SBD/13/Leagues Governing Bodies

DETAILS OF NBC/TIME WARNER'S NEW FOOTBALL LEAGUE EMERGE

          Architects for the proposed NBC/Time Warner football
     league, which may debut in June of 2000, "are considering
     having 10 to 12 franchises, a 10-week regular season and a
     championship game around Labor Day," according to Peter King
     of SI, who cites "sources familiar with discussions." 
     Rather than "engage in a bidding war with the NFL for
     stars," the league "would create regional franchises stocked
     primarily with former collegians who have a local following
     and are willing to play for less than $100,000 a season." 
     Several "fan-friendly" elements also are being considered.
     But King writes, "the last thing America needs is a new
     sports league."  A-B Corporate VP/Media & Sports Marketing
     Tony Ponturo: "The big question is, Can NBC and Turner
     create a league that will keep the 21- to 34-year-old male
     at home on a weekend night? ... Baseball's growing stronger,
     and the growth of sports is outdistancing the growth of
     marketing dollars for advertisers.  It'll be tough for the
     new league, but certainly you'd have to give it a hearing
     because of the brains of the people involved" (SI, 8/17).
          MORE FROM THE TIME WARNER INSIDER: King also told USA
     TODAY's Rudy Martzke: "I think the league definitely will
     play.  Should the NFL fear this?  I don't think so, but they
     should have worthy respect for some of the smartest men in
     TV.  While they say revenge (for losing the NFL) isn't part
     of it, [NBC Sports Chair] Dick Ebersol and [Time Warner Vice
     Chair] Ted Turner would like to see the NFL suffer in some
     way" (Rudy Martzke, USA TODAY, 8/12).

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