SBD/19/Leagues Governing Bodies

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  • ANTI-EXEMPTION EDITORIALS A PRELUDE TO THURSDAY'S HEARINGS

         With House hearings on baseball's anti-trust exemption set
    for Thursday, more editorialists are using the issue as a way to
    sound their disapproval over the cancellation of the season,
    playoff and World Series.
         TAKING EXEMPTION TO THE RULE:  BUSINESS WEEK:  "With
    million-dolar salaries and billion-dollar television deals, the
    idea that baseball is not a business is simply ludicrous. ...
    With the 1994 season called on account of greed, the message is
    clear:  Yank the antitrust exemption and let baseball get back to
    its business -- entertaining the fans" (BUSINESS WEEK, 9/26).
    The PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER:  "Baseball deserves no special
    protection from the consequences of its stupidity arrogance and
    greed" (INQUIRER, 9/18).  The ATLANTA CONSTITUTION:  "The
    American public is not helpless in this mess.  Through their
    elected representatives, they have the ability to withdraw the
    anti-trust exemption that allows the baseball owners to act as
    they have" (CONSTITUTION, 9/18).  USA TODAY:  "Without the
    antitrust exemption, there would be no baseball strike.  If
    Congress repeals the exemption, the strike will end. ... No
    logical or legal reason exists why 28 businesses should enjoy
    antitrust immunity" (USA TODAY, 9/19).
         WHAT TO EXPECT THIS WEEK:  Rep. Jim Bunning (R-KY), a former
    player, has intorduced a bill co-sponsored by Reps. Major Owens
    (D-NY) and Mike Synar (D-OK) that would give the players "the
    right to seek an injunction under anti-trust laws if owners were
    to unilaterally impose working conditions."  The hearings, to be
    held before the House Judiciary Commitee, will include testimony
    from Acting Commissioner Bud Selig, MLBPA Exec Dir Don Fehr,
    Royals Player Rep David Cone, and possibly others.  While House
    Judiciary Committee Chair Jack Brooks (D-TX) hasn't taken a
    position, he is considered an exemption foe (Colin Miner, N.Y.
    POST, 9/17).  Fehr: "There had been a belief in Washington that
    things will work out, that the owners can't be that arrogant.
    Now that they know they were wrong, maybe there will be action"
    (N.Y. POST, 9/19).  David Rosenbuam writes, "Chances are slight
    that generations of inertia can be overcome in the month
    remaining in this session of Congress" (N.Y. TIMES, 9/18).  In
    BUSINESS WEEK, Aaron Bernstein: "Although the owners have won
    this battle in the past, public anger over another lost season
    could stiffen congressional attitudes" (BUSINESS WEEK, 9/26
    issue).
    

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  • CFL "SOLICITS" DEAL FOR US TELEVISION

         At a league meeting in Toronto, CFL commissioner Larry Smith
    told owners that he had "solicited TV contract offers from two US
    carriers."  Although they were not identified, Baltimore owner
    Jim Speros confirmed that neither was CBS.  Any TV deal would
    mean adding up to four more franchises in the U.S. Among the
    cities mentioned for possible expansion: Memphis, St. Louis,
    Oakland, Orlando, San Antonio, New York and Los Angeles.  New
    York and L.A. are seen as the big draw for the TV executives (Ken
    Murray, Baltimore SUN, 9/18).
    

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  • NFL AND OFFICIALS SAID TO BE CLOSE TO A COMPROMISE

         CNN, Fox, and NBC's NFL  pre-game shows all reported that a
    strike by NFL officials should be avoided this week via the
    league's proposal presented this past weekend.  The deal offers a
    50% pay increase, tripled pensions, and addresses the pension
    concerns of some retired officials.  CNN's Len Pasquarelli says
    agent Tom Condon, who represents the officials, thinks the offer
    is a "viable starting point" to take to the official's executive
    board.  Pasquarelli called Condon "guardedly optimistic" ("NFL
    Preview," CNN, 9/18).  Fox's James Brown said "representatives
    for NFL officials will recommend that they accept the offer on
    the table" ("NFL Sunday," Fox, 9/18).  On "NFL Live," NBC's Will
    McDonough:  "Both sides feel that a deal could be agreed on by
    mid-week" ("NFL Live," NBC, 9/18).
         THE NUMBERS:  Under the proposal, a 20-year official would
    receive $36,000 in pension benefits, $5,000 a game in '95 and
    $80,000 in severance pay (USA TODAY, 9/19).
    

