Las Vegas wants in on the action.
Mayor Oscar Goodman spent yesterday visiting NBA Commissioner David Stern and NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, hoping the leagues will consider his city for franchises.
Don't bet on it.
Goodman has a fundamental problem: Neither the NHL or NBA is considering any expansion and both Bettman and Stern said their leagues had no teams seeking to switch cities.
Then there's the matter of gambling, a particularly thorny issue with the NBA. Basketball betting accounts for 23 percent of the total sports handle in Las Vegas, according to Vegas Sports Consultants, which helps set betting lines for sports books.
Historically, the NBA has opposed betting on its games and, in fact, forced Canada's provincial lotteries to drop NBA games before it granted expansion franchises to Vancouver and Toronto.
Hockey betting is less of an issue, accounting for just 3 percent of the Vegas betting handle. Bettman indicated the NHL might accept the same ground rules that are applied to UNLV. Vegas books do not accept bets on the local college football and basketball teams.
Despite the gambling issue, the mayor was enthusiastic about the couple of hours he spent chatting with the commissioners.
"This trip was 100 percent successful," Goodman said. "I wish we had the go-ahead. We don't. We took a giant step today."
Harding Goes Pro
Tonya Harding, under a lifetime ban from Olympic competition for hindering the investigation into a knee-smashing attack on Nancy Kerrigan, will try to jump-start a career in professional figure skating next month.
Harding, 28, will return to competition in ESPN's Professional Skating Championships on Oct. 18, her first competition since her ban after the attack on her rival before the 1994 Olympics. The event in Huntington, W. Va., is exclusively for professional skaters who are ineligible for Olympic competition.
S. Williams Wins Again
Her game growing more formidable, Serena Williams opened play in the Grand Slam Cup in Munich with a show of strength worthy of her U.S. Open title.
She defeated Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario, 6-3, 6-1, in the $6.7 million event. The showcase features the eight women and 12 men with the best records at the year's four Grand Slam tournaments.
With Pete Sampras and Patrick Rafter injured, Andre Agassi leads the men's division. Agassi, winner of the French Open and the U.S. Open this season, has a first-round bye and plays Thursday.
In men's opening matches, Richard Krajicek served 12 aces in a 6-2, 7-5 victory over Vince Spadea, and Greg Rusedski also reached the quarterfinals by beating Gustavo Kuerten, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3.
Floyd Foils Seniors
Damage caused by Hurricane Floyd is keeping the Senior Tour Championship at the Dunes Golf and Beach Club again this year instead of moving to the new TPC at Myrtle Beach, S.C.
The season-ending event, scheduled for Nov. 4-7, was supposed to move to the new course this year. However, PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem said there were too many trees down and too much flooding at the TPC to have it in tournament shape within six weeks.
Wizards Release Roster
Forwards Derek Grimm and Gerard King were added to the Wizards' 20-player training-camp roster, which was released yesterday. The roster is not expected to change before the team begins training camp Tuesday at Shepherd College in West Virginia.
However, the Wizards may make an effort to acquire veteran forward Chucky Brown, who was offered a one-year, $1 million contract yesterday by the San Antonio Spurs. Brown's agent said his client hopes to decide where he will play in the next few days. . . .
The New York Knicks signed center Andrew Lang and waived Herb Williams, 41, possibly ending the career of the NBA's oldest player last season. . . .
The Houston Rockets have reached an oral agreement to sign free agent guard Shandon Anderson, 25, to a two-year contract, according to a report. . . .
Alek Radojevic, the 12th pick in the NBA draft, signed a three-year deal with the Toronto Raptors. . . .
Los Angeles signed rookie John Celestand, who averaged 14.9 points a game at Villanova last season, to a contract. Celestand was the Lakers' second-round pick, and the 30th player taken in the draft. . . .
The ninth annual Congressional Basketball Classic will be held today at 7:30 p.m. at Gallaudet University Field House. Rep. David Bonior (Mich.) leads the Democrats' team and Rep. Mike Oxley (Ohio) heads the Republicans' team. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Admission is free. Wes Unseld will address the crowd and Wizards guard Chris Whitney will make the ceremonial ball toss.
Julich's Season Ends
American cyclist Bobby Julich won't ride again this season because of head injuries suffered in a fall during the Tour of Spain race this month. Julich's French team Cofidis said it canceled his schedule for the rest of the year after studying results of neurological tests following his Sept. 11 crash.
Medalist Tests Positive
A Chinese rowing champion has tested positive for doping at the City Games in the northwestern city of Xi'an, the China Sports Daily said. It said Dou Yulong, who won five medals in Xi'an, was the first Chinese athlete to test positive for the banned diuretic human chorionic gonadotrophin (HCG).
Marathoner Faces Ban
Italian marathon runner Giuliano Battocletti has tested positive for the banned anabolic steroid nandrolone and could be banned for four years, the Italian Athletics Federation said. Both the A and B samples of Battocletti's urine tested positive for the performance-enhancing steroid after a marathon on June 12 in Busto Arsizio.
IRL Series Scrapped
The Indy Racing League's foray into the heart of stock-car country is finished. The promoter of the suburban Charlotte track where three spectators were killed during an IRL event in May has decided against bringing back the series, racing sources said, speaking on the condition of anonymity.
Speedway Motorsports Inc. had been leaning in recent weeks against renewing its three-year contract to hold IRL races at Lowe's Motor Speedway at Charlotte. The company finalized its decision as it draws closer to finalizing its 2000 calendar.