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For supremacy on and off the court
With its second season just under way, the fledgling American Basketball League is using a variety of means - some creative - to check its upstart rival, the Women's National Basketball Association.
But the ABL's full-court press to survive may be broken by its bigger, better-funded competitor, many observers say.
ABL and inaugural-season league champion Columbus Quest officials, however, insist predictions of the ABL's eventual demise are premature.
Indeed, the Palo Alto, Calif., ABL is fighting back this year against the WNBA, which in its first season last summer attracted larger crowds, network TV coverage and the backing of the powerful and savvy National Basketball Association.
The Phoenix Mercury is one of the eight new WNBA teams.
At the dawn of its second season, the ABL is doubling its marketing budget, adding regular-season games, expanding TV coverage, boosting player salaries and entering new licensing agreements.
Also, with a …