SBD/14/Leagues Governing Bodies

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  • IT'S THE BOTTOM OF THE NINTH FOR BASEBALL '94

         According to all reports this morning, Acting MLB
    Commissioner Bud Selig will cancel the season, including the
    World Series, sometime this afternoon.  ESPN's Jimmy Roberts:
    "Many of those who have been here in New York to participate in
    meetings over the last few days packed their bags and headed
    home."  ESPN's Dan Patrick:  "Barring a unlikely appearance from
    a voice of reason, you will hear the voice of doom ... when the
    Acting Commissioner says, 'thanks for the memories'"
    ("SportsCenter," 9/13).  The season will end "with a news release
    and a telephone call" (Jayson Stark, PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER,
    9/14).
         CONFIRMATION:  Baseball's owners received a resolution from
    Selig via fax calling for them to support the decision to cancel
    the World Series.  Selig's resolution blames the MLBPA for
    "creating a negotiating stalemate," saying the union "has
    consistently refused to bargain with the clubs concerning a
    division of industry revenues with the players."  The resolution
    asks for the signatures of the other owners.  As of last night,
    there were questions as to whether Selig would be able to get the
    "consent" of the Orioles's Peter Angelos, the Dodgers' Peter
    O'Malley and the Blue Jays' Paul Beeston.  But no formal vote is
    necessary to cancel the season (Mark Maske, WASHINGTON POST,
    9/14).
         FEHR PLAY?  Selig phoned MLBPA Exec Dir Donald Fehr last
    night to discuss today's announcement.  Fehr: "He wanted me to
    sanction and agree with him that it was OK and pull down the
    season.  I told him that if he wanted to pull down the World
    Series, that was Bud Selig's responsibility, not mine"
    (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 9/14).
         WHAT ABOUT NEXT SEASON?  Braves Player Rep Tom Glavine
    believes if the World Series is gone, then '95 spring training
    and Opening Day "are in a lot of trouble, too":  "If the
    postseason wasn't enough incentive to get something done, there's
    no incentive in the off season" (Tim Tucker, ATLANTA
    CONSTITUTION, 9/14).  Red Sox CEO John Harrington said
    negotiations must continue or the '95 season will be threatened
    as well:  "We really have to reach an agreement by mid- to late-
    October, because player contract transactions (for 1995) go into
    full swing in early November.  We don't have any time to spend
    sitting around" (Tom Massarotti, BOSTON HERALD, 9/14).
         PUBLIC RELATIONS MOVES:  Both Fehr and Richard Ravitch
    appeared on NBC's "Today" show.  But the union was "irate" that
    Selig apparently "shut them out" of an appearance on ABC's
    "Nightline."  Selig was on the show with NBC's Bob Costas and
    baseball historian David Halberstam.  Steve Fehr, Donald's
    brother and a union official: "We certainly talked to [ABC] and
    complained about it.  At first, we heard they made a deal with
    Bud that he would come on if that was a condition.  They deny
    that, but in effect it is the same" (Mike Fish, ATLANTA
    CONSTITUTION, 9/14).
         TUBE TALK:  Bob Costas:  "The biggest issue is trust.  The
    owners come into these negations with a lot of baggage.  The
    owners had a couple of years to present a coherent plan, but they
    didn't do it until the 11th hour."  Author David Halberstam:
    "[The owners] sensed that the players had the bad odor of young
    millionaires, and that they weren't handling it very well and the
    fans were somewhat holding back, and they used that and they
    found a resonance there ("Nightline," ABC, 9/13).  Royals Player
    Rep David Cone: "The emotion is building toward anger as we
    really feel there are a few owners who want to bust the union"
    ("Sports Tonight," CNN, 9/13).
    

    Print | Tags: ABC, Anheuser Busch, Atlanta Braves, Baltimore Orioles, Boston Red Sox, ESPN, Kansas City Royals, Leagues and Governing Bodies, Los Angeles Dodgers, MLB, NBC, News Corp./Fox, Time Warner, Toronto Blue Jays, Walt Disney
  • NBA RULE CHANGE RECOMMENDATIONS -- MORE OFFENSE, PLEASE

