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  • ANTITRUST EXEMPTION BROUGHT BEFORE THE HOUSE TODAY

         One of the "major confrontations" between owners and players
    comes today on Capitol Hill, as the House Judiciary Committee's
    Economic and Commercial Law Subcommittee holds hearings on
    baseball's antitrust exemption (Mark Maske, WASHINGTON POST,
    9/22).  Rep. Pat Schroeder (D-CO) expects "a lot of passion"
    directed at both sides.  One baseball exec:  "It's going to be
    ugly" (Steve Fainaru, BOSTON GLOBE, 9/22).  In Hartford, Jack
    O'Connell recalls Casey Stengel's "rambling" testimony before the
    Senate in 1958:  "Not much laughter is expected today" (HARTFORD
    COURANT, 9/22).
         SCHEDULED TO TESTIFY:  Acting MLB Commissioner Bud Selig,
    MLBPA Exec Dir Don Fehr, Dodgers pitcher Orel Hershiser, NABPL VP
    Stanley Brand (representing the minors), author John Feinstein
    and Sports Fans United's Adam Kolton.  Other owners, the Red Sox'
    John Harrington and the Rockies' Jerry McMorris are expected to
    attend.
         IS THIS THE YEAR?  While Congress has often reviewed the
    exemption but taken no action, MLBPA officials "seem to regard
    this as the best chance they've ever had to get the exemption
    repealed, or at least limited."  But House Judiciary Committee
    Chair Jack Brooks (D-TX) doubts Congress will take action this
    year:  "It will probably go on into next year.  But it will be
    right at the top of the radar screen then" (Mark Maske,
    WASHINGTON POST, 9/22).  Rep. Jim Bunning (R-KY), a former player
    and co-sponsor of the bill before the House, says chances of a
    vote this year are slim:  "On a scale of 1 to 10, it's a 2,
    because this is a critical election year and there are so many
    other critical issues" (Mike Dodd, USA TODAY, 9/22).  Schroeder
    predicts baseball will be "very apt to see action" if next year's
    season seems threatened (ESPN, 9/21).  "Public anguish over the
    players' strike and the owners' cancellation of the World Series
    might help focus Congress' attention" (Thomas Mulligan, L.A.
    TIMES, 9/22).
         PRO-EXEMPTION:  Giants owner Peter Magowan said without the
    exemption the "Giants would be in Florida right now."  Magowan
    added, "Congress doesn't have any business investing itself in
    the midst of a labor dispute" ("Sports Center," ESPN, 9/21).
    MLB's DC lobbyist Gene Callahan, comparing the movements of
    franchises in other sports: "Fan stability is the Number 1 reason
    here" ("Morning Edition," NPR, 9/22).  The NABPL's Brand "will
    tell the committee that the minors could be devastated if
    baseball loses the exemption" (Thom Loverro, WASHINGTON TIMES,
    9/22).
    

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  • ATP FANFEST GOES DOWN UNDER

         The ATP Tour FanFest, the miniature tennis theme park
    featuring skill contests, video games, exhibits and virtual
    reality machines, will make its international debut September 28-
    October 3, at Sydney's Darling Harbour -- one of the country's
    premiere tourist attractions.  The FanFest tour, sponsored by
    IBM, has previously stopped in Indian Wells, Key Biscayne,
    Atlanta, Washington, DC, Cincinnati and Long Island.  The goal is
    to add to the entertainment and fun of tennis and develop new and
    younger fans.  While the FanFest tour is sponsored by IBM, SEGA
    is sponsoring one of the tennis video games (THE DAILY).
    

