In his Sunday BOSTON GLOBE column, Peter Gammons
reported that the "rumblings among [MLB] owners is that
there may be two commissioner candidates presented at the
Executive Council meeting this week, but while the sentiment
in the NL may be strongly against Bud Selig taking the job
full-time, there is little chance that either candidate will
be accepted and so one way or another Selig will be asked to
remain in power" (BOSTON GLOBE, 1/11). One NL Owner is
quoted in Gammons' ESPN SportsZone column as saying, "It's
not that we don't like Bud; we like and respect him. But we
need a fresh voice. We need to break away from the clique
that's run the game for so long, the old Cold War warriors.
But now the executive council will get names from [Search
Committee Chair] Jerry McMorris, no one will agree on one
and Bud will survive" (ESPN SportsZone, 1/10).
On CNN/SI, Jackie MacMullan discussed the controversy
surrounding 2ball, the new All-Star Weekend event which
pairs NBA and WNBA players: "The players were upset that the
league had not notified them that they were getting rid of
the slam dunk and going to this 2ball set, and they also
felt a little chagrined that the NBA, who of course is
controlling the WNBA, was using their venue to promote the
women's basketball. And so there was some talk this week
... of actually boycotting this event. Now, the league and
the players and the union all got together and I think the
players have decided that this isn't the battle that the
union wants to fight. ... But clearly, it's just a preview
of the skirmishes to come ("This Week In The NBA," 1/11).
THE BUTLER DID IT: Riverdale, NY, high school
basketball player Niesha Butler said yesterday that she will
likely attend GA Tech in the fall, where she "would
consider" playing one year before challenging the WNBA's
eligibility requirements, according to Ron Dicker of the
N.Y. TIMES. The WNBA requires players meet one of four
criteria to be eligible for its draft: Players must be at
least 22- years- old, complete college eligibility, have a
college degree or complete at least two seasons in another
professional league (N.Y. TIMES, 1/12). Butler added that
even if she played in the WNBA, she would still attend
classes during the school year (N.Y. POST, 1/12).
Soccer Leagues of America, Inc. (SLA), an organization
formed to develop and manage professional minor indoor
soccer leagues across North America, will begin operation
with the '98-99 fall/winter indoor season. The OH-based
group has also entered into a major league/minor league
working relationship with the NPSL. OH-based attorney, and
former NPSL franchise owner, Richard Chernesky was named SLA
President. The SLA's plans include the formation of soccer
leagues comprised of a minimum of six to eight teams to
begin play this fall. It will also look to develop players,
referees and front office personnel for major league pro
soccer. SLA will target cities that may not have the arena
or population size to support an NPSL team (SLA).
MORE SOCCER: The NPSL Philadelphia Kixx drew a
franchise-record crowd of 12,239 at CoreStates Spectrum for
their game against the Edmonton Drillers on Saturday
(PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 1/11)....MLS Commissioner Doug Logan
was in Philadelphia and said, "We make no bones about the
fact that we are vitally interested in Philadelphia as a
place to expand to during the next round of expansions.
But, we need a facility where we can play our game and none
presently exist" (PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 1/10).
The NFL "has asked its" five TV partners to pay a
"combined increase of nearly 70%, for a total of about $1.85
billion annually, to retain broadcast rights," according to
sources of Stefan Fatsis of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. The
incumbents -- ABC, Fox, NBC, ESPN and Turner --"have been
summoned" for meetings today and tomorrow at the NFL's N.Y.
offices and league execs "have told the networks they want
to announce a final deal Wednesday." Sources add that the
league "plans to let CBS enter the bidding if any of the
incumbents seeks to switch from their current programming."
Fatsis writes that the NFL "is demanding a longer contract,
for either five or six years, with the league holding an
option to extend the deal to a total of eight years."
Fatsis also reports that the Monday night package "should
have extra allure because the NFL has decided to move its
starting time" from 9:00pm to 8:00pm ET, giving it "the
entire prime-time evening in the East" (WALL STREET JOURNAL,
1/12). In N.Y., Richard Sandomir reports that the NFL "is
seeking eight-year deals, according to participants in the
talks." Sandomir writes that the league "would have the
option of opening up the contract during the deal, which it
could exercise to get more money if the advertising market
gets better than it already is" (N.Y. TIMES, 1/12).
MORE SOURCES: In DC, Leonard Shapiro writes that league
sources said CBS Sports "is still very much in the running
for a piece of the action," and that it is "reportedly very
interested in the Monday night schedule," as well as "other
packages" (WASHINGTON POST, 1/12).
NO CBA DEAL: On Sunday, NBC's Will McDonough reported
that Steelers Owner Dan Rooney told him that "there's going
to be no" extension of the current CBA ("NFL on NBC," 1/11).
The AVP Board of Directors announced that Harry Usher
has been named the AVP's interim CEO, effective immediately.
Usher replaces previous CEO Jerry Solomon. In a statement,
the AVP announced that Solomon's consulting agreement was
mutually terminated by his management company, P.S.
StarGames, and the AVP Board. Usher was COO of the '84
Summer Olympics in L.A., and also served as Commissioner of
the USFL and President & CEO of Dorna USA. The AVP
celebrates its 15th anniversary in '98 and the Miller
Lite/AVP Tour's six-month season starts in March (AVP).
CALIFORNIA DREAMING: BRANDWEEK's Terry Lefton reports
that Solomon is "out" after "a player uprising." Lefton
adds that sources said "players were distressed about the
league's financial condition and its hq being in Boston,
where Solomon lives," instead of CA. Usher's post "is said
to be on a three-month interim basis" (BRANDWEEK, 1/12).