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Volume 24 No. 157

Leagues Governing Bodies

          The ABL's San Jose Lasers opened their season on
     Wednesday night and MERCURY NEWS columnist Ann Killion wrote
     that if the "first night is any indication, Year 2 will be
     bigger and better."  Killion: "Bigger building.  Bigger
     crowd.  Bigger media turnout.  Bigger celebrities and more
     of them in the audience."   The announced attendance of
     10,809 "more than doubled" last season's opening crowd. 
     Killion noted the "star-studded crowd" that included 49ers
     Jerry Rice, Terrell Owens, Merton Hanks, and Terry Kirby,
     along with Ronnie Lott, Marty McSorley and Dusty Baker. 
     Killion: "[T]he ABL is still here.  Not just existing, but
     getting bigger" (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 10/16).  In S.F.,
     Gwen Knapp, under the header, "ABL Sells Basketball For The
     Real Fan," wrote that the Lasers of "yesteryear sold
     themselves to the women's basketball loyalists, long smitten
     with the college game.  Wednesday's show appealed to the old
     crowd and reached out for general sports fans."  But Knap
     added that the 49ers' at the game were "invited as VIPs ...
     a WNBA trick, slightly altered" (S.F. EXAMINER, 10/16).  
          BLIZZARD: A HARTFORD COURANT editorial states that
     Blizzard fans "are not a beer-drinking crowd.  Ponytailed
     girls dressed in tie-dyed Blizzard shirts bounced up the
     coliseum aisles. ... Mothers with the neighborhood girls in
     tow held up homemade signs, and families ... watched
     affordable and exciting basketball" (HART. COURANT, 10/17). 
 

          At least three pro women's hockey leagues "are looking
     to hit the ice in the next couple of years," according to
     Ken Campbell of the HOCKEY NEWS.  Campbell reports that
     "some people think there is big money to be made from it." 
     Among the fledgling leagues are the Women's Pro Hockey
     League, which claims to have "substantial financial backing
     and received signed letters of intent from 16 of 20 top
     American players."  In addition, the U.S. Women's Pro Hockey
     League wants to begin with a ten-team exhibition schedule
     before expanding to 26 teams in four divisions, including
     teams in Honolulu, Edmonton, Biloxi and Beijing (HOCKEY
     NEWS, 10/17).  In Hartford, Tommy Hine reported that the
     Women's Pro Hockey League "will debut next spring," with six
     teams, three each in Canada and the U.S.  One franchise will
     be owned by former Penguins Owner Jack McGregor. WPHL
     President Ed Saunders: "At this point, we have identified
     several franchises.  Right now, Connecticut is our strongest
     candidate."  WPHL players would "average $500 a week, with
     top players earning $1,000 (HARTFORD COURANT, 10/8).
          

          NFL:  In L.A., Bill Plaschke writes of spending time
     with 28 L.A. youngsters talking about the NFL and the open
     L.A. market.  Plaschke writes that while "many of them love
     the sport," he was hearing the "sound of future ticket and
     merchandising dollars slipping away with every year" the NFL
     is not in L.A.  Plaschke: "This is a generation that is
     being lost. ... The NFL needs Los Angeles more than Los
     Angeles needs the NFL" (L.A. TIMES, 10/17)....After NFL
     Commissioner Paul Tagliabue mentioned Houston as a possible
     expansion city, prospective Houston team Owner Robert McNair
     said, "The question now is do we have the resolve to go
     forward?" (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 10/17). 
          MLB: Throwing out the first pitch for Game One of the
     World Series will be 21-year-old Jackie Robinson/GE Fund
     Scholar Shomari Dakatari Dailey (MLB).
          LPGA: The LPGA Tournament of Champions "pulled out" of
     South FL and will become a season-ending event.  Robert
     Trent Jones Golf Trail in Alabama will sponsor and host the
     event from October 8-11.  Chrysler Plymouth didn't renew as
     title sponsor after one year as host of the FL event (Fort
     Lauderdale SUN-SENTINEL, 10/16). 
          LISTENING TO ASIA? Former Cowboy Preston Pearson of TX-
     based Pro-Style Associates, together with two other
     partners, "are searching for investors in a new Asia-Pacific
     Football League," according to Welch Suggs of the DALLAS
     BUSINESS JOURNAL.  The league is looking for $5.5M to begin
     play in six Pacific Rim cities.  The APFL, headquartered in
     Dallas, is scheduled to begin play in October '98, and plans
     to hold a training camp "somewhere in Texas" next summer
     (DALLAS BUSINESS JOURNAL, 10/13 issue).

          Former Patriots Owner Victor Kiam testified yesterday
     in the St. Louis Convention and Visitor Commission's (CVC)
     $130M lawsuit against the NFL, according to Lhotka & O'Neil
     of the ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH.  Kiam said that between '90
     and '92 he tried three times to move the team but was
     "blocked each time by the NFL."   Kiam claimed that his team
     "met NFL's usual criteria to move: It was losing money and
     fan attendance was declining."   But NFL lawyers "pointed
     during cross-examination to the Patriots' losing record and
     the team's sexual harassment scandal involving a female
     sports writers as reasons for lost fan support."  Kiam said
     league execs prevented him from relocating to Jacksonville,
     San Antonio or Baltimore during his tenure and he said that
     he lost $30M while owning the team.  Kiam: "[NFL]
     Commissioner [Paul] Tagliabue said, 'You don't meet the
     guidelines,' all of which are subjective.  I never had a
     chance."  Under cross examination, Kiam "defended himself in
     a sexual harassment scandal" involving former Boston Herald
     reporter Lisa Olson that began in '90.  Lawyers also noted
     that Kiam inherited a team that went to the Super Bowl in
     the '85 season, went 1-15 during his tenure "and back to the
     Super Bowl last January" and currently has a waiting list
     for season-tickets (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 10/17).  On
     Wednesday, several NFL owners, on videotaped, gave "varying"
     testimony on "why they voted as they did" in March and April
     of '95 when the Rams' move to St. Louis was first rejected
     and then approved (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 10/16).