SUPER SEVEN WEST
Miami is gone for the moment as a Super Bowl site, and New Orleans is going. Next locale is likely to be Palo Alto, of all places. Stanford's stadium holds 90,000 people, but that's incidental. What is more important to the Super Bowl picture is the plenitude of motel and hotel space (if you're willing to drive a few miles) and the liberal number of places to dine and drink. There is a tax matter to solve, since Stanford, a private institution, gets certain tax advantages which might not hold for a Super Bowl game. And Al Davis, the Oakland Raiders' professional curmudgeon, says he is against the Super Bowl coming into his area. But these are minor problems, apparently. The main thing is: Pete Rozelle wants Palo Alto.
FRUITS OF VICTORY
While everyone is wondering whether the Dallas Cowboys will indeed opt for conformity and unload the sphinxlike Duane Thomas, a much more startling personnel change is likely to come out of Miami. Joe Robbie, the controversial managing general partner of the ascendant Dolphins, has been annoyed by the credit his executive assistant, Joe Thomas, received (SI, Dec. 13, 1971) for the club's remarkably fast climb to Super Bowl status. Thomas, in turn, is unhappy with the entire situation, and in particular with Robbie's attitude. Unless Robbie abruptly reverses his field and, say, substantially increases his assistant's relatively modest salary the odds are Thomas will leave the Dolphins after the NFL draft, which will be Miami's loss and some other club's signal gain.
OPEN AND CLOSED
The Frazier-Daniels heavyweight championship fight created only a minor wave in the ocean of sport, coming as it did the night before the Super Bowl, but one of its more interesting aspects was that it was on home television, plain TV, right there next to All in the Family and The Mary Tyler Moore Show. First time in five years that a heavyweight championship fight has been on the tube for stay-at-home sports fans.
It may have been a historical moment, a last-fling throwback to the good old days of living-room sports. The future seems more and more apt to be geared to closed-circuit, high-priced theater or cable TV. An interested Congressman, Les Aspin of Wisconsin, recently wrote to the commissioners of all the major sports asking them for their ideas on the prospects for television and sport in the years to come. The answers he received, carefully couched though they were, led him to the feeling that "there will be a mass exodus of sports events from home TV and radio onto closed-circuit TV—where the money is. The lure of fantastic profits from the broadcast of major sports events on closed-circuit television will be too much for sports promoters and owners to resist. From the responses that I have received from the sports commissioners, there is little doubt that they are all seriously exploring...closed-circuit television. The owners are facing the same choice as a compulsive eater would in choosing between a plain cupcake and a rich, gooey chocolate cake. Anyone who thinks the owners will opt to continue with home television because of their concern for the fans, when closed-circuit TV is far more lucrative, is just kidding himself."
FRENCH AND DANISH
Boat shows are big this time of year, with summer sailors in New York, London, Paris and elsewhere prowling around exhibition halls, kicking prows and wondering if, with a refinanced mortgage here and no college tuition bills there, that 42-foot cabin cruiser couldn't somehow be managed.
The French show, held in the Paris suburb of Puteaux, hard by the Seine, was much like boat shows elsewhere, except for its name (Le Salon International de la Navigation de Plaisance), a wonder-winner $64,000 boat from East Germany ("Could a Communist afford it?" an Eastgerm representative was asked. "Yes," was the reply, "if he has the money") and some significant news about the next America's Cup challenge. It seems that France's Baron Marcel Bich, the ballpoint millionaire who sponsored France's last try and who is planning another onslaught in 1974, has enlisted the services of Denmark's Paul Elvstrom, probably the best racing skipper in the world. The boat itself may be the real key, but Elvstrom is a superior nautical locksmith. Together, he and Bich could mount the most serious challenge since the America itself won the original competition off the Isle of Wight more than a century ago.
The International Swimming Hall of Fame in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., which usually deals with two-legged swimmers, has announced a competition for four-legged natators. The Dog Paddle Derby, scheduled to be swum sometime in the next month or so, is open only to man's best friends, who will be seeded by weight and breed, if breed can be determined. Entry fees will vary, with dogs who can trace their family trees paying proportionately more. All profits will go to the Humane Society. Television's Ed Mc-Mahon, a big wheel in dog-food commercials, will be invited to serve as "Meat Director."