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  • HOW HARD IS THE NFL CAP? 18 NFL TEAMS ARE OVER THE LIMIT

         In this morning's WASHINGTON POST, David Aldridge writes
    that 18 of the league's 28 teams are spending more than the
    $34.608M limit on player salaries.  All 18 teams are technically
    under the cap, but the teams' total expenditures include monies
    such as signing bonuses paid to players this season.  For cap
    purposes, however, signing bonuses are prorated over the length
    of a player's contract, even if the team has already given the
    player his signing bonus in total.  In addition, some incentives
    count against next year's cap.  According to these figures, the
    NFL cap is not the "hard" cap that it has been called, but is
    instead a "much softer cap."  NFLPA Exec Dir Gene Upshaw: "The
    cap is adjustable.  ... Quit talking about 34 point 6 [million];
    this is what they're spending.  We all know what the cap is."
    The following are NFL payrolls, according to figures obtained by
    the POST (WASHINGTON POST, 9/22):
         TEAM         IN MILLIONS      TEAM       IN MILLIONS
         Redskins       $42.597        Browns       $34.859
         Cardinals      $42.492        49ers        $34.630
         Seahawks       $40.562        Eagles       $34.630
         Patriots       $39.811        Bills        $34.613
         Colts          $38.955        Giants       $34.325
         Lions          $38.415        Bears        $34.150
         Chargers       $38.332        Vikings      $33.928
         Oilers         $38.255        Rams         $33.571
         Saints         $38.248        Bucs         $32.132
         Chiefs         $37.822        Bengals      $31.855
         Raiders        $37.741        Cowboys      $31.344
         Falcons        $36.330        Dolphins     $31.276
         Jets           $35.658        Broncos      $31.196
         Packers        $35.226        Steelers     $30.888
         SALARY CAP CASE STUDY:  One element of Deion Sanders'
    contract with the 49ers includes a $5M option year in 1995.  But
    49ers President Carmen Policy explained that the $5M option was
    put in to make Sanders an unrestricted free agent.  The contract
    calls for a payment to Sanders of $3M on February 18, 1995.  If
    the 49ers decline payment, then Deion will become a unrestricted
    and unconditional free agent.  Policy said that a payment of $3M
    to Sanders would be an "impossibility" and said called the deal a
    "one-year adventure" (Clark Judge, SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 9/22).
         CLARIFICAITION:  Tuesday's story in THE SPORTS BUSINESS
    DAILY on the NBA salary cap should have stated that a judge
    allowed the NBA to void Horace Grant's contract by refusing to
    issue a summary judgment in the case.  The judge did not rule
    that the contract violated the salary cap.
    

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  • IT'S BACK TO WASHINGTON ON THURSDAY FOR BASEBALL

         Richard Ravitch, chief negotiator for the owners, and
    representatives of the MLBPA are scheduled to testify before the
    House Education and Labor Committee's Subcommittee on Labor-
    Management Relations on Thursday.  MLBPA Exec Dir Don Fehr is not
    expected to appear.  Subcommittee Chairman Pat Williams (D-MT)
    proposes convening a 3-member arbitration board -- one owner rep,
    one MLBPA rep and one member of the American Arbitration
    Association -- on February 1 if there is no settlement by then.
    Williams:  "Binding arbitration should only be a last resort. ...
    But I find myself seething about this strike.  I'm having this
    hearing as a fan who happens to be the chairman of this
    subcommittee.  I've made up my mind to raise legislative hell to
    get this thing settled" (Mark Maske, WASHINGTON POST, 9/27).
         THE NEW LEAGUE:  Agent Tom Selakovich said details on a new
    baseball league "could be forthcoming in 10 days":  "I wouldn't
    call it a joke."  Dick Moss, the "main mover" behind the league
    as well as a similar plan "stillborn" in 1989, still expects to
    make his announcement on October 19.  Agent Scott Boras:  "Dick
    has a network left from the 1989 plan and he's said to have
    principals willing to invest."  Cubs Player Rep Randy Myers said
    there are "10-plus corporations" and "a couple of broadcasting
    stations" willing to sign on (Jim Byers, TORONTO STAR, 9/27).
         DON FEHR'S TOUR OF AMERICA:  56 players attended a briefing
    by Don Fehr in Chicago yesterday -- the 4th of seven stops.
    White Sox slugger Frank Thomas:  "We're digging in" (Jerome
    Holtzman, CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 9/27).
         SCENES FROM AN ITALIAN RESTAURANT:  Orioles Owner Peter
    Angelos said his private meeting with Fehr in Little Italy
    Saturday was done without the knowledge of MLB officials.  But he
    made no apologies:  "It would be helpful if Don Fehr and his
    associates had personal contact on a periodic basis with every
    owner in the major leagues, both American and National. ... What
    I was doing is what all owners should do" (Mark Hyman, Baltimore
    SUN, 9/27).
    

