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Volume 24 No. 158
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     IRS INVESTIGATING NBA REFEREES:  According to a report in
Sunday's Portland OREGONIAN, the IRS is investigating 35 NBA
referees for evading income taxes on millions in "allegedly phony
travel expenses."  The paper cites "several sources" who claim
that "some of the referees might have earned $100,000 or more on
airline tickets during a five-year period ending with the 1993-94
season."  The referees apparently "swapped first-class tickets
for cash," and gave the league receipts for the tickets, but did
not report the earnings to the league or IRS.  Some referees
claim the league "knowingly paid inflated travel costs as a
substitute for giving them better pay."  One referee, who
requested anonymity:  "The league knew we were making extra money
on our plane tickets.  That's a known fact."  NBA Deputy
Commissioner Russ Granik would not comment on the investigation
(Portland OREGONIAN, 2/12).
     LOTTO LOSS IN CANADA:  The NBA announced that the expansion
Grizzlies and Raptors will not have an opportunity to get the
first pick in the NBA draft until 1999.  Both teams "have been
aware of this fact" since the expansion agreement was drawn up a
year ago (Neil Campbell, Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 2/11).
     TV TALK:  The latest INSIDE MEDIA features an interview with
Ed Dessner, President of NBA TV Ventures, and Mike Dressner, NBA
Properties' VP/Media and Marketing Group.  Dessner said , on
whether U.S. or Canadian companies will sponsor broadcasts of the
two new Canadian teams:  "It depends. ... Some categories cross
the borders better than others.  In the U.S., banks are generally
local or regional.  In Canada, banks are national.  Automotive is
a category that is very much the same" (Mike Reynolds, INSIDE
MEDIA, 2/14 issue).  NBC's potential national deal with CTV could
mean a blackout of NBC's Sunday games if there is a corresponding
CTV telecast of a Raptors or Grizzlies game.  Talks between the
NBA and CTV continue (Howard Tsumura, Vancouver PROVINCE, 2/13).