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  • GUTKOWSKI'S OUSTING IS NOT TAKEN WELL BY NEW YORK PRESS

         Bob Gutkowski was "forced out" yesterday as president of
    Madison Square Garden, "becoming the first casualty of the sports
    and entertainment complex's proposed" $1.075B acquisition by ITT
    and Cablevision Systems.  Officially, Gutkowski said he resigned,
    but according to one person familiar with the situation, "he was
    dismissed" Monday at the request of the new owners by Viacom
    President Frank Biondi.  Biondi: "It was evident that Bob and
    [the new owners] were not in sync."  Viacom named Knicks
    President Dave Checketts as Gutkowski's interim replacement, and
    President of the newly created MSG Sports Group, directly in
    charge of the Rangers and Knicks.  Rangers President Neil Smith
    will report to Checketts (Richard Sandomir, N.Y. TIMES, 9/21).
    Several MSG sources claim Gutkowski was "devastated" by the
    timing of the upheaval (Fred Kerber, N.Y. POST, 9/21).      TEAMS
    FOR SALE?  Frank Brown notes that if the Knicks and Rangers are
    sold, Checketts' current position could mean "one fewer firing by
    incoming owners who may want somebody else.  Nike often has been
    mentioned as a prospective buyer of the Knicks; while no names of
    potential purchasers have surfaced on the Rangers' front" (N.Y.
    DAILY NEWS, 9/21).
         BIG APPLE REAX:  Headline over Phil Mushnick's column:
    "Garden Plot Sickens -- More bad moves to follow Gutkowski
    firing."  Without Gutkowski, Mushnick predicts the quality of MSG
    Network will go down.  "Gutkowski assiduously protected the
    separation of church and state; i.e., the right of MSG Network
    personnel to serve the interests of viewers before the interests
    of the Garden's teams."  Mushnick also notes the possibility of
    the Devils and Nets leaving.  The Devils' and Nets' contracts
    with Cablevision's SportsChannel expire in '98 & '96
    respectively.  "SC and MSG Network, once the only real
    competitors for local teams' sports rights, will be controlled by
    the same company.  Therefore, the only existing company that
    would bid for TV rights to the Devils and Nets owns the teams/or
    the TV rights of clubs that compete against them in the same
    market" (N.Y. POST, 9/21).  George Vecsey writes, "Time moves
    fast in corporate America" (N.Y. TIMES, 9/21).  Bob Raissman
    notes the contract dispute between the Rangers and Mark Messier:
    "If Messier is not in uniform soon, there will hell to pay.
    ITT/Cablevision will be cast in the role of villains.  No spin-
    doctoring by Checketts can erase that" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 9/21).
    

    Print | Tags: Cablevision, Franchises, Madison Square Garden, New Jersey Devils, Brooklyn Nets, New York Knicks, Nike, Viacom, YankeeNets
  • NFL FRANCHISE NOTES

         RAMS:  In Washington, Mark Maske reports that Orioles owner
    Peter Angelos met with Raiders owner Al Davis.  He "apparently
    received advice from Davis" about dealing with the league,
    especially on issues having to do with relocation.  Angelos and
    MD Gov. William Donald Schaefer were in Southern CA over the
    weekend to meet with Rams President John Shaw (WASHINGTON POST,
    9/21).
         BROWNS:  In Cleveland, Bud Shaw's column on Browns coach
    Bill Belichick noted that last Sunday's crowd was the smallest
    for a September home game in nine years and "only the fourth such
    paltry turnout in 20 seasons."  Shaw notes that the size of the
    crowd was reminiscent of the crowd sizes in the final coaching
    years of both Sam Rutigliano and Nick Skorich (CLEVELAND PLAIN
    DEALER, 9/20).
         MORT REPORT:  ESPN's Chris Mortenson notes that if Jimmy
    Johnson goes to the Bucs it would "inflate the team's price tag,"
    similar to the Patriots after hiring Bill Parcells
    ("Sportscenter," 9/20).
    

    Print | Tags: Anheuser Busch, Baltimore Orioles, Cleveland Browns, ESPN, Franchises, New England Patriots, Oakland Raiders, St. Louis Rams, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Walt Disney
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