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SBD/Issue 205/Leagues & Governing BodiesPrint All
Evans (l) Notes Her First Focus Will
Concern '10 LPGA Tournament Schedule
TOURNEY TIME: Evans noted that only 13 events "are locked down for next year," compared with the 30 tournaments on this year's docket. She added that Calderon will be her "point person on negotiations" (USA TODAY, 7/14). Wegmans LPGA co-Chair Jerry Stahl, whose tournament does not have a contract for next year, said the appointment of Evans "will give us a new opportunity to talk with the LPGA and I'm sure it will be positive." Stahl: "We left a proposal with the LPGA and now I expect a sincere effort to put their arms around Rochester and give us a contract" (ROCHESTER DEMOCRAT & CHRONICLE, 7/14). Gold World's Ron Sirak said, "There are some people who may not have been willing to negotiate with Carolyn Bivens because they thought there weren’t really negotiations there who are going to be willing to go back to the table right now. So, it will be interesting to see what happens” ("Golf Central," Golf Channel, 7/13). Golf Channel's Charlie Rymer said of Evans, "She certainly will command respect, she's very intimate, she's familiar with the players. The players love and respect her, she knows the sponsors, the tournament directors." Annika Sorenstam will serve as an advisor to the LPGA BOD during the transition period, and Rymer noted her presence "seems like a great game plan for the short run and then go on and find a more permanent replacement in the future" (Golf Channel, 7/13).
Bivens Not Sure "Fair" Has
Place In Business Vernacular
Nike Golf President Cindy Davis Mentioned
As Possible Candidate To Replace Bivens
IMPORTANT DECISION: Sirak said, "I don't think it's an overstatement to say in the 59-year history of the LPGA, the choice of the next commissioner might be the next important decision they've ever had to make" (Golf Channel, 7/13). In Nashville, Joe Biddle writes under the header, "LPGA Must Ace Hire For A Commissioner" (Nashville TENNESSEAN, 7/14). In Daytona Beach, Ken Willis writes the LPGA "needed a miracle worker in order to navigate current tides, and while Bivens was by all accounts a worker, she delivered no miracles" (Daytona Beach NEWS-JOURNAL, 7/14).
LOOKING FORWARD: As to the sport’s upcoming round of labor negotiations in '11, Weiner did not get into agenda specifics, but said generally of the upcoming talks, “It will be a challenge." Weiner: "Every round of talks is. And I expect this to be no different.” Asked if open tensions in the current labor situations surrounding the NFL and NBA would influence the baseball talks, Weiner said that would likely come into play more on the management side of the table, particularly as there is some cross-ownership. MLBPA COO Gene Orza, meanwhile, said he expects to maintain his role following Weiner’s formal ascent. “Those of us on staff serve at the pleasure of the executive director, and once Mike takes the job, I will serve at his,” Orza said. Weiner has been unanimously recommended by the union’s executive board to take the Exec Dir job, and the players will vote on the move over the summer. Completion of that step is expected to occur by the end of the season (Eric Fisher, SportsBusiness Journal). MLB.com's Ian Browne noted both Weiner and Fehr expect the transition "to be seamless." Although many MLBPA members are "already familiar with Weiner, he will formally meet with as many players as he can during these weeks of transition." Several players yesterday indicated that they "look forward to a stable changing of the guard" (MLB.com, 7/13).
TOUGH ISSUE TO TACKLE: The AP's Ronald Blum reported several free agents are "pushing the union to file a collusion grievance against teams over their behavior during the free-agent market last winter." Agent Jeff Boris said, "There's a general level of suspicion in the air." The "decision on whether to go ahead with a grievance will be one of the first major decisions for the union" since Fehr announced his retirement. Weiner yesterday said, "The investigation is ongoing but not complete because of things to review. We've had some discussions with the commissioner's office. I'll know more, I think, by the end of the month." Agent Seth Levinson said, "There are too many things that need to be explained. In my experience, there are no coincidences in a monopoly" (AP, 7/13).
Priority For Allaster Will Be Renegotiating
Tour's $88M Title Sponsorship Deal With Sony
CALM DURING THE STORM: Allaster said that the Tour is in a "very strong position to not only weather the [economic] storm, but also prosper." Allaster: "We've got diversified revenue, long-term contracts and the fact we're in 34 different countries helps smooth it out. Being one week a year in a market makes it very special. Consumers are still going to entertainment events and our attendance is flat, so I take that as a real positive compared to how the other leagues are doing" (CP, 7/13). Allaster said, "I'm incredibly fortunate to be inheriting a tour that's in its strongest position it's ever been in. ... We've got our international expansion underway with China and the Middle East. We've got a good financial base and good reserves, and we've got a great product" (WASHINGTONTIMES.com, 7/13). More Allaster: "I'm the right person for this job irrespective of my gender. I've got an excellent foundation and an understanding of this business and I've been working with Larry for 6 1/2 years and have 20 years of great success in our sport. ... That gives me the confidence to be able to work through the issues" (GLOBE & MAIL, 7/14).
