SBD/16/Leagues Governing Bodies

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  • ATTORNEY FILES SUIT AGAINST MLB AS ANTITRUST TALKS PICK UP

         Debate continued yesterday on the state of baseball's
    antitrust exemption.  In Manhattan, attorney Carl Person filed a
    lawsuit in federal court challenging the exemption. Person is
    willing to press the case to the Supreme Court if it will force
    the players and owners back to the bargaining table (Ireland &
    Kleinknecht, N.Y. POST, 9/16).
         LIFT THE BAN:  Two papers called on Congress to lift the
    ban.  The Baltimore SUN: "The first cancellation of a World
    Series in 90 years emphasizes the urgency of the problem.  We say
    to Congress, don't wait till next year.  In fact, given the
    history of the past two decades, you shouldn't have waited till
    this year" (SUN, 9/16).  WASHINGTON POST editorial: "It really is
    time for Congress to consider doing away with baseball's
    antitrust exemption. ... The game's executives are given to dire
    warnings about doing this; they warn that it would be the end of
    baseball as we have known it.  Gee, does that mean we wouldn't
    have a World Series?" (WASHINGTON POST, 9/16).
         MORE TALK:  Richard Sandomir writes, "Baseball has survived
    past attempts [to repeal the exemption], but the strike and lost
    season have drawn renewed attention to the exemption and, to
    many, painted it as the villain behind the labor impasse" (N.Y.
    TIMES, 9/16).  Peter Passel writes: "Wanna see the baseball club
    owners really squirm?  Repeal their exemption from antitrust
    laws" (N.Y. TIMES, 9/16).
    American Enterprise Institute economist Irwin Stelzer says a
    repeal is a "no brainer": "It wouldn't do any harm, and it might
    do a lot of good" (N.Y. TIMES, 9/16).
    

    Print | Tags: Leagues and Governing Bodies
  • AUTUMN CANCELED; NUCLEAR WINTER ARRIVES EARLY

         "Baseball's nuclear winter has arrived and no one associated
    with either the players or the owners can predict what the next
    few months will bring," report Richard Justice and Mark Maske in
    today's WASHINGTON POST.  "The end game is hard to predict, but
    the likely result is that baseball's worst labor crisis will
    spill into next spring and perhaps the 1995 regular season"
    (WASHINGTON POST, 9/16).  Mariners Player Rep Dan Wilson:
    "Anyway you look at it, this is going to be the strangest
    offseason the game has ever experienced" (Jim Street, SEATTLE
    POST-INTELLIGENCER, 9/16).
         THE NEXT MOVES?  The owners "must decide whether to settle
    with the players or enforce the key dates [for free agency and
    arbitration filing] by unilaterally imposing a basic agreement
    that would dictate when off-season business will be conducted."
    MLBPA General Counsel Gene Orza said the union's executive board
    plans to discuss "a series of responses" if the owners
    unilaterally impose a new system on the players.  Union officials
    and players are set to hold a series of regional meetings in
    Atlanta, Tampa, New York, Los Angeles and Dallas from September
    20-29 (Claire Smith, N.Y. TIMES, 9/16).  Yankee Player Rep Paul
    Gibson sets six weeks as goal for action:  "If both sides decide
    to take a couple of months off, it would be a huge mistake"
    (Anthony Gargano, N.Y. POST, 9/16).  Peter Gammons sees two
    choices:  "Come to a complex payroll/luxury/incentives tax
    agreement in a partnership with players that allows Milwaukee to
    survive, and do it by the end of October.  Or see what's left at
    the end of the remake of 'On the Beach'" (BOSTON GLOBE, 9/16).
         LOOKING TO SPRING:  MLBPA special assistant Mark Belanger
    said striking players "would accept an invitation to spring
    training from owners even without a collective bargaining
    agreement in place."  Belanger:  "We don't get paid for spring
    training anyway, so there'd be nothing to stop us from going down
    there, getting in shape, but not necessarily starting the
    season."  The MLBPA "figures it might be better to have their
    members there paying their own expenses -- likely reimbursed by
    the union -- than give the spring camps over to the minor
    leaguers" (Tim Harper, TORONTO STAR, 9/16).  In St. Louis, Mike
    Eisenbath writes, "Even if owners tried to make big-leaguers out
    of minor-leaguers ... chances of this working aren't good" (ST.
    LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 9/16).  With no agreement, "it appears the
    chances of minor-leaguers' being given an opportunity to take the
    jobs of their major-league brethren is better than 50-50" (Paul
    Sullivan, CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 9/16).
         ILL WILL:  Agent Tom Reich: "The animosity is tremendous, it
    is one of the biggest problems. The history of this relationship
    is at an all-time low" ("Sports Tonight," CNN, 9/15).  Management
    sources say many owners, "regardless of their inclination to
    agree to less than favorable terms, were turned off by the
    behavior of union officials.  They recount meetings when they
    believe union leaders were showing off for their party instead of
    negotiating" (Justice & Maske, WASHINGTON POST, 9/16).
         STAFF LAYOFFS:  ESPN's Chris Myers: "The Pirates fired four
    staff members, laid off about a dozen others, and cut the hours
    of the other front office employees" ("SportsCenter," 9/15).
    Phillies President Bill Giles, who thus far has resisted any
    front-office layoffs:  "We're going to have to sit down in the
    next week or so and see how things look.  We've got some good and
    loyal people working for us, and, hopefully, layoffs won't be
    necessary" (Frank Fitzpatrick, PHILA. INQUIRER, 9/16).
    

