SBD/February 1, 2011/Leagues and Governing Bodies

League Notes

In Boston, Kevin Paul Dupont reported "increased revenue and a strong Canadian dollar have enabled NHL players to scale back their escrow payments this season." The players "set aside 17 percent of each paycheck in the first quarter, then dropped to 13.5 percent in the second." Now, they are "going to roll back to 10 percent in the third" (BOSTON GLOBE, 1/30).

LEARNING ON THE JOB: NHLPA Exec Dir Donald Fehr, who spent 32 years with the MLBPA, acknowledges that the "economics are unique in each professional sport." He said, "I'm trying to wrap my arms around it, trying to plan how all the work's going to get done over the next year (or) year and a half. Over the last few months, I've been doing a lot of travelling -- first to see the players and now agents." Fehr said that he expects negotiations for a new NHL CBA "to be civil." He has known NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman "for a number of years and would like to have their eventual discussions kept private, noting with a laugh that it could never happen" (CP, 1/31).

AGE-APPROPRIATE MATERIAL: In Birmingham, Jon Solomon reported Auburn men's basketball coach Tony Barbee believes the next NBA CBA "will allow players to enter the draft right out of high school." Speaking at the Birmingham Tip-Off Club, Barbee said, "Talking to a lot of people I know at that level, I think it's going to go back to the old day." Barbee is represented by CAA's Leon Rose, who also reps Nuggets F Carmelo Anthony and Hornets G Chris Paul (AL.com, 1/31).

A MISSED OPPORTUNITY? In London, Simon Briggs noted the new world rankings in women's tennis feature "women from 10 countries in the top 10 positions," further emphasizing the "global reach of tennis." Still, the "frontier the marketing gurus really want to conquer is China, so there must have been much gnashing of teeth" when Li Na lost to Kim Clijsters Saturday in the final of the Australian Open. While China is "developing a growing presence in women’s tennis, with four women inside the top 100, this was its chance to plant a giant red flag on Rod Laver Arena." Briggs: "Had Na won, she would have boosted participation levels in the People’s Republic, as well as the share prices of tennis’s leading manufacturers" (London TELEGRAPH, 1/31).

LESS IS MORE: In Boston, Gary Washburn wrote it is "time to end the fans' 100 percent vote" for NBA All-Star Game starters. The fans voted Yao Ming as a starter for the Western Conference, despite the Rockets C being sidelined for the remainder of this season after playing only five games. Washburn: "The league needs to change the voting policy regarding injured or ineligible players so they can’t be named starters. It’s embarrassing" (BOSTON GLOBE, 1/30).
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