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Volume 25 No. 29
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Morning Buzz, May 2, 2005

Jets To Launch Campaign To Sway N.Y. State Panel On West Side Stadium
NFL Execs In L.A. Today To Begin Final Two Weeks of Meetings With Four Sites
NBA Today To Renew $1.2B Loan Pool With CBA Set To Expire On June 30
Jeff Gordon At Times Square Today To Unveil Latest Tag Heuer Billboard
Medallion Financial President Says He Will Make Offer For An MLS Franchise
NHL , NHLPA Tentatively Set To Meet Thursday And Friday In Toronto
Morning Briefs/In Other News/Laugh Track/TV Monitor/Final Jeopardy!

JETS TODAY TO LAUNCH CAMPAIGN TO SWAY N.Y. STATE PANEL ON STADIUM

The N.Y. DAILY NEWS reports that the Jets today will begin a campaign called “Vote Yes for Jobs” to convince the Public Authorities Control Board to support the West Side stadium in its May 18 vote. Jets President Jay Cross and “a broad coalition of elected officials and labor leaders” will appear at City Hall today to unveil the campaign, which features a Web site, www.voteforjobs.com, and a letter-writing initiative. The Jets will also add a tag line to TV ads advocating their cause, which will read “Urge Gov. Pataki, Speaker Silver and Majority Leader Bruno to vote YES on May 18th” (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 5/2).


NFL EXECS IN L.A. TODAY TO BEGIN FINAL TWO WEEKS OF SITE MEETINGS

The L.A. DAILY NEWS reports that NFL execs arrive in L.A. today for “what is perhaps their final face-to-face meetings” with representatives from each of the four L.A.-area sites bidding for a team. Following discussions with Carson, Anaheim, the Coliseum and the Rose Bowl, league execs will present their findings to NFL owners May 24-25 in DC. The Rose Bowl Operating Company on Thursday is expected to release results of a survey of city residents meant to track their “attitude toward the NFL coming to Pasadena,” and on May 9, an Environmental Impact Report on the Rose Bowl renovation will be presented to the City Council for certification. Rose Bowl GM Darryl Dunn: “The next two weeks will be very, very important” (L.A. DAILY NEWS, 5/2).


NBA TODAY TO RENEW $1.2B LOAN POOL WITH CBA SET TO EXPIRE JUNE 30

SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL reports that the NBA today will renew its $1.2B loan pool, a “sign that the league’s bankers are not overly concerned with” the June 30 expiration of the CBA. The pool makes low-interest loans available to NBA teams. NBA Senior VP/Business Affairs Harvey Benjamin: “We are very fairly viewed by the lending community. If other teams wanted to come into the facility, we would have no problem accommodating them” (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 5/2 issue).

Growth Of NBA Credit Facility
Year
Number of Teams
Total Amount
May 2003
13
$1.074B
May 2004
13
$1.14B
May 2005
14
$1.2B

N.Y. BUSINESSMAN SAYS HE WILL MAKE OFFER FOR AN MLS FRANCHISE

The SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS reported that Medallion Financial President Andrew Murstein, who at one time “considered buying the Spurs,” said he will make an offer to MLS this week to buy either an existing or expansion franchise and bring it to either San Antonio or N.Y. Murstein said Houston is another possible home for an MLS club, and noted that the price could amount to $13.5M. Medallion Financial is N.Y.’s “largest financier of taxi medallions” (SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS, 4/30).


JEFF GORDON TO UNVEIL TIMES SQUARE BILLBOARD

NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon will help unveil a 38-foot-tall billboard featuring his image at Times Square at 9:15am ET today. The two-sided sign is part of the TAG Heuer “What Are You Made Of?” ad campaign, and Gordon, who will be waived in by an all-female “pit-crew,” will use a bullhorn to count down to the unveiling at the northwest corner of West 50th Street and 7th Avenue (TAG Heuer).



MORNING BRIEFS

MLB Commissioner Bud Selig last week sent a letter to MLBPA Exec Dir Donald Fehr that proposed “a 50-game suspension for first time steroid offenders,” a 100-game ban for second-time offenders and a lifetime ban for a “third violation under what he called a ‘three strikes and you are out approach’ to doping.”  Fehr, who anticipates a reply as early as today, said, “We’ll respond in due course” (ESPN.com, 4/30).

Mid-Atlantic Sports Network on Friday night completed a multi-year distribution agreement with DirecTV, “giving the Nationals their first exposure on cable or satellite TV” (WASHINGTON TIMES, 4/30).

N.Y. real estate tycoon David Walentas has placed a $100,000 deposit with MLB for the right to bid on the Nationals, which “pushes the number of known bidders for the team to nine” (WASHINGTON POST, 4/30).