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  • FALLOUT TO THE END OF THE SEASON: BITS AND PIECES

         SUN-BELT SQUIRMING:  In Tampa, Chris Marti reports that if
    spring training is cancelled it could cost the state of FL more
    than $300M in lost revenue and make it more difficult for host
    cities to pay the mortgage on their stadiums (TAMPA TRIBUNE,
    9/16).  In Chicago, Toni Ginnetti notes the impact on AZ.
    Maricopa County Stadium District head Roger Brendecke: "The total
    economic expenditure in our county (during spring training) is
    $235 million. ... Spring is our biggest tourist time of the year
    and baseball is an important factor" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 9/15).
         RIPPLE EFFECT:  BRANDWEEK reports that with no playoffs,
    General Motors is likely "scrap plans" for a $40-50M corporate
    image campaign that was to break during baseball's post-season
    (BRANDWEEK, 9/12 issue).
         BIRDS WATCHING:  Orioles VP Joe Foss said he believed owner
    Peter Angelos' resistance to signing the owners' resolution might
    help ticket sales during this uncertain off-season (Mark Masek,
    WASHINGTON POST, 9/16).  MD Comptroller Louis Goldstein said that
    the MD Stadium Authority has a substantial "cash cushion" to meet
    the $14M required annual payment on the $150M bond issue that
    finances Camden Yards (WASHINGTON TIMES, 9/16).
         AD CAMPAIGNS:  Reebok said it still plans to launch a new
    campaign featuring Frank Thomas next spring.  Nintendo
    spokesperson on their Ken Griffey Jr. game that is a top-five
    seller: "We are losing something by not having a nightly feature
    on Griffey and his run for the record" (Jesus Sanchez, L.A.
    TIMES, 9/16).
         TSN BEEFING UP SPORTS MENU:  In Toronto, Ken McKee notes
    that Canada's TSN is trying to fill in its schedule from the lack
    of baseball games.  "Face it, there isn't much available."  ESPN
    is running a boxing card from Biloxi, MS and ESPN2 is adding more
    CFL games.  TSN is blocked from adding CFL games on days the CBC
    has a game.  TSN programming VP Rick Brace said he expects to add
    a few more Maple Leaf pre-season games (TORONTO STAR, 9/16).
         FOX LURKING OUTSIDE TBN'S HENHOUSE?  One rival network exec,
    on Fox after signing on with the NHL for $155M:  "They're just
    crazy."  But should The Baseball Network not survive the
    shutdown, MLB could stage a "TV auction" and find out if Fox is
    really "just crazy" (Jack Craig, BOSTON GLOBE, 9/16).  Fox TV
    Chair/CEO Chase Carey:  "The Baseball Network's arrangement was a
    very good deal from the networks' perspective because they have
    very little invested.  I'm not sure it is such a good bargain for
    baseball."  To which media writer Barry Horn responds, "Sounds
    like a man who has spotted a bargain he can't wait to make his
    network's own" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 9/14).
         COMISKEY'S RENT:  Curious IL taxpayers "wondered whether the
    cancellation means they will have to subsidize the Sox for their
    rent payments in new Comiskey Park."  State officials said last
    month the owners of the Sox will pay only half as much rent on
    Comiskey Park as the $3M they paid in '93 (Paul Sullivan, CHICAGO
    TRIBUNE, 9/16).
         TRACKING THE TRIB:  Speculation differs on the role of the
    Tribune Co., owner of the Cubs, in the negotiations.  Tribune Co.
    not only owns WGN, the superstation that broadcasts Cubs and
    White Sox games, but also stations with the broadcasting rights
    of five other clubs.  Still, agent Randy Hendricks admits
    surprise that the Tribune Co.'s was quiet during the recent
    talks:  "The silence of the Tribune Co. has been almost deafening
    in this dispute."  Cubs Chair Stanton Cook insists the Tribune's
    broadcasting revenues are a "side issue" (Steve Marantz, SPORTING
    NEWS, 9/19).
    

