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Volume 24 No. 132

Leagues and Governing Bodies

The NFL yesterday announced that the '12 season-opening NFL Kickoff game has been moved from a Thursday to a Wednesday in order to avoid a conflict with President Barack Obama's speech at the Democratic National Convention. The Giants will host the season opener Sept. 5 at 8:30pm ET. NBC will continue to televise the game. It will be the first NFL game placed on a Wednesday since '48 (NFL). A Democratic official stressed that “neither the convention nor the Obama campaign requested the change.” The official said that “programming decisions have not been made for the 2012 Democratic National Convention, so it’s uncertain how the NFL’s decision would impact convention programming.” In Charlotte, Jim Morrill notes if “tradition holds, Vice President Joe Biden will accept his nomination on Wednesday night” (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 2/29). NBC Sports Network’s Russ Thaler said, “Apologies to Vice President Joe Biden, who will be speaking Wednesday night at the convention and in front of family and friends, I assume. Everyone else will be watching the NFL” (“NBC Sports Talk,” NBC Sports Network, 2/28). ESPN's Chris Mortensen jokingly said, “Get your priorities straight! Football has to come first over that, doesn’t it?” (“NFL 32,” ESPN2, 2/28). The NFL moved the start of the '08 Redskins-Giants season opener to 7:00pm ET to avoid a conflict with John McCain's acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention. It has been the least-viewed of NBC's NFL Kickoff telecasts (THE DAILY).


FINDING A FOE: In N.Y., Paul Schwartz notes given the NFL "likes, if possible, to create a matchup of the two most recent Super Bowl champions, it’s a good bet the Packers visit the Meadowlands for the Wednesday night opener.” The Packers are “scheduled to play a road game against the Giants.” Other “intriguing possibilities for Opening Night are the Steelers and Saints, with the Cowboys always an option for television purposes” (N.Y. POST, 2/29).

In Ft. Worth, Drew Davison notes MLBPA Exec Dir Michael Weiner made his "annual stop at Rangers spring training and told the players the drug testing system remains strong" even though Brewers LF Ryan Braun's case "showed there could be significant holes in it." Weiner said, "They should have confidence in the system. Any adjustments called for have been made and will be made. Any strong program has to deter use, has to have appropriate penalties and also has to have a fair appeals process. This doesn't take away from our process. Anybody that wants both a tough and fair program should be satisfied with this result" (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 2/29).

ANYONE WATCHING? GOLF WORLD MONDAY's Tim Rosaforte noted the LPGA tour is "off to a terrific start with only one problem -- few people are watching." The problem for the tour is that the first three events this season "were shown by Golf Channel a day late on delayed tape." In this era of "instant communication, that's a tough sell to a sporting audience -- especially when a good chunk of the players in the field are tweeting about the outcome." Now the tour has "two weeks off, but when it returns the LPGA should get back on the radar screen of fans and the media" (, 2/28). 

GOING STRONG: In Dubai, Alaric Gomes notes new ATP Exec Chair & President Brad Drewett "believes there is no need for him to revolutionise the sport following his appointment January 1." Drewett said, "Would I change anything? Men's tennis at the moment is as strong as it has ever been, both on and off the court." He added, "We have such great players on court and commercially, television and sponsorships are very strong. My role is to keep this momentum and maintain this growth going in the same direction. ... The major challenge for me is to maximise the true potential that we have and obviously we are doing very well now, but we need to take things a bit higher." Drewett will meet the ATP Board "for the first time in Monte Carlo in April and that is when he proposes to present his plans to push men's tennis to another level" (GULF NEWS, 2/29).