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  • NBA AND PLAYERS STILL HAVE NOTE MET ABOUT LABOR DISPUTE

         "With training camp due to begin a week from Friday, the NBA
    may be close to joining the pro sports labor battleground."
    Yesterday, 76ers owner Harold Katz, who sits on the league's
    labor relations committee, addressed the issue of a possible
    lockout: "Anything is possible.  I'm hopeful that it just doesn't
    come to that, but that's a possibility.  And it's possible that
    that won't come to pass, either.  I don't want it to happen under
    any circumstances."  Owners and players have not met since the
    collective bargaining agreement expired in June.  The players
    have been to court twice in three months "trying to challenge the
    legality of the draft, the salary cap and restricted free
    agency."  Katz said that NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman's
    reasoning is right -- to postpone the season rather than play
    without an agreement.  The next date to watch in the NBA is
    October 5, when the owners meet in New York (Frank Lawlor,
    PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 9/27).  A report in Dallas notes that both
    sides consider a lockout in the NBA "unlikely" (DALLAS MORNING
    NEWS, 9/27).
    

    Print | Tags: Comcast-Spectacor, Leagues and Governing Bodies, NBA, NHL, Philadelphia 76ers
  • NFL EXPANSION STOCKING PLAN DUE OUT NEXT WEEK

         The NFL's "stocking plan" for its two expansion teams is
    expected to finalized next Wednesday when league owners convene
    outside Dallas for a special meeting.  It had been thought that
    the Jaguars and Panthers would not learn the specifics of the
    player stocking plan until October.  However, a league official
    said yesterday, "It looks as if the plan will be finalized next
    week."  The NFL's planned agenda for the two-day meeting is to
    address the stocking plan on Wednesday and realignment on
    Thursday.  "There is not expected to be a decision on
    realignment."  More likely, realignment will be addressed in more
    detail when the league holds its fall meetings November 1-2 in
    Chicago (Pete Prisco, FLORIDA TIMES-UNION, 9/22).
         STUCK ON STOCKING:  Several key issues of the stocking plan
    "have been major sticking points," including when the two
    expansion teams would be free to renegotiate the contracts of the
    veteran players they select in the allocation draft.  The league
    had pushed for a July date, but the teams wanted an earlier date.
    It now appears the date will be in April.  Another issue has been
    which roster would be used for the allocation draft.  The
    expansion teams want to use the opening day rosters, which would
    prevent teams from signing players at the end of the season for
    the "primary purpose of exposing them to the expansion teams."
    The teams may also have one extra draft pick per round allocated
    to them in the regular draft in their first three years of
    existence (FLORIDA TIMES-UNION, 9/22).
         SUPER BOWL, COMING TO A STADIUM NEAR YOU?  The NFL Super
    Bowl Policy committee will meet this week with representatives of
    Miami and San Francisco, the two finalists for the 1999 Super
    Bowl.  A decision could be made at the owners meeting in
    November.  The Committee will "also be assessing the field for
    2000:  Atlanta, Tampa Bay, Los Angeles, Tempe, and the runner up
    of '99, with a decision on 2000 coming late next year (Larry
    Weisman, USA TODAY, 9/22).
    