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  • NFL GETS BIG LEGAL WIN OVER PATS FORMER OWNER

         The 1st Circuit Court of Appeals threw out the $51M
    antitrust judgment won by former Patriots owner William Sullivan
    against the NFL in '91 and ordered a new trial.  The decision,
    written by Chief Justice Juan Torruella, found that U.S. District
    Court Judge Edward Harrington "erred by not instructing the jury
    to consider several key aspects of the case."  Sullivan, on
    having to go back to trial: "I can't wait to get back into the
    arena again.  Of course I'll do it.  I've been in this thing for
    30 years and I've had my block knocked off by people of little
    consequence."  Sullivan had brought suit against 21 of the NFL's
    27 teams for its policy prohibiting public ownership.  Sullivan
    said the policy had stopped him in '87 from selling 49% of the
    Patriots in a public offering.  He ended up selling the team to
    Victor Kiam for about $83.7M.  Sullivan sued the NFL in '91 for
    $116M in damages, charging that the policy against public
    ownership forced him to sell the team at a lower price (May &
    Grunwald, BOSTON GLOBE, 9/17).  The NFL said the court's ruling
    undid a "travesty" against the league (Joseph Rebello, WALL
    STREET JOURNAL, 9/19).  Will McDonough calls Sullivan's suit
    "contrived," and adds, "Justice has been served" (BOSTON GLOBE,
    9/17).
    

    Print | Tags: Leagues and Governing Bodies, New England Patriots, NFL
  • NHL PLAYERS TAKE SHOT AT PROPOSAL AMID THREATS OF WALKOUT

         The NHLPA on Friday presented Commissioner Gary Bettman with
    what the union believes is a "last best hope" for a Collective
    Bargaining Agreement before the start of the season, October 1st
    (Mark Everson, N.Y. POST, 9/17).  The NHLPA proposal involves a
    complex 5% tax on salaries and gate receipts which the players
    contend would raise $35M in added revenue for small-market teams.
    But leagues officials said they are skeptical, "fearing" that it
    does not provide enough revenue sharing for small-market teams
    such as Winnipeg and Quebec (CANADIAN PRESS/TORONTO SUN, 9/19).
    NHLPA president Mike Gartner labeled the proposal as a "very
    novel idea": "We've looked at their concerns, such as the
    difference in revenue between big and small market teams, and
    tried to address them" (CP/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS, 9/17).
         STILL LOOKS LIKE A LOCKOUT:  Despite the recent talks,
    speculation remains "rife that a lockout would likely last into
    December" (N.Y. POST, 9/17).  Lightning GM Phil Esposito: "If we
    don't get an agreement, there will be a stoppage. ... We refuse
    to get into a baseball scenario" (TAMPA TRIBUNE, 9/18).  In
    Boston, Kevin Dupont writes: "They aren't going to find a cash-
    flow formula in less than two weeks" (BOSTON GLOBE, 9/18).  Talks
    are expected to resume in New York tomorrow, at which time
    Bettman will respond to the NHLPA proposal (GLOBE & MAIL, 9/19).
         PRE-EMPTIVE STRIKE?  NHL management was "shaken" Friday by a
    rumor that the NHLPA plans to strike before the season begins
    October 1.  An "upset" NHL official explained that the players
    were considering a strike because of the rollbacks that Bettman
    had imposed early this month.  But the NHLPA denied any strike
    rumors (N.Y. POST, 9/17).
         SMOKE SCREEN?  "There are many players who feel the salary-
    cap issue is a smokescreen for the owners' real target" of salary
    arbitration.  Speculation has arisen that the owners plan to
    offer concessions on the NHL's restrictive free agency system in
    hopes of eliminating arbitration permanently.  But Gartner
    indicated that the players will be unwilling to bend on the issue
    of salary arbitration (GLOBE & MAIL, 9/17).
         WILL PLAYERS CRACK ON ROOKIE CAP?  Oilers Player Rep Kelly
    Buchberger on Friday suggested that the players would be willing
    to agree to a cap on rookie salaries to resolve the dispute
    (CP/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS, 9/17).
    

    Print | Tags: Edmonton Oilers, Leagues and Governing Bodies, NHL, Palace Sports & Entertainment, Tampa Bay Lightning
  • NO GUARANTEE FOR PRESIDENT'S CUP RETURN TO VIRGINIA

         Despite the success of this weekend's President's Cup, there
    is no guarantee that the PGA Tour event will return to the Robert
    Trent Jones Golf Club in Lake Manassas, VA, in '96.  RTJ
    President Bobby Russell said the club and the PGA Tour "have a
    handshake agreement on holding the event here again in two
    years," although there is no guarantee on its return.  PGA Tour
    Commissioner Tom Finchem is concerned about the limited viewing
    area for the spectators, which reduces the amount of tickets that
    can be sold.  There is a "desire to expand the event, which might
    mean bigger ticket sales now that the Tour will have two years to
    sell the event" (John Hawkins, WASHINGTON TIMES, 9/19).
    

