SBD/3/Leagues Governing Bodies

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  • ARENA FOOTBALL KEEPS GROWING, AND GROWING, AND GROWING ...

         Memphis's prospective Arena Football League expansion
    franchise "moved closer Friday to a lease for The Pyramid"   --
    the final step before the team becomes official.  AFL
    Commissioner Jim Drucker will attend a 2:30pm (CST) press
    conference today to award the franchise conditional on an arena
    lease.  The Memphis ownership group is headed by businessman
    Kevin Hunter.  The franchise would be the AFL's 15th, joining St.
    Louis, Des Moines and Hartford as new '95 members (David
    Williams, Memphis COMMERCIAL APPEAL, 10/1).
    

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  • BETTMAN DEALS WELL WITH ROLE AS "LIGHTNING ROD"

         The two sides are far apart on a labor deal.  But, "there is
    much agreement outside hockey, however, that Gary Bettman has a
    bear of a job" (John Helyar, WALL STREET JOURNAL, 10/3).
    Bettman:  "I have no choice but to be a lightning rod.  I'd
    rather not be.  But I have to be" (N.Y. TIMES, 10/1).  Gary Miles
    writes, "Like him or hate him, they couldn't ruffle him" (PHILA.
    INQUIRER, 10/2).
         CRITICS:  Ian O'Connor compares Bettman to his old boss, NBA
    Commissioner David Stern:  "If such a crisis materialized when
    the NBA was hot, when his sports revolution was just beginning to
    bloom, Stern would've worked the back rooms, would've employed
    his charm, would've been smart enough to let it all happen" (N.Y.
    DAILY NEWS, 10/2).  In St. Louis, Bernie Miklasz writes, "Is
    there a bigger knucklehead than Bud Selig?  Yes.  Gary Bettman"
    (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 10/1).  In Philadelphia, Bill Lyon
    writes, "The owners and their mouthpiece have come off looking
    petty and shortsighted and recalcitrant and just plain mule-
    stubborn" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 10/1).
         BACKERS:  In Toronto, Marge Ormsby writes, "Bettman has been
    publicly savaged and ridiculed for representing the owners in
    brilliant, sometimes ruthless, style.  Throw in the thinly veiled
    anti-Semitism, then this horrid treatment of one man is a sorry
    comment on those who purport to love hockey" (TORONTO STAR,
    10/2).  Roy Cummings writes, "Popular opinion aside, Bettman had
    to do what he did on Friday" (TAMPA TRIBUNE, 10/2).  In Winnipeg,
    Kelly Taylor notes that Bettman is hated in Toronto:  "Out here
    on the prairie ... there is some reason to believe Bettman was
    not only telling the truth, but also representing the interests
    of the Western Canadian franchises" (WINNIPEG FREE PRESS, 10/1).
    Bruins Owner Jeremy Jacobs:  "He's even better than we thought
    he'd be" (Richard Sandomir, N.Y. TIMES, 10/1).
         A LITTLE OF BOTH:  In Toronto, Stephen Brunt writes, "Hate
    him for not appreciating that of which he is a custodian, hate
    him for being an aloof hockey Philistine who is messing with your
    world.  He'll take it as a compliment for a job well done"
    (Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 10/1).  "Admirers" say Bettman "has the
    marketing savvy" of Stern.  But others feel Bettman "has
    deficiencies as a solo act" (John Helyar, WALL STREET JOURNAL,
    10/3).
         HIRED GUN?  In New York, Mark Everson speculates that
    Bettman will "be around just long enough to get a CBA done, and
    then he'll be gone -- just another 'sacrifice' that was part of
    the game plan all along" (N.Y. POST, 10/1).
         CHELIOS BACKLASH:  Chris Chelios made a more public apology
    for his comments threatening Bettman and his family.  ESPN's Karl
    Ravetch: "Once the mind realized what the mouth had said, Chris
    Chelios realized he had made a mistake" ("SportsCenter," ESPN,
    9/30).  Bob Ryan: "He's a defenseman for God's sake."  Mike
    Lupica: "He plays with one helmet, and I don't think that is
    necessarily enough for him" ("Sports Reporters," ESPN, 10/2).  In
    Boston, Kevin Paul Dupont writes, "Talk about sullying the game's
    image."  Bruins President/GM Harry Sinden saw Chelios' comments
    as union-driven and called it "well-orchestrated, heinous and
    sinister behavior" (BOSTON GLOBE, 10/2).
    

