SBD/Issue 162/Leagues & Governing Bodies

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  • Stern Says NBA Teams Should Tone Down Pyrotechnics, Noise

    Stern Feels NBA Should Review
    Teams' Use Of Pyrotechnics During Games
    NBA Commissioner David Stern "feels it's time to turn down the noise and scale back the pyrotechnics at NBA games," according to Chris Sheridan of Stern: "I'm going to get in trouble for this, but I think they're ridiculous. I think the noise, the fire, the smoke is a kind of assault that we should seriously consider reviewing in whether it's really necessary given the quality of our game. ... I'm sitting there waiting for the next cannon to go off, and then the fire heats up the arena so the temperature in the arena rises by 15 degrees -- that's if you can see it because you're still waiting for the smoke, which is chemical, to clear, which is invariably done by the end of the half. " More Stern: "But I always bite my tongue because I'm not the demographic that wants to be assaulted by loud rap, smoke, pyrotechnics and chemicals. It makes me sort of outdated, but I think it's time for us to say, 'Hey guys, let's look at it one more time.'" Cavaliers C Ben Wallace said that the fireworks before Thursday's Game Two of the Cavaliers-Celtics Eastern Conference Semifinals "worsened the dizzy condition that knocked him out of that game after just four minutes" (, 5/12). USA TODAY's Jon Saraceno notes the Hornets were fined after a stunt during Game One of the team's Western Conference Semifinals against the Spurs involving their mascot jumping "through a flaming hoop" delayed the game 20 minutes (USA TODAY, 5/13).

    SOUNDING OFF: Stern said of music at games, "I appreciate there's New Age music, hip-hop. It's fine, but the reality is I think what's happened is some very well-intentioned people feel it's their obligation to root their team on to victory, to urge them, and they do it by turning up the loudspeaker in the building, even though there are babies in the building" (BOSTON GLOBE, 5/13). But Cavaliers F LeBron James said of pyrotechnics and loud music during games, “I think it’s great. It gets the crowd excited. We all know without the fans there are no players or league. The fans really get the game going. It’s great to have that kind of entertainment” (“Mike & Mike in the Morning,” ESPN2, 5/13).

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  • NBA, AEG To Partner To Develop, Operate Up To 12 Arenas In China

    NBA Teaming With AEG To Operate
    Beijing Olympic Basketball Arena 
    The NBA and AEG will partner to "develop and operate up to 12 arenas in China, representing another key step in the NBA's vision for its own league in Asia," according to a cover story by John Lombardo of SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL. The move will add "more facilities to the global expansion effort" under AEG President & CEO Tim Leiweke. The effort, which is not yet finalized, builds on an existing NBA and AEG partnership to run the 18,000-seat basketball arena being built for this summer's Beijing Olympics, under which the two companies will "jointly operate, manage and book the facility" after the Games. Sources said that the NBA and AEG now are expanding that deal to include "other arenas throughout mainland China." The companies are expected to partner in "pursuing an arena and possible neighboring development in Shanghai," and other possible cities including Nanjing and Guangzhou. Neither the NBA nor AEG would comment on the deal, which is expected to be announced "within weeks" (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 5/12 issue).

    GOLDEN TICKET: Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer said of last week's deal in which AEG bought a stake in Golden Boy, "We don't have an exclusivity deal with them. We did that deliberately because we have longtime partnerships in Las Vegas that we don't want to see end. I have a very close relationship with [MGM Mirage President of Sports & Entertainment Richard Sturm], and we plan to continue to do business with [him]." In Las Vegas, Steve Carp wrote with AEG's $500M, 20,000-seat arena not scheduled to open until 2010, it would "be suicide for Golden Boy to cut ties with MGM Mirage or any other Las Vegas entity right now." Sturm "didn't seem worried about the AEG-Golden Boy venture." Sturm said in a statement, "We have a great relationship with Golden Boy Promotions, and we look forward to many years of hosting successful events with them" (LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL, 5/11).

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  • MLB Teams Insure Long-Term Deals To Protect From Player Injury

    Orioles Were Able To Recover $23.7M
    Of Belle's $39M Contract In '01
    HCC Specialty Underwriters, Inc. President Marc Idelson said that most MLB teams "insure their long-term deals, even though premiums can be as high as 10% of the contract's annual value," according to Jon Paul Morosi of the DETROIT FREE PRESS. Most insurance policies "cover three-year intervals and are renewable." Policy premiums are "linked to the comprehensiveness of the coverage," and Idelson said that "most policies cover between [50-80%] of a player's salary." The NBA and NHL have "league-wide plans for their clubs," and while MLB does not, most MLB teams "obtain some form of coverage for their stars." MLB teams are "only able to collect on a policy" if a player is on the DL. And while policies "generally require players to remain on the [DL] for 60 or 90 days before the payments begin," the deductible period -- like the amount of coverage -- "can be adjusted depending on what the club is willing to pay." But MLB and insurance industry sources indicated that policies "often exclude areas of the body that have been seriously injured before." Also, position players are "less expensive to insure than pitchers." ESPN's Steve Phillips said that two events in '01 "changed the baseball insurance" marketplace: the Orioles received a reported $27.3M claim on the remaining $39M of injured LF Albert Belle's contract, and the World Trade Center attacks on September 11 "precipitated large payouts throughout the insurance industry at large" (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 5/11).

