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Volume 24 No. 159
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League Notes

MLS Commissioner Don Garber on Monday said that the league is "financially healthy." Garber: "We have a handful of clubs that are profitable. Some of our teams are doing OK and some of our teams are losing money. Overall, the league is in good economic shape. Our investors are strong. They remain committed." Garber "wants to see a 20th team, probably in New York, added by the 2013 or 2014 season." He also sees 22 teams "by the end of the decade, but isn't in a hurry to expand." Garber: "You have to be sure you are expanding properly and doing it with the right owners and the right markets, managing the player pool. ... We are only going to expand if it makes sense for the growth of all of our measures" (CP, 2/14).

SEEING STARS: Rockets CEO Tad Brown in the past has indicated that the team "has pursued hosting another All-Star Weekend since the 2006 event was held in Houston, but he said Tuesday that he was more confident than ever that the franchise and the Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau could land another game and the associated festivities." Brown, speaking to Houston's KRIV-Fox, said, "We’re under consideration for 2014. We’re hopeful, but the NBA has not made any determinations." He added that it "could take until the end of the year for the NBA to reach a decision" (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 2/16).

KICK THE HABIT: U.S. Sens. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) yesterday urged MLB officials to "ban tobacco products on the field and in dugouts and locker rooms." The senators wrote to MLB Commissioner Bud Selig and the MLBPA saying that the "time has come to extend a ban implemented 28 years ago in the minor leagues" (Bergen RECORD, 2/16).      

TAKING A LOOK BACK: NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman recalls the '04-05 lockout as part of BLOOMBERG BUSINESSWEEK's "Hard Choices" feature. Bettman said, "Prior to the collective bargaining agreement running out in 2004, it was clear that the players' union's strategy was to tough it out. The conventional wisdom was that no sports league would ever cancel an entire season. And if they did, they'd never live to tell about it." Bettman continued, "After the lockout, our sponsors and fans hung in there. At the time, though, ESPN didn't share our vision. We signed a cable TV partnership with Versus, or what was then Outdoor Life Network. We would not be nearly as well-positioned as we are now if we hadn't changed. We're headed toward six years of record revenues and attendance" (BLOOMBERG BUSINESSWEEK, 2/14 issue).