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Volume 24 No. 158

Leagues Governing Bodies

          In Chicago, Sam Smith writes on the NBA, calling it
     "Just another week in the league gone mad. ... One of the
     biggest problems facing the NBA today is the intransigence
     and obstructionism" of the league's Players Association,
     "which continues to defy the league's attempts to bring more
     discipline to the game" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 1/12).  The
     CHICAGO SUN-TIMES' Lacy Banks: "Who is running this NBA
     asylum? ... [Commissioner] David Stern ... is making the NBA
     an international marketing gold mine.  But while a
     deteriorating economy is definitely damaging the league, the
     negative behavior of various players might be causing even
     more harm" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 1/12).
          LATIN LOVER: NBA VP/Managing Dir of Latin America Rob
     Levine is profiled by Fran Brennan in the MIAMI HERALD. 
     Brennan, on Levine's efforts to increase the NBA's
     popularity in Latin America: "Apparently, it's working. 
     Although few of the NBA's players hail from Latin America
     countries, the league sells down south (MIAMI HERALD, 1/12).


          The state of the NFL was examined by Allen Barra in
     Sunday's N.Y. TIMES magazine under the header, "How Football
     Got Sacked."  Barra writes that "on the verge of another
     'Stupor Sunday,' it might be time for a reassessment. ...
     The dip in the TV ratings and those empty seats in the
     Meadowlands may be forgotten in the rush of the coming Super
     Bowl hype, but they're signaling a change in the American
     way of life -- a change that the men at the top of the
     football establishment will typically be the last to see
     coming" (N.Y. TIMES MAGAZINE, 1/12).
          NEWS & NOTES: In Boston, Will McDonough notes a poll of
     all 30 NFL teams indicates that 22 would vote for instant
     replay, with eight teams against.  23 votes are needed to
     approve replay's return.  McDonough: "With the vote that
     close, the issue will fall into the hands of commissioner
     Paul Tagliabue" (BOSTON GLOBE, 1/12).... The success of the
     Jaguars and Panthers, and their effect on the cities of
     Jacksonville and Charlotte, were profiled in Saturday's N.Y.
     TIMES.  The TIMES' Kevin Sack writes that, with the success
     of the Panthers and Jaguars, "football is being embraced and
     promoted for those upstart towns as a metaphor for civic
     momentum" (N.Y. TIMES, 1/11). 

          The NHL will hear eleven presentations from nine cities
     bidding for an expansion team over the next two days in New
     York City, according to Damien Cox of the TORONTO STAR. 
     Each group, including three from Houston, will have 30-45
     minutes to "make its pitch," then another 30-45 minutes to
     answer questions.  The cities: Atlanta; Houston; Nashville;
     Raleigh-Durham, NC; Minneapolis-St. Paul; Columbus, OH;
     Hampton Roads, VA; Hamilton, ON; and Oklahoma City, OK.  Cox
     notes Atlanta "is regarded as the favorite along with
     Houston ... mostly because it is believed the league is
     looking to improve" its TV presence.  But those two do not
     have "perfect arena arrangements" and "only Nashville has
     everything in place" (TORONTO STAR, 1/13).  USA TODAY's
     Kevin Allen notes that with the NHL looking to land "a far
     more lucrative" TV deal in two years, "they will be looking
     to expand their national ratings potential with this round
     of expansion.  That's why Atlanta is considered the favorite
     ... Houston also seems like a certainty."  The "conventional
     wisdom" is for the NHL to expand by four teams by the 2000,
     two in '98-99 and two in '99-00 (USA TODAY, 1/13). 
          LOCAL REAX: In Houston, Neil Hohlfeld: "Perhaps it is a
     coincidence, but the [Executive Committee] will hear the
     bids from the Houston groups in the order that probably is
     how they rank in terms of winning the expansion battle:" 
     IHL Aeros Owner Chuck Watson, followed by Rockets Owner Les
     Alexander and then the Maloof family (HOUSTON CHRONICLE,
     1/12).  In Atlanta, Henry Unger notes that Turner
     Broadcasting's bid "is viewed as one of the strongest by
     league observers" (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 1/13).  St. Paul
     Mayor Norm Coleman: "It wouldn't surprise me if the league
     announces Atlanta and Houston would join as expansion teams
     in '98 and leaves 2000 open to wait for the resolution of
     the Hartford situation."  The Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE's
     Curt Brown notes St. Paul "is considered a prime relocation
     city because the league has been inclined to waive hefty
     transfer fees," as much as $20M, for teams returning to
     former NHL cities (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 1/13). 
          COL. KURTZ?  In Toronto, Damien Cox, on expansion: "The
     horror.  The horror" (TORONTO STAR, 1/13). 
          ALL-STAR DOUGH: In San Jose, city officials estimate
     that "direct spending" at the NHL All-Star weekend "will
     exceed" $5M and "indirect spending should exceed" $10M (SAN
     JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 1/12).