The Daytona 500 "has reclaimed its spot as NASCAR's top
payday," according to Mittman & Miller of the INDIANAPOLIS
STAR-NEWS. Daytona International Speedway President John
Graham announced yesterday that the '98 Daytona 500 purse
will top $6M, which exceeds last year's payout of over
$4.69M. The Indianapolis 500 "remains No. 1 on the pay
scale among all motorsports events in the world" with a
purse of $8.612M (INDIANAPOLIS STAR-NEWS, 11/20). For more
news from Daytona regarding the Pepsi 400, see (#6).
NFL: The NFL set an all-time weekend paid attendance
record last week when 999,778 fans attended its 15 games.
The 15 games averaged 66,652. The previous weekend paid
attendance record was set on November 10-11 of last year
when 964,079 attended 15 games. Last week, 13 of 15 games
sold out in advance of the blackout deadline (NFL).
NOTES: The NLL granted a one-year suspension for the
Boston Blazers for the '98 season (NLL)....ABL attendance is
up 19% over its first 59 games in '96. The league is
averaging 4,227 fans, up from 3,560 last year. ABL CEO Gary
Cavalli said the ABL's goal of 5,000 per game is possible as
its new markets, Philadelphia and Long Beach, "show some
growth" (USA TODAY, 11/20). In Denver, Dylan Tomlinson
writes that as the ABL "begins its expansion, one can't help
but wonder if a Nashville franchise can't be too far off,
especially as the ABL and WNBA prepare for a bitter fight
over University of Tennessee superstar Chamique Holdsclaw"
(DENVER POST, 11/20)....In his ESPN SportsZone column, David
Aldridge writes that "one thing" the NBA could "ask for if
and when" the CBA is reopened is a "franchise" player
designation similar to that used in the NFL. That would
prevent a player from negotiating with any other club as
long as his original team offers him the average of the top
five paid players at his position. Aldridge: "That would be
an artificial cap on a team's top-salaried player, which is
something owners are desperate to get" (SportsZone, 11/20).
NPSL Commissioner Steve Paxos said that the soccer
league, which "took two hits in the summer" when the Toronto
and Tampa Bay franchises ceased, will "rebound by next
season," according to Dennis Manolloff of the Cleveland
PLAIN-DEALER. Paxos: "I foresee us being back to 15-18
teams." Although Paxos declined to name candidates,
Manolloff wrote that Paxos "would love to get back" to
Chicago, and San Diego is an area "that might materialize."
Paxos is "upbeat" about the NPSL's 13-team league: "I'm the
most optimistic I've been about this league since I became
commissioner. I think the league is very healthy right now.
... There are some prospects for a national TV deal starting
after the first of the year" (PLAIN-DEALER, 11/19).
BOOGIE NIGHTS IN IHL: Saints Owner Tom Benson wants to
bring an IHL team to New Orleans. IHL officials said
Wednesday that the league had received an application from
Benson, along with a $500,000 deposit. It's Benson's
"intention to put the team in New Orleans' new downtown
arena, scheduled to be completed in time for the 1999-2000
season." IHL Commissioner Robert Ufer said the league "is
absolutely and unequivocally committed to bringing a team"
to New Orleans (AP/ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 11/20).
The Corel WTA Tour has taken legal action against the
"internal coup" that took place within the Players
Association, according to Robin Finn of the N.Y. TIMES. A
temporary restraining order "against the revamped Players
Association has been obtained by 18 plaintiffs" including
Martina Hingis, Steffi Graf and Monica Seles. That means
"the recently ousted board members who had represented the
players on the tour board will retain their voting rights
for this week's meetings." The board "is expected to review
five new candidates" for the tour's CEO spot after Anne
Person Worcester leaves at year's end (N.Y. TIMES, 11/19).