SBD/Issue 15/Leagues & Governing Bodies

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  • Little Promotion Evident In Finland For Blackhawks-Panthers

    This Weekend's Panthers-Blackhawks Games
    First NHL Regular-Season Games In Finland
    There are few billboards in Helsinki promoting Friday's and Saturday's Panthers-Blackhawks games in the city, the first NHL regular-season games to be played in Finland, despite hockey being the "clear-cut No. 1 sport" in the country, according to Len Ziehm of the CHICAGO SUN-TIMES. The Hilton Int'l, "one of the few American hotel chains in the city," also had "nothing promoting the games." Wednesday's exhibition game between the Panthers and Finnish club Jokerit  "wasn't close to a sellout, and the games involving the Hawks might not be, either." However, both Helsinki newspapers "devoted two pages and plenty of color pictures to the Florida-Jokerit exhibition, and about 200 fans attended a pep rally Thursday in which the Hawks and Panthers showed up in game jerseys after their workouts." Ziehm: "The European experiment has been refreshing" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 10/2). In Miami, Barry Jackson notes FS Florida, the Panthers' TV rights-holder, is not "televising the team's first two games Friday and Saturday." FS Florida said that "because the games start at noon, and because Versus is televising Friday's game, it did not want to allot two of its 71 Panthers telecasts to the first two" (MIAMI HERALD, 10/2).

    IMPACT QUESTIONED: In Detroit, Chris McCosky writes under the header, "Swedish Opener Makes No Sense For The NHL." The Blues and Red Wings are playing two games in Stockholm on Friday and Saturday, and there is "nothing to be gained, from a business standpoint, by playing games abroad" in Stockholm, Helsinki "or wherever." McCosky: "How can the NHL be thinking global when it is struggling in its main market? There is no chance the NHL is expanding to Europe. There isn't going to be any spike in merchandise sales over here" (DETROIT NEWS, 10/2). The South Florida Sun-Sentinel's Ethan Skolnick wrote there is "some international marketing benefit" to playing overseas, but that "comes with the debasement of the product through the creation of an inequitable schedule." The NHL "needs to sell its product to this country first." The L.A. Times' Helene Elliott wrote the "real motivation ... is business," as Finland and Sweden are the "top-ranked countries in terms of overseas visitors to" Meanwhile, the Hartford Courant's Paul Doyle wrote it is "not a terrible idea to spread the NHL brand to Sweden and Finland," but "forcing four teams to shift training camp overseas and open their schedule in another part of the world seems unfair to players and fans" (, 10/1).

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  • Sources Say New LPGA Commissioner To Be Chosen By Late October

    A decision on the LPGA's new commissioner "will be made by late October after head-hunting firm Spencer Stuart conducts another round of interviews with finalists," according to sources cited by Ron Sirak of GOLF WORLD. Sources said that the "top contenders to emerge" are WNBA President Donna Orender and USGA Chief Business Officer Pete Bevacqua (GOLF WORLD, 10/5 issue). However, sources said that LPGA acting Commissioner Marty Evans Tuesday told players that "while the field of candidates is being narrowed, no hiring is imminent." Evans "didn't specifically identify candidates, even to her membership." Evans: "The search committee is working very diligently. ... We will not bug them about hurrying up."'s Randall Mell noted Evans' meeting with players was her "second since becoming acting commissioner." Golfer Meg Mallon: "I had one player tell me these are the best players meetings she has been to in 14 years." Mell noted Evans has "elevated player spirits telling them 18 contracts are already signed with tournaments for 2010, and she expects agreements with at least 24 tournaments next year." While that is "down from 27 this year, 34 a year ago, it was welcome news for players fearing a far darker future." Golfer Lorie Kane said Evans has "helped us get on the right path again." Mell wrote Evans has been "virtually omnipresent at LPGA events, making an appearance at every tournament but one since becoming acting commissioner." The financial losses the LPGA "will incur with a shrinking schedule may force Evans to make tough budget decisions before the next commissioner takes over." Evans "didn't indicate layoffs were imminent, but something's got to give with less revenues projected next year" (, 10/1).

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  • League Notes

    Baseball writer Murray Chass wrote the "cry about high-payroll teams" making the MLB postseason is "both hysterical and mistaken." Anyone who "cries that baseball's sky is falling hasn't been watching or keeping track of playoff developments in recent years." The four teams that played in the ALCS and NLCS two years ago were the Red Sox, with the "second highest-payroll that year," and three teams -- the Indians, D'Backs and Rockies -- that were "in the bottom third of the payroll standings." The NL playoffs "will have the teams with the sixth (Phillies), seventh (Dodgers), 12th (Cardinals) and 17th (Rockies) payrolls." Chass: "Why are those cries being wailed this year? I think the explanation is pretty evident. It's the Yankees. ... No one said anything when the Yankees didn't make the playoffs last year with the major leagues' highest payroll" (, 9/30).

    SECRET AGENT MEN: PRO FOOTBALL TALK's Mike Florio noted NFLPA Exec Dir DeMaurice Smith Thursday conducted a "conference call with a total of 30 agents." A source said that the call "was supposed to be kept confidential," but "word of the conference call was leaked." Some of the agents are "blaming Jack Bechta," a contributor to, "which reported that the call would be occurring" (, 10/1).

    BEGINNER'S LUCK: In California, Randy Youngman wrote PGA Tour execs "got lucky," as the Tour "merely dodged another potential PR embarrassment, because the two right guys" -- Phil Mickelson, who won the season-ending Tour Championship and Tiger Woods, who won the FedEx Cup title --  came out on top. The system "still is badly flawed," and if the system worked, Tiger Woods "certainly would be the one to endorse it" (ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 10/1).

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