         The NBA competition committee voted yesterday to shorten the
    distance of the three pointer.  The change will become final with
    a 2/3 from the NBA Board of Governors in October (Richard
    Justice, WASHINGTON POST, 9/14).  Other suggestions are aimed at
    curbing game fights and improving scoring opportunities.  Raptors
    GM Isiah Thomas said new foul rules give "the freedom and
    creativity to play basketball" (Frank Lawlor, PHILADELPHIA
    INQUIRER, 9/14). Bryan Burwell notes the players' role in
    bringing the game "back to its jazzy, aesthetic roots":
    "Basketball is not supposed to be about rage" (USA TODAY, 9/14).
    ESPN's Bob Ley:  "The rule of baseball seems to be tradition.
    But this game seems ready to implode, as the NFL and the NBA
    change the rules of their game to maximize their fan appeal."
    ESPN's Chris Mortenson noted the positive effect the NFL is
    experiencing thus far this season after off-season ruile changes:
    "They juiced up the offense, and there is no question it has had
    an impact in the first couple of weeks" ("SportsCenter," 9/13).
    

    Print | Tags: ESPN, Leagues and Governing Bodies, Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, NBA, NFL, Toronto Raptors, Walt Disney
  • NEWS FROM THE LOCAL MARKETS

         OAKLAND:  The A's, one of the few teams that has not laid
    off any front-office personnel during the strike, "probably will
    not drop any employees -- even if the rest of the season is
    erased."  The A's are currently for sale, with an asking price of
    $85M (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 9/14).
         ST. LOUIS:  The strike has "inflicted some economic miseries
    downtown, but riverboat gambling and special events have softened
    the hit."  One restaurant manager, noting the Cardinals poor
    season: "If there has to be a strike, make it this year" (ST.
    LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 9/14).
         PHILADELPHIA:  Phillies owner Bill Giles, who stands solidly
    behind the salary cap, was asked to think of the consequences had
    the strike been in '93 when the Phillies were in the World
    Series:  "I think I would shoot myself.  If this was 1993, I
    might have a different feeling about things" (PHILADELPHIA
    INQUIRER, 9/14).
    

    Print | Tags: Leagues and Governing Bodies, Oakland Athletics, Philadelphia Phillies
  • NHL, NHLPA TO MEET AMID DISCUSSIONS OF SHORTENED SEASON

         The NHL and the NHLPA are scheduled to meet Friday in either
    Toronto or New York to resume negotiations on a collective
    bargaining agreement (Dave Fuller, TORONTO SUN 9/14).  Player
    Agent Rob Ingraham told the SPORTS BUSINESS DAILY yesterday that
    despite the talks, a lockout is still likely: "I think these
    discussions have started too late to allow for the give-and-take
    that is required for progress in these type of negotiations" (THE
    DAILY, 9/14).
         OWNERS PLANNING SHORTENED SEASON?  Speculation continued
    yesterday that the league plans to begin the season October 1,
    and then lock out the players a few days later so that owners
    don't have to give entire refunds to season ticket holders.  In
    fact, one source within the NHLPA alleged that the league owners
    had already drawn up a 50-game schedule for the coming season in
    anticipation of a long work stoppage (Dave Fuller, TORONTO SUN,
    9/14).
         BREAK IN UNION?  There are "rumblings of dissension within
    the players ranks -- chiefly over the issue of a rookie salary
    cap."  According to one source, the NHL has proposed setting a
    $500,000 limit on entry level salaries in lieu of team-wide
    controls.  Fuller adds, "Some players would agree to that kind of
    trade-off" (TORONTO SUN, 9/14).
         THE GREAT ONES WILL GET THE CASH:  In Vancouver, Kent
    Gilchrist writes, "No matter what the next collective bargaining
    agreement brings, the reality of hockey in the '90s means there
    are going to be a few core players and then everyone else"
    (VANCOUVER PROVINCE, 9/14).
         LINKAGE WITH THE NEW TV DEAL?  NHL Commissioner Gary
    Bettman, after announcing the new Fox/ESPN TV arrangement (See
    story num. 5):  "I have a theory that everything is linked to
    everything else.  I wish it was, so I could hold a news
    conference tomorrow and announce an agreement on our other
    negotiations."  In St. Louis, Jeff Gordon writes one aspect of
    the new TV deals -- "the willingness  of local clubs to waive
    some blackout rights over Fox and ESPN -- is a small step in the
    revenue-sharing direction.  Individual clubs will actually make a
    sacrifice to increase the revenue pool all clubs draw from" (ST.
    LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 9/14).
    

