In Sports from United Press International

May 16, 2003 at 3:35 PM   |   0 comments

IMG founder McCormack dead at 72

NEW YORK, May 16 (UPI) -- Mark McCormack, who founded the marketing company that represents many of the biggest names in sports, died Friday, four months suffering a heart attack. He was 72.

McCormack, who had historical ties to mobster Al Capone, and once was named the "Most Powerful Man in Sport" by Sports Illustrated, had been in a coma at a New York hospital since mid-January.

He founded the International Management Group, better known as IMG. Its stable of stars includes golfers Tiger Woods and Annika Sorenstam. Others include tennis stars Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras, football's Joe Montana and hockey's Wayne Gretzky.

"He was a genius when it came to sports marketing," Woods said. "If it wasn't for him, we wouldn't be in the position we're in now."

The story of McCormack's rise to the top of sports marketing is legendary.

It began with a handshake between McCormack and golf legend Arnold Palmer. He followed by signing golfers Gary Player and then-unknown Jack Nicklaus. Later, McCormack, a Yale law school graduate, branched out into other sports. He signed tennis great Rod Laver in 1968 and later Bjorn Borg, John McEnroe, Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova .

Eventually, McCormack's reach was felt in nearly every sport, and his decisions affected every top athlete.

"Mark has been both a friend and colleague for over 40 years, and has unquestionably been the catalyst in making golf the globally commercial success it is today," said PGA veteran Gary Player. "He was a visionary and a pioneer across all professional sports."

"The world of professional golf and sports generally lost a true leader today with the passing of Mark McCormack," said PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem. "Mark was instrumental in the development of professional golf, not only in the United States, but throughout the world."

McCormack's corporation, based in Cleveland, employs more than 3,000 people and provides more than 5,000 hours of television programming for more than 200 countries.

It has has 80 offices in 32 countries. Under its umbrella, IMG is the largest independent producer of televised sports programming, top modeling agency, and biggest licensing agency in the world.

IMG also has a prominent literary agency, another that manages and presents world-renowned classical musicians, and a firm specializing in the development of golf courses and other recreational amenities for destination resorts.

Among other IMG clients are Wimbledon, the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews, model-actors Elizabeth Hurley and Liv Tyler, renowned violinist Itzhak Perlman, the Kennedy Space Center, and the Smithsonian Institute, Derek Jeter, Vince Carter, Jeff Gordon, Peyton Manning, Rich Gannon, John Madden, and tennis stars Serena and Venus Williams.

McCormack also handled special projects for world leaders like Margaret Thatcher, Mikhail Gorbachev, and the Pope.

More recently, he was given the 2001 PGA Distinguished Service Award, among the highest honors in golf. In June of that year, Ernst & Young named him "Entrepreneur of the Year."

McCormack, who was working at the time he was stricken, is survived by his second wife, former tennis pro Betsy Nagelsen, four children, and seven grandchildren. His three oldest children -- Breck, Todd, and Leslie -- are executives at IMG.

McCormack and Betsy Nagelsen were married in 1986. She is the two-time Australian Open Doubles Champion, Wimbledon Doubles finalist, and U.S. Mixed Doubles finalist.


76ers try to avert elimination

PHILADELPHIA, May 16 (UPI) -- The Detroit Pistons must overcome their road worries if they are to reach the Eastern Conference finals for the first time in 12 years on Friday.

The Pistons take a 3-2 lead over the Philadelphia 76ers into Game Six of their best-of-seven semifinal series.

If trends mean anything, Detroit is in trouble.

The home team has won each game in the series. The Pistons also have lost 13 of their last 14 postseason road contests. The one win came in the first round against Orlando.

"We gotta win another game," said Detroit Coach Rick Carlisle. "Philly is a tough place to play. We were a good road team during the year, and we're going to go in there and try to get it done. We know it's going to be a loud energetic building in Philadelphia. That doesn't guarantee they're going to win the game. With us being up 3-2 with a chance to close it out, it doesn't guarantee we're going to go in there and beat them."

