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Volume 24 No. 160

Sports Society

     If the Orlando Area Sports Commission doesn't improve their
performance in the next year "the agency is doomed," according to
Gene Yasuda of the ORLANDO SENTINEL.  Created in '92, the
commission was "unveiled as a turbo-booster of sorts, promising
to make Central Florida a sports capital while feeding the area's
tourism industry."  But in two years, the commission "has endured
two leadership changes, struggled to raise money from the
region's private corporations and now is on the verge of losing
the political support" that helped create the group.  The new
President, Randy Johnson, faces the challenge of revamping the
commission. Johnson: "We're the No. 1 tourist destination.
There's no reason why we can't become the sports capital of the
world, too."  Part of Johnson's strategy is to "link the
commission to more popular, mainstream" pro sports, such as
getting the Devil Rays' to set up their spring-training
headquarters in Seminole or Osceola counties, and asking the
Magic to apply as a host site for one of the five U.S. Olympic
basketball exhibitions that will be played by Dream Team III. The
commission's support from the private sector has been "lukewarm
at best" and some business leaders "aren't convinced" the
commission's events will produce enough benefits to entice major
corporations to donate funds (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 8/7).
     L.A. STORY: The city of Los Angeles has named Diane
Hovenkamp as President of the "newly formed" L.A. Sports and
Special Events Authority, according to the L.A. BUSINESS JOURNAL.
The authority is a unit of the L.A. Convention and Visitors
Bureau. She was formerly President of the Orlando Area Sports
Commission (L.A. BUSINESS JOURNAL, 8/6 issue).