In DC, Steven Goff wrote WPS will "live or die on its own merits and business decision," but a FIFA World Cup title by the U.S. women's team "would draw attention to the U.S. players, all but one of whom plays on the six-team circuit." Never before has a U.S. women's pro soccer league "been in business when the national team won a major title." If the U.S. wins, WPS clubs "would have an opportunity to market their U.S. players right away and, perhaps, enjoy a box-office bump" (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 7/11).
HEADING INTO LABOR? NHLPA Exec Dir Donald Fehr yesterday said that he "doesn’t know when he will sit down with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman to get the ball rolling on new CBA talks." Fehr said, "I’m sure it won’t be until the winter, but whether it is mid-winter or early spring, I think it is too soon to say. I’ve known Gary for about 30 years. Serious talks in terms of trying to negotiate a contract? No. Serious talks in terms of trying to get to know one another and begin to build a relationship? Yes" (TORONTO SUN, 7/12).
BETTER THINK TWICE: In Orlando, Shannon Owens writes, "NBA stars ruminating over the option to bolt overseas this fall if the lockout persists are in for a nice check. Make that a reality check. ... I haven't picked a side in this NBA lockout mess yet, but it's funny to think some NBA stars are willing to take less pay and perks overseas in the fight to get more at home." It also is interesting that stars like Nets G Deron Williams "want the structure of their jobs protected, but see nothing wrong with jeopardizing the jobs of current overseas American players" (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 7/12).
ONE STEP AT A TIME: WNBA President Laurel Richie said that "league expansion isn't a priority now." In St. Paul, Tim Leighton notes league execs have said that the 12-team WNBA "would like to return to 16 teams," and Richie said that she is "encouraged by the financial stability of the WNBA." Richie: "I am encouraged that all of the key metrics are heading in the right direction, sponsorships are up, renewals are at an all-time high, and we are coming off four years of attendance growth. Our early data (shows) it will be a fifth" (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 7/10).