SBD/Issue 112/Sports Industrialists

This Week's Newsmakers: Tour Of California Gaining Momentum

THE DAILY each Friday offers our take on the performances over the past week of people and entities in sports business. Here are this week’s newsmakers:

Return Of Armstrong (l) Helps Create
More Buzz For Amgen Tour Of California
WINAmgen Tour of California -- The race has quickly grown into the biggest cycling event in the U.S. and is developing into a major player on the int'l scene. This year, the return of Lance Armstrong creates a buzz in cities throughout the state, with attendance for the final leg of the event estimated as high as 300,000. Cities such as Sacramento immediately begin professing their desire to be involved again next year. Ratings and viewership numbers also show marked increases on Versus, which offers live coverage of all stages of the race for the first time.

LOSE: NATIONALS -- The team continues to make news for all the wrong reasons, as the club finds itself at the center of an FBI investigation into the skimming of signing bonuses given to Dominican prospects. As part of the fallout, the Nats fire Special Assistant Jose Rijo and abandon ties to their training facility in the Dominican Republic, raising concerns about the teams’ viability in the baseball-rich region. Also uncertain is the future of Jim Bowden, with ownership reportedly split on weather to dismiss the GM as a result of the scandal.

DRAW: PGA TOUR -- Tiger WOODS’ return is hailed as the Tour’s personal stimulus package and pays immediate dividends as Golf Channel’s ratings soar to record heights for its coverage of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship and the Tour’s Web site sees record traffic. But Woods is knocked out of the event on the tourney’s second day, diminishing the buzz and leaving NBC without the sport’s biggest star for weekend coverage. Meanwhile, many of the Tour's sponsors this week rein in spending on corporate hospitality and other perks at tournaments amid continued criticism from government leaders.

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