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  • ARE MSG OFFICIALS GIDDY AFTER KO OF SATURDAY'S FIGHT?

              Saturday's scheduled fight night at Madison Square
         Garden, which was to feature Evander Holyfield versus Henry
         Akinwande for the WBA heavyweight crown, "unraveled
         completely" Friday after a "series of strange developments,"
         according to Timothy Smith of the N.Y. TIMES.  The main bout
         was cancelled after Akinwande tested positive for hepatitis
         B, and Smith wrote that the debacle was the "latest setback"
         in NYC's "bid to make boxing a profitable enterprise in the
         city."  However, the "biggest financial losers" were the
         fighters, including Holyfield, who will not receive his $10M
         guarantee, and Akinwande who lose out on $2.5M (N.Y. TIMES,
         6/7).  In N.Y., Gargano & Kuntzman wrote that the
         cancellation cost MSG $100,000 in promotional fees, but it
         "could have lost more than" $1M had the fight taken place. 
         Only 4,000 advance tickets had been sold for the fight, and
         MSG officials "were said to be happy the fight was
         scratched" (N.Y. POST, 6/6).  ESPN's Jon Saraceno reported
         that Showtime's Jay Larkin had said that the fight "was
         doing better in PPV sales as the week went along, but
         there's no guarantee that it would have done enough to keep
         Showtime out of a bad ink situation" ("SportsCenter," 6/5). 
         
    

    Print | Tags: Cablevision, ESPN, Events and Attractions, Madison Square Garden, Showtime, Walt Disney
  • ESPN ZONE PLANS OUTDOOR FEST TO TRUMPET BALTIMORE ARRIVAL

              When the ESPN Zone restaurant opens in Baltimore next
         month, it "will also launch a yearly event" for the city's
         Inner Harbor, "an outdoor sports festival for fans and
         participants alike," according to June Arney of the
         Baltimore SUN.  This year's event will be hosted by ESPN's
         Dan Patrick on July 11, the day before the scheduled opening
         of ESPN Zone.  The festival, which will offer exhibition
         freestyle ski-jumping and slam-dunking, along with skate
         boarding, in-line skating and mountain biking on a U-shaped
         ramp, will be taped and telecast on ESPN July 12 (SUN, 6/7).
    
    

    Print | Tags: ESPN, Events and Attractions, Walt Disney
  • NEAR-RECORD CROWDS SEES ALL THAT HORSE RACING HAS TO OFFER

              Saturday's Belmont Stakes, in which Real Quiet lost his
         bid for the Triple Crown by a nose to Victory Gallop, drew
         80,162 fans to Belmont, the second-largest crowd ever to
         witness the race (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 6/7).  In NJ, Mike
         Farrell wrote that "betting records fell left and right" on
         Saturday, as total wagering, including all simulcast and OTB
         betting, "topped" $55.6M.  That figure "blew away" the
         previous record of $51.3M, set in '97 (Bergen RECORD, 6/7).
              THE RACE IS THE THING: Following Saturday's Triple
         Crown finale, Joseph Durso of the N.Y. TIMES writes under
         the header, "Run The Horses And Hold The Marketing."  Durso:
         "For the second year in a row, the business of horse racing
         was saved by, of all things, a horse and a race.  Not by a
         marketing plan or an advertising campaign."  More Durso, on
         the NTRA's new "Go Baby Go!" campaign, which focuses on
         wagering: "Why make your pitch to common gamblers when
         you're trying to save your sport from extinction?" (N.Y.
         TIMES, 6/8).  In NJ, Tom Luicci: "Forget all the recent
         attempts to inject life into the sagging sport, well-
         intentioned as most of them have been.  Nothing can do for
         the game what [Saturday] afternoon at Belmont Park did"
         (STAR LEDGER, 6/7).  ESPN's Mike Lupica called the race "one
         of the great Saturdays the sport has ever had" (ESPN, 6/7).
              NOTES: During an inning break at Saturday's Marlins-
         Yankees game, the Diamondvision at Yankee Stadium showed the
         race in its entirety.  Yankees Owner George Steinbrenner:
         "It's the Belmont, it's part of New York. ... I thought the
         fans would like to see it" (N.Y. POST, 6/7)....Visa USA
         President Carl Pascarella, on the company's $5M Triple Crown
         bonus, which Real Quiet missed: "We wanted nothing more than
         to (write) that $5-million check" (DETROIT NEWS, 6/7)....
         "[C]ontroversial" Psychic Friends Network CEO Michael Lasky
         was forced to scratch his horse, Hot Wells, from Saturday's
         race after he "was told he would not be granted a racing
         license" on Friday.  Lasky said that he "may take legal
         action" against the NY State Racing and Wagering Board
         (NYSRWB) and "perhaps" N.Y. Post columnist Phil Mushnick,
         who "criticized" the industry in his column Friday for
         allowing Lasky to participate in the race (DAILY NEWS, 6/6).
    