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  • NEW WINTER BASKETBALL LEAGUE BEING PROPOSED

         Even after the death of the National Basketball League last
    summer and the World Basketball League in '92, former NBL
    franchise and NBA Cavaliers owner Ted Stepien "is actively
    pursuing parties to form a winter version of the defunct NBL" to
    begin play in December '95.  Stepien said they are looking for
    commitments from at least eight cities to start the North
    American Basketball League.  Cities would  include Regina,
    Winnipeg, Saksatoon, Calgary, Montreal and Edmonton, and possibly
    others closer to the U.S. border.  The NABL would run from
    December to March, have a 40-game schedule and each team would
    have an operating budget of "no more than" $500,000.  It would be
    run after the CBA starts allowing for players cut from the CBA to
    join (Steven Forbes, WINNIPEG FREE PRESS, 9/15).
    

    Print | Tags: Cleveland Cavaliers, Leagues and Governing Bodies, NBA
  • NHL AND INT'L HOCKEY FEDERATION SIGN OLYMPIC-SIZE PACT

         "After years of haggling," the NHL and the Int'l Ice Hockey
    Federation (IIHF) will announce a 3-year agreement today that
    covers everything from Olympic participation to expanded int'l
    competitions to the "joint formation of a European Super League."
    Word of the deal was first reported in THE SPORTS BUSINESS DAILY
    on Monday.  IIHF President Rene Fasel: "It is a historic
    agreement.  We will work together.  To fight each other brings
    nothing."  Fasel feels the highlight of the pact is the
    commitment to have NHL players at the '98 Winter Olympics.  In
    the agreement, signed in Helsinki last week, the two groups agree
    that "in order to ensure the participation of NHL players, that
    portion of the Olympic tournament involving NHL players may not
    exceed eight days."  The NHL-IIHF pact also commits NHL teams to
    release players for the world championships unless there is a
    conflict with Stanley Cup playoffs.  Also, each NHL team will pay
    $400,000 during the next three years to the IIHF for access to
    European players without having to negotiate with the national
    federations or individual clubs.  The IIHF will then allocate
    monies to teams losing players to the NHL (Alan Adams, CANADIAN
    PRESS/Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 9/16).
    