Indiana General Assembly Approves
New Colts Stadium Financing

The Indiana General Assembly “took a crucial step toward solidifying [Indianapolis’] NFL future Friday night” by passing a financing plan for a new Colts stadium and expanded Indiana Convention Center. The Senate approved the plan 46-3, then the House passed the measure 62-33 (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 4/30).

Officials from the NHL and NHLPA have set tentative dates of Thursday and Friday for meetings in Toronto. However, Thursday “may be a washout because” NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and NHLPA Exec Dir Bob Goodenow are expected to appear before the U.S. House Government Reform Committee (Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 5/2).

The PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER cited sources as saying that the Eagles “have the right to recoup” nearly $1.8M of the $9.6M signing bonus paid to WR Terrell Owens last year as a part of his seven-year deal. The team claims Owens is in breach of his contract because he failed to report to a mandatory mini-camp (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 4/30).

The N.Y. POST reported that MSG is investigating whether it can televise select games from the World Hockey Championship. Fox Sports had “looked into the matter but backed off after being told by the governing IIHF that it would only sell the complete tournament package to the network, and at a fee that was judged exorbitant” (N.Y. POST, 5/1).


ATTENDANCE WATCH

The Galaxy, who became the first MLS club to reach the 3 million attendance mark, awarded the record-breaking fan, Rich Nelson, with club seats and a number of prizes that included a seven-day, six-night houseboat trip in Lake Powell, Arizona, courtesy of AAA, and a one-year free subscription to Comcast standard cable and high-speed internet.  Other sponsors who contributed were Farmer John, Albertson’s, Kragen, FSN and La Curacao (MLS Galaxy).


WEEKEND RAP

The following are excerpts from the panelists’ “parting shots” from Sunday’s edition of ESPN’s “The Sports Reporters”:

N.Y. Daily News columnist Mike Lupica, on the effect Pacers-Pistons fight has had on the Pacers’ season: “This wasn’t the season the Pacers expected to have, even if that season now has a chance to get to the second round.  You want to know how that chance got a lot better the other night?  Because in a game against Jermaine O’Neal and the Pacers, (Celtics F) Antoine Walker had to show everybody how tough he is (by) grabbing a ref, and got himself suspended from (Saturday) night’s game.  The Celtics won without Walker, evening the series, no thanks to just another NBA hothead.  The Pacers couldn’t control themselves (in the fight against the Pistons), and it could’ve cost them their whole season.  Now, Walker can’t control himself against the Pacers, and it could’ve put his team in a 3-1 hole, and cost it its season. ... (Walker’s) impulse control was no better than Ron Artest.”

Detroit Free Press columnist Mitch Albom: “We don’t always celebrate (76ers G) Allen Iverson’s maturity on this program, but he deserves a nod this week.  During a playoff game in Detroit last week, a fan threw a coin that hit Iverson in the back of the head. ... Iverson could’ve done a lot of things, many of them bad.  Instead he did the only good thing: He stayed where he was, pointed security towards the fan and kept calm. ... This was the Ron Artest situation rewashed, sanitized and given a happier ending.”

Miami Herald columnist Dan LeBatard: “I’m an idiot because I can’t understand in sports anymore when it is good to be an idiot and when it is bad to be an idiot.  Last season, for example, the charming Red Sox were self-proclaimed idiots. ... But now Curt Schilling, one of those idiots, has called Lou Piniella an idiot.  Does this mean Piniella, like the Red Sox, is a lovable underdog champion or does it just mean he’s a regular old garden variety idiot?”

ESPN’s John Saunders, on the injuries and suspensions suffered by the Pacers this season: “This team shouldn’t be playing (in the playoffs but) they are because Reggie Miller isn’t going quietly. ... When you think of Michael Jordan, Larry Bird or Magic Johnson, you think of what their greatness meant to their teams.  When you think of Reggie Miller, you think about what he did to your team.  Sorry, Spike (Lee), but I’m going to miss him” (“The Sports Reporters,” ESPN, 5/1).


THE BACK PAGES

The Morning Buzz offers today’s back page sports covers from some of the nation’s major metropolitan tabloids:

N.Y. Post
N.Y. Daily News
Philadelphia Daily News
Newsday

TODAY’S EVENTS

U.S. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) will appear as a “guest professor” on mtvU’s “Stand In,” which was taped April 21 at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, at noon ET.  McCain said during his lecture that he had been deceived by MLBPA Exec Dir Donald Fehr and MLB Commissioner Bud Selig on potential player penalties for steroid use.

ABC Sports & ESPN President George Bodenheimer and Cox Communications President & CEO Jim Robbins will speak at the CTPAA’s annual Forum in D.C. (CABLEFAX DAILY, 4/28).


THIS WEEK IN SISTER PUBLICATION SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL…..

This week’s cover story examines the changes in store for horse racing’s Triple Crown.

