SBD/Issue 202/Leagues & Governing Bodies

League Notes

Lobo (l) Says NBA Owners Will Look To
Cut WNBA Before NBA Players' Salaries
In Pennsylvania, Keith Groller noted the WNBA has "never gained traction with the ticket-buying public" and "may be on life support." Without financial backing from the NBA, the league "would fold faster than one of the hospitality tents at Saucon Valley." ESPN WNBA analyst Rebecca Lobo said, "If NBA owners are having financial difficulties, what's the first thing they're going to look to shed? Even though a year of operations for a WNBA is less costly than the salaries of many of the NBA players, that's not what they're going to cut. They're going to look to cut the WNBA. It would be a huge blow to lose it." Lobo added, "I just hope there's patience. It's really important" (Allentown MORNING CALL, 7/8). Sports business commentator Jon Weinbach said, "For many of the owners who own WNBA franchises who also own NBA teams, the WNBA side is never going to be their first priority." However, he added he was unsure if "closing the WNBA is going to help the NBA in the long-term." Weinbach: "The real key is to maintain expectations and … be aggressive on the marketing side" ("Outside The Lines," ESPN, 7/8).

CASE SOLVED? In Vancouver, Tony Gallagher notes the NHL is conducting an investigation into comments Maple Leafs coach Ron Wilson made before the start of free agency, but "no matter how clear-cut the evidence seems to be in Wilson's radio comments, it's hard to believe much of significance will come of it." The league "clearly does not want to put a large-market team like Toronto further behind than it already is" by stripping them of a draft pick. Most NHL investigations are, "at best, simply a way of the league saying they are putting a potentially disquieting or uncomfortable situation on the back burner with the intention of ignoring it" (Vancouver PROVINCE, 7/9).

FALL OUT OF FAVOR: IRL VP/PR John Griffin yesterday said that the organization is "making every effort" to bring an IndyCar Series race back to Watkins Glen next season. Griffin: "We have no intentions of pulling our event out of Watkins Glen. I cannot be any clearer than that. Nobody can be happier with what we witnessed at the Glen over the weekend. Our drivers love this event. It's an incredible asset to our schedule." The IRL this month is expected to release its '10 schedule, and Watkins Glen President Michael Printup said that the race "would be better served" keeping its spot on Fourth of July weekend, "or on some other mid-summer date, rather than be run in late September," as has been rumored (Elmira STAR-GAZETTE, 7/9).

DOUBLE UP: The European and Asian golf tours have "formed a new joint venture company in a bid to strengthen their bond." EurAsia Golf, which will include reps from both tours on the BOD, will "act as a point of contact for tournament promoters for all co-sanctioned events" (REUTERS, 7/9).

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