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Volume 24 No. 137

Leagues Governing Bodies

          "Posturing, diplomacy, rhetoric and misconceptions have
     all dotted the line of negotiations between the NBA and the
     Players Association since the league imposed a lockout on
     July 1," according to Mike Kahn of CBS SportsLine.  There is
     "little doubt at the moment" that NBPA Exec Dir Billy
     Hunter's "only task is to keep the players galvanized as
     much as possible, despite saying, 'a hard cap is not
     acceptable and not negotiable.'"  Kahn: "There is more to it
     than that.  He was hired, said one NBA source, 'to kick [NBA
     Commissioner David Stern's] butt, and unless he continues to
     act that way, he'll be out of a job.'  So Hunter marches
     on."   Stern: "Let's face it, this is different than any
     other negotiation.  They may feel they're giving something
     back, but the players won't really understand this until
     they miss a paycheck.  Then it will be reality to them." 
     Kahn: "Call it idle rhetoric or posturing, there is a bottom
     line here, and Stern, who has been negotiating for the NBA
     for more than 20 years now, knows this time is different. 
     Billy is the Hunter and Stern is the hunted.  Unless the
     present course of action is re-examined by the players, the
     real losers up front will be the fans and the players, with
     the real future of the game itself somewhere in between. 
     The billionaire owners will feel the pain last.  But we'd
     better not say it too loudly, the players might hear it"
     (Mike Kahn, CBS SportsLine, 8/19).
     Deputy Commissioner Russ Granik and NBPA Counsel Jeffrey
     Kessler are interviewed in a Q&A.  Granik: "I think in
     bargaining everybody is vulnerable.  When we start missing 
     games and we're losing receipts and players are losing
     salaries, ultimately, the economics have an impact." 
     Kessler: "I do not foresee any division arising between the
     players" (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 8/17 issue). 
          THE BIRD CAGE: USA TODAY's Roscoe Nance examines the
     Larry Bird Exception, which is "a sacred cow" for the
     players.  But Nance writes, "in reality, only a handful of
     players are beneficiaries of the Bird Exception each year." 
     Of the NBA's 325 free agents the previous two seasons,
     "only" 33 have used the Bird rights to re-sign with their
     teams.  Nance: "The popular notion is the Bird Exception
     only benefits the superstar players.  That's not totally
     accurate.  But it does appear to benefit superstar players
     to a greater degree" (Roscoe Nance, USA TODAY, 8/19).
          CHARITY OF NIGHT: The NBA and NBPA agreed to cooperate
     on the N.Y. All-Star Basketball Classic, the "seventh of
     eight league-sanctioned charity games to be played during
     the lockout."  The game will be held September 9 at MSG and
     benefit Wheelchair Charities (N.Y. TIMES, 8/19). 

          So far this season, "it's hard to see how" the chase
     for MLB's single-season HR record "has given baseball a big
     bang," according to USA TODAY's Michael Hiestand in a Sports
     cover story.  While MLB attendance is up 10% overall, it is
     up "only" 1% excluding the two expansion clubs.  Hiestand
     adds that attendance "might not be up at all" without the
     Beanie Baby giveaways.  In addition, MLB's national ratings
     are "virtually unchanged" from '97.  But Logo Athletic VP
     Eddie White says that Logo's MLB sales are up 12% and adds,
     "This may be the first year since the 1994 strike that we
     see an increase in (baseball sales)."  In Logo clothing
     identified with specific players, Ken Griffey Jr. "accounts
     for half of all sales," with Mark McGwire second at 21% and
     Sammy Sosa in a single-digit eighth place.  Pro Player says
     that Griffey has been that company's top-seller for three
     years.  This season, Griffey products have produced retail
     sales of "about" $500,000, with McGwire second at $400,000. 
     But Griffey products last year generated sales of $750,000
     (USA TODAY, 8/19).  In Chicago, Bernie Lincicome writes that
     MLB "is blessed" to have the HR record chase.  Lincicome:
     "In a baseball season without compelling pennant races, or
     any pennant races at all to speak of, there is a daily
     reason to check in on the game" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 8/19).

          GOLF: GOLFWEEK's "Forecaddie" reports that LPGA
     Commissioner Jim Ritts "would like to see the women's tour
     conduct five to six stand-alone 'senior' tournaments next
     season.  And word is Eli Lilly & Co., which currently
     sponsors the Lilly Legends Series for LPGA Tour players 40-
     and-over ... is thinking about conducting one or two LPGA
     legends tournaments in '99" (GOLFWEEK, 8/15 issue)....The
     U.S. Justice Department filed a brief with a federal appeals
     court Tuesday supporting Casey Martin.  In its brief, the
     Department said that the PGA Tour is covered under the ADA
     and "must abide by it" (USA TODAY, 8/19).
          OTHER NOTES: In S.F., Glenn Dickey calls the NFL
     exhibition season "the biggest boondoggle in sports" and
     recommends that the league schedule games "in smaller, non-
     NFL cities, where fans would be thrilled to see any NFL
     action because they can't see the teams in person during the
     season" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 8/19)....In L.A., Dana Haddad
     profiled pro beach volleyball, and noted that the AVP has
     reduced its prize money from $4M to $1.3M this year.  AVP
     Interim CEO Harry Usher: "I don't think we'll get back to
     the $4 million-prize money in the very near future.  I don't
     think it should ever get back to $4 million. ... I think the
     prize money has been paid when it should not have been paid. 
     This operation has never had money" (L.A. DAILY NEWS, 8/18).

          The U.S. Soccer Federation (USSF) will choose President
     Alan Rothenberg's successor on Saturday, and the "new boss
     will be just as obscure as his predecessor eight years ago,"
     according to Steve Davis of the DALLAS MORNING NEWS.  Either
     Bob Contiguglia or Larry Monaco will be named President
     during meetings this weekend in Maui.  Contiguglia "is a
     practicing kidney specialist in Denver" who spent six years
     as U.S. Youth Soccer Association Chair.  He lost the '84
     U.S. Soccer presidential race.  Monaco has been a U.S.
     Soccer Exec VP for four years, and spent 19 years as a staff
     attorney for the U.S. House of Representatives.  Davis
     writes, "The candidates' platforms look similar.  Both
     promise to provide more local-level support for the sport's"
     participants (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 8/19).  Rothenberg's
     legacy as USSF President is examined by Rodney Sieh of the
     K.C. STAR, who writes, "Soccer in America has come a long
     way in eight years. ... [It] has enjoyed unprecedented
     growth during Rothenberg's reign, thanks to a multimillion
     surplus from the 1994 World Cup and subsequent sponsorship
     agreements" (Rodney Sieh, K.C. STAR, 8/19).
          NEW COO: The USSF named Tom King its COO.  King had
     been GM of the USSF's National Teams Program (USSF).