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Volume 24 No. 160

Sports Industrialists

     ACOG President BILLY PAYNE says some of the Olympic venues
are ahead of schedule: "It's all scheduled to be completed
sufficiently in advance of the games and tested with major
international events" ("CBS This Morning," 3/13). ....Walt Disney
Co.'s top TV exec, RICHARD FRANK, resigned Friday.  He will be
replaced by DENNIS HIGHTOWER, who headed Europe and Middle
Eastern Operations for Disney Consumer Products (L.A. TIMES,
3/13)....CARL HIRSH, former President of the Spectrum arena and
Spectacor Development, was named Managing Partner of Stafford
Sports Ventures (Stafford). ....SHAQUILLE O'NEAL and MICHAEL
JORDAN were ranked Nos. 1-2 as the most marketable athletes in a
poll by Sportsfan Radio Network (WASHINGTON POST, 3/13)....JULIE
FARIN has been named Promotion Director/Marketing at PR Newswire.
She was Dir of Publicity at King World Productions (VARIETY,
3/13). ....ABC's "Person of the Week" was former Negro League
player BUCK O'NEILL ("World News Tonight," 3/10).

     Reports this morning indicate that Michael Jordan will
announce his return to the Bulls this week, although Bulls GM
Jerry Krause insisted that Jordan is yet to make his decision and
nothing is scheduled (Mult., 3/13).
     SO, WHAT'S THE DEAL:  NEWSWEEK reports that Jordan is asking
for more money and years added to his contract, and similar
upgrades for Scottie Pippen (NEWSWEEK, 3/20 issue).  But, under
the current no-strike agreement reached by the NBA and the NBPA,
there is a moratorium on extending or renegotiating any
contracts.  One league spokesperson:  "If they want to sit down
and have a general discussion, that's permitted.  But they're not
supposed to talk about numbers."  In Chicago, Sam Smith notes
while the NBA would not stand in the way of Jordan's return,
"hard feelings" remain between the NBA and the Bulls over the
team's lawsuit against the league -- "suggesting any hint of a
new agreement with Jordan could produce sever penalties."  The
current direction of the NBA labor talks -- limits on so-called
one-year "balloon payments" and on how much teams can pay to re-
sign their own free agents -- also stand in the way of a new deal
(CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 3/12).  According to a league source, Jordan
wants the NBA and NBC to compensate him beyond his salary (Fort
Lauderdale SUN-SENTINEL/Baltimore SUN, 3/13).
     LOOK, UP IN THE SKY!  Jordan was the hot topic from the
White House to Wall Street.  President Clinton invoked his name
at a Friday news conference (Mult, 3/10).  Jordan is on the cover
of this week's NEWSWEEK.  Writing that it's still "uncertain" he
will return, John Leland notes the no-bend negotiating tactics of
Reinsdorf:  "If there is an NBA owner who would walk away from a
chance to have Michael Jordan, it is Jerry M. Reinsdorf"
(NEWSWEEK, 3/20 issue).  Jordan was the closing note on "This
Week with David Brinkley."  George Will:  "Well, it's
significant" (ABC, 3/12).  CNBC's "Market Wrap" examined what
Jordan's return would do for Chicago's economy.  Gerald Roper of
the Chicago Convention Bureau:  "You're talking about another
$160 million" (CNBC, 3/10).  CNN's Steve Young examined Jordan's
impact on advertisers and ratings.  Young & Rubicam Broadcast
Buying Dir Robert Igiel:  "If you try and estimate how much extra
audience a Michael Jordan could mean, your guess is as good as
mine, but I would think another 10%" ("Moneyline," 3/10).  NBC
analyst Julius Erving was the lone doubter:  "I would be hard
pressed to feel that he's going to come back, that he's going to
give up the freedom that he enjoys right now. ... How's he going
to come back to a game where there are rules, regulations, and
curfews?  Michael's not going to become a 10-day contract player
and prostitute the game of basketball for 15 games and the
playoffs" ("NBA on NBC," 3/12).