    Print | Tags: ESPN, Leagues and Governing Bodies, News Corp./Fox, NHL, Walt Disney
  • OWNERS, INCLUDING STEINBRENNER, STAYING SOLID

         "The owners have shown their resolve. ... The owners, who
    have dutifully followed small-market leader Bud Selig, can
    celebrate their unprecedented solidarity.  Then they can spend
    the off season trying to keep baseball from exploding.  Or
    imploding" (Any Niedzielka, MIAMI HERALD, 9/14).
         CURIOUS ABOUT GEORGE:  Many reports in New York note that
    George Steinbrenner has been surprisingly quiet in his solidarity
    with fellow owners.  Jack Curry writes, "Bud, the acting
    commissioner, has apparently tamed the boss" (N.Y. TIMES, 9/14).
    In Baltimore, Peter Schmuck notes that Steinbrenner even came to
    Selig's defense in comments earlier this week to the MILWAUKEE
    JOURNAL (Baltimore SUN, 9/14).  In a report that has Steinbrenner
    saying some small market teams should be able to move rather than
    big-market teams support them, Joel Sherman makes a point to
    note, "Steinbrenner has surprisingly remained a low-key figure
    and has not broken ranks" (N.Y. POST, 9/14).
         YESTERDAY'S BUSINESS:  The MLBPA began to distribute more
    than $10M in checks for players on strike.  The initial payments
    come primarily from licensing money the MLBPA withheld last year
    (N.Y. TIMES, 9/14).  In Washington, Sen. Howard Metzenbaum's (D-
    OH) bill to temporarily lift baseball's anti-trust exemption was
    blocked on the floor of the Senate by NE Sen. James Exon (mult.,
    9/14).
    

    Print | Tags: Anheuser Busch, Leagues and Governing Bodies
  • THE NHL, FOX AND ESPN UNVEIL THEIR "YOUTH MOVEMENT"

         Officials from the NHL, Fox Broadcasting, ESPN, Anheuser-
    Busch and Nike gathered yesterday to officially announce the
    league's new broadcast TV deal with Fox and an extension of its
    cable deal with ESPN.  NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman cited
    demographics as a key factor, declaring that hockey "is a perfect
    match for Fox's younger, hipper audience":  "Fox is strong in the
    18-34 age group and that's where we are strongest as well.  That
    is where the future of our game lies" (Rob Longley, TORONTO SUN,
    9/14).
         DETAILS:  Fox's premier telecast will the All-Star Game in
    San Jose on January 21.  Fox will have exclusive rights to the
    final two Sundays of the regular season and playoff games,
    including a minimum of two Stanley Cup finals games and any Game
    7 finals match-up.  In addition to about 100 regular season games
    on ESPN and ESPN2, the cable net will have exclusive rights to
    Games 2, 3, 5, and 6 of the finals and up to 12 games of the
    conference finals.  Fox will reportedly pay $155M; ESPN's deal is
    said to be worth $65M.   KEEPING THE REGIONALS HAPPY:  "Less
    pleased" with the deal will be regional cable networks and local
    outlets that carry the NHL.  With Fox aboard and ESPN's new
    exclusivities, "they will have fewer games to produce and sell."
    MSG Network President Doug Moss:  "It's disappointing.  But I
    understand that Bettman is taking the league where everyone else
    is going. ... It's great for hockey.  Great for the Rangers.  Not
    so great for MSG" (Richard Sandomir, N.Y. TIMES, 9/14).  Bettman:
    "If we increase the fan base for NHL hockey, more people are
    going to become interested in the vast bulk of games carried on
    the regional networks" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 9/14).
         FOX SAYS "TOUGH" TO OTHER NETS:  Fox Sports President David
    Hill, asked about concerns from other nets that Fox "doesn't
    share their concern about making sure a sports deal is
    profitable":  "What do I say to them?  I say that's tough" (Bob
    Raissman, N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 9/14).  Rudy Martzke asks about Fox:
    "Can Wimbledon and baseball be far behind?"  (USA TODAY, 9/14).
    In Baltimore, Milton Kent also sees Wimbledon and the 2000
    Olympics in Sydney as potential properties Fox could bid for
    (Baltimore SUN, 9/14).
         MARKETING PARTNERS:  NHL Senior VP & COO Stephen Solomon
    credited Anheuser-Busch and Nike for signing on as marketing
    partners before they knew what network the NHL would be on or
    what the schedule would be.  Anheuser-Busch VP for Corporate
    Media & Sports Marketing Tony Ponturo noted that A-B saw the NHL
    as a great way to prevent new product "Ice Draft" from
    experiencing a "sophomore jinx" (THE DAILY, 9/14).  Ponturo:
    "Hockey, with access to customers aged 21-34, is where we want to
    be" (N.Y. TIMES, 9/14).  Nike Dir of League Relations Doug Stamm
    cited the "breadth of the sponsorship package" and the "perfect
    fit" between his company and Fox.  Stamm noted opportunities at
    home -- to spread the Nike/NHL street hockey program to each of
    the NHL cities -- and internationally, through the NHL's new
    agreement with the Int'l Ice Hockey Federation.  Asked if other
    companies would have access to the same packages as A-B and Nike,
    the NHL's Solomon said:  "We have every belief that they're just
    the start of companies that are going to be part of this hockey
    package.  And in fact, there's a tremendous amount of interest
    out there from a variety of companies at this very moment" (THE
    DAILY, 9/14).
         AD SALES:  Bettman said the sale of ad time on Fox will be a
    "joint venture" between the league and Fox.  He noted that the
    first two sales -- A-B and Nike -- came from the NHL:  "It's a
    partnership, and ultimately we have control.  But it is a
    partnership in terms of how we're going to try to execute it"
    (THE DAILY, 9/14).
         PAY-PER-VIEW:  ESPN was also given the opportunity to launch
    a pay-per-view plan that would allow cable viewers to watch games
    from outside their market (N.Y. TIMES, 9/14).     REVIEWS:  "The
    deal may be a sign of the NHL's increasing popularity" (Tom Ford,
    TAMPA TRIBUNE, 9/14).  "Don't look now, but the [NHL] is moving
    into the mainstream of professional sports" (Jeff Gordon, ST.
    LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 9/14).  In New York, Jay Greenberg called it
    "fortuitous timing" for the NHL:  "We'd like to see some improved
    overnights before becoming convinced that Fox has bought into
    something big" (N.Y. POST, 9/14). "Can Bart Simpson's pocket
    change save the [NHL's] smaller markets?" (Dave Fay, WASHINGTON
    TIMES, 9/14).  Paul Kangas said Fox "is at it again" ("Nightly
    Business Report," PBS, 9/13).  ESPN's Robin Roberts: "Apparently
    Fox had a little money left over from acquiring NFL games"
    ("SportsCenter", 9/13).
    

