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Volume 24 No. 155

Leagues Governing Bodies

          The NFL is "negotiating to buy a stake" in the AFL,
     according to BLOOMBERG's Curtis Eichelberger.  NFL President
     Neil Austrian "acknowledged" that NFL execs have met with
     the league, but that the AFL has "yet to bring a proposal to
     NFL owners."  AFL Commissioner David Baker said he hopes to
     start a "sibling league in Canada in 2000 and a third league
     in Europe in 2002."  The AFL "also hopes to establish
     regional leagues played in smaller-capacity venues near
     colleges -- a key market for the development of higher wage-
     earning NFL fans" (BLOOMBERG BUSINESS NEWS, 6/24).

          The ECHL announced that Little Rock, AR, will join the
     league for the '99-2000 season, becoming the ECHL's 29th
     member.  The club will play at the 16,377-seat Alltel Arena
     in North Little Rock, presently under construction (ECHL). 
     In Little Rock, George Schroeder reports that AR Sports
     Entertainment will pay the team's $1.5M franchise fee.  Dave
     Berryman is President & CEO of the group, which includes his
     brother, Tim.  The ECHL team will be Arkansas' second pro
     hockey franchise, following the WPHL Arkansas GlacierCats,
     which will play at Barton Coliseum.  The Berrymans signed a
     five-year exclusive deal with the Alltel Arena board in May. 
     Dave Berryman said his group considered both the AHL and
     IHL, but said the ECHL "offers the most stability and
     credibility in minor league hockey today."  ECHL CEO Rick
     Adams, on hand for the announcement, said the league plans
     to expand to 32 teams by '99 (ARK DEMOCRAT-GAZETTE, 6/24). 

          NBA LABOR: On "SportsCenter," ESPN's David Aldridge
     reported that NBA owners "are really hammering the union on
     trying to get limitations on the Larry Bird exemption, and
     the union is adamant about not having any exceptions and in
     fact they want more exceptions to the cap.  So what I think
     we have to start with is the league's not giving up the
     salary cap, the players aren't giving up the Larry Bird
     exception.  If both sides could agree on that as a starting
     point and work their way in, I think that there would be a
     much better chance of getting an agreement" (ESPN, 6/23).
          THIS BUD'S FOR YOU: In Raleigh, a NEWS & OBSERVER
     editorial titled "Say It Ain't So" comments on Bud Selig
     being named full-time MLB Commissioner: "The game needs one
     strong, independent leader who will serve the game and the
     fans first.  More of the same -- particularly if another
     labor crisis is bungled -- will breed cynicism in all those
     bleachers and boxes, and ultimately will diminish the
     importance and popularity of baseball" (NEWS & OBSERVER,
     6/24).  In S.F., Glenn Dickey writes that Selig's "apparent
     promotion bothers me," including the "way he campaigned for
     the job.  I'd have respected him if he said he wanted the
     job, but instead, he's played the reluctant suitor while
     actively lining up support" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 6/24).  
          NOTES: On "Page Six" of the N.Y. POST, Richard Johnson
     writes that as the WNBA opens its second season, "basketball
     fever appears to be the biggest thing to hit New York's
     lesbian community since the craze over TV's popular 'Xena:
     Warrior Princess.'"  Out magazine writer Deb Schwartz: "The
     WNBA won't comment, but it's pretty obvious that there's a
     huge lesbian following.  The games have become a place to
     meet and greet."  WNBA Dir of Corporate Communications Alice
     McGillion said that the league "had no way of measuring the
     degree of lesbian support."  McGillion: "We don't ask people
     that question (about their sexual orientation)" (N.Y. POST,
     6/24)....USA TODAY continues to chart '97 NFL player
     salaries with a list of all NFC salaries (USA TODAY, 6/24).