    Print | Tags: Anheuser Busch, Boston Bruins, ESPN, Leagues and Governing Bodies, NBA, Walt Disney
  • FALLOUT FROM LAST WEEK'S OWNERS MEETINGS AND OTHER NEWS

         In Atlanta, Len Pasquarelli reports some NFL owners are
    complaining about the power of "The CEC" -- the executive
    committee of the NFL's "all-powerful" Management Council.  CEC
    Members:  NFL Exec VP/Labor Relations Harold Henderson, Rams
    President John Shaw, and owners Pat Bowlen (Broncos), Mike Brown
    (Bengals), Al Davis (Raiders), Wellington Mara (Giants) and Dan
    Rooney (Steelers).  John Kent Cooke, son of Redskins owners Jack
    Kent Cooke, is also a member.  One AFC GM on the generous
    stocking plan awarded the two new franchises last week: "The
    clubs didn't even to get to vote on it.  The executive committee
    recommended it and that was that.  They could've saved us a lot
    of time by just sending us a memo instead of making us come all
    the way down here for this" (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 10/2).
         REALIGNMENT:  Most weekend reports note the NFL is not
    likely to realign, but instead slot the expansion teams in the
    two 4-team divisions: the Jaguars to the AFC Central and the
    Panthers to the NFC West (Mult., 10/1-3).  Tagliabue on
    realignment: "I don't think there will be a major reshuffling.  I
    think the feeling in the league now is, if it aint broke don't
    fix it" ("NFL Sunday," Fox, 10/2).
         WORLD LEAGUE UPDATE:  World League of American Football
    President/CEO Marc Lory has visited all six European cities
    slated to begin play Spring '95 (Dusseldorf, Barcelona,
    Frankfort, Edinburgh, London, Amsterdam).  Lory: "The tour was a
    great opportunity to visit our offices and stadiums and get to
    know the local media" (THE DAILY).
    

    Print | Tags: Cincinnati Bengals, Denver Broncos, Jacksonville Jaguars, Leagues and Governing Bodies, News Corp./Fox, NFL, Oakland Raiders, Pittsburgh Steelers, St. Louis Rams, Washington Redskins
  • NBA BOARD OF GOVERNORS HAS A FULL PLATE THIS WEEK

         The NBA Board of Governors meets tomorrow and Wednesday in
    New York and -- according to the ATLANTA CONSTITUTION -- "the
    whispers are becoming nastier and more persistent" about labor
    issues.  A rundown of some items facing the board:  SALARY CAP --
     players say the cap is "obsolete" and only "limit[s] movement
    and stifle[s] their ability to earn higher wages"; ROOKIE SALARY
    CAP -- "Besides the strong sentiment toward retaining the cap,
    owners are becoming increasingly enamored of a rookie salary
    scale that would restrict wages until a player becomes a proven
    commodity"; THE DRAFT -- owners say the two-round draft "ensures
    the competitive balance within the league," while the union
    argues it "restricts a player's right to work in a city of his
    choosing"; FREE AGENCY -- "players hope to abolish the concept of
    restricted free agency"; LICENSING/MERCHANDISING -- "many believe
    that the players' desire to immediately claim a greater share of
    licensing/merchandising revenues ultimately will prod the union
    toward compromising on other issues" (Ailene Voisin, ATLANTA
    CONSTITUTION, 10/2).
         ENDORSEMENTS, ENDORSEMENTS, ENDORSEMENTS:  In Boston, Steve
    Bulpett writes that the Board of Governors "would do well to
    recall that enlightenment is what got the league to its exalted
    status.  And that the elevator also travels downward."  A lockout
    would "be a largely senseless act," but so would a strike by the
    players -- since "the wrath of the fans would rain on them in
    financially injurious ways. ... One finds it hard to picture an
    advertiser seeking a player roundly perceived as selfish to
    endorse his or her product."  Celtics GM M.L. Carr:  "There is
    only a certain amount of outside work available for professional
    athletes and if a particular group of them falls out of favor
    with the fans and the sponsors, then someone else will be there
    to step and take over that spot.  And when you look at what's
    happened in other sports, this is the perfect time for basketball
    to ride in as the good guys with the fans" (Steve Bulpett, BOSTON
    HERALD, 10/2).
    

    Print | Tags: Boston Celtics, Leagues and Governing Bodies, NBA
  • NHL SEASON OPENER DELAYED; "IS ANYBODY IN A HURRY HERE?"

