the NFL's system "forces players into truthful analysis
         of their worth," while right now, "there is little sense of
         stability in the NBA. ... [W]hen you hear of third-year
         players ... signing $100 million contracts, you wonder how
         long the Minnesotas can survive."  Willis concludes that
         "all deals should be tied to performance, production and
         maintenance of civil behavior.  If the NBA union and owners
         can ever agree on that, maybe they can rescue a game they're
         about to screw up" (George Willis, N.Y. POST, 6/1).
              MATHIS SENTENCED: Former NBA ref Mike Mathis was
         sentenced Friday to three years probation after pleading
         guilty to tax fraud.  He was fined $2,000, sentenced to 120
         days of home confinement and asked to perform more than 200
         hours of community service.  Mathis was also "ordered" to
         continue and cooperate with the U.S. government's
         investigation of league's referees (ESPN SportsZone, 5/30). 
              RI-UNITE ON ICE: Michael Ri, a 7' 8" North Korean
         basketball player, is awaiting State Department "approval"
         for clearance to play in the NBA.  Washington, DC, lobbyist
         Eric White has asked CA's Democratic U.S. Senators Barbara
         Boxer and Dianne Feinstein to assist in getting Ri's
         exemption.  The Treasury Department has already approved
         Ri's request and Nike has also come aboard and "added its
         clout to the project" (Peter May, BOSTON GLOBE, 5/31).

    Print | Tags: ESPN, Leagues and Governing Bodies, NBA, NBC, NFL, Nike, Ottawa Senators, Walt Disney

              MLB: Interleague play returns this week and Acting
         Commissioner Bud Selig feels the second year will be "just
         as successful" as the first.  Selig: "There's no doubt in my
         mind that it's going to do remarkably well again."  Last
         year's interleague average attendance was 33,409, up from
         the regular-season average of 27,732 (Mark Maske, WASHINGTON
         POST, 5/31)....ESPN2's Mike Lupica, on MLB's resurgence in
         N.Y.: "What we're really being reminded of here is how
         baseball at its best still turns the biggest places into
         small towns.  Baseball in New York feels like the main event
         again" ("The Mike Lupica Show," ESPN2, 6/1).
              OTHER NOTES: In K.C., Joe Posnanski, on the men's and
         women's pro tennis tours: "Women's tennis rules.  It's hip. 
         It's happening.  It's now. ... Women's tennis has never been
         better. ... [M]en's tennis has no heart" (K.C. STAR, 5/30).
         ...On ESPN SportsZone, Greg Garber wrote that women's tennis
         "recently has been blessed with some terrific teenage
         athletes."  Noting the recent profiles of Martina Hingis and
         Anna Kournikova, Garber added, "It is not terribly
         surprising that the sport consciously has been playing the
         racy card" (ESPN SportsZone, 5/28)....In Philadelphia,
         Timothy Dwyer wrote, "The NHL is having a bad year. ... This
         is the time of year when the game should be showcased the
         most.  The NHL seems so intent on marketing the sport
         internationally that it is willing to sacrifice its own
         postseason party on bad experiments such as the Olympics.
         ... And it is no coincidence that the NHL teams with the
         most Olympic players made the quickest exit from the
         playoffs.  It is a fitting end to a bad season.  And it has
         to make you think that the NHL shouldn't be wondering why
         more people don't watch their games but -- instead -- why
         anyone bothers to watch them at all" (PHILA. INQUIRER, 6/1).

    Print | Tags: Anheuser Busch, ESPN, Leagues and Governing Bodies, MLB, NHL, Walt Disney

