Group Created with Sketch.
Volume 24 No. 157

Leagues Governing Bodies

          Speedway Motorsports President Humpy Wheeler, who says
     NASCAR's "popularity" has "about eight years left in the
     power curve," is "rushing to build his business before that
     power curve flattens a little," according to Clifford
     Glickman of the CHARLOTTE OBSERVER.  Although the company
     has most recently added more seats to its group of speedways
     Wheeler added, "There's a couple of other things we got in
     the hopper."   Wheeler: "I think in '98 you'll see the first
     couple of tracks break through with naming rights."  While
     Wheeler said that he is talking to "traditional" NASCAR
     sponsors, "he thinks the most likely sponsor might be
     someone new to NASCAR."  Wheeler also said that new TV
     rights fees will bring in more revenue.  Most of the TV
     contracts for Speedway tracks "don't expire until 2000, and
     Wheeler wants to consolidate all Winston Cup events into a
     single contract."  Currently, most tracks negotiate TV deals
     individually (Clifford Glickman, CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 11/24).

          In possibly her final news conference as the WTA Tour's
     CEO, Anne Person Worcester discussed the state of the Tour
     before the Chase Championship finals yesterday.  
          WHO'LL FOLLOW THIS LEADER? Regarding the search for a
     new CEO, Person Worcester said that a search committee will
     put forward candidates in the next two weeks for review by
     the Tour board.  Person Worcester: "We are very confident
     that a new CEO will come out of those meetings."  If a new
     CEO is unable to start by January 1, board member Bob Arrix
     will handle interim duties.  But Person Worcester reported
     that the board has eliminated the requirement for unanimity
     in its CEO search.  The new CEO vote now requires only a
     "super majority" of seven of 10 affirmative votes.  Person
     Worcester, asked why the search has taken so long: "There's
     clearly been different opinions about whether the person
     should be an insider or an outsider. ... I completely
     believe an outsider could do this job.  The staff is very
     strong.  The board has plenty of tennis experts on it.  I
     think a fresh perspective would be healthy for this sport. 
     So I don't share the view that an outsider could not do this
     job.  I also happen to have believed along the way that
     there were some insiders who could do the job.  The search
     committee didn't share my view" (THE DAILY).
          TITLE SPONSOR: IMG will conduct a search for a title
     sponsor to replace Corel, who will end its three-year, $12M
     sponsorship at the end of '98.  Person Worcester noted that
     IMG holds the exclusive marketing rights to the Tour through
     '99, at which point the Tour board will decide "whether they
     want to continue with" IMG or "perhaps take the marketing
     and television in-house or do it partly with an agency and
     partly in-house."  While "very confident that we will find a
     Tour sponsor," Person Worcester added "the financial
     viability of the WTA is not based on a Tour sponsor. ... The
     Tour is in very, very, stable financial health" (THE DAILY).
          TV TIME: CNBC's Garrett Glaser examined the Tour's
     search for a title sponsor.  While Chase Manhattan, "along
     with 10 other sponsors will spend more than $1 million" on
     the WTA Tour -- "a record" -- it is "facing an uncertain
     future."  Tennis Week Publisher Eugene Scott: "Surely the
     WTA is anxious about replacing such a grand sponsor as Corel
     ... and you will find that you need at least two years,
     maybe three years, to replace an underwriter of that
     magnitude."  Glaser: "Part of the problem, some say, is that
     today's tennis lacks the personalities and rivalries of past
     seasons. ... The WTA's solution?  Build name recognition and
     popularity of the players through autograph sessions,
     clinics with sponsors and fans [and] community outreach,
     where strong female players are presented as role models."
     WTA Tour Dir of Communications Joe Favorito: "We have no
     concerns about competing for dollars because we know that
     women's tennis has a niche that no other organization has. 
     We have the history, we have the 25 years, we have the
     Martinas and the Billie Jeans.  And it's something that
     other sports have been aspiring to."  Glaser reported that
     "it appears Tour strategy is on target" for now, as the WTA
     Tour has $100M in worldwide sponsorships, "more than three
     times the WNBA's reported $30 million" (CNBC, 11/21).

          NFL: In N.Y., Mike Freeman reported that Giants GM
     George Young "is expected" to take a high-ranking NFL front
     office job for next season.  The position will be similar to
     a VP or Deputy Commissioner (N.Y. TIMES, 11/23)....NFL
     Commissioner Paul Tagliabue "apparently is getting nowhere
     in his efforts to get owners and players" to extend the CBA
     to seven or eight years "and use it to get more money" from
     TV (Will McDonough, BOSTON GLOBE, 11/23). 
          GENERAL: Univ. of TN junior Chamique Holdsclaw, the
     "greatest player in women's college basketball," was
     profiled by Jere Longman of the N.Y. TIMES.  Although both
     the WNBA and ABL have criteria against drafting college
     players, ABL CEO Gary Cavalli said it would be "hard to
     speculate how one would react" if Holdsclaw left school
     early.  Cavalli: "At the point Chamique made her decision,
     we would re-evaluate" (N.Y. TIMES, 11/23)....NBPA Exec Dir
     Billy Hunter said it would challenge the fine and three-game
     suspension imposed by the NBA on Blazers G Isaiah Rider for
     allegedly spitting on a fan while in Detroit.  Hunter
     claimed Rider was provoked by a drunken fan who "threatened"
     Rider and his family.  Hunter: "While no one condones
     spitting, the League must behave responsibly by fully
     investigating the circumstances, rather than acting first
     and asking questions later" (NBPA).