    Print | Tags: Leagues and Governing Bodies, NHL
  • NHL LABOR TALKS RESUME TODAY

         The NHLPA negotiating team, in an effort to avoid an owners'
    lockout, will be pressing "new concepts" today in meetings with
    the league "that should be a bellweather for the rest of the
    talks leading up" to the October 1 season opener.  NHLPA
    President Mike Gartner: "What we'll come away with is just how
    serious the league is.  Is there an air of compromise or is there
    another agenda?"  Gartner and NHLPA Exec Dir Bob Goodenow
    "refused to get into specifics of today's talks," though Gartner
    "implored" NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and his lawyers to
    "carefully study what the players are putting forward."  There
    has been talk of "reworking" the owners' idea of a salary cap and
    creating a "luxury tax," to be paid by clubs which exceed a pre-
    set spending limit to those who don't (Lance Hornby, TORONTO SUN,
    9/16).  However, the players "dismiss" many of the proposals by
    the league as "salary caps in disguise."  Although this is the
    first meeting between Bettman and Goodenow in more than a week,
    "it is unlikely anything earth shattering will immediately come
    out" today.  "A more likely scenario would see the NHL study any
    new proposal through the weekend" (Paul Hunter, TORONTO STAR,
    9/16).
         WHY LOCK EM' OUT?  Whalers co-owner Jim Rutherford: "What
    everyone's looking at is the window of opportunity for hockey
    with them not having to compete with the World Series.  If you
    look at that on a short term, you say, 'Geez, yeah, that is an
    opportunity.'  But I don't believe that any sport, especially
    hockey, can look at it on the short term.  They have to fix what
    the problems are related to the economics of the game" (Viv
    Bernstein, HARTFORD COURANT, 9/16).  In Detroit, Keith Gave
    notes, "In a battle over public sentiment -- which frequently
    influences how labor disagreements are settled -- the players
    already are overwhelming winners" (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 9/15).
         ADVANCED EXPOSURE  Header over Joe LaPointe's column: "This
    October, Hockey has The Stage."  LaPointe notes that the only
    athlete spotted at the MTV awards last week was the Rangers Mark
    Messier (N.Y. TIMES, 9/16).
         STEEL EYES:  Penguin players are refusing to make TV
    appearances to promote ticket and merchandise sales until the
    league and union negotiated a new deal (mult., 9/16).
    

    Print | Tags: Leagues and Governing Bodies, NHL
  • RATING THE MAJOR PLAYERS: FAILING GRADES ABOUND

         "THE GREAT LAKES GANG":  In the latest issue of THE SPORTING
    NEWS, Steve Marantz profiles the Acting Commissioner Bud Selig,
    White Sox Owner Jerry Reinsdorf, Cubs President Stanton Cook,
    Braves Chair Bill Bartholamay and Twins Owner Carl Pohlad -- "the
    Great Lakes Gang" -- who engineered the "coup" to dump Fay
    Vincent in '92 and now stand as "the most powerful coalition of
    owners."  Some believe that if a new coalition rises up to
    challenge them, it could be "The Merchandisers" -- the Astros'
    Drayton McLane, the Rockies' Jerry McMorris, the Royals' David
    Glass, the Giants' Peter Magowan, the Tigers' Mike Ilitch the
    Marlins' Wayne Huizenga, and possibly the Mariners' John Ellis.
    Of that group, Glass, the CEO of Wal-Mart, "may be the most
    influential" (THE SPORTING NEWS, 9/19 issue).
         BULLPEN CALL:  Agent Tom Reich said replacing Richard
    Ravitch with Red Sox CEO John Harrington would move baseball's
    shutdown "a giant step closer to settlement."  Reich:  "If this
    is going to get resolved, [Harrington] and a couple of others
    like him are going to have to get even more prominently involved
    in negotiations. ... John Harrington is one of the best minds in
    the business, and if there's hope for a resolution -- and it
    looks very hopeless right now -- it rests in the minds of people
    like Harrington."  Reich called relations between Ravitch and Don
    Fehr "downright hostile" and "unacceptable": "This is not the
    Middle East" (Joe Giuliotti, BOSTON HERALD, 9/16).
         LAST-MINUTE MOVES:  San Diego-based agent Tony Attanasio
    said he was encouraged by three unnamed owners to call Selig
    Tuesday night to offer a concept that Attanasio said, "seemed to
    draw some interest from Selig."  The plan was based on the
    payroll and revenue tax plan, with an increase in the tax.
    Attanasio suggested a 5-year trial, "during which either side
    could reopen after two or three years."  He also proposed joint
    ventures and that the MLBPA be involved in choosing the next
    commissioner.  Attanasio was told by Brewers General Counsel
    Wendy Selig-Prieb that they would weigh the proposal.  The next
    day, her father, Bud Selig, cancelled the season.  Attanasio:
    "It made me realize that the whole thing was predetermined, as
    the union had tried to tell me.  The owners never had a Plan B,
    never made a counterproposal" (Ross Newhan, L.A. TIMES, 9/16).
    

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