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Volume 24 No. 117

Leagues and Governing Bodies

After “wobbling for decades,” boxing continues to “fight for its financial life as one of America’s oldest traditional sports,” according to Jon Saraceno of USA TODAY. Lack of “substantial sponsor support by major U.S. corporations continues to create head winds for the industry.” TV nets “find it difficult to attract major sponsors,” and “so do promoters.” Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer said that the “involvement of O’Reilly Auto Parts, Valvoline, AT&T and Corona Extra" for this past Saturday's Floyd Mayweather-Robert Guerrero fight “demonstrated the sport’s economic viability.” But Top Rank Chair Bob Arum said, “Boxing is not growing in the United States.” Saraceno writes “signs exist that the worst for the industry might be over, particularly on an international basis, where there is growth, most notably in Asia.” Boxer Bernard Hopkins said, “Boxing is in better position now than 10 years ago when it had its own recession. But when will we get the next superstar? Maybe there’s one around the corner. But so far nobody has proven to bring in the (pay-per-view TV sales) Floyd has.” Canelo Alvarez, a potential opponent for Mayweather in September, “might be that guy one day” -- as could Adrien Broner. However, boxing globally is “anything but banished to a neutral corner.” The sport “remains immensely popular in other parts of the world, including Spanish-speaking countries, Europe and Canada," while China is “a developing market” (USA TODAY, 5/6).

COMING UP NEXT: In Las Vegas, Steve Carp notes the Mayweather-Guerrero fight “attracted a crowd of 15,880” and “produced a live gate" of $9.99M. That will cover the $3M Guerrero earned "but won’t put a dent" in the $32M payday for Mayweather. Mayweather said the fight was “another steppingstone” in his deal with Showtime. Mayweather: “We’ve got five more fights, so we’ll see where I go from here.” Schaefer said that Alvarez “will fight at the MGM on Sept. 14," the same night Top Rank plans to have Timothy Bradley Jr. fight Juan Manuel Marquez at Thomas & Mack Center. If Mayweather “decides not to fight that night, Miguel Cotto is a likely possibility for Alvarez" (LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL, 5/6). Also in Las Vegas, Case Keefer reported Mayweather “promises” his next fight will come on Sept. 14 at MGM Grand. He is “determined to keep his six-fight contract with Showtime rolling.” He said that a hand injury incurred in the Guerrero fight “isn’t serious enough to sideline him” (LAS VEGAS SUN, 5/5).

The NWSL “has a better idea of where it stands and what challenges lie ahead” eleven games into its existence, according to Steven Goff of the WASHINGTON POST. National TV “has been arranged, but live online viewing has been choppy.” Average attendance “is 4,595, ranging from 1,255 at the Chicago Red Stars’ debut in Lisle, Ill., to 16,479 for the Portland Thorns’ home opener" at Jeld-Wen Field. The previous women's pro league -- the WPS -- “averaged 3,930 from 2009 to 2011 and had much higher overhead.” Washington Spirit Owner Bill Lynch said, “We could not have asked for a better first three games.” Lynch has “targeted an average of 3,000 for financial sustainability.” While subsidies have “eased financial burden, Lynch and the other NWSL owners recognize the need to gain exposure and grow the business.” Every team “except Chicago has a uniform sponsor, most notably Ocean Spray with the Boston Breakers.” But the Spirit has “not sold its rights and is displaying the logo of Lynch’s company, ProChain Solutions, on the jerseys.” Although cost constraints “have prevented the NWSL from signing elite foreigners, like its failed predecessors did, U.S. Coach Tom Sermanni is encouraged by the play” (WASHINGTON POST, 5/4).

ROOT FOR THE HOME TEAM: In Seattle, Joshua Mayers noted Reign FC “held its first home game Saturday against FC Kansas City,” and the team “got decent support, drawing 2,618 fans" at Starfire Stadium in the Seattle suburb of Tukwila, Wash. The drawing was a “somewhat reserved crowd, at least for a community renowned nationally for its soccer fandom, ranked sixth-largest out of eight home openers" for the NWSL (SEATTLE TIMES, 5/5). A SEATTLE TIMES editorial before the home opener stated the community “ought to give Seattle Reign FC a big welcome” (SEATTLE TIMES, 5/4).

SPIRIT RALLY: The WASHINGTON POST’s Goff wrote a Spirit match “offers a fun atmosphere in a snug suburban stadium and features players who can’t stop signing autographs and interacting with their young fans.” The public has “responded, turning out in sizable numbers and witnessing competitive games.” The team on Saturday played the Thorns “before 5,011 at Maryland SoccerPlex,” and the crowd “was about 500 more than the normal capacity.” The Spirit is “averaging 4,230 after three home dates, well beyond the ownership’s goal of 3,000” (WASHINGTON POST, 5/5).