    Print | Tags: Jacksonville Jaguars, Leagues and Governing Bodies, NFL
  • NFL OWNERS MEETING HAS FULL PLATE OF STOCKING AND REALIGNING

         NFL owners meet tomorrow and Thursday in Dallas to vote on a
    stocking plan for the two expansion teams and to continue
    discussions on realignment.
         STOCKING PLAN:  The executive committee of the NFL
    Management Council is scheduled to meet tonight to finalize its
    stocking plan for the Panthers and the Jaguars.  It is expected
    that the 28 existing teams will have to expose only 5-7 players
    each in the expansion draft.  And, instead of getting "as many as
    21 additional draft picks over the next three years, as was
    originally considered, Carolina and Jacksonville may get only 10
    to 14 extra picks apiece over that span."  Mark Richardson,
    Director of Business Operations for the Panthers, "fears the
    Panthers will field a poor product not because of any front-
    office shortcomings, but 'we're not going to have access to
    talented players.'"  The exposed lists will probably consist of
    older players with higher salaries, or players with injury
    problems (Jim Thomas, ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 9/27).
         REALIGNMENT:  There probably will be no resolution on
    realignment, but it is beginning to look like the Panthers and
    Jaguars will be "plugged into the four-team division," with the
    Panthers in the NFC West and the Jags in the AFC Central (Gary
    Myers, N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 9/27). In Tampa, Pat Yasinskas notes that
    because of the Jaguars and the Bucs overlapping TV rights, the
    two teams most likely will not be placed in the same conference.
    There has been talk that the Bucs and Colts might switch
    divisions so that the Dolphins and Bucs could play twice a year.
    Bucs VP Rich McKay said last week the team would like to develop
    the in-state rivalry but it is not "displeased" with the NFC
    Central.  However the NFC Central may be "displeased" with the
    Bucs.  Lions VP Chuck Schmidt: "Clearly, we want Carolina
    replacing Tampa."  Schmidt noted that the Panthers would bring in
    more than double the division's average in visitor's shares.
    Schmidt said the NFC Central has the league's lowest average
    visitor's share -- $525,000 -- and the Bucs are part of the
    reason.  NFL Dir of Communications Greg Aiello: "Financial
    benefits are a consideration that will be a part of the analysis
    for realignment" (TAMPA TRIBUNE, 9/27).  USA TODAY's Gordon
    Forbes notes that the NFL might wind up with two moves:  Atlanta
    and Arizona (9/27).
         CHARITY:  Christmas in April USA, the nation's largest
    volunteer home rehabilitation initiative, will honor the NFL on
    September 30 at its national conference in San Francisco.  NFL
    Commissioner Paul Tagliabue will accept the award on behalf of
    the league (THE DAILY).
    

    Print | Tags: Detroit Lions, Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, Leagues and Governing Bodies, Miami Dolphins, NFL, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  • NHL TALKS FIZZLE IN TORONTO AS SEASON QUICKLY APPROACHES

