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Boston Mayor Martin Walsh has "expressed an interest" in hosting the NFL Draft, and Patriots Owner Robert Kraft is a "supporter of the idea," according to Mike Reiss of ESPN BOSTON. Kraft said, "I think we're privileged to have the only mayor in the United States of America who is a season-ticket holder of his NFL team. ... He's been a season-ticket holder here since we bought the team, so he's a real fan. Now that he knows the commissioner wants to move the draft around, he'd very much like to see part of it come to Boston, and we're going to try to be supportive" (ESPNBOSTON.com, 5/8). Meanwhile, Green Bay Mayor Jim Schmitt said of hosting the draft, "We're going to be all over this. We're going to do whatever we can to make this a reality" (JSONLINE.com, 5/8). SI.com's Don Banks cites a source as saying that the NFL "may not be quite ready to take the draft on the road next year." The league's "best shot to move the draft" in '15 "might be to Chicago." But the source said that a "cross-country relocation" to L.A. "doesn't appear to be in the cards so quickly." There are "other cities than those two who want to bid on the draft, like Dallas, but it's not known where their chances stand at this point." The NFL "may return to Radio City Music Hall next year, and it expects to know within a week or so whether the venue's schedule is going to jive with the league's plans" for the '15 draft. Banks: "Reading the tea leaves, it's pretty clear that commissioner Roger Goodell wants to take the draft on the road as soon as possible" (SI.com, 5/9).
WAITING GAME: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on Thursday spoke with ESPN's Chris Berman prior to the start of the NFL Draft. Berman said it was the "longest wait for a Draft" and asked whether the date would remain this time of year or move back to its normal time. Goodell said, "There are positives and negatives to everything. One of the things that really struck me when I was meeting with the draft eligible players, one of them put up his hand and said, 'You know, having it later allowed me to graduate on time.' There are a lot of factors you don't always think about." The "anxiety is pretty high" to get the draft started but "we just have to balance all those issues" ("SportsCenter Special: On the Clock," ESPN, 5/8).
STILL AT ODDS: New NFLPA President Eric Winston said that the NFL's plan for HGH testing is "on hold because players don't agree with the league's stipulation" that Goodell "be the final arbiter in particular disputes around the testing process or the results." Winston said, "I kind of laugh because it keeps coming up. If he wants HGH testing as bad as he wants to retain his power, then we would have had HGH testing last year. At the end of the day, that's what this is all about: He wants to hold all the cards and he wants to be the judge, jury and executioner, and we're not going to go for an un-American system like that." NFL Senior VP/Communications Greg Aiello in an e-mail wrote, "It is kind of funny because since 2011 the union has come up with one excuse after another to avoid implementing an agreement to test for HGH. First, it was the testing method; then it was the population study; now it's commissioner authority. Our commitment to testing is clear. The same cannot be said of the union" (ESPN.com, 5/8). Meanwhile, ESPN N.Y.'s Jane McManus noted there were 10 "leaked results from prospect drug tests at the the NFL combine," and NFLPA Exec Dir DeMaurice Smith said that the union will "review the circumstances." Smith said, "Our concern is there is obviously a lack of appropriate attention by the National Football League on the way they safeguard information that is collected on people attending the combine" (ESPNNY.com, 5/8).
With NASCAR's new TV partner NBC "coming on board for the second half of the season for the next 10 years, 'Monday Night Racing' may be one of the new wrinkles, depending if a track is interested in making such a move," according to Randy Covitz of the K.C. STAR. Stronger than expected TV ratings when the rain-delayed '12 Daytona 500 "was pushed into a Monday night could be an impetus for prime-time racing on either Fox or NBC." Kansas Speedway President Pat Warren: "I wouldn’t necessarily be opposed to do one here. That would be a television-driven issue." Covitz notes NASCAR "expects to receive requests for schedule changes from tracks over the next few weeks." NASCAR Senior VP/Racing Operations Steve O'Donnell: "Everybody would love that June, July summer date. … Unfortunately we’re not able to deliver 36 of those. We do our best to really manage all expectations with tracks." Warren "is aware moving to a Monday night would cause problems for fans who travel great distances for a weekend race when they are off work." Warren: "It becomes a more Kansas City-based event, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing but creates different marketing challenges." There also is "something to be said for establishing equity in a race date." O'Donnell: "Fans make plans well in advance and travel long ways to our races" (K.C. STAR, 5/9).
OLD, YET STEADY: The AP's Pete Iacobelli noted Darlington Raceway President Chip Wile "likes where his old, country track stands in NASCAR, even if it's no longer the sports' backdrop for honoring mothers this week." Wile: "Look, it's an old place, but there's lots of things going on." Wile is confident that the track's April race weekend "will stick and give fans something to count on each season." Darlington "plans to build on its past and connect with a younger crowd, using NASCAR great Bill Elliott and his son, rising star Chase Elliott, as faces of a continuing campaign." Wile expects that the track will "roll out details about Darlington's throwback 2015 race weekend throughout the year" (AP, 5/8).
In an "increasingly crowded market for soccer," NASL Commissioner Bill Peterson "has to try to highlight the good and gloss over the bad about his league, and sometimes, this means that he sounds more like a marketing executive than a commissioner," according to Jon Marthaler of the Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE. His "lack of pessimism was especially evident on the expansion front, where a bit of gloom might have been expected." Though the league "added teams in Indy and Ottawa for 2014, and Jacksonville has hit the ground running and is on course for 2015, the presumptive franchises in Oklahoma City and Virginia have run into problems." The Oklahoma City ownership group "half-disappeared overnight, for one, and the latter was scheduled to begin play this season, but pulled out so late in the off-season that the league had to sheepishly change its already-announced schedule." The "big surprise was that the commissioner seemed positive about Oklahoma City," despite that fact that both the NASL and USL Pro "announced Oklahoma City franchises at virtually the same time." Peterson also "spoke about the league’s broadcast problems." The NASL announced a subscription service for '14, but "had to back off and offer the spring season for free, after transmission problems blacked out two games in one single week." Peterson: "We spent a lot of time in the offseason upgrading these broadcasts and broadcast teams and spending a lot of time working on these streams, so when it doesn’t work and nobody can explain why, you’ll find me frustrated" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 5/9).