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CORPORATE SUPPORT IN QUESTION FOR NEW BASKETBALL LEAGUES
Published August 13, 1998
With three new start-up basketball leagues hoping to begin play by late '99, the BOSTON GLOBE's Gregg Krupa asks, "Will corporate America ante up the necessary sponsorship fees and other financial support to make the leagues viable?" The IBL, the National Rookie League and the Collegiate Professional Basketball League "are scurrying to find out." Woolf Associates VP Andrew Brandt: "I think there is a market in this country for more than the [NBA] and the [CBA] on a professional level, and this fills the void." But most corporate spokespeople "said they would likely wait before signing on." Eric Kraus, who handles sports marketing at Gillette: "There has been some buzz about these new leagues, but it is not as if there is a hot property out there that people are vying to jump on." Krupa adds: "Each of the start-up leagues would, in their own way, offer some money for college education, at a time when the athletes are ready to attend." So far, the NCAA's response "has been muted." NCAA spokesperson Wally Renfro: "The leagues may in fact be a viable alternative for basketball players who may not be academically prepared to handle the load at the college level and who want to play basketball" (Gregg Krupa, BOSTON GLOBE, 8/13). INTEREST IN IBL: Cincinnati's IBL franchise will play at the Crown and will be headed by IHL Cyclones and Crown President Doug Kirchhofer, his brother John, and Mike Smith of entertainment holdings company Nederlander & Associates (CINCINNATI POST, 8/12). A majority owner is not in place in San Diego, but Ernie and Ron Hahn will own less than 10% of the team, as will Frank Roach. Ernie Hall is GM of the Sports Arena, the team's home (UNION-TRIBUNE, 8/12).