SBD/Issue 222/Leagues & Governing Bodies

League Notes

Zambrano Could Be Next Venezuelan
Player To Pull Out Of World Baseball Classic
In Chicago, Gordon Wittenmyer reports four of the "biggest-name [MLBers] in Venezuela have pulled out of next spring's" World Baseball Classic, and a fifth Venezuelan player, Cubs P Carlos Zambrano, yesterday said that he is "not sure whether he'll play." Mets P Johan Santana and Tigers 1B Miguel Cabrera, 3B Carlos Guillen and RF Magglio Ordonez all have said that they will not play for their national team. The players reportedly are "blaming the Venezuelan tournament committee for problems getting enough tickets and hotel rooms for families, for shoddy organization that led to at least one instance of Burger King postgame meals and for the return of unsuccessful manager Luis Sojo without consulting some of the team members" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 8/7).

COURT IN ORDER: ATP Chief Counsel Brad Ruskin, who presided over the circuit's antitrust trial brought on by its Hamburg, Germany, event, in a Q&A with TENNIS WEEK's Richard Pagliaro said the ATP's desire to downgrade the event was "about the ability to create a schedule that was healthier for the players and it was about best serving the fans and consumers by expanding exposure to markets like China and to fabulous stadiums like the new complex in Madrid." When asked if shifting the event was "worthwhile," Ruskin said, "It's a powerful affirmation for the right of a pro sports league to operate all aspects of the circuit and that's a good thing for the ATP, for the tournaments, for the players, for the fans and for the sport." Ruskin said the court ruling in the ATP's favor "reaffirms the ATP's right to set a schedule that is healthiest for its players while bringing the game to more consumers and more fans in more markets" (TENNISWEEK.com, 8/6).

GLOBAL VIEW: Following reports that Cavaliers F LeBron James would consider playing basketball overseas if he was offered a $50M a year contract, ESPN's Tony Kornheiser said, “If your goal, as he has stated, is to become a billionaire, increments of $50[M] helps you a lot. By the way, if he were to go, at that very day the NBA would announce a European division because they’re not going to lose him.” ESPN’s J.A. Adande added James leaving to play overseas would “fast-forward (NBA Commissioner) David Stern’s plan for globalization” (“PTI,” ESPN, 8/6). ESPN’s Kevin Blackistone said of James, “He can go over there for three years, make $150[M], come back here as a free agent, sign with somebody else and make a bunch more loot. … It’s not all about the reverence we hold these sports leagues in” (“Around The Horn,” ESPN, 8/6).

NOTES: UFC President Dana White Tuesday said that the UFC is "looking to return to Canada later this year," following the league's April 19 debut at the Bell Centre drew a "loud and proud crowd of 21,390." The Canadian card was the UFC's "biggest ever in terms of attendance, its fastest ever sellout, and produced a gate of some $5[M]" (CP, 8/6)....Sources indicated that organizers of the Solheim Cup are considering getting the "players now dominating women's golf into the mix," as players from Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Mexico and Australia currently are not eligible for the biennial event. GOLF WORLD's Ron Sirak writes to make the "competitive landscape less lopsided, the rest of the world needs to be brought into the event" (GOLF WORLD, 8/8 issue).

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