USA TODAY's Sam Amick writes NBAers "looking to expand their personal brand" in China are "well aware that the Rockets have had a corner on that market since the days of Yao Ming." The team's appeal in China is one of the "main tenets to their pitch" to free agent targets. Rockets CEO Tad Brown said, "We're basically the de-facto national team of China. ... Every one of our games is broadcast in China and throughout Asia. We deliver a reach that is greater than any other team in the NBA, on a global scale" (USA TODAY, 6/19).
SUDS DUD: In Buffalo, Tom Precious reported the Bills' effort to "start selling beer an hour earlier for Sunday home games has come up short," as the measure "never gained traction" in the New York State Senate. State Sen. Mark Grisanti once backed the Bills' idea, but said that "getting a Wilson stadium-only measure would never work." Instead, there "has been legislation to push back the Sunday alcohol sales to 11 a.m. on a statewide basis." But that, too, has "stalled at the Capitol" (BUFFALO NEWS, 6/18).
BOMBER BLUES: In Winnipeg, Paul Wiecek reports with just a week now remaining until the CFL Winnipeg Blue Bombers open their regular-season schedule at home against the Toronto Argonauts, the club "has sold just 22,500 tickets for its home opener." That is "two-thirds of the 33,500-seat capacity of Investors Group Field." If ticket sales "don't pick up meaningfully in the next week, this year's first game will be the most sparsely attended ever at Investors Group Field." The club as of yesterday morning "had sold just 21,311 season tickets, down more than 3,000 from last year" (WINNIPEG FREE PRESS, 6/19).