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Volume 24 No. 156

Leagues Governing Bodies

          The Corel WTA Tour Chase Championships begin today in
     New York at Madison Square Garden.  Tennis promoter John
     Korff, an "unpaid business adviser" to the WTA Tour players'
     association, was asked to provide a "blue-print for jazzing
     up this week's Chase Championships, which has historically
     been a drab, season-ending event" at MSG, according to
     Harvey Araton of the N.Y. TIMES.  Araton: "From the use of
     music to dressing up the arena to fan interactivity to
     introducing players in their home country's language,
     Korff's memo stressed energy and originality. ... But now
     has come an opportunity that should reverse what is at least
     a perception of women's tennis as lagging and could even
     lift it to commercial highs.  Despite no tour sponsor beyond
     next year, no tour chief executive officer beyond this year
     and a sudden uprising by lower-ranked players for a bigger
     piece of the revenue pie, women's tennis has a multitude of
     marketable names."  WTA Tour CEO Ann Person Worcester: "Some
     of John's suggestions have been taken and some have not. 
     But no doubt this year's Chase Championships will be more
     fan friendly" (N.Y. TIMES, 11/16).  Chase's support of the
     WTA Tour was examined by John Barrett of the FINANCIAL
     TIMES.  Chase VP/Sports Marketing Barbara Paddock said the
     bank was targeting women in its advertising and said the
     price of the WTA partnership "was right."  Chase spends $5-
     6M annually on sports marketing (FINANCIAL TIMES, 11/14).
          STAR QUALITY: Martina Hingis was profiled in Sunday's
     N.Y. POST, and was the "Guest Columnist" in Sunday's N.Y.
     DAILY NEWS.  Hingis wrote in support of the WTA Tour's
     modified "Age Eligibility Rule" (11/16).  Amanda Coetzer was
     profiled by Wayne Coffey of the N.Y. DAILY NEWS, who called
     her "the biggest South African sports hero this side of
     Ernie Els, and with her blonde hair, blue eyes and dazzling
     smile, has an appeal that goes beyond the garden-variety
     tennis fan" (Wayne Coffey, N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 11/16). 

          The CFL's Grey Cup at Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton
     drew 60,431 as the Toronto Argonauts, behind Doug Flutie,
     beat the Saskatchewan Roughriders 47-23, in front of the
     third-largest crowd in Grey Cup history (Gerry Prince,
     EDMONTON SUN, 11/17).  The game was broadcast on CBC in
     Canada and ESPN2 in the U.S.  In Toronto, Ken McKee reported
     that advertisers bought all of CBC's inventory "at the
     highest rates charged for any sports event -- possibly any
     program, period -- in Canada."  CBC's 30-second spots for
     the telecast, "about 72 of them," sold at an average of
     C$43,000 each.  In comparison, CBC noted that prime-time
     spots for the Nagano Olympics "would bring in about"
     C$40,000 and C$32,000 for the '98 Stanley Cup Finals.  For
     the year, sources say the CFL receives between C$5-6M from
     the CBC, TSN and ESPN/ESPN2 (TORONTO STAR, 11/15).  
          TAGLIABUE VISITS: NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue was
     in Edmonton to discuss the NFL/CFL partnership.  Tagliabue
     said that the NFL is interested in the CFL "serving as a
     development ground" for players who leave college early, or
     don't qualify academically for the NCAA.  He also discussed
     a possible World Classic Bowl between CFL and World League
     teams: "There are a number of subjects still to be addressed
     -- who will play in it, where and at what time, but it's an
     exciting prospect for us" (EDMONTON JOURNAL, 11/15).  