    Print | Tags: Leagues and Governing Bodies, PGA Tour
  • OWNERS FACE TIMETABLE DECISION ON IMPOSING SALARY CAP

         The major decision facing the owners is whether to declare
    an impasse and implement their salary cap system, and
    "implementation seems to be the most critical step."  One source
    on the players' side said management "might be having second
    thoughts because the strike has drastically changed the clubs'
    economic position and the change could affect the proposed
    payroll cap."  The source said if the owners do implement, "they
    might first alter their proposal to account for the change and
    offer it to the union" (Murray Chass, N.Y. TIMES, 9/17).  Bill
    Madden writes, "Judging by what has happened so far, you have to
    believe the owners are intent on implementing their system (N.Y.
    DAILY NEWS, 9/18).
         NO WAY, NO HOW:  Former MLBPA Exec Dir Marvin Miller: "I can
    think of no terms, no conditions of employment that would produce
    a settlement that would be ratified by a majority of the players
    and by 21 or more of the 28 owners. (Frank Fitzpatrick,
    PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 9/17).
         IN THE LINE OF FIRE:  One attorney "familiar with such
    matters" said Bud Selig's dual role as small-market owner and
    acting commissioner "has its perils": "What would really get him
    in trouble is if some franchise goes broke and then a trustee or
    somebody who comes in to run the club brings a lawsuit because of
    his conflict of interest.  And, clearly he has a serious conflict
    of interest" (Frank Fitzpatrick, PHILA. INQUIRER, 9/18).  Selig
    is pictured on the cover of Sunday's NEW YORK TIMES MAGAZINE --
    sitting at a table with a bat in front of him (N.Y. TIMES, 9/18).
         DEATH TO TBN?  The fact that a work stoppage ensures the
    owners will revisit The Baeball Network provides "one possible
    explanation" why Yankees owner George Steinbrenner "has gone
    along so easily with the small-market owners while losing several
    million dollars more than them."  Steinbrenner:  "I think we'll
    have the right to walk.  I'm not hopeful for that [TBN] deal
    working.  You've got Fox, and CBS has to be hungry" (Jon Heyman,
    N.Y. NEWSDAY, 9/16).
         THE PLAYERS' LEAGUE:  Don Fehr "cautions against
    overexuberance" about a players' league:  "Venues are a major
    problem."  One agent:  "Are players willing to go from making $5
    million to losing $2 million?  I think not" (Peter Gammons,
    BOSTON GLOBE, 9/18).
         BRING IN THE POLITICIANS:  Representatives of the owners and
    players met with a committee of the U.S. Conference of Mayors,
    which is expected to take up the issue of the strike at its
    meeting this week in Knoxville, TN.  Cities with MLB franchises
    are considering a lawsuit that would focus on violations of
    stadium leases as well as lost jobs and tax revenue due to the
    strike (AP/mult., 9/17).
         CUTBACKS:  In a meeting with about 110 Cardinal and Civic
    Center employees, Cardinals President Mark Lamping said that no
    front-office employees would be laid off (Rick Hummel, ST. LOUIS
    POST-DISPATCH, 9/17).  However, the Padres and A's could not
    afford to maintain their full staff.  On Friday, Padres President
    Dick Freeman announced the firing of half the team's
    administrative staff, including the team's publicity head (AP,
    9/17).  The A's also announced a layoff of 17 out of 71 front
    office workers.  A's President & GM Sandy Alderson:  "We held the
    line as long as we could" (AP, 9/16).  Thirteen teams have
    decided not to participate in the Arizona Instructional League
    this fall (TAMPA TRIBUNE, 9/18).  A vote on the fate of the
    Arizona League will be held this week (Peter Gammons, BOSTON
    GLOBE, 9/18).
         OPEN HOUSE:  The Cardinals will open Busch Stadium to the
    fans next Sunday.  Admission and parking will be free.  Fans will
    be able to tour the clubhouses, press box and play on the field
    (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 9/17).
    

    Print | Tags: Anheuser Busch, CBS, Leagues and Governing Bodies, MLB, New York Yankees, News Corp./Fox, Oakland Athletics, San Diego Padres, Viacom, YankeeNets
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