  • This week’s In-Depth examines the television upfront period.
  • The entire sports industry will feel the impact of the NFL’s latest TV deals.
  • YES Network raising cash for dividends.
  • This week’s One-on-One features TOROC Deputy CEO Luciano Barra.

IN OTHER NEWS….

The HOLLWOOD REPORTER notes that Cablevision’s Rainbow Media Holdings division on Friday “unveiled a network carriage deal with Echostar Communications.”  Echostar this weekend began offering ten Voom HD channels as part of its HD package, “with all 21 [channels] to be available to its subscribers next year” for an extra $5 per month (HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, 5/2).

Clear Channel Communications Friday announced a Q1 ’05 net income of $47.9M, a 59% decrease from $116.5M in the year-ago period, “when Clear Channel booked a $58.6[M] gain from the sale of its” Univision Communications stake and some radio assets.  Revenue fell 4.6% to $1.88B, from $1.97B.  Additionally, the company “plans to spin off its entertainment division and hold an [IPO] of a 10% stake in its outdoor advertising division” (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 4/30).


FINAL JEOPARDY!

Last night's "Final Jeopardy!" category was “19th Century American Art.”

“Some versions of this painting based on a Bible verse show William Penn making a treaty with the Indians in the background.”


LAUGH TRACK

THE MONOLOGUES:

CBS’ David Letterman: “Crime in New York City is on its way up again.  That’s horrible.  I’ll tell you how bad it’s gotten.  Every night at dinner, I get a phone call from somebody warning me not to testify. ... It’s not healthy to go down to the subway, especially because of that second-hand gun smoke. ... Former New Jersey Governor Jim McGreevey has quit his law firm.   He’s resigning to marry Elton John. ... The Twinkie is 75 years old, but enough about Regis Philbin. ... (Michael Jackson’s) ex-wife testified earlier today and yesterday, I guess it was, and she said that she in fact believes that she would still be married if it weren’t for that meddling chimp.  Then at the end of the day, Michael Jackson fired another attorney and I’m thinking, ‘Hey Michael, you want to fire somebody? Start with your plastic surgeons’” (“Late Show,” CBS, 4/29).

NBC’s Jay Leno: “Last night, President Bush gave his press conference, and his speech was actually cut off in some markets by CBS, NBC and Fox so they could get their primetime schedules in on time.  Fox actually cut off President Bush to run ‘The Simple Life.’  How ironic is that? ... Here’s the worst part: When Fox cut to Paris Hilton, she actually had a better Social Security plan. ... It’s not looking good for the prosecution (in the Michael Jackson trial).  I think Michael’s pretty confident.  He said today he’s going to have a big party at the Neverland Ranch the night he’s acquitted.  It’s BYOB: Bring Your Own Boy. ... Subway crime is on the rise in New York City.  It’s on the rise because a lot of people are stealing iPods.  That’s terrible.  Imagine that, people stealing music from people who stole music. ... A study conducted by Santa Clara University found that 75% of all baseball players are superstitious.  The most common superstition is on the days when you have a drug test. Don’t pee in a cup; that will always bring bad luck” (“The Tonight Show,” NBC, 4/29).

LATE NIGHT LAUGHS:

Friday night’s Top Ten list was “Top Ten Signs You’re At A Bad Casino” (“Late Show,” CBS, 4/29).

10) “Your full house loses to the dealer’s six-of-a-kind.”
9) “They’re playing ‘Will It Float’ in the lobby with a bag of fertilizer.”
8) “There’s a high stakes table, a low stakes table, and a kids table.”
7) “Has strict no-gambling policy.”
6) “Advertises that its slots are ‘Almost as loose as your wife.’”
5) “Free buffet is all-you-can-eat lemon wedges.”
4) “One spin of roulette wheel lasts 7 to 10 days.”
3) “Their big headliner: the withered corpse of Mel Torme.”
2) “No rat pack, but there are packs of rats.”
1) “It has the word ‘Trump’ in the name.”

WEEKEND BOX OFFICE

The HOLLYWOOD REPORTER notes that the estimated total for the top 12 films was $84.8M, down 2% from the comparable frame last year. The total for all films is forecast to be in the low- to mid-$90M range, down from last year’s $102.8M (HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, 5/2).

Title
Weekend
Cumulative
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
$21.7M
$21.7M
The Interpreter
$14.2M
$43.6M
XXX: State of the Union
$13.7M
$13.7M
The Amityville Horror
$8.1M
$55.1M
Sahara
$6.0M
$57.2M
A Lot Like Love
$5.2M
$14.7M
Kung Fu Hustle
$3.8M
$13.2M
Fever Pitch
$3.8M
$36.5M
Robots
$2.7M
$123.7M
Guess Who
$2.2M
$65.5M

FINAL JEOPARDY ANSWER

“What was Edward Hicks’ ‘Peaceable Kingdom?'”


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dailyinsider@sportsbusinessdaily.com

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