SBD/4/Leagues Governing Bodies

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  • CBA UNDERGOING "FUNDAMENTAL PHILOSOPHICAL SHIFT"

              As the CBA "plots a planned expansion and considers" a
         possible TV contract, the league is "borrowing liberally
         from a game plan that minor league baseball has used to
         drive increased attendance and healthy gains from
         sponsorship and licensing deals," according to Greg Johnson,
         who profiles the league in today's L.A. TIMES.  The nine-
         team league "hopes to add seven franchises in coming years"
         and is looking to turn "once-sleepy havens for hard-core
         sports fans into affordable, family-oriented entertainment
         destinations."  Grand Rapids Hoops CEO Bob Przybysz: "What
         you've seen is a fundamental philosophical shift.  We're in
         the entertainment business.  And, while part of the
         entertainment happens to be a basketball component, the rest
         of it is ... fun."  CBA Commissioner Steve Patterson: "The
         league used to try and mirror the NBA, which built its
         reputation on star appeal.  But with a percentage of your
         best players moving up each year, you can't afford to take
         that approach."  Patterson said that while the league lost
         $6M in '96-97, it cut its loss to $1M last season, and
         though a "few franchises are still shaky," the league
         expects to turn a profit in '98-99 (L.A. TIMES, 6/4). 
              OWNERSHIP AND MARKETING: In terms of new ownership, CA-
         based Mandalay Sports Entertainment, which owns minor league
         baseball clubs, said it has "an interest" in pursuing a CBA
         team.  Mandalay Managing Partner Ken Stickney said, "The CBA
         fills a niche.  But they face the same challenge that all
         sports franchises face at that level.  People have a whole
         lot of options for entertainment."   Johnson also reports
         that the league is hoping to increase its TV exposure
         through its alliance with New Line Cinema, producers of
         "Hoop Dreams," which they hope "can craft a different look
         for its television programming -- something that will draw
         young, hip viewers that sponsors crave" (L.A. TIMES, 6/4).  
    
    

    Print | Tags: AEG, Colorado Rapids, Leagues and Governing Bodies, NBA, Time Warner
  • STERN SAYS NBA NOT PART OF TURNER/NBC LEAGUE -- NOT YET

              NBA Commissioner David Stern told USA TODAY's Rudy
         Martzke that the league "has no involvement" in the proposed
         new NBC/Turner football league, but that when "this new
         league begins, it wouldn't surprise me if some NBA owners
         are owners of these teams."  Stern: "Our owners are always
         looking to expand their properties. ... I think that owning
         more than one sports team in an NBA city is a good idea"
         (USA TODAY, 6/4).  In Philadelphia, Rich Hofman writes under
         the header, "New League Plausible With Right Strategy." 
         Hofman: "You've got to aim this thing at kids and families. 
         That is the only place where the NFL is vulnerable."  He
         adds that the new league should sell "everything the NFL
         isn't," with microphones on players and coaches, instant
         replay and helmet cams (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 6/4).
    
    

    Print | Tags: Leagues and Governing Bodies, NBA, NBC, NFL
  • STRAIGHT TALK FROM VENUS? ARNON MILCHAN SEES TALK-SHOW TIE

               The synergist relationship between Hollywood's Regency
         Enterprises Chair Arnon Milchan and the WTA Tour is profiled
         by USA TODAY's Doug Smith, who writes that, "Long range,
         Milchan says that he sees some tennis stars as potential
         movie stars."  Leland Hardy, the business adviser to Venus
         and Serena Williams, said that "entertainment projects are
         being developed for both sisters."  Hardy: "Serena will be
         in movies, and you might see Venus and Serena hosting a
         television show soon."  Milchan: "Right now, I think Richard
         Williams is a better director than (Francis Ford) Coppola
         and (Steven) Spielberg combined.  And he's got the goods."  
         Milchan, who recently formed a partnership with 20th Century
         Fox, said that he wants to give WTA Tour players the
         "opportunity to explore other entertainment careers."  
         Milchan: "If they can express themselves as artists, we'll
         be there. ... Before and right after the U.S. Open, we plan
         to bring as many girls as possible to the studios to work
         with them.  I would say this is an 18-month process before
         we start seeing some results" (Doug Smith, USA TODAY, 6/4).
              LET THE GIRLS GROW: On CNNSI.com, Alex Wolff writes
         under the header, "Women's Tennis Rising, Warts And All."  
         He states that as the young stars of the WTA Tour grow, "not
         all the news the sport generates is going to be sponsor-
         friendly. ... Women's tennis would do well to let its teens
         be teens, and let us watch them grow, with all their foibles
         and false steps, into full-fledged women" (CNNSI.com, 6/4). 
    
    

    Print | Tags: Leagues and Governing Bodies, News Corp./Fox, Time Warner
  • WNBA'S ACKERMAN PREVIEWS YEAR TWO; TV INVENTORY SOLD OUT

              WNBA President Val Ackerman said that the league's
         second season "is all about beginning to find our place in
         the world and taking steps and growing."  Ackerman said the
         season starting June 11 will feature "more of everything. 
         We have more teams; we have more games; we have more
         players; we've conducted more off-court programs than we had
         a year ago; we have more licensed products available for
         sale in more places; we have a few more sponsors; we have
         more television, both domestic and international; we've had
         more and continuing promotion; and ultimately and hopefully
         we will have more fans to show for all of that" (THE DAILY).
              TV TIME OUT: Ackerman said the league has "sold out our
         inventory on all of our networks.  That inventory has been
         purchased by our partners, and the effect at the league
         [level] is that we expect to see more promotions being
         conducted by our partners as well."  She added that season-
         ticket sales "are up about 60% from last year," and that the
         leaguewide average of about 2,500 season tickets per team
         last year should reach about 4,000 this year (THE DAILY).
              ODDS & ENDS: Asked if the league's marketing budget
         would be close to last year's, Ackerman said, "I've from
         time to time seen a $15 million number in the press, and I
         have no idea where that came from.  I can tell you that did
         not come from the WNBA.  Wherever it came from, it's not
         true."  She added: "We do intend to continue our strategic
         emphasis on promotion, on marketing the league."   Ackerman
         said the league is looking at expanding eventually to a 40-
         game regular season, giving every team 20 home dates. 
         Ackerman: "We would keep it in the same time of year.  We
         don't have any plans to change our season to a winter season
         after we get up and running.  That's not our plan." 
         Ackerman added that any schedule extension would be by
         "expanding at the front end" (THE DAILY).  
    
    

    Print | Tags: Leagues and Governing Bodies, WNBA
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