SBD/Issue 236/Leagues & Governing Bodies

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  • NBA, Referees Reportedly Far Apart On New Deal For '09-10 Season

    NBA Reportedly Proposing An Estimated 10%
    Reduction To Overall Referee Budget
    The NBA's current five-year contract with its referees expires next Tuesday and the sides "appear to be far apart on a new deal," according to sources cited by Marc Stein of A source indicated that with the league "proposing an across-the-board reduction to the referee budget" of an estimated 10%, the "impasse might not be resolved before the start" of this season. However, another source questioned the referees' "willingness to hold out in a depressed economy if it reaches the point that the league threatens to impose a lockout." The source added that "one motivation for the NBA digging in could be demonstrating the hard-line approach that some owners favor in collective-bargaining talks with NBA players that began earlier this month." The proposed cuts are "believed to include reductions in travel costs, pension payouts and health benefits in addition to salary cuts." Stein noted it was "not immediately clear what sort of contingency plans would be triggered if the league and the officials can't strike a deal in time for the start of the exhibition season in October" (, 8/25).

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  • NHRA Unveils '10 Schedule; zMax Dragway Gets Two Dates

    NHRA's '10 Schedule Adds A
    Second Date For zMax Dragway
    The '10 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series schedule, which was announced yesterday, "adds a spring date" for the zMax Dragway at Lowe's Motor Speedway, according to Gary Graves of USA TODAY. The facility becomes the third venue, joining Auto Club Speedway and The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, to host two events. Meanwhile, Virginia Motorsports Park, which returned to the schedule in '06 and hosts the third Countdown to 1 championship playoff race in October, "was dropped" (USA TODAY, 8/26). In California, Louis Brewster notes the "emergence" of the Charlotte area and zMax Dragway, which was built by SMI Chair & CEO Bruton Smith on behalf of SMI, "prompted the change." NHRA President Tom Compton: "The reception we have received from the fans and the number of major sponsors and teams that use the area as a base lead us to believe that it will provide the market foundation for those two races. We also believe the two events will evolve into among the two biggest events" (San Bernardino County SUN, 8/26). Smith: "We're very happy. It didn't take a lot of selling to get a second event. We got it and we're thrilled." In Charlotte, Ron Green Jr. notes the spring event, which is still unnamed, will take place from March 25-28, with the Carolinas Nationals scheduled for September 16-19 (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 8/26). zMax officials said that they will "offer a special $99 ticket package for both the spring and fall events" (Spartanburg HERALD-JOURNAL, 8/26).

    ADJUST YOUR CALENDAR: In Memphis, Craig Wack reports the Mid-South Nationals at Memphis Motorsports Park "will be moved from the late-September/early-October spot it's occupied for the last two seasons to" August 20-22, and the race will be the "cutoff race" for the Countdown to 1 (Memphis COMMERCIAL APPEAL, 8/26).

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  • League Notes's Terry Blount wrote NASCAR's Chase for the Sprint Cup "is working." Driver Kasey Kahne currently sits 11th in the standings, and "in the old system, that wouldn't mean a thing." But his primary sponsor, Budweiser, is "benefiting because reporters are talking about him, wondering whether he will make the Chase," and the "same is true for every sponsor of a driver in Chase contention." But Blunt noted the "problem is the race to the Chase often is better than the Chase itself." The current points system "doesn't place enough emphasis on winning," as it is "possible for a driver to win the championship without winning a race all season" (, 8/25).

    Creamer Feels New LPGA Commissioner Will
    Need To Mend Relationships With Sponsors
    IN NEED OF REPAIR: Golfer Paula Creamer said that sponsorships will be the "biggest challenge facing" a new LPGA Commissioner. Creamer: "Whoever he or she is needs to go back and make the relationships better. ... We've had a lot of sponsors with us for 30, 25 years. They need to be appreciated. They have been with us a very long time. I feel like that is kind of what has been led down the wrong path." She added that the new commissioner "must not only rekindle the relationships with sponsors who have left the tour but also with sponsors who have stayed with women's golf in the trying economic environment of the last few seasons" (Palm Springs DESERT SUN, 8/26).

    LONDON'S CALLING: The Patriots this season will face the Buccaneers at London's Wembley Stadium, and QB Tom Brady said, "To be able to expand the game into other countries and over in England, it's gotten a lot of support over the years, over the last two seasons." Brady added David Beckham has "brought a lot of excitement to soccer in the United States so hopefully the Patriots will have the same effect over there in England" (, 8/25).

    PICKING UP CARPOOL: IRL Commercial Division President Terry Angstadt said that IndyCar Series officials are "nearing a deal for a series title sponsor in 2010, but the company is not Firestone." Meanwhile, IRL officials next week are "expected to confirm" that the '10 IndyCar Series will begin the season in Salvador, Brazil (, 8/25).

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