NBA: Three of the eight NBA first-round playoff games
this weekend played to less-than-capacity crowds. The Magic
did not sell out Game One of its series against the 76ers,
as the announced crowd of 15,267 was the team's third-
smallest crowd of the season. Reports had "as many as"
3,000 tickets available at the 17,248-seat arena "as late as
90 minutes" before tip-off (ST. PETE TIMES, 5/10)....For the
first time in 16 home postseason dates, the Heat failed to
sell out a playoff game at Miami Arena, drawing 15,036 to
the 15,200-seat facility. One thousand seats remain for
tonight's game (SUN-SENTINEL, 5/9)....The Hawks drew 20,884
to Saturday's opener against the Pistons at the 21,570-seat
GA Dome (THE DAILY)...The NBA Board of Governors approved
the Maloofs as the new owners of the Kings. Gavin Maloof,
on the league's owners: "They think we have the most
exciting team in the league" (SACRAMENTO BEE, 5/9).
NHL: In Pittsburgh, Bob Smizik questioned the role of
local leadership -- especially Mayor Tom Murphy and County
Commissioner Mike Dawida -- in efforts to keep the Penguins
in town. Smizik: "People close to the negotiations maintain
they have been invisible, perhaps out of fear of further
offending the area's large senior citizen population, which
stands firm against helping professional sports teams and
athletes" (POST-GAZETTE, 5/9). Also in Pittsburgh, Mark
Madden wrote the NHL "would benefit, to a degree, if it
pulled the ice out from under the Penguins." It would
"throw a scare into the rest of the league, encouraging
teams to be more fiscally responsible," and it would "give
the league strong leverage in its next labor negotiations"
with the NHLPA (POST-GAZETTE, 5/8).
NFL: N.Y. POST gossip columnist Neal Travis reported
that "some have wondered" what Mort Zuckerman and Fred
Drasner "are doing" by investing in Daniel Snyder's bid for
the Redskins. While the investment might "help" Zuckerman's
"social standing" in DC and "it might even get some ads" for
his U.S. News & World Report, others say Zuckerman is
"treating his entry into the NFL as "just another business
decision, one that makes sense because -- as a first-time
franchise owner -- he gets to write off the entire
investment for tax purposes" (N.Y. POST, 5/9).