Leading Off

U.S. has lost Hope

United States coach Greg Ryan tossed goalkeeper Hope Solo (pictured) off the team for today's game against Norway, which was played for third place. His decision, which has the support of the remaining 20 players, came after he benched Solo for Thursday's semifinal in which Brazil routed the U.S. 4-0. Solo lashed out in an interview, saying Ryan made the "wrong decision" in dropping her in favor of veteran Briana Scurry against the Brazilians. Solo hadn't allowed a goal for almost 300 minutes when she was benched. Ryan chose the smaller, quicker Scurry, who led the U.S. to its last World Cup title in 1999 and held off Brazil in the 2004 Olympic final. Soccer, Page C-3

Raiders, 49ers both have familiar foes

The Oakland Raiders and San Francisco 49ers each have players who will face off today against teams they played for last season. Quarterback Daunte Culpepper gets his first start as a Raider in Miami, and receiver Darrell Jackson and the 49ers play host to Seattle.

ESPN, Super Bowl cashing in big time

In the world of sports, brand value best measures power and ranking among peers. The inaugural "Forbes Fab 40," available exclusively online at, ranks the top 10 sports brands in four categories: athletes, teams, businesses and events. Tiger Woods is the most valuable brand among athletes, worth $64 million. The name Manchester United, valued at $351 million, is first among teams. The ESPN brand is worth $7.5 billion and is No. 1 among sports businesses. The Super Bowl, which produced $336 million in revenue, is the richest sporting event brand.

Sprint Cup on track for the 2008 season

NASCAR's 2008 Sprint Cup Series, which is known as the Nextel Cup Series until this season's end, will begin Feb. 17 with the 50th run of the Daytona 500. The full schedule can be found on Page C-9. Motor Sports, Page C-2

No 'Four Corners'

"Four Corners," The Bee's four takes on a sports topic, will not be featured this week.

They didn't mean to literally take seat

A Cincinnati Reds fan has been thrown out for trying to take a stadium seat with him. A judge ordered Bradley Hosler, 20, to stay out of the Reds' Great American Ball Park for a year. Hosler also agreed to pay $350 in restitution and a $20 fine.