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SBD/August 26, 2013/Leagues and Governing BodiesPrint All
The '15 NBA All-Star Game "will be played at Madison Square Garden on Sunday of All-Star weekend with the Friday and Saturday night events -- the skills, shooting and dunk competitions -- set for Barclays Center," according to sources cited by Fred Kerber of the N.Y. POST. The league, the Nets and the Knicks "still are negotiating on a proposal to have a reversal" in either '17 or '18, in which Barclays Center "would stage the game while the Knicks and the Garden would serve as host for the Friday and Saturday events." Sources said that the Nets "are not completely sold on the host role down the road for myriad reasons." A source said, "(The Nets) aren’t certain (they want it)." Kerber noted keeping the event in N.Y. "would be financially attractive for the NBA" (N.Y. POST, 8/23). SportsNet N.Y.’s Sal Licata said, "I love the dunk contest, I love the three-point contest, it’s always something I've wanted to go to. To me that’s the more appealing draw. I don’t understand splitting it up. You should give one year to the Garden and their new renovations … and you should have another at the Barclays. Why would you kind of combine the two?" SNY's Frank Isola: "The average fan doesn’t care ... because the average fan can’t afford tickets to either the Saturday night events or the Sunday All-Star game" (“Loudmouths,” SNY, 8/23).
Last night's MLS Timbers-Sounders match at CenturyLink Field drew 67,385 fans, marking the "largest soccer crowd Seattle has ever seen" and the "second-largest attendance in MLS history for a game that wasn't part of an international doubleheader," according to Joshua Mayers of the SEATTLE TIMES. The match was the home debut of recently signed Sounders F Clint Demspey, and it also saw "one of the five largest crowds across the world over the weekend." Sounders MF Brad Evans said, "We’re always asked questions about those games that you remember. Obviously this will be one of them" (SEATTLE TIMES, 8/26). SI.com's Grant Wahl writes, "Dempsey Mania has taken over Seattle, and yet the vibe is hardly just about the U.S. national team captain who signed here earlier this month." The city is "in love with the Sounders as a team." Attending a rivalry game in Seattle "doesn't just feel major league for the United States; it feels major league for any soccer game in any country in the world." Dempsey after the game said, "It's awesome to play here in front of 67,000. It's what you dream about as a kid" (SI.com, 8/26). Meanwhile, Dempsey was profiled on CBS' "Evening News" last night. CBS' Jeff Glor said the announcement by Dempsey that he was joining the Sounders "stunned the world of soccer." Dempsey said, "I thought I was going to be over there two more years but the opportunity came. The MLS and the Seattle Sounders really moved mountains to get me back" to the U.S. ("Evening News," CBS, 8/25). ESPN's Alexi Lalas in a pre-match interview asked Dempsey, "How do you respond to people that say that coming back to MLS in your prime is taking a step backwards in terms of your development or the challenge?" Dempsey answered, "I'm not really worried what people think. It's a decision I took very seriously … and I think it's the best decision for me and my family, and I'm excited about continuing the growth of the game here in MLS" ("Timbers-Sounders," ESPN2, 8/25).TOP 10 SOCCER CROWDS BETWEEN AUG. 23-25
LEAGUE MATCH ATTENDANCE Bundesliga Dortmund-Bremen 80,645 Bundesliga Bayern Munich-Nuremberg 71,000 MLS Timbers-Sounders 67,385 Bundesliga Hertha Berlin-Hamburg 63,574 EPL Newcastle-West Ham 49,662 Bundesliga Hannover-Schalke 49,000 Serie A Inter Milan-Genoa 42,797 EPL Aston Villa-Liverpool 42,098 La Liga Athletico Madrid-Rayo Vallecano 41,815 Eredivisie Feyenoord-NAC Breda 41,000
SOMETHING FISHY WITH ACQUISITION? In Portland, Geoffrey Arnold wrote Dempsey's signing was "hailed around the soccer world as a major coup for MLS, but the methods surrounding the acquisition has raised questions about the murkiness and secretive nature" of the league's acquisition rules. Questions also have "surfaced about the league's competitive balance." Dempsey is "likely the most important" player in MLS since David Beckham. Dempsey's signing "represents evidence that the league can attract world-class players in the prime of their careers." But the "manner in which the league acquired Dempsey, discreetly steered him to Seattle and then fumbled its attempt to explain the transaction process, hurt the league's credibility." Using a "strict interpretation of allocation rules," the Timbers "looked to have the first shot at signing Dempsey." Even if the Timbers "didn't want to pay or couldn't pay Dempsey the money he demanded," the team could have had "leverage in determining where he would land in MLS." It is "doubtful the Timbers would have allowed their archrivals to acquire Dempsey" (Portland OREGONIAN, 8/25).