         Following five hours of negotiations between NHL
    Commissioner Gary Bettman and NHLPA Exec Dir Bob Goodenow in
    Toronto, prospects of a resolution prior to the start of the
    season "appeared dim."  Bettman and Goodenow will resume talks
    today, and will probably meet in New York on Thursday to continue
    the negotiations.  While Bettman contended that there is no
    deadline for a deal to avoid a postponement of the season, he did
    concede that an announcement will have to be made "sometime
    Friday morning" so that teams will be able to coordinate travel
    plans (David Shoalts, Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 9/27).  The Mighty
    Ducks have already cancelled weekend hotel reservations in Dallas
    (L.A. TIMES, 9/27).
         HOLDING THE LINE:  Bettman was not optimistic that a deal
    could be struck before Saturday: "The deadline still exists.  We
    will not open without an agreement" (Larry Brooks, N.Y. POST,
    9/27).  Bettman added: "We're not at an end point yet by any
    stretch of the imagination.  We are in better shape than if I
    said to you, 'Talks have broken off and I'm heading back to New
    York'" (TORONTO STAR, 9/27).
         BLEAK ON BOTH SIDES:  Goodenow:  "It is very clear we have a
    wide difference of opinion" (TORONTO SUN, 9/27).  Goodenow added
    the union will not sacrifice its position to avoid a "lockout."
    Sources close to the negotiations indicated that the season
    "could be delayed for months."  One negotiator said that during
    talks over the weekend "we seemed to be talking in a more serious
    vein, but something seems to have broken down between now and
    then" (Dave Fay, WASHINGTON TIMES, 9/27).  There were reports the
    players were willing to yield on a rookie salary cap in return
    for retaining arbitration rights and a mild tax on payroll and
    revenues (N.Y. POST, 9/27).  NHLPA VP Kelly Miller: "The next two
    days will show how willing the owners are to make a deal" (Mark
    Asher, WASHINGTON POST, 9/27).  The TORONTO STAR obtained a
    September 24 letter from Goodenow to the players in which he
    alleges that Bettman's negotiating tactics are designed to
    "threaten, intimidate and coerce."  From the letter:  "Simply
    put, the league is out to pressure you into accepting a series of
    takeaways and clawbacks that would otherwise be rejected out of
    hand" (TORONTO STAR, 9/27).
         POWER PLAY?  The N.Y. POST reports that Bettman and NHL
    teams have "apparently broken their word" to players and are now
    imposing September rollbacks retroactive to August.  Agent John
    MacLean: "If the owners and league management aren't going to
    bargain in good faith, then what's the point?"  MacLean said
    Bettman is "damn lucky they're hockey players.  Any other group
    would have walked by now" (N.Y. POST, 9/27).  NHLPA VP Ken
    Baumgartner: "For us to sign an agreement with the onus on major
    rollbacks, which stands today, is not in the best interest of the
    players" ("Sports Center," ESPN, 9/26).  Larry Brooks predicts
    the NHLPA "will split, sooner or later" (N.Y. POST, 9/27).
    

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  • RHETORIC INTENSIFIES AS NHL LOCKOUT TALKS CONTIUNUE

         NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and NHLPA Exec Dir Bob
    Goodenow met for more than four hours yesterday in New York.  The
    next meeting is scheduled for Monday in Toronto, though members
    of both negotiating teams will meet in the interim. While
    "there's no sense" the two sides are "bridging the enormous gap"
    between their positions, a "little something must be happening to
    keep the talks alive" (Bob McKenzie, TORONTO STAR, 9/22).  ESPN's
    Brett Haber contends that the past two days of negotiations
    accomplished little.  The players and owners "find themselves,
    largely, in the same place where they found themselves two days
    before" ("Sportscenter," 9/22).  CBS' Harry Smith:  "In a show of
    unity, NHL players shook hands before their preseason games last
    night" ("CBS This Morning," 9/22).
         BETTMAN CATCHING SOME FLAK:  Maple Leafs defenseman and
    former player rep Garth Butcher yesterday accused Bettman of
    being "far more interested" in busting the union, than of being
    concerned with the "well-being of hockey": "It's personal with
    him. ... There's right and there is wrong and what he's doing is
    not right and is not reasonable.  It's not bargaining, it's
    bullying."  Butcher added: "No one person is bigger than the
    game, but he's [Bettman] acting like he is" (Steve Simmons,
    TORONTO SUN, 9/22).  In Ottawa, Roy MacGregor writes, "It would
    not be an exaggeration to describe Bettman's recent activities as
    a textbook study in union busting" (OTTAWA CITIZEN, 9/22).
         ANOTHER SOLUTION?  In Toronto, Dave Shoalts writes that
    owners could slow "the explosion in player salaries" by "simply
    refusing to renegotiate player contracts."  Shoalts points out
    that a "good portion" of salary increases come as a result of the
    owners' "acquiescence to increasing player demands" to
    renegotiate their contracts when they see someone else get a
    raise.  Panthers President Bill Torrey: "When you do that (agree
    to renegotiate), you're asking for trouble, no question" (Toronto
    GLOBE & MAIL, 9/22).
    

