SBD/Issue 232/Leagues & Governing Bodies

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  • NASCAR Still Seeing Attendance Drops At Cup Races Despite Promos

    NASCAR Sprint Cup Events Estimated To
    Have Drawn 246,800 Fewer People Than In '08
    Despite "lower ticket prices that most tracks have offered," NASCAR Sprint Cup events this season are estimated to have drawn 246,800 fewer people than in '08, a decrease of 8.7%, according to David Newton of The percentage is "likely even higher," as track attendance estimates "typically are exaggerated." Bristol Motor Speedway (BMS) and Richmond Int'l Raceway (RIR) had "seemed bulletproof to the economy," as they both had "long waiting lists for tickets." But RIR saw its 33-race sellout streak end last September, and BMS had to "beat the bushes for potential customers" before selling out the March 22 Food City 500. All 160,000 seats at BMS "have been sold" for Saturday's Sharpie 500, marking the track's 55th consecutive sellout, but Bristol's earlier "vulnerability ... was a wake-up call for the industry." Some tracks are now "taking extreme measures." Lowe's Motor Speedway, which hosts two Sprint Cup events and the All-Star race, "recently brought 22,000 horsepower to downtown Charlotte for a 'Parade of Power' to promote the September NHRA race and the October Cup race." Auto Club Speedway this year "started a $35 Ticket Tuesday Zucchini Patch promotion in which fans that purchase $35 tickets in July and August will receive California-grown zucchini and Krispy Kreme cheesecake-filled doughtnuts." But lowering prices "appears to be the best way to have the most immediate impact." Michigan Int'l Speedway already has cut every ticket for next year's two races from 5-63%, and many other tracks, including Las Vegas Motor Speedway and Darlington Raceway, "also have announced cuts for next season" (, 8/19).

    THE PENNSYLVANIA AVENUE 500: The White House honored NASCAR yesterday, with President Obama saluting '08 Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson and several other current and former drivers. ESPN2's Dale Jarrett said the event "says a lot about our sport that they take the time and have the opportunity here for us to be recognized as champions." An event like the one at the White House gives NASCAR "an opportunity to get our sport out there in front of a lot of people that maybe don't pay a lot of attention at times." Obama after the ceremony said he would "love" to attend a NASCAR race. Obama: "I was supposed to do it during the campaign, but we just ended up having to travel too much and we weren’t able to devote the amount of time that I wanted to. Hopefully sometime during my presidency I’m going to get out there" ("NASCAR Now," ESPN2, 8/19).

    TURN LEFT, BUT LEAN RIGHT:’s Kenneth Vogel noted the 17 drivers invited to the White House “have given a total of $113,625 in federal campaign contributions since the early 1980s, all of which went to Republican candidates and party committees” (, 8/19).’s Lee Spencer noted driver Bill Elliott, “who was on his third trip to the White House, didn’t feel the warmth he experienced during the Bush administration” at yesterday's festivities. Elliott: “They weren’t very personable. Bush took us in the oval office. This seemed a bit rushed.” But driver Juan Pablo Montoya said of visiting the White House and meeting President Obama, “It was pretty cool” (, 8/19).

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  • NFL Owners Discuss CBA Negotiations During One-Day Meeting

    Goodell Says NFL's Intention Is To 
    Reach New Labor Agreement
    NFL owners yesterday during a one-day meeting at a Chicago O'Hare Airport hotel "discussed the ongoing labor negotiations with the union," and Colts Owner Jim Irsay said the conversation consisted of "updates on where everything is from a business model standpoint [and] projections on '09," according to Mark Maske of the WASHINGTON POST. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, who attended the meeting, said, "Our intention is to get a labor agreement. All of our focus is how do we get a labor agreement" (, 8/19). But YAHOO SPORTS' Jason Cole cited a high-ranking NFLPA source as saying of talks with the owners, "Every time we say, 'OK, you don't like this system, what do you want?' we don't get a straight answer." Another source involved in the process said, "The negotiations mean nothing right now. It's a PR show by the owners to make it look like they're trying and that somehow the players are the problem. ... If you know the whole story, the owners aren't doing anything for awhile." NFL VP/Communications Brian McCarthy: "We think the talks have been constructive and have every reason to believe the union shares that view" (, 8/19).

    CONDUCT UNBECOMING: San Diego Union-Tribune writer Brent Schrotenboer Tuesday noted NFL players have been arrested more than 400 times since '00, but he said the arrests have not "impacted business at all." Fox Business' Stuart Varney: "Here's what I hear from a lot of people: It doesn't matter what you've done off the field, if you win on the field you're okay." Meanwhile, Goodell said the NFL's personal conduct policy has "impacted the rate of arrests." Goodell: "Before that policy was instituted, we had 79 arrests in the previous year. Year-over-year since then it's gone down 20%. The crackdown has made a difference" (Fox Business, 8/18).

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  • MLB GMs Want Deadline To Sign Draftees Moved Up To July

    Jocketty Voices Support Of Earlier
    Deadline For MLB Draft Pick Signings
    Reds GM Walt Jocketty and other GMs are pushing for the deadline to sign MLB draftees be "moved up, one of several issues ripe for discussion" during the next CBA negotiations in '11, according to John Shea of the S.F. CHRONICLE. Jocketty: "The deadline is at least two months after the draft. I'd like to see it sooner. Most GMs would. Make the deadline July 15. You should be able to get a deal done in 30 days." The GMs also will "try to limit (even cap) the signing bonuses -- a la the NBA and NFL -- and the union might be forced by its membership to be on board." The "outrageous bonuses teams pay nonunion amateurs could mean less money for unionized big-leaguers, who aren't necessarily excited" that No. 1 draft pick P Stephen Strasburg signed a record four-year, $15.1M deal with the Nationals (S.F. CHRONICLE, 8/20). MLB Commissioner Bud Selig: "There's no question in my mind, in 2011, certainly a (hard) slotting system and a worldwide draft are things we will be very aggressive in talking about" (, 8/19).

    THE BUCK STOPS HERE: In Daytona Beach, Dave Markowitz writes, "All the talk about how the draft must change is just another way of saying ... that baseball teams again have to be saved from themselves. All the entrepreneurs and corporations that comprise the ownership of baseball's 30 teams can accumulate millions and millions of dollars in the business world, but in the baseball world they suddenly have to be taught the meaning of a buck." Markowitz: "Teams want slotting ... because it takes away all the bargaining and all the risk of contract negotiations. Too bad the players don't have someone to absorb the risk for them" (, 8/20).

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