    

    Print | Tags: ESPN, Events and Attractions, Miami Marlins, New York Yankees, NTRA, Visa, Walt Disney, YankeeNets
  • WORLD CUP DELEGATES READY TO SEPP TO IT! ELECTION HELD TODAY

              The "direction of world soccer is on the line Monday as
         delegates from 198 nations cast secret ballots in Paris for
         their choice in the FIFA presidential elections," according
         to Steve Davis of the DALLAS MORNING NEWS.  Outgoing FIFA
         President Joao Havelange is backing his Secretary General
         Sepp Blatter, who is opposed by European "soccer leader"
         Lennart Johansson (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 6/8).  USA TODAY's
         Christopher Winner reports that Blatter "has gained
         significant ground" in the race as he has now recruited
         European "backers to pad out already strong Third World
         support."  It was England's "defection to Blatter's camp on
         Friday ... that suddenly placed Johansson on the defensive." 
         But Winner writes that "many observers insisted today's
         election is too close to call" (USA TODAY, 6/8).  
              THE ROTHENBERG FILES: U.S. Soccer Federation President
         Alan Rothenberg was profiled by Joseph Gallivan of the N.Y.
         POST, who wrote that Rothenberg "is the envy of the
         international sports world for his uncanny ability to score
         the big bucks despite the [U.S.'] limited success on the
         field."  Prior to '90, the USSF's budget was less than $1M,
         but now it is $25M, and Gallivan wrote that Rothenberg's
         legacy "will be that, through judicious marketing and
         administration, the United States can become the final piece
         in the global jigsaw that is soccer" (N.Y. POST, 6/7).
    
    

    Print | Tags: Events and Attractions
  • WORLD CUP KICKS OFF WEDNESDAY: ARE THE FRENCH READY?

              With the World Cup set to begin on Wednesday, the event
         "is far from becoming a national obsession," according to
         Owen & Harverson of the FINANCIAL TIMES.  This "seems to
         hold true even for sports fan," as Paris' sport paper,
         L'Equipe, has focused mainly on the French Open.  The
         "subdued mood is partly attributable" to the striking Air
         France pilots, who have "severely disrupted" the national
         carrier's flight program.  But Owen & Harverson write, "No
         doubt excitement will mount as more of the expected 500,000
         foreign fans arrive" (FINANCIAL TIMES, 6/7).  In DC,
         Swardson & Shipley write that the strike "is going to
         disrupt" the Cup, "even if it is resolved soon."  Swardson &
         Shipley: "What was supposed to be a huge celebration of
         France's progress and place in the modern world has become
         yet another opportunity for foreigners, especially those
         struggling to get here, to ridicule this country for its
         backwardness" (WASHINGTON POST, 6/8).  Saturday's
         PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER front page included Diane Pucin's
         report of a possible strike by railroad workers under the
         header, "Strikes Plague France's Big Event" (INQUIRER, 6/6).
              ANY OTHER PROBLEMS? In L.A., Helene Elliott wrote that
         other "ominous clouds" facing the event are the "potential
         for thuggery by ticketless fans and attacks by terrorists"
         (L.A. TIMES, 6/6).  In Seattle, Elliot Almond wrote that Cup
         officials "are concerned about fan violence" (SEATTLE TIMES,
         6/7).  But in Washington, William Gildea wrote that French
         officials "hope that somehow everyone will join together
         Wednesday to make the opening a success because the whole
         world will be watching" (WASHINGTON POST, 6/7).
              NOTES: NEWSWEEK has two Cup stories: A profile of the
         U.S. team and goalie Kasey Keller and a look at Brazilian
         star Ronaldo, whose "baby face and sweet smile" have made
         him a "worldwide heartthrob" (NEWSWEEK, 6/15 issue)...USA
         TODAY's Christopher Winner also profiles Ronaldo (USA TODAY,
         6/8)....In N.Y., Phil Mushnick writes that ESPN's "Outside
         the Lines" special "takes a dive" tomorrow when it focuses
         on the U.S. National Soccer Team's preparation for the World
         Cup: "[T]his installment of 'OTL' serves as little more than
         a promo for ABC/ESPN goods" (N.Y. POST, 6/8).
    
    

    Print | Tags: ABC, ESPN, Events and Attractions, Walt Disney
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