MORE MEANS LESS
The strange combination of good times and bad reflected in the national economy is having its effect in sport. A coast-to-coast survey of athletic franchises shows that there has been no decline in spectator interest in professional sport; no inclination to save money by staying away from ball games. If anything, attendance is continuing to increase. But this does not mean that the business of sport is continuing to boom, for clubs apparently have run out of ways to increase revenue as they attempt to combat what is, for them, nearly runaway inflation. For example:
In St. Louis the 1967 Cardinals won the pennant and the World Series, and they topped National League attendance with 2,000,000 admissions. But the team's net profit—$600,000—was the same as in 1966 when it finished 6th and drew 1,700,000. The St. Louis Hawks of the NBA report attendance up 12%, but profits down to the point that some home games are being scheduled away. Hawk Owner Ben Kerner says, "I have cut my own salary 40% and switched from a Cadillac to an Olds."
The Kansas City Chiefs, whose operating expenses have increased by nearly half a million dollars in one year, showed a large revenue gain in 1967 but a lower net profit. They are planning a stringent cost-cutting campaign, right down to the use of telephones and cabs. The Washington Redskins report that food and lodging alone has doubled in five years and look fondly back to 1958 when George Marshall refused to give his coach $700 to prepare for the draft. Today scouting costs the Redskins $150,-000. The Minnesota Vikings, noted for their parsimonious salaries, say their payroll costs have doubled in recent years.
February 19, 1968
In Chicago the Cubs report a 54% increase in attendance last year and the best advance ticket sale in decades, but necessary improvements to Wrigley Field will more than take the club's $342,000 net profit. "Every silver lining has its cloud," says Owner Phil Wrigley. In Cleveland the Indians have lost money for two straight years, and the Browns report profits are down. Bob Howsam, general manager of the Cincinnati Reds, says simply: "The owners would do better investing in another field."
Is there any way to stop the profit decline? "None that we can find," says Dan Reeves, whose Los Angeles Rams returned a net profit of only $340,000 after a very successful season because of operating costs of more than $3 million. "Our league is almost sold out. We see no other sources of income that can be developed. Maybe we should try six-man football."
Even allowing for the normal amount of executive-suite pessimism, it looks as if the profit squeeze is on in sport.
The German status symbol is possession of a dog. Nothing, it is said, reflects East Germany's impoverishment more than the absence of dogs on the streets. Last year a public-opinion poll showed that dogs are the topic of 8% of all male and 15% of all female conversations. "If Germans loved people as much as they love dogs, their history might have been less tragic," a German historian remarked not long ago.
Now the Association of Poodle Lovers (Verband der Pudelfreunde) in Hamburg has embarked on an ambitious scheme to thwart poodle thievery. The association is nose-printing the dogs owned by its members and issuing ID cards, showing each poodle's sniffer. The association claims that noseprints are as characteristic of the individual poodle as fingerprints are of a man. Using a paper-and-paste method developed by the Canadian Mounties, it hopes to print all the 3,000 poodles registered with the association. And that is just the beginning. There are 397,000 other purebred poodles in Germany.
Some dog owners, however, are thumbing their noses at the idea, citing a study made 20 years ago by the University of Hamburg. Researchers, at that time, did not find poodle noseprints unique.
SEE NO GOOD, SPEAK NO GOOD
Almost from the time the Athletics arrived in Kansas City in 1955, there were rumors that Owner Charles O. Finley was eager to skip town with his team. But the evidence was usually speculative, and Charlie O. kept mum. Now that the A's have moved to Oakland, however, St. Louis Cardinal Broadcaster Harry Caray feels free to tell about working an exhibition game between the A's and the Cardinals in 1963. Recalls Caray: "I was amazed at the turnout—32,500 people—and kept saying what a great baseball town Kansas City was. Right in the middle of the game I got a telephone call from Finley. 'Cut that kind of talk out,' he told me. 'I want to move out of Kansas City and you're messing me up.' "
Look out, Oakland.
Caution Fishermen: Cigarette Smoking May Be Hazardous to Your Fish's Health.
For years outdoorsmen have reported seeing trout strike cigarette butts, and game wardens are finding an increasing number of filter tips in the stomachs of fish.
The modern fish is also gulping down snap caps from cans at an alarming rate. Leonard Ritchie, a wildlife officer "in Presque Isle, Me., says "Outdoorsmen tell me these things will eventually kill fish. I have talked to several people who caught trout last summer and found caps inside them. Apparently, as the cap flutters to the bottom, it is an attraction some fish can't resist."
The moral from the conservation viewpoint is clear. Don't cast a snap cap upon the waters, unless you add some line and a treble hook.