          The NBA fined the Timberwolves $25,000 Friday and fined
     five of their players another $2,500 each for wearing their
     shorts too long, according to Steve Aschburner of the
     Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE.  League rules say that shorts must
     be no lower than one inch above the top of the knee and the
     league had a representative check the team's shorts before
     Thursday night's game.  But Coach Flip Saunders said that
     Starter, which provides the Wolves' uniforms for the first
     time this season, "should be responsible" for the low
     shorts.  A Starter rep had met with the team for "another
     fitting" of shorts.  Saunders: "We've had Starter in, the
     league in.  It's not like we're trying to be defiant."  But
     an NBA spokesperson said, "Every other team has managed to
     find a way to comply with this rule, including teams
     outfitted by Starter" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 11/15). 
     But team rep Doug West said an NBA official had cleared
     players for Thursday's game and that the union would file a
     grievance over the fines (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 11/17). 
          GET SHORTY: Saunders brought a tape measure with him on
     the floor for Saturday night's game and Wolves VP Kevin
     McHale called the fines "ridiculous."  McHale: "I'm sure one
     of our white, upper-middle class people decided it was a
     gang thing.   Because they're pretty hip with the gang
     scene" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 11/16).   

          John McKay, son of the former USC and Bucs coach, "has
     agreed to be the point man in Hollywood Park's renewed
     efforts to build a football stadium for an NFL expansion
     team in time to play in 2001," according to T.J. Simers of
     the L.A. TIMES.  McKay, who was hired by Hollywood Park CEO
     R.D. Hubbard, "intends to deliver a draft of a finance plan
     for a new stadium in Inglewood to NFL owners before their
     annual meetings in March."  McKay gives Hollywood Park a
     spokesperson "with immediate access to NFL owners because of
     his name.  He also has a sense of history and an intimate
     knowledge of present-day circumstances to make him more
     effective locally."  Simers added that there "has been an
     obvious shift in NFL momentum in recent weeks as it relates"
     to L.A. and "there is now a strong feeling in the NFL front
     office that it is time to prepare" L.A. as the logical
     choice for a second expansion team after Cleveland in '99. 
     McKay: "I took a harder look at Hollywood Park when I became
     convinced it was not going to happen at the Coliseum." 
     While Dodgers Owner Peter O'Malley and News Corp. have
     expressed an interest in football in L.A., the NFL is "still
     concerned" that O'Malley and News Corp. "will not be able to
     react in time to meet the window of opportunity that will
     exist if Cleveland gets its expansion franchise."  Simers
     added that Hollywood Park "is probably the only site" in the
     L.A. area "that can take advantage of the NFL's window of
     opportunity."  McKay said he will soon begin meeting with
     potential owners and interested parties (L.A. TIMES, 11/15).
     

          NBA Commissioner David Stern was profiled by Richard
     Wilner in the N.Y. POST under the header, "Giving It His
     Best Shot.  NBA Commish's Job Is Filled With Big Bucks And
     Big Headaches."  Wilner: "[W]hy is the 55-year-old native
     New Yorker, the man regarded as a master marketer and the
     best of the sports league commissioners, so worried?" 
     Stern: "I call it positive stress.  I come to work each day
     as if the car is parked right next to the cliff, ready to
     fall off. ... Well, maybe that's an exaggeration, but I'm
     always worried about what is going to go wrong.  I firmly
     believe that if it ain't broke, fix it so it will be better"
     (N.Y. POST, 11/16).  Meanwhile, NBPA Exec Dir Billy Hunter
     was profiled by Ian O'Connor of the N.Y. DAILY NEWS. 
     O'Connor: "[A]s the league spends the coming months deciding
     whether to exercise its right to trash the current labor
     agreement in pursuit of a sweeter pot, Stern had better
     weigh the risks against the rewards.  Hunter is the first
     opponent worthy of the challenge."  Hunter: "I know how to
     brawl. ... I'm tenacious as hell. ... I'm going to be in
     there fighting for these players" (DAILY NEWS, 11/16).
          EARLY POSTURING: Hunter responded to comments made by
     Stern that the NBA had more lucrative TV rights offers on
     the table, but "all things being equal, the nod should go to
     the people that brought you here."  Hunter: "If teams are
     suffering, why turn down a deal for more money?  Why not
     entertain possible better offers?" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER,
     11/16).  Agent Marc Fleisher, on a potential lockout: "I
     don't believe David Stern when he says they're going to opt
     out of the deal."  Fleisher said Hunter "is considerably
     tougher" than former Exec Dir Simon Gourdine.  Fleisher:
     "I'm guessing (Stern) is going to be a lot happier with what
     he got from Gourdine, who he had in is back pocket, than
     what he'll get from Billy Hunter" (CHAR. OBSERVER, 11/16).