On Wednesday, the Pistons pulled out a 78-77 victory when a runner by Chucky Atkins with less than a second left was goaltended by Derrick Coleman.

Atkins has started the last four games since starting point guard Chauncy Billups went down with a sprained left ankle in Game One. He scored 17 points on Wednesday, and is averaging 16 in the past four contests.

Atkins likely will start again for Billups, who underwent additional tests Thursday and is listed as day-to-day.

If the 76ers are to become just the eighth team in NBA history to win a best-of-seven series after losing the first two games, they likely will need star guard Allen Iverson to bounce back from a tough shooting night.

Iverson had the third-worst playoff shooting performance of his career in Game Five, making only 5-of-25 shots and 14 points. He also had nine assists and eight rebounds.

Iverson has split eight elimination games in the last four years. Three of the defeats came at the First Union Center.

"We just always have to do everything the hard way," Iverson said. "Hopefully we can get back home, get a win, and try to get back (to Philadelphia) and start over again."

The Sixers are 6-4 in elimination games since returning to the playoffs in 1999, but in the six series they have faced elimination, they have only advanced to the next round twice.

If necessary, Game Seven will be Sunday in Detroit. The winner of this series will take on New Jersey, which swept Boston in its semifinal series.

On Thursday, the San Antonio Spurs ended the three-year championship run of the Los Angeles Lakers with a 110-82 rout Game Six rout in their Western Conference semifinal series as Tim Duncan scored 37 points and added 16 rebounds.

The Spurs have three days off before they begin the Western Conference finals.

The Sacramento Kings forced a decisive seventh game in their Western Conference semifinal series against Dallas Mavericks as Bobby Jackson scored 21 points in a 113-109 victory.

Game Seven is Saturday night at Dallas.


Report: Conley, Mizzou get break from NCAA

ST. LOUIS, May 16 (UPI) -- It appears that Jason Conley will suit up for the University of Missouri next winter.

Conley decided in January to transfer to Missouri from Virginia Military Institute. He was to enroll for the winter semester of 2002, and become eligible for the second half of 2003.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch said that the NCAA was reviewing the school's self-report on Conley's recruitment. The paper said the school admitted breaking two NCAA bylaws, and that led to an audit of its telephone records.

The paper said the school issued a release issued Thursday, announcing that its "comprehensive study" examined nearly 250 phone numbers of recruits called by men's basketball staff members since April 1999.

The review found 13 instances in which there were impermissible calls placed "due to inadvertent mistakes by the staff and inadequate record-keeping."

"It was just confusion and misunderstanding," a relieved Karyne Conley, his mother, told the paper in a telephone interview. "I'm glad it's been all clarified and we can move forward. (Jason) was sort of a victim in all this, because it was adults talking. Once he decided he wanted to transfer, he wanted to do everything right. ... He thought it was just a little simple thing, and then, of course, it became this controversy."

The Post-Dispatch also reported that in the statement, the school has taken additional steps within the basketball program for improved record-keeping and increased oversight procedures already have been enacted.

In 2002, while at VMI, the 6-5 swingman became the first freshman to lead Division I in scoring at 22.2 points per game.

Conley appeared in VMI's first 10 games this past season, but missed the next two with a strained tendon in his right foot. He made the decision to transfer following the injury.

In 2001-02, Conley averaged 29.3 points per game, and became the first freshman in the history of the Southern Conference to be named Player of the Year. He also was named the league's preseason Player of the Year for 2002-03.

Conley had 11 30-point games last year, and in December, he became the 28th player in VMI history to score 1,000 points, reaching that plateau in a school-record 36 games.

In terms of personnel, it has been a very good week for Missouri Coach Quin Snyder.

Earlier, guard Ricky Clemons announced that he has withdrawn from consideration from the NBA draft. He has submitted his name for consideration.

He will retain his eligibility because he withdrew before the deadline for underclassmen, and had not signed with an agent.

"I explored the opportunities and possibilities of pursuing a professional career, and I have reconsidered my decision to take part in the upcoming draft," Clemons said. "I look forward to being at Missouri next year to continue my development both as a person and as a player."