Two incidents in recent weeks have provoked debate on the worth of women athletes in spectator sports. A group of American pro golfers were happily signing with Shell for its 1969 TV golf series, until the PGA tournament committee found that 12 women pros had also been invited to compete on the show and were to be paid on the same scale. Shell was told that the women would have to be replaced by men, and all but three of the women were, in fact, dropped. "I guess the men felt it wasn't going to enhance the game of golf," the show's producer explained meekly. One obvious thing it was not going to enhance was their wallets—every starting spot that went to a woman meant that much TV money lost to the men. And there was the matter of pride. There is always a possibility that women pros, playing from women's tees, will score better than the men.
Meanwhile, there is a dispute in Britain over Wimbledon's announced prize-money list. The winner of the men's singles is to receive $4,800, while the women's singles winner will get only 51,800. Mrs. Ann Haydon Jones, Britain's No. 1 player and at present an amateur, has threatened to pull out of the first open tournament, at Bournemouth in April, unless the women's purses are raised. "I think the split should be at least two-thirds to one-third, or even 50-50," she says. It is 73-27 now.
Lady Churchill has taken up the women's cause, expressing her sentiments in a recent letter to The Times, and Angela Mortimer Barrett, the last British player to win at Wimbledon, has described the tournament's offering as "an insult to our sex."
But Britain's top-ranked male player, Roger Taylor, defended the present purse split. "In order to win at Wimbledon a man may have to play several five-set matches, while a woman never has to play more than three sets," he said. "Besides, they should give men more than women because eventually all of us men will have to support some woman."
Students at the University of Washington tried recently to purchase the seven-foot-high whistle of the Queen Mary to use at football and basketball games. Fortunately, they failed. The whistle can be heard for 15 miles. If it were sounded in the stadium or field house, visiting coaches would have blown their stacks.
IN BLACK AND WHITE
In an effort to assess just how many colleges are complying with the provisions of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by making all facilities and services available to all students, the Department of Health, Education and Welfare mailed questionnaires several months ago to colleges asking, among other things, for statistics on the number of white and Negro students registered and the number of whites and Negroes receiving athletic grants-in-aid during the fall school semester. The results are now coming in, and an analysis of the information supplied by the colleges in seven major conferences—the AAWU, Atlantic Coast, Big Eight, Big Ten, Ivy, Southeastern and Southwest—reveals some interesting facts:
•Of the 796,709 students registered in the 59 colleges, 12,699, or 1.5%, are Negro.
•The schools granted 10,698 athletic scholarships. Of these 634, or about 6%, went to Negroes.
•The Big Ten Conference has the most Negro students (5,094)—and Indiana has the highest number (1,501) of any of the 59 schools.
•Michigan State gave the most Negro athletic scholarships—50. This is almost twice the number granted to Negroes by any other Big Ten school. Michigan State also gave the most athletic grants in the conference—265, and Purdue the fewest—164.
•There are 1,861 Negroes in the Southeastern Conference. This is 1.4% of all students. SEC colleges gave 2,236 athletic scholarships, the most of any major conference. Only 11 of these went to Negroes. Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Mississippi, Mississippi State, LSU and Georgia gave none to Negroes.
•There are 1,001 Negroes in Atlantic Coast colleges, which is 1.4% of the total number of students. The University of Virginia has the lowest percentage of Negro students—.4%. Thirty-four Negroes in the ACC received athletic grants—20 of them at Maryland and nine at Wake Forest. Duke, Clemson, South Carolina and Virginia gave no Negro athletic scholarships.
•In the Southwest Conference, which is .65% Negro, 1,678 athletic scholarships were distributed, 16 to Negroes. The most given to Negroes by any school in the conference is four (Southern Methodist); Rice granted none.
•The Ivy League filed no returns on athletic scholarships, since it offers none as such. Of its 41,005 students, 2% are Negroes.
The Most Reverend Philip M. Hannan, Archbishop of New Orleans, delivered this invocation at a Saints banquet two weeks ago: "Oh God, we ask your blessing upon all who participate in this banquet this evening, and on all who have supported our Saints. Our Heavenly Father, who has instructed us that the 'saints by faith conquered kingdoms...and overcame lions,' grant our Saints an increase of faith and strength so that they will not only overcome the lions, but also the Bears, the Rams, the Giants and even those awesome people in Green Bay. Give to our owners and coaches the continued ability to be as wise as serpents and simple as doves so that no good talent will dodge our draft. Grant to our fans perseverance in their devotion and unlimited lung-power, tempered with a sense of charity to all, including the referees. May our beloved 'Bedlam Bowl' be a source of good fellowship, and may The Saints Go Marching In be a victory march for all, now and in eternity."
THEY SAID IT
•Walter (Babe) Pratt, member of the Hockey Hall of Fame and star of the '40s, watching a timid forward in a game between Vancouver and Phoenix: "How would you like to have a heart transplant—and get his?"
•Doris Brown, asked by a television sportscaster after she won the mile in the Seattle Invitational if she had ever run the distance before: "Yes, I hold the world's record."