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E-tail woes knock MVP.com for a loss

The company, backed by sports legends Michael Jordan, John Elway and Wayne Gretzky, lays off 34 people, as it tries to contain costs while maintaining its online sales.

    It may take a last-minute, come-from-behind play for MVP.com, the Internet sports retailer, to remain in the rough-and-tumble online retailing game.

    The company, backed by sports legends Michael Jordan, John Elway and Wayne Gretzky, laid off 34 people last week--following cuts late last year in which 79 people were let go. The company has 45 employees remaining, a company representative said.

    With the recent round of cuts, MVP is trying to contain costs from its operations while continuing to maintain its site and sell sporting goods, the company said.

    Jordan, Elway and Gretzky will maintain their relationship with the site, the spokeswoman said.

    The hostile climate for online retailers seems to have bowled over the company, which had been hoping to capitalize on the mystique of three superstar athletes who were more used to winning down the stretch than getting dumped for a loss. But the momentum is well against them, as one e-tailer after another has seen time on the clock run out.

    MVP took a major hit last November when SportsLine.com yanked it as playmaker for SportsLine's Web store. MVP had a $120 million deal to run the site.

    MVP.com, which hasn't had an opportunity to go public, declined to disclose how much cash it has remaining to fund operations.

    Last year, acquisitions claimed competitors Fogdog and Gear.com.