IS WOMEN'S SOCCER A ONE-HIT WONDER OR READY TO BRANCH OUT?
IMG's TWI handles the TV rights and sponsorship for the
U.S. Soccer Federation's men's and women's nat'l teams and
it "has the flexibility to move or create new TV matchups"
and TWI Senior VP Bob Horowitz said that, "It's safe to say
that we're going to figure out ways to do something with
[the U.S. women's soccer team] as soon as possible." USA
TODAY's Michael Hiestand writes that "the key figures" in
any women's team tour are Nike and Disney, and "one logical
choice would be to take a" Nike-sponsored women's tournament
in October. Hiestand: "TWI could create a new prime-time
August matchup for ABC and ESPN" (USA TODAY, 7/13). In
N.Y., Richard Sandomir writes that "whether the World Cup
frenzy translates into the start of a professional women's
league or a network frenzy to snare the rights to the 2003
tournament are uncertainties." Meanwhile, ABC Sports
President Howard Katz, asked if the net would televise the
2003 WWC: "We're interested, but a lot depends on if the
American women win the Olympics next year." Fox Sports
Group Chair David Hill is "not interested" in the 2003
event: "I don't think Saturday's game will have any lasting
impact on U.S. TV ratings" (N.Y. TIMES, 7/13).
ONE TOUR: The All-American Soccer Stars, which includes
the entire U.S. WWC team, will play in their first-ever
indoor soccer tour in 10-12 U.S. cities between October 22-
December 12. The tour will be handled by SFX Family
Entertainment and SFX Sports Group (SFX Sports Group).
DRAWING CARD? Reaction to a possible women's league
continues: In DC, Tony Kornheiser: "Women's sports have been
growing and building for years, and this is another
escalation -- not some biblical revelation. ... For all the
breathless commentary, let's remember that women's soccer is
not the NFL. If they put a women's pro soccer league out
there tomorrow, the games would draw 7,000 people max"
(WASHINGTON POST, 7/13). In Dallas, Kevin Blackistone
writes women's soccer "has some outstanding players, but a
lot more who are mediocre at best. The worst thing that
could happen is to roll out a league with players who can't
play and demean the game" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 7/13). In
K.C., Jason Whitlock: "Talk of a pro league is ridiculous to
me. There isn't enough talent to support a pro league. The
sport ... needs to be strengthened first" (K.C. STAR, 7/13).
In Baltimore, Milton Kent writes that a women's league is "a
great idea in theory," but "unless a niche cable channel,
say, Lifetime for example, is willing to step forward, the
great idea will remain just that, a great idea" (SUN, 7/13).
In CA, Jim Barrero: "The fact we're sitting here in the
summer of '99 debating the merits and prospects of a women's
professional soccer league should be looked upon as a
victory in itself" (San Gabriel VALLEY TRIBUNE, 7/13).
NOTES: After the WWC increased the bonus pool for the
U.S. team players, the USOC yesterday awarded an additional
$120,000 to the team -- $6,000 for each of the 20 players
(CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 7/13)....World Cup exec Steve
Vanderpool, on the U.S. team: "They're a group that
everyone, including guys would want to drink beer with."
William Morris' Rick Bradley: "I'm sure someone out there
wants to do a TV movie about them" (EW, 7/16 issue).