Ducks go for sweep of Minnesota

ANAHEIM, Calif., May 16 (UPI) -- On this his 26th birthday, goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere of Anaheim can make history for himself and his team Friday night.

The Mighty Ducks can advance to the NHL's Stanley Cup Finals for the first time in franchise history when they host Minnesota in Game Four of the Western Conference finals.

Beyond the conference semifinals for the first time since they broke into the league in 1993, the Mighty Ducks have gotten a balanced team effort to take the first three games from the Wild, but Giguere is the one player who stands out.

Giguere is just the second goaltender in history to start a playoff series with three consecutive shutouts, stopping all 98 shots he has faced. He will begin the night with a shutout streak of 213 minutes, 17 seconds.

Out of the postseason on his 25th birthday, Giguere is some 35 minutes short of the playoff shutout record set by Normie Smith of the 1936 Detroit Red Wings.

The overwhelming favorite for the Conn Smythe Trophy as the MVP of the postseason leads all playoff goalies with a 1.24 goals-against average and .960 save percentage.

The only other netminder to start a series with three shutouts was Frank McCool in the 1945 Stanley Cup Finals. Five others had three consecutive whitewashes in a series.

McCool was not with the Maple Leafs in 1942 when they became the first team in NHL history to overcome a three games to none deficit and win a seven-game series, which is the only way the Wild will make it to the Finals.

It doesn't look good for Minnesota.

In Stanley Cup playoff history, only one other team has rebounded from a three-game deficit in a best-of-seven series -- the 1975 New York Islanders.

While a comeback seems to be a longshot at best, the Wild already became the first team in NHL history to rally from three games to one deficits this postseason, beating heavy favorites Colorado and Vancouver.

The biggest problem for the Wild as they cannot find the net.

The Wild are scoreless in 210 minutes, 39 seconds since a goal by Pascal Dupuis late in the third period of a 4-2 Game Seven victory over the Canucks eight days ago.

It has gotten worse for Minnesota, in the playoffs for the first time in its three NHL seasons, as the series has progressed.

The Ducks posted their most lopsided win in Game Three as Paul Kariya scored twice in a 4-0 triumph.

The Wild held a 35-32 edge in shots, but they couldn't solve Giguere, not even with four power-play chances. They are 0-for-12 with the man advantage in the series after going 15-for-57 in the first two rounds.

If Minnesota can salvage a victory, Game Five will be Sunday night at the Xcel Energy Center.

The Eastern Conference final resumes Saturday afternoon at Continental Airlines Arena, where the New Jersey Devils will seek a three games to one lead over the top-seeded Ottawa Senators.


Publicly funded stadiums don't pay off

WASHINGTON, May 16 (UPI) -- Public subsidies for sports facilities don't pay off in economic benefits, a professor of urban and regional planning said.

"With most of these public-private partnerships, the public sector creates the opportunities and the private sector reaps all the rewards," said Tim Chapin of Florida State University.

In his doctoral research, Chapin asked whether sports stadiums generate downtown redevelopment. "I looked at Baltimore and Cleveland as my two big cases," he told United Press International in a phone interview from Tallahassee.

"I found that the Camden Yards ballpark has done remarkably little for the city in terms of urban redevelopment," he said. "Most of the glitter in downtown Baltimore has been there long before the ballpark. ... It was touted as the anchor for revitalizing the west side of downtown Baltimore." But in nearby rundown neighborhoods, about the only economic benefit is that residents charge fans $20 to park on game days.

"Every reputable, empirical study has concluded that these are not good financial investments," said Chapin, who prepared his study for the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy.

Why, then, have sports tycoons been able to get away with socializing the cost of doing business?

"It's a good sell." Chapin replied. "If you're the mayor of a town like Baltimore or Cleveland, and they say, 'Let's build a new ballpark,' you say, 'Sounds good to me.'

"It's the type of project that gets a lot of press. If you're there when it actually opens, you can cut the ribbon and sort of take credit for it.

