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Volume 24 No. 117

Leagues and Governing Bodies

With NBA Deputy Commissioner & COO Adam Silver during All-Star Weekend saying the league “will not make money this year," TRUE HOOP's Henry Abbott asked, “How can the league be so shockingly popular this season, and not yet profiting?” The league's books are “not public, and thus there is not an independent answer.” The explanation from the league is that the “cuts in player costs roughly match the losses from last year.” But this year the league said that there were “an additional $200 million in losses related to the lockout, for instance due to lost ticket revenue and corporate sponsorships that didn't happen.” Abbott wrote, “More importantly, popularity only equals big changes in revenue over years.” The “most obvious way that happens is with more lucrative national TV deals, but the old deals are still in place for two more years.” High TV ratings have “not meant new TV revenues for the league,” and corporate sponsorships “similarly take time to develop” (, 2/25).

INJURIES ABOUND: In New Orleans, John Reid noted some coaches have “shortened their shootarounds and eliminated some practices altogether” as they are “struggling to keep players off the injury list.” Still, the injuries “continue to pile up.” The Bulls were “forced to go five games without" G Derrick Rose, who injured his back. Knicks F Carmelo Anthony “missed seven games with a strained right groin,” and Clippers G Chris Paul “returned last week after missing five games with a strained hamstring.” Among the 24 players selected to play in Sunday night’s All-Star Game at the Amway Center, “11 were sidelined with injuries at some point during the first half of the season.” Hornets Coach Monty Williams said, “I just think guys exhaled when the union disbanded during the lockout and guys figured we wouldn’t play until January. But I think it caught a lot of guys off guard, and I think that’s why you see so many hamstrings, sore foot and back issues. Guys were not in shape’’ (New Orleans TIMES-PICAYUNE, 2/27).

USA Hockey and Hockey Canada “are seriously considering rules that would effectively end fighting in nonprofessional leagues as soon as next season,” according to a front-page piece by John Branch of the N.Y. TIMES. Even the “three top junior leagues in Canada, major fight-friendly feeder systems to the NHL, are considering immediate ways to make fighting a rarity, not an expectation.” The increased recognition of the “long-term dangers of brain trauma, across all sports, has forced hockey’s leaders to consider ways to reduce blows to the head.” Most leaders believe that “rules to deter fighting will be significantly stiffened during organization-wide meetings this summer.” Hockey Canada President & CEO Bob Nicholson said, “The official stance from Hockey Canada is that we want to get rid of fighting as quickly as we can.” For decades, “debates centered on whether hockey could survive without fighting.” But lately the talk is “about how long the sport can live with fighting.” USA Hockey’s Junior Council in January “discussed emergency legislation that would combat fighting with much harsher penalties, starting as early as next fall.” The council “may propose a system like that used in the NCAA, where players are immediately ejected for fighting and progressive suspensions are doled out for subsequent bouts.” Proposed changes would be “subject to the vote of USA Hockey’s board of directors, which could come in June.” Branch notes the NHL and most pro minor leagues in North America “have shown little appetite for altering rules to reduce fights” (N.Y. TIMES, 2/28).