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  • STRIKE NOTES: NOTHING TO FEHR BUT EXTRAVAGANCE ITSELF

         MLBPA Don Fehr held his second meeting in two days with
    union membership, this time in Tampa.  While the intended theme
    was another show of union solidarity, the "theatrics" of the
    Tigers' Lou Whitaker, who showed up in a stretch limo wearing an
    "electric blue" suit, "stole the spotlight."  Whitaker "wasn't
    lambasted, but it was clear he projected an image not favored by
    union members" (Bill Chastain, TAMPA TRIBUNE, 9/22).  Whitaker
    arrived "looking like he had gotten lost on his way to the MTV
    Awards. ... While many others questioned the message Whitaker was
    sending, he offered no apologies."  Whitaker:  "Rolls Royces,
    limos, big houses ... this is what the game can bring to you"
    (Phil Rogers, DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 9/22).  It was another "chorus
    of rah-rah solidarity," but Bill Madden writes of the players:
    "Better they should start imploring [Fehr] to make a deal. ...
    The players have accomplished nothing by walking out with seven
    weeks left in the season" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 9/22).  Fehr said
    without progress in the next several weeks, "the odds that we
    will not have a normal spring training go up astronomically"
    ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 9/21).      CHARITY SERIES:  Acting MLB
    Commissioner Bud Selig said he would take a proposal for a
    charity World Series between the Yankees and Expos proposed by
    Montreal businessman Hugh Hallward under advisement.  Fehr, on
    the proposal: "Unless and until somebody on the other side takes
    it seriously, I'm not prepared to."  Expos alternate Player Rep
    Darrin Fletcher doubted players would be interested.  Yankee
    Player Rep Paul Gibson compared it to a "celebrity softball
    event."  Giants owner Peter Magowan said there's not enough time
    to gather advertising on TV: "It's not going to happen"
    ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 9/21).  Yankees owner George Steinbrenner
    said he's interested:  "We got Yankee Stadium until Oct. 31, and
    they tell me the field's never looked better" (Jeff Blair,
    MONTREAL GAZETTE, 9/22).
         TV TALK:  Rudy Martzke reports Nike has a plan to televise
    five all-star games to be televised during World Series time in
    October.  Nike spokesperson Keith Peters:  "There's nothing to
    announce, but we are trying to put together something that's fun,
    showcases players and benefits youth sports."  Networks involved
    with baseball (ABC, NBC, Turner and Prime) "likely would pass on
    the idea or haven't been contacted."  Fox, "not wanting to upset
    baseball owners in the event it gets a chance to bid on the sport
    after 1995, also can't be discounted."  But CBS, with "no
    allegiance" to baseball after losing the sport, admitted being
    contacted with the idea (USA TODAY, 9/22).  In Chicago, Bob Verdi
    writes, "in this moment of 'grave economic problems,' it would
    behoove them to go to the ready-and-waiting Fox while the getting
    is good."  ABC Sports President Dennis Swanson, noting that there
    is another year left on ABC's and NBC's deal with The Baseball
    Network:  "We have a contract."  Adds Verdi, "Yeah, and we used
    to have a World Series, too" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 9/22).
         PLAYER MOVES:  The Yankees' Paul O'Neill said he would
    consider playing in Japan if the '95 season looks to be in
    jeopardy (Joel Sherman, N.Y. POST, 9/22).  The Marlins' Jeff
    Conine got approval from the union to go to the Marlins'
    instructional league.  His expenses will be picked up by the team
    (Pedro Gomez, MIAMI HERALD, 9/21).
    

    Print | Tags: ABC, Anheuser Busch, CBS, Detroit Tigers, ESPN, Miami Marlins, Leagues and Governing Bodies, MLB, NBC, New York Yankees, News Corp./Fox, Nike, Viacom, Walt Disney, YankeeNets
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