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IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch "emphasized that Utah's prospects for a successful [2002 Winter] Games depend largely on a good performance by the U.S. Olympic Team," according to Mike Gorrell of the SALT LAKE TRIBUNE. IOC Dir General Francois Carrard said that Samaranch's comments were "not intended to be critical" of the U.S. performance in Nagano. Carrard: "He (Samaranch) says it to everybody. Before Nagano, we were concerned about the enthusiasm of the Japanese. But as the Japanese got good results, enthusiasm went up directly." Carrard did say that the joint SLOC-USOC marketing effort was "generally going well." SLOC CEO Frank Joklik predicted that it would do better as more employees were "added to the marketing team" (SALT LAKE TRIBUNE, 6/4). MASCOT MESS? SLOC officials said that the mascot for the 2002 Games will not be revealed until early '99 "to give them more time to come up with something to represent the Games." SLOC CEO Frank Joklik said that the SLOC doesn't want to "repeat the mistakes made by Atlanta" in developing its "Whatizit" mascot for the '96 Games (DESERET NEWS, 6/3). USA TODAY's Mike Dodd writes that the mascot was expected to be presented in Nagano, and that the delays "are fueling a growing sentiment that Salt Lake has lost the edge it enjoyed from its great start and may be falling behind" (USA TODAY, 6/4). But SLOC Senior VP Dave Johnson said that three years will "provide sufficient time to take advantage of what the mascots can do for the Games ... get young people excited" (SALT LAKE TRIBUNE, 6/4). NOTES: Olympic execs "cautioned organizers" of the 2000 Sydney Games to rethink their policy of increasing ticket prices "for the best seats at popular events." IOC Dir General Francois Carrard: "A number of [IOC] members said they should be extremely careful before applying higher prices" (GLOBE & MAIL, 6/4)....A survey of 1,000 Canadians in February showed that 80% describe themselves as fans of the Olympic Games. The poll, conducted by Charlton Marketing for the Canadian Olympic Association, showed that the NHL was second with 58% (GLOBE & MAIL, 6/4).