         In Toronto, Damien Cox reports, "Aside from the production
    of more evidence that both sides in the three-day-old NHL
    shutdown believe themselves to be both united and on the high
    moral ground, there was precious little progress" on Sunday
    toward a new collective bargaining agreement.  NHL Commissioner
    Gary Bettman and NHLPA Exec Dir Bob Goodenow spoke by phone, "and
    bargaining is expected to resume tomorrow in New York" (TORONTO
    STAR, 10/3).  One person from the league suggested a neutral site
    (Murray Chass, N.Y. TIMES, 10/3).  NHL VP & General Counsel
    Jeffrey Pash:  "There's room for negotiation on virtually every
    issue" (Larry Brooks, N.Y. POST, 10/1).
         POSTPONEMENT:  Bettman, announcing Friday that the start of
    the season will be postponed until October 15 in hopes of
    beginning play with an agreement:  "We want a sensible system
    because we need to make the product stronger.  If we have a
    stronger product we think we can generate more revenues for the
    benefit of everyone -- including, and especially, the players"
    (ESPN, 9/30).
         BREAKING TRAINING:  Many players returned home after the
    NHLPA announced that players would not take part in team-
    sponsored training.  The union ran an ad in papers in NHL cities
    across North America stating their case.
         SHOW THE NUMBERS:  Gare Joyce writes that Bettman and the
    NHL "have provided little in the way of material backup for their
    claims" that they are losing money.  Goodenow claims the union
    has not received "profit and loss information" (Toronto GLOBE &
    MAIL, 10/1).
         BEHIND THE SCENES:  Larry Brooks reports that Goodenow told
    the N.Y. POST that Bettman acknowledged in a negotiating session
    last week that the NHL was seeking a salary cap.  Goodenow: "Gary
    admitted to me that the league's payroll taxation proposal was a
    cap on salaries."  Bettman, who has consistently contended that
    the league's plan is not a salary cap, was unavailable for
    comment.  But the report notes that NHL ownership is willing to
    negotiate a CBA that includes revenue-sharing and guarantees
    players a percentage of all new income -- including pay-per-view
    -- if the players accept the luxury tax concept (N.Y. POST,
    10/3).  This morning's TORONTO SUN reports on a memo given to all
    owners detailing actions clubs "must take during the
    'postponement'" in terms of P.R., cost-cutting, contract
    negotiations, roster moves, front-office operations, third-party
    contracts, picketing, etc. (TORONTO SUN, 10/3).
         WHAT'S AT STAKE?  In Boston, Kevin Paul Dupont doubts the
    "conventional wisdom" that a lockout would do the NHL
    "irreparable harm":  "Chances are, hockey would survive (people
    forget), and the game has a far better chance of thriving if the
    owners can put themselves into healthier financial positions"
    (BOSTON GLOBE, 10/2).  Sports marketer Brandon Steiner: "There
    are so many new corporate sponsors and advertisers just stepping
    into the game.  You just can't have this setback.  Because that
    money, in such a competitive market place, will get funneled
    somewhere else real quick" ("Sports Weekly," ESPN, 10/2).  Mike
    Lupica:  "We are going to know something in six months that we
    don't know now.  And that's whether there's going to be a salary
    cap in sports or not" ("Sports Reporters," ESPN, 10/2).
         FROM THE PLAYERS:  Wayne Gretzky: "I don't see us playing
    hockey at Christmas time" ("Moneyline," CNN, 9/30).  Gretzky:
    "The problem we're facing here is much bigger than hockey.  It's
    a problem that faces sports in general" (ESPN, 9/30).  Flyers
    Player Rep Mark Recchi:  "We did everything possible to make the
    season go.  It's obvious that Bettman had something else on his
    agenda.  Basically, he's been lying to the association.  He's got
    to take the blame if this goes a long time" (PHILA. INQUIRER,
    10/1).  NHLPA VP Kelly Miller:  "If you have a McDonald's
    franchise and put it on the wrong street corner or manage it
    badly, it's not going to make a profit. ... I don't go along with
    the argument that sports is special" (WASH. POST, 10/1).
         FROM THE OWNERS:  Flyers Owner Ed Snider: "They should come
    to the table willing, and say let's make a deal.  They don't want
    to."  Blues GM/coach Mike Keenan: "The solution is there.  We are
    bright enough people to find a solution."  Lightning GM Phil
    Esposito: "Sit in a room, lock the doors, slap each other, I
    don't care.  Get it done" ("Sports Tonight," CNN, 9/30).  Later,
    Keenan called on Bettman and Goodenow to "stop the nonsense, set
    aside their egos, get on with the business at hand and get the
    job done" (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 10/2).  Flames Governor
    Harley Hotchkiss:  "What's really at issue here is whether a city
    like Calgary can have an NHL team" (CALGARY HERALD, 10/1).
    Panthers President Bill Torrey:  "No matter what everybody says
    about this being the wrong time, the cold, hard facts are the
    bottom line continues to get worse" (MIAMI HERALD, 10/1).
         CANADIAN ECONOMIC IMPACT:  In Manitoba alone, a protracted
    lockout would kill C$705,000 a month in Sports Select bets, says
    Wester Canada Lottery Corp. spokesperson Marlene Gockel (WINNIPEG
    FREE PRESS, 10/1).  Meanwhile, Canadian broadcasters "could be
    frozen out" of C$100M if there is prolonged NHL work stoppage.
    CBC officials are not "divulging estimates of the financial
    damage," but one CBC spokesperson said "it is going to be a
    serious number, no doubt" (Marina Strauss, Toronto GLOBE & MAIL,
    10/1).
    

    Print | Tags: Calgary Flames, Canadian Broadcasting Corp., Comcast-Spectacor, ESPN, Leagues and Governing Bodies, McDonalds, NHL, Palace Sports & Entertainment, Philadelphia Flyers, St. Louis Blues, Tampa Bay Lightning, Time Warner, Walt Disney
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