    Print | Tags: Anheuser Busch, Cablevision, ESPN, Leagues and Governing Bodies, Madison Square Garden, Brooklyn Nets, News Corp./Fox, NFL, NHL, Nike, Walt Disney, YankeeNets
  • WHAT WILL THE NEW YEAR HOLD?

          REPLACEMENTS:  Red Sox owner John Harrington called use of
    replacement players a "last resort," but added:  "We'd have to
    make all kinds of adjustments with our radio and TV packages, our
    ticket prices.  It would be different, but it's something we'd
    have to consider if it got to that point" (Nick Cafardo, BOSTON
    GLOBE, 9/14).  Braves President Stan Kasten does not rule out
    using replacement players: "We have an awful lot of interest in
    our sport because the Atlanta Braves play in Atlanta-Fulton
    County Stadium and soon in an even grander stadium, and because
    the Boston Red Sox play in Fenway Park, and because the New York
    Yankees play in Yankee Stadium. ... And I think our teams will
    still go on even if, God forbid, the names have to change" (Tim
    Tucker, ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 9/14).
         PLAYERS' LEAGUE:  Braves pitcher Tom Glavine: "I don't think
    that's quite as far-fetched as some people think.  We're sure if
    we get that far we can find other owners out there, or work out
    details to have players running the show" (Tim Tucker, ATLANTA
    CONSTITUTION, 9/14).  Dick Moss, who preceded Fehr as MLBPA Exec
    Dir, has been the "key figure in efforts to start a new league."
    Moss, in statements yesterday, made a point of saying that as
    baseball begins to re-organize, it is unlikely that Milwaukee
    "will ever see major league baseball again" (SAN JOSE MERCURY
    NEWS, 9/14).  In New York, Joel Sherman recalls Moss' failed
    attempt to start a new league in '91.  At present, the union is
    "downplaying its desire to investigate a new league, saying it is
    much more interested" in resolving the conflict.  Union
    leadership also said a new league would not be used as a
    "bargaining chip, but would only be approached with the idea of
    revolutionizing the sport" (N.Y. POST, 9/14).
    

    Print | Tags: Atlanta Braves, Boston Red Sox, Leagues and Governing Bodies, New York Yankees, Time Warner, YankeeNets
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