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NBA REPORTEDLY ENCOURAGING TEAMS TO HELP NBC/TURNER LEAGUE
Published June 2, 1998
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).