TO LOVE & TO SERVE: ESPN.com's Peter Bodo wrote Allaster's appointment "represents a logical step in implementing the ideas Scott, with great skill and a formidable bargaining ability, managed to weld together into a coherent whole." Allaster's selection, paired with the ATP World Tour's choice of former Nike exec Adam Helfant as Exec Chair & President, underscores the "two contrasting and mutually exclusive philosophies driving" the two tours. Helfant was an "outsider to professional tennis," and the "idea was to recruit someone with sufficiently broad experience that could be transplanted to tennis." However, Allaster "represents the competing philosophy, which call[s] for someone deeply entrenched and familiar with the fame to call the shots." But Bodo wrote the "problem with this approach is that very often its best representatives have been more or less beaten into submission by the 'system,'" making it "hard to think out of the box when you've spent your entire life in it" (ESPN.com, 7/13). TENNIS.com's James Martin wrote there is a "leadership problem in tennis -- and it's the fact that there are no visionaries to steer our wonderful sport in a global economy where the rules of marketing, sponsorship and broadcast rights are changing at a rapid pace." Many lower-level tournaments on both the WTA and ATP World tours are "struggling mightily in this tough economy," so "where are the person(s) to iron out a battle plan and galvanize public opinion?" Helfant's "credentials are impressive, but since taking over the reigns of the men's tour he's kept such a low profile that you could be forgiven for thinking he's in the witness protection program instead of occupying one of our sport's most important positions" (TENNIS.com, 7/13).
The state of Delaware "intends to allow single-event betting on NFL games" beginning with the '09 season, according to A.J. Perez of USA TODAY. Delaware State Lottery Dir Wayne Lemons said that the state will "allow bettors to wager on the outcome of one game or a parlay of several." The state would join Nevada as the "only states with legal betting on NFL games," and Delaware lawmakers have "not ruled out allowing wagering on other pro and college sports." Under the current plan, the state's three casinos located at horse racing tracks "would be the only places where sports betting is allowed" (USA TODAY, 7/14).
Writer Feels Upcoming CBA Negotiations With
NFLPA Will Be Big Challenge For Goodell
I OBJECT! In St. Paul, Brian Murphy reports MLB, the NBA and NHL yesterday asked the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals to "consider their objections" to Vikings DTs Pat and Kevin Williams using "state law to overturn four-game suspensions for violating the NFL's drug-testing policy." The leagues contend that Minnesota law will "jeopardize their collectively bargained drug-testing programs if the Williamses' ... lawsuit against the NFL proceeds" (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 7/14).
Some Feel Lesnar's (r) Post-Fight Antics
Hurt Mainstream Appeal Of MMA
THE NEXT BIG THING: ESPN’s J.A. Adande said having Lesnar as the new face of UFC is a "good thing" for the sport. Adande: "The premier teams in other sports, like the Yankees or the Dallas Cowboys -- people love them or hate them. A lot of people love to hate them, but the sport is always better off when they’re in contention because they drive ratings. I think you have this character now, this evil figure that people are going to relate to one way or the other, but they’re intrigued and the thing is people are recognizable now." Denver Post columnist Woody Paige said, "Here is a guy that was in (professional) wrestling. He does understand entertainment. You may not want that as part of your sport, but he knows that’s the way they’re going to get attention. ... That’s what’s going to rise this sport" ("Around The Horn," ESPN, 7/13). In St. Paul, Bob Sansevere writes, “I’m a lot more interested in the UFC because Lesnar is such a colorful character” (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 7/14). ESPN’s Colin Cowherd: "It’s leading our show. It helped" ("SportsNation," ESPN2, 7/13). The Boston Globe's Ryan: "If suddenly an outsized personality with some legitimacy ... if he’s the guy that puts you over the top to start, hey, you worry about cleaning up the mess later.” But ESPN's Michael Wilbon said, "They don’t want the whole ‘good guy, bad guy’ thing. So maybe that’s not central to it” ("PTI," ESPN, 7/13).
AS GOOD AS IT WILL GET? CBSSPORTS.com's Ray Ratto wrote under the header, "MMA Will Remain A Niche Sport, And The Niche Is Full." Ratto: "MMA has found its niche, and UFC 100 was the top end of that.” The event was as “big a card as could be constructed,” and UFC President Dana White had “months to make it right.” Ratto: "By most analyses by MMA fans, he did. For those who aren't MMA fans, it doesn’t matter." There is a “ceiling for every sport, and right now the only one that seems to be picking up steam in the U.S. is international pro soccer. ... This, we’d be willing to bet, is MMA’s ceiling” (CBSSPORTS.com, 7/13).