MLB yesterday formally announced the Dodgers and D'Backs will begin the '14 season with a two-game series in Sydney, Australia. CBS Sports Network's Doug Gottlieb speculated that there "has to be some sort of marketing" reason to play there. Gottlieb: "I don’t really get growing the game to Australia.” CBS Sports Net's Allie LaForce noted the country is “not even a place where we generate a lot of Major League Baseball players,” as there have been just 28 Australian natives to play in the league. She added, “I don’t see a lot of Major League Baseball fans watching that game, making sure they tune in to the big game in Australia” (“Lead Off,” CBSSN, 6/12).
CALLING ALL STARS: In West Palm Beach, D'Angelo & Skolnick note there has not been an NBA All-Star Game held in South Florida since '90, but league officials said that it "is not due to any disdain for the area." NBA Deputy Commissioner & COO Adam Silver said, "We would love to bring the All-Star Game back to Miami. It’s a function of hotel availability, convention center, arena and other things. If there’s an ongoing discussion, we would love to be there.” D'Angelo & Skolnick write, "Since the Heat have not pushed for the event, don’t expect Miami to host any time soon" (PALMBEACHPOST.com, 6/11).
CROSSING THE POND: ESPNW's Jane McManus wrote of the NFL possibly expanding to London, "The idea of exporting a most uniquely American sport is intriguing despite the logistical nightmares." Looking past the "howls of red-blooded American sports fans, the NFL in Europe makes sense." The sport has "saturated the U.S. market." The NFL "wants a few things, and between a London franchise and an 18-game season, moving a team overseas is probably easier on the players physically" (ESPNW.com, 6/12).
WE'LL SEE HOW IT GOES: New York is the only state yet to pass legislature approving MMA, and Bloomberg TV’s Rachel Crane during an interview asked UFC President Dana White, “Do you wish we were sitting in Madison Square Garden right now?” White: “For me personally to be sitting in Madison Square Garden, holding an event, yes it’s a personal milestone achievement that we’ve accomplished in the sport.” But he added, “We don’t have to be in New York. We’re doing just fine without New York and we’re putting on fights. We don’t have to get New York" ("Money Moves," Bloomberg TV, 6/12).