"And the voters have short memories when it comes to this stuff. When the ballpark opens and 50,000 people are there to see a game, they tend to say, 'Wow! This is actually pretty neat.' They don't realize that they may be paying a lot of money for it."

Sports stadiums have been built with public money in the United States for almost half a century.

Chapin said he probably was the first to look specifically at urban redevelopment, but many studies -- beginning in the early 1970s -- have shown that cities generally do not make money from these projects.

So why have we heard so few arguments against them?

"I actually think there's more of that than we think there is," Chapin answered. "But that side of the story is often very poorly funded." Opponents are often characterized as malcontents and misanthropes who don't want to spend money on anything.

"The sports teams spend a lot of money and hire very big, powerful consulting firms to generate these glossy studies to suggest that there's tremendous impact." But these studies inflate the benefits and understate the costs, he said. "They make tremendous assumptions that invariably don't hold true."

Chapin said a consultant in Cleveland predicted that the Gateway Complex would generate some 28,000 jobs. "But it turned out that it was well less than 2,000 jobs," the professor said. And those that are created are usually low-paying seasonal service-sector jobs that cannot serve as the basis for a robust local economy.

How do people keep getting away with making these unfounded claims?

"There's wonderful sociological theory that talks about the idea of a growth machine," Chapin replied. "The idea of a growth machine is that powerful people who own land in downtowns are very good friends with mayors and city councils, the people who run newspapers, the bankers and the construction industry. And they all want this to happen, because it's good for them for whatever reason. They do a real good job of selling something that, if you look at the details, doesn't make sense.

"But what's the old saying? Never overestimate the intelligence of the American voter. They tend not to get very educated about things. They sort of take what's given to them.

"The growth machine is very good at packaging ideas and swaying people through sheer force of will sometimes."

Of course, this is the sort of thing journalists are supposed to sniff out.

"I think you'd find more (of such reporting) than you think you'd find," Chapin said. "At the same time, these mega-projects are very attractive to big newspapers."

In a statement prepared with FSU's Jill Elish, Chapin added more detail.

Publicly financed stadiums are a growing trend, he said. In the 1990s alone, more than 40 major league facilities were built, at a cost of more than $9 billion. About 55 percent of that was public money.

"I'm a firm believer that the public should be involved to some degree," Chapin said, "but the local governments should be able to get some of the money back to at least help them pay off the debt."

Debt service is only one cost that tends to be underestimated. Others are the cost of land, construction, operation and maintenance, the relocation of other businesses, police and ambulance services for public events, new highway interchanges, water and sewer lines, and lost tax revenue.

UPI asked Chapin what he found in Cleveland.

"In terms of taxes and jobs, the Gateway Complex didn't do much," he answered. "But it's done a very good job in terms of revitalizing a portion of the downtown. The Gateway District, when they began planning for that project in the early 1980s, was essentially a big parking area. They'd knocked down all these old buildings, and it was sort of an eyesore. "

Is Cleveland an exception to the trend in that respect?

Chapin replied that he wanted to learn if stadiums and arenas catalyze redevelopment. "In the case of Cleveland, the answer is yes, and in the case of Baltimore, the answer is no. So what I concluded was that they offer opportunities for redevelopment. Now, that's a different question from, 'Is it worth it?'

"Economically, if you trace dollar flows and ask, 'Did the public sector get back what it put into the project?' the answer's still no. Cleveland is still paying for that stadium. It cost more than they thought it would.

"There's a lot of economic ... costs and benefits that are attached to these facilities," Chapin said.

For example, the Gateway Complex has brought in thousands of suburbanites who used to be "deathly afraid" of coming to downtown Cleveland. "That's a tremendous benefit," he said.

But at the same time, the land is "forever tied up in that," lost to tax revenue or "whatever other uses might have popped up.

"There's also tremendous opportunity costs. If you spend $200 million on a stadium, that's $200 million you can't spend on other stuff."

The cost of Cleveland's Gateway Complex has been estimated as high as $470 million.


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