              The NBA "is guiding some of its owners toward possible
         investment" in NBC/Turner's proposed new pro football
         league, according to Richard Sandomir of the N.Y. TIMES.  It
         is "more an advisory role than an official one, and NBC and
         Turner are looking beyond the N.B.A. for people who want" to
         invest in the league.  While NBA officials "declined to
         discuss their role," a spokesperson said, "We're always
         encouraging our owners to extend the sports expertise they
         have through basketball to ownership and operations of other
         sports franchises."  NFL Senior VP/Communications Joe Browne
         said that he "was unaware" of any role the NBA may have in
         finding investors for the league.  Sandomir describes the
         contact as "selective," and writes that "many teams" said
         they had not been contacted.  Magic Assistant Dir of Sports
         Communications Joel Glass described contact on the new
         league as being "in the early stages" (N.Y. TIMES, 6/2).
              SPIRIT OF COMPETITION: Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones said
         the NFL "shouldn't be spending time worrying about whatever
         competition there might be and what anybody else is doing"
         (S.A. EXPRESS-NEWS, 6/2).  CFL COO Jeff Giles said a new
         league "could pose some problems for us so we're definitely
         taking it seriously. ... [T]here could be a competitive
         environment for players" (Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 6/2).  
              DOES IT AD UP? BROADCASTING & CABLE's Joe Schlosser
         reports that ad agency execs "were generally unimpressed" by
         the NBC/Turner proposal, as the "bottom line" is that
         "there's a glut of sports inventory on the market -- much of
         it football."  Peter Chrisanthopoulos, President/Broadcast &
         Programming, USA, for Ogilvy & Mather: "We have more than
         enough inventory to buy units of NFL football on broadcast
         or cable.  The advertising community doesn't need more
         football inventory."  One NFL-partnered network exec, on the
         new league: "We have the main property people want to see
         and that's that" (BROADCASTING & CABLE, 6/1 issue).
              NATIONAL REAX: On L.I., Steve Zipay writes that by
         owning the league, the broadcast possibilities of a new
         league "are tantalizing," and "mikes in huddles and cameras
         in locker rooms might be a reality" (NEWSDAY, 6/2).  In
         Raleigh, Caulton Tudor writes that the plan "could be an
         elaborate bluff" by NBC/Turner.  Tudor: "By threatening  to
         form a new league ... [NBC/Turner] could force the NFL to
         rethink the way it doles out game assignments" (NEWS &
         OBSERVER, 6/2).  In Ft. Worth, Mike Fisher quotes a sports
         broadcasting source as saying ticket sales "aren't even a
         consideration" to NBC/Turner, because if the networks get a
         1 share in ratings, "the thing is profitable" (FT. WORTH
         STAR-TELEGRAM, 6/2).   On ESPN SportsZone, Mark Kreidler:
         "[W]ho wouldn't secretly love to see the NFL's cage rattled
         a little more often? ... Now, does [the new league] have a
         chance?  As programming, sure" (ESPN SportsZone, 6/1).  But
         in Boston, Michael Gee: "Keep giving your money to the
         United Nations, Ted.  It's more humanitarian, and it's a
         sounder business proposition, too" (BOSTON HERALD, 6/1). 

    Print | Tags: CFL, Dallas Cowboys, ESPN, Leagues and Governing Bodies, NBA, NBC, NFL, Orlando Magic, Walt Disney

              NTRA efforts to increase interest in horse racing are
         examined by Andrew Beyer of the WASHINGTON POST.  Beyer
         writes that "it is hard to imagine that racing will revive
         itself by imitating other sports" by promoting its horses as
         "stars" and arranging its races into a championship series. 
         Instead, the NTRA should follow state lotteries and the
         casino industry, as racing's "greatest potential strength is
         that it is the most engrossing of all gambling games, and
         this is a gambling mad country."   Beyer: "A realistic
         vision for racing's future is to bring the product into
         potential customers' living rooms through telephone
         wagering, on-line wagering and interactive betting on TV.
         ... [I]f viewers could click a remote-control device and
         make a bet on the Belmont Stakes they would get involved
         very quickly.  The industry ought to think about enticing
         customers this way, and then be prepared to deliver the
         proper customer service when some of these people show up at
         a racetrack.  The NTRA's leaders are dreaming if they think
         they can make their sport more like pro golf and pro
         basketball.  They would find a more promising formula if
         they could force themselves to say: We need to be more like
         Powerball and Caesars Palace" (WASHINGTON POST, 6/2).

    Print | Tags: Leagues and Governing Bodies
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