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  • Cleveland, Houston Trying To Secure '09 IndyCar Series Races

    Former Champ Car Events Trying To
    Secure Spot On IRL Schedule In '09
    MJ Promotions CEO Mike Lanigan, whose company promoted the former Champ Car World Series races in Cleveland and Houston, Friday led a group that gave a presentation to IRL officials that "included both events -- stating it's more cost-effective to do two races than one," according to Elton Alexander of the Cleveland PLAIN DEALER. Both the Cleveland and Houston events this season were canceled after the unification of U.S. open-wheel racing, and "securing a spot on the 2009 schedule still remains tenuous." But Lanigan said that a "big positive to come out" of Friday's meeting was "IRL's interest in checking out the Cleveland venue in person, hopefully, in June." Lanigan: "Many people with the IRL have never seen what Cleveland has to offer. The IRL is motivated to see us, touch us and feel us." IRL Commercial Division President Terry Angstadt said that all Champ Car events which were not included on the IndyCar Series' '08 schedule "made requests to be on the 2009 schedule and will make presentations to the IRL." Angstadt: "We want to see a dedicated plan. Financial stability. Show a sensitivity to the success factors we look for -- high interest levels, good corporate hospitality, good connection to the community, newspaper involvement. Do they have things like concerts and other things to create a total experience?" Alexander noted Cleveland's corporate involvement in the race in recent years has been "tepid, and a title sponsor has been lacking." Lanigan and Grand Prix of Cleveland GM Chuck Kosich said that they are "trying to secure" a title sponsor. With the '07 return of IRL races at Mid-Ohio and in Detroit, along with events in Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Iowa, Chicago and Kansas, Angstadt said that the "threat of too many races in the Midwest exists." Angstadt said of Cleveland's chances to host a race next year, "We would like to listen and consider all options, all alternatives at this stage. But we're getting pretty tight for any considerations for 2009. We've talked a lot to people since unification, some in more details than others. We have said we would like to be ready -- the end of June, early July -- to say here is the '09 schedule" (Cleveland PLAIN DEALER, 5/10).

    POLE POSITION: YAHOO SPORTS' Bob Margolis said the new qualifying format for the Indianapolis 500 in which only 11 cars qualify for each of the first three of four qualifying days, has "captivated and entertained as the name at the top of the speed chart changed with such frequency it was hard to keep up not only with who was sitting at the top, but who was next up to make an attempt to unseat the pole sitter." The new format and "in part the new unified field also produced the largest Pole Day crowd" since the split of open-wheel racing in '96 (, 5/10). But in Indianapolis, Bob Kravitz wrote the final hour of qualifying on Saturday, "normally the wildest and most unpredictable of the day, turned into an absolute snoozefest." There were "several teams and their drivers waving white flags of surrender." With Scott Dixon in the pole position, the "realistic front-row challengers -- Helio Castroneves, Danica Patrick, Tony Kanaan and Marco Andretti -- were invisible. Not exactly must-see TV" (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 5/11).

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  • League Notes

    Slamball Looking To
    Host June Event In L.A.
    In L.A., Greg Johnson reports Slamball Founder Mason Gordon is planning a single venue event in L.A. over the first three weeks of June, and while a site has not been set, Slamball organizers are "in talks with officials from three venues." Slamball's business plan "calls for investors to buy into the league," which would own the eight franchises. Team names such as Mob, Slashers and Maulers "underscore the potential for on-the-court mayhem." IMG Global Media President Chris Albrecht, whose company in February bought a stake in Slamball, sees the sport as a "potentially lucrative sport that can spin off programming for television and the Internet that would appeal to hard-to-reach young males from the suburbs and urban neighborhoods." Albrecht also said there is "potential for expansion" in the U.S. and overseas. Albrecht: "This thing can be in business for a long time if we can get it right." Albrecht added that Slamball's "most important challenge will be 'getting the sport part of it right'" (L.A. TIMES, 5/13).

    RETURN TO NEW YORK? YAHOO SPORTS' Dave Meltzer reported UFC fighters Matt Serra and Matt Hamill, along with UFC VP/Regulatory Affairs Marc Ratner and other UFC officials, last week spent several days in Albany, New York, working on "gathering political support to legalize [MMA] in New York State and put it under the regulatory authority of the state athletic commission." Ratner said that UFC currently is involved in "pushing legislation to get MMA regulated by athletic commissions in Tennessee, Massachusetts, South Carolina and Rhode Island," to add to the 32 state commissions and DC currently regulating the events (, 5/9).

    NO CRUSADER: HBO’s “Real Sports” last night profiled tennis player Venus Williams and noted in recent years she was a strong supporter for equal pay for men and women at both the French Open and Wimbledon. Williams: “I get a lot of credit for equal pay and I don’t feel like it was me. I feel like I was a part of something that everyone was pushing for. I don’t think I should get more credit than anyone else” (“Real Sports,” HBO, 5/12).

    TOUGH LOVE:'s Mike Florio wrote the "only way to get [NFL] teams to avoid players with a history of legal problems ... is to strip the team of draft picks." Florio: "To prevent claims that certain teams are shown favoritism while others get nailed unfairly, a formula should be created to address the problem as to each and every team" (, 5/9). 

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