SBD/Issue 144/Leagues & Governing Bodies

League Notes

NHL: Total attendance over the 1,230-game NHL regular-season was 20,614,613, an increase of 1.2% from the previous high of 20,373,379 set last season. The per-game average of 16,760 exceeded the prior record of 16,564, also set last season (NHL)....In Toronto, Stephen Brunt writes in response to a piece in USA Today by Mike Dodd last week on the attendance struggles of many NHL teams in the southern U.S. Brunt: "Any sport can become temporarily fashionable just about anywhere, through a combination of marketing, of novelty, of competitive success [as hockey did in L.A. and FL], but that doesn't mean it will be successful two seasons down the road. ... Why aren't Sun Belt Americans watching hockey? Because, by and large, those teams have been lousy, the products not worth the price. ... Why aren't fans lining up for baseball tickets in Montreal and Toronto? See above" (Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 4/16).

NBA: In Denver, Adam Thompson reported the NBA hosted a small group of Chinese and Japanese journalists in Dallas and Denver last week who were covering Mavericks C Wang Zhi Zhi and Nuggets C Mengke Bateer. NBA Asia Senior Dir of PR Cheong Sau Ching: "Right now, the most exciting market [for the NBA] would be China. We want to grow this market. Asia still overall, be it economy or what have you, represents a lot of potential" (DENVER POST, 4/15). NBA Commissioner David Stern, who favors int'l expansion, said that proposed arenas in Berlin and London each "meet and exceed NBA standards." Meanwhile, NBA Deputy Commissioner Russ Granik said that some NBA players don't want to play in this summer's World Championships in Indianapolis because they "see the Olympics as more prestigious, even though many countries view the World Championships as more important" (BOSTON GLOBE, 4/14).

LPGA: The AP's Steve Wilstein, on whether marketing the sex appeal of its players would boost TV ratings or attendance for the LPGA: "Avid fans ... don't care much how the women look or what they do off the course. Similarly, people who don't care for golf aren't going to be drawn in to it in great numbers because of the players' sex appeal." Wilstein, noting Playboy.com's recent poll on the sexiest LPGA player, added, "A naked LPGA player might sell a few more magazines and get a little richer. But if she thinks she'll sell the sport, she's mistaken. What the LPGA needs is a great player with genuine charisma to charge up the fans and sponsors. Stripping won't do it" (AP, 4/15). LPGA Longs Drug Challenge Dir Brian Flajole, on LPGA Commissioner Ty Votaw wanting players to make themselves more marketable: "It was a positive step to sort of kick off the season with that kind of directive: Looking good and acting more personable. A lot of the players are using their game more than their personalities. Some of them ... have pretty good personalities" (SACRAMENTO BEE, 4/15).

GREY CUP: The Edmonton Grey Cup Committee has revealed the logo for the '02 game, set for November 24 at Edmonton's Commonwealth Stadium (Grey Cup).

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