STATE OF THE PLAYERS' UNION: MLSPU Dir of Player Relations Eddie Pope said of DC United's possible new stadium, "I'd assume the most important thing for every single player who's ever played for that club, would be that ... DC United fans need to be taken care of." Pope said of one thing that needed to change since his playing days in MLS, "Getting that minimum salary up was, and still is, a major priority for us. From the first day I took this job, that was a priority for me, helping the guys on the bottom" (MLSSOCCER.com, 8/21).
For fans of NHLers competing in the Olympics, it "might be prudent to get your fill in 2014," as future league participation is "growing more and more unlikely," according to Gary Lawless of the WINNIPEG FREE PRESS. Not "half a day into the beginning of an orientation camp for NHLers hoping to play for Canada, and whispering this latest era of NHL participation is near an end was growing louder." It would have "cost Hockey Canada over $1 million just to insure players to take part in practices" last weekend. Team Canada "simply chose to not go on the ice rather than fork over the cash to insure a few light skates," which "doesn't bode well" for future participation. The NHL wants to "revive the World Cup, playing every second year, and the ever-increasing cost of insurance will be a convenient excuse if and when the league makes its move to bow out of the Olympics." Control over broadcast schedules, revenue, game sites and costs "make the World Cup concept far more attractive to the NHL and its owners." Playing late in the summer without interrupting the NHL season "is also a benefit to the league." But the IOC "doesn't like being dictated to." The cost will "only rise in the future and NHL ownership's stance will only harden" (WINNIPEG FREE PRESS, 8/26).
In Tennessee, Allen Gregory reported Saturday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Irwin Tools Night Race drew "a near capacity crowd" at Bristol Motor Speedway (BRISTOL HERALD-COURIER, 8/25). But in Charlotte, Jim Utter wrote there was "no sign of a sellout" before the race, which "must be a disappointing reality to face for the crowd who thought 'fixing the track' was the answer to the attendance woes that had befallen the track of late." The problems at Bristol "had little to do with the racing and everything to do with the economy" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 8/24).
CROWDED COURSE: GOLFCHANNEL.com's Rex Hoggard noted because of the PGA Tour's transition to a split-calendar schedule, which resulted in the net loss of five tournaments this year, the Tour had eight events "expand their field size to mitigate the reduced playing opportunities." But a source said that the Tour "will allow those fields to go back to their normal size" for the '13-14 season. There had been "some concern that if players and officials felt that the increased field sizes could be sustained the Tour would have pushed to make the change permanent, but the logistics and daylight concerns seemed to have nixed that idea" (GOLFCHANNEL.com, 8/23).
TO THE VIDEOTAPE: YAHOO SPORTS' Martin Rogers reported the NFL "may soon have the option of using a version of soccer's new high-tech, decision-making technology to help speed up disputed touchdown calls." NFL Senior VP/PR Greg Aiello in an e-mail wrote, "We have looked at this type of emerging technology and would not rule out using it at some point in the future." Rogers noted the system is an "adaptation of the Hawk-Eye technology that has long been used in tennis" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 8/22).