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Volume 24 No. 156

Leagues Governing Bodies

     "After months of hype, neither the Indianapolis 500 nor the
competing U.S. 500 proved to be a classic event.  But the Indy
500 may have bested the rival race by avoiding a calamity,"
writes Bill Koenig of the INDIANAPOLIS STAR-NEWS.  The U.S. 500
in Brooklyn, MI, was delayed for more than an hour after a pace-
lap accident wiped out 12 of 27 cars  (INDIANAPOLIS STAR-NEWS,
5/27).  U.S. 500 officials announced an attendance of 110,879.
Indy officials never release attendance, but it was estimated at
400,000 (Ken Denlinger, WASHINGTON POST, 5/28).  Tickets to Indy
were not in as high demand as previous years.  Scalpers were
getting less than face value, and $125 penthouse tickets, which
were going for $40, had gone for up as high as $1,000 in the past
(Eliot Alexander, Cleveland PLAIN DEALER, 5/27).

     Auto racing writers and columnists reviewed the IRL's Indy
500 and CART's U.S. 500.  Here's a sampling:
     WHO WON:  The N.Y. TIMES' Joseph Siano notes if there was a
winner, "it was probably" IRL President Tony George, with a
"clear but inelegant decision" over CART (N.Y. TIMES, 5/28).  In
DC, Ken Denlinger writes Indy "fared better than CART had hoped,"
while the U.S. 500 "went worse than Indy 500 admirers had dared
dream" (WASHINGTON POST, 5/28).  In K.C., Jason Whitlock gives
the edge to Indy, adding "perhaps now athletes will realize that
the event (or league) is just as important -- and in many cases,
like Indy, more important" (K.C. STAR, 5/27).  In San Diego, Nick
Canepa writes, "Sure looks like Indy to me" (SAN DIEGO UNION
TRIBUNE, 5/27).  In Philadelphia, Bill Fleischman: "Indy proved
it can run a successful race without CART's marquee drivers"
(PHILA. DAILY NEWS, 5/28).  In Milwaukee, Dale Hoffman: "You
would have to say Tony George won the first round.  You just wish
there didn't have to be a rematch" (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL,
5/27).  In Miami, Gary Long writes the day "belongs to George,"
adding the IRL founder "didn't gloat" over the rough start in MI
(MIAMI HERALD, 5/27).  In Orlando, Brian Schmitz notes the IRL
won "a monumental upset victory," because there were no "deaths
or disasters, as everyone feared" (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 5/27).  In
Indianapolis, Wayne Fuson:  "Chalk one up for Tony George and his
Indy Racing League" (INDIANAPOLIS STAR-NEWS, 5/27). In Tampa,
Holly Cain: "The Indy 500 didn't turn out to be as bad as people
predicted and the U.S. 500 didn't necessarily end up being
reflective of the sport's elite.  The lesson in all this is that
tradition won out" (TAMPA TRIBUNE, 5/27).  In Dallas, Cathy
Harasta notes Indy was "legitimate," adding that Buddy Lazier's
"valor allowed the Indy 500 to stay intact and asterisk free"
(DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 5/27). In Detroit, Terry Foster: "Although
Michigan provided the best racing ... Please make the inaugural
U.S. 500 a one-hit wonder" (DETROIT NEWS, 5/27).  In Boston,
Michael Vega noted Indy went off "without a flaw" (BOSTON GLOBE,
5/27).  In Toronto, Jim Hunt gives the nod to CART, adding "it
was pretty pathetic watching ABC trying to make names out of the
drivers at Indy" (TORONTO SUN, 5/28).  In Atlanta, Steve Hummer:
"Neither Indy nor the upstart U.S. 500 made particularly strong
cases to their fractured audience" (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 5/27).
ESPN's John Kernan called Sunday's battle "almost a draw."  But,
he added, due to the crash, U.S. 500 drivers "did little to back
up their claim that the best drivers were in Michigan" (ESPN,
     NEXT MOVE?  The N.Y. TIMES' Siano notes Sunday's race was
more of a "sideshow" than a "decisive battle," as the task facing
George and the IRL is to expand their schedule and widen their
exposure.  The next IRL race is August. For corporate sponsors
"who don't want their product's name to evaporate in the summer
heat, CART suddenly looks a lot better after Memorial Day" (N.Y.
TIMES, 5/28).  CART President Andrew Craig didn't rule out CART
drivers being at Indy next year and George said he would welcome
them (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 5/27).  ESPN's John Kernan said George
"appears to be sitting in the cat bird's seat."  Kernan reports
if the IRL can "beef up" its '96-97 schedule with a 14 to 15-race
series, "many experts believe that would force CART's hand and
lead to a compromise" (ESPN, 5/27).  In Philadelphia, Bill
Fleischman notes George and the IRL have "other problems," as
tourism in Indy was estimated to take a $10M loss for the month
(PHILA. DAILY NEWS, 5/28).  CART's Craig said he was disappointed
at the poor start to their race, but added, "I regard them (IRL)
as a competitor, an honorable competitor" (INDIANAPOLIS STAR-
NEWS, 5/27).

     On ESPN's "Sports Reporters," Mitch Albom noted the
superiority of NHL overtimes compared to other sports:  "You
watch 10 straight minutes of overtime in hockey before you get a
chance to take a breath and have to see a commercial (ESPN,
5/26)....Tryouts for the women's ABL began in Atlanta.  Over 550
players were expected (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 5/27)....In Ft.
Worth, columnist Gil LeBreton on the NBA playoffs: "I'm not down
on the NBA. I'm just distressed that commissioner Stern and his
apostles seem to think the league is in its ascendancy.  Yeah
right.  Them and Prince Charles" (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 5/26).
In New York, Bill Madden with MBLPA Exec Dir Don Fehr's failure
to counter MLB negotiator Randy Levine's recent "movement," there
is a "growing belief" that the only way to get a labor deal in
baseball "is if the agents get involved from the union's side"
(N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 5/26).

     U.S. Senator Phil Gram will bring NFL Commissioner Paul
Tagliabue to Houston today to begin talks "aimed at easing the
testy relations between the city and the league," according to
John Williams of the HOUSTON CHRONICLE.  The two will meet with
Mayor Bob Lanier and Harris County Judge Robert Eckels.  A "key
to the discussion" will be U.S. Rep. Martin Hoke's (R-OH) Fan
Freedom and Franchise Protection Act, currently before Congress.
That bill would require leagues to restore teams to abandoned
cities within five years.  Gramm has been "unwilling to support
the bill," but an aide said he might change his mind if Houston
does not get a team to replace the Oilers (HOUSTON CHRONICLE,
5/29).  In Nashville, Rep. Ed Bryant (R-TN) said he has had talks
with GOP House leadership and believes the Hoke bill will be
"quickly killed" (Penny Bender, Nashville TENNESSEAN, 5/24).
     NEWS & NOTES:  ESPN's Chris Mortensen reports, in addition
to a $500,000 fine for any contact between an owner and another
city over relocation, other sanctions, including the loss of
draft picks, could be levied ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 5/28).  In
Baltimore, Vito Stellino writes in his column ("Tagliabue's no-
move edict has no teeth") that the Commissioner "seems to have
forgotten that action speaks louder than words" (Baltimore SUN,
5/26)....In Tampa, Nick Pugliese writes "straw polls" at the
latest NFL meetings in Charlotte showed that "old-guard owners
still have enough votes to block changes" to the league's cross-
ownership policy -- "hardly good news" for the Dolphins' Wayne
Huizenga or the Seahawks' Paul Allen (TAMPA TRIBUNE, 5/26).