SBD/17/Leagues Governing Bodies

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  • BASEBALL HELD HOSTAGE -- DAY 97: TALKS RESUME TODAY

         The "stalled" baseball negotiations are "expected to move
    forward today for the first time" since the players went on
    strike on August 12.  But, according to Peter Schmuck in this
    morning's Baltimore SUN, "it remains unclear whether a new
    proposal devised by owners will be attractive enough to the union
    to end the stalemate."  Management's salary cap proposal is now
    "off the table," but it will be replaced with a taxation plan
    that is intended to have a similar effect on team payrolls
    (Baltimore SUN, 11/17).  "There is at least a sliver of hope that
    the negotiating between representatives of owners and striking
    players over the next few days could lead to a settlement" (Mark
    Maske, WASHINGTON POST, 11/17).  The players "remain leery" that
    the owners' tax plan will be "nothing more than a salary cap with
    a different name" (Joel Sherman, N.Y. POST, 11/17).  The owners'
    6-member bargaining committee -- Red Sox CEO John Harrington,
    Rockies Chair Jerry McMorris, Braves President Stan Kasten,
    Phillies Exec VP David Montgomery, Brewers VP Wendy Selig-Preib,
    former Cardinals President Stuart Meyer, and management
    negotiator Richard Ravitch -- met in DC yesterday, "applying the
    finishing touches to the owners' new proposal."  They were to
    meet with Mediator Bill Usery last night (Mark Maske, WASHINGTON
    POST, 11/17).
         HALF-FULL, HALF-EMPTY OR LEAKING?  Braves pitcher Tom
    Glavine: "We're so far apart it's hard to believe something will
    change so quickly, but a lot depends on the tone set early"
    (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 11/17).  Peter Schmuck: "If the owners
    were willing to make a significant compromise, why would they
    wait until after they lost two months of the regular season,
    their first 3-tiered playoffs and hundreds of millions of dollars
    in ticket and television revenue."  But Schmuck also notes that
    the owners "have a growing sense of urgency.  They would like a
    new economic system in place before" the December deadlines on
    re-signing players or signing free agents (Baltimore SUN, 11/17).
         NEWS & NOTES:  According to Joel Sherman in the N.Y. POST,
    Usery is being paid $120,000 a month to mediate the situation
    (N.Y. POST, 11/17).  In L.A., Ross Newman notes that Usery "has
    clearly had a persuasive impact, urging both sides to rethink
    their positions" (L.A. TIMES, 11/17). ....Murray Chass examines
    the GMs' Winter Meetings in Phoenix, under the headline: "With
    Hands Tied by Talks, Traders Can't Shuffle Their Decks" (N.Y.
    TIMES, 11/17).
    

    Print | Tags: Atlanta Braves, Boston Red Sox, Colorado Rockies, Leagues and Governing Bodies, Milwaukee Brewers, Philadelphia Phillies, Time Warner
  • HOCKEY HELD HOSTAGE -- DAY 48: GM'S VENT IN "GROUP RANT"

         NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and NHLPA Exec Dir Bob
    Goodenow meet again today, but based on the media breakfast held
    yesterday by the league's 26 GMs, "there is little hope" the
    talks will produce any movement.  The 26 GMs "collectively
    accused Goodenow ... of negotiating in bad faith.  Or in the
    words of a couple of general managers, of refusing to negotiate
    at all" (David Shoalts, Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 11/17).  "What was
    supposed to be a congenial meeting turned hostile when the
    question of financial reporting procedures was raised" (CANADIAN
    PRESS/Vancouver PROVINCE, 11/17).  Oilers President & GM Glen
    Sather:  "I had our player rep to my house and I showed him the
    information on our team and he said, 'Wow, is that real?'  I
    said, 'Do you think I want to go to jail?  We've already got one
    guy in this league going to jail and I don't want to be the
    second one.'"  Sather was referring to former L.A. Kings owner
    Bruce McNall (Mult., 11/17).  In New York, Joe LaPointe, who
    calls the session an "extraordinary group rant," takes issue with
    the GMs' claims that their figures are accurate as long as they
    refuse to make full disclosure.  NHLPA attorney John McCambridge:
    "They have given us compiled revenues, but no profit and losses
    statements, no expenses and no idea of which teams are making or
    losing money except for the Rangers" (N.Y. TIMES, 11/17).
         PANTS ON FIRE:  Sather:  "I don't understand how Goodenow
    can say what we're saying isn't true.  He's calling us all
    liars."  Goodenow:  "Oh, please.  I haven't called anyone a liar.
    What I have said is that people structure their businesses
    differently and we don't want to analyze the structure of 26
    businesses. ... I have never raised this as a question of
    honesty" (Larry Brooks, N.Y. POST, 11/17).   WHAT TO EXPECT
    TODAY:  Following several reports yesterday, many observers
    expect NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman to offer a plan that cuts
    the league's proposed payroll tax from 122% to 60%.  In Toronto,
    Dave Fuller writes, "The longest work stoppage in NHL history
    could be over today if the players accept the league's new
    proposal on a luxury payroll tax."  One league source:
    "Everything else would fall into place if they agree to the tax"
    (TORONTO SUN, 11/17).  Maple Leafs GM Cliff Fletcher will join
    the Devils' Lou Lamoriello, the Bruins' Harry Sinden and the
    Flyers' Bobby Clarke on the league's side of the table today.
    The NHLPA will not expand its negotiating team (Larry Brooks,
    N.Y. POST, 11/17).  Sinden confirmed that today's talks will be
    held in Boston (BOSTON GLOBE, 11/17).   ARBITRATION:  In Tampa,
    Roy Cummings reports the league may be prepared to offer a new
    system in which players become temporary free agents (30 days)
    after winning an arbitration case, with the team retaining all
    rights to match any offer.  If the player doesn't get a better
    price, he would have to return at the team's original arbitration
    offer (TAMPA TRIBUNE, 11/17).  Sinden on the union's offer to
    allow two-way contracts and eliminate salary arbitration for
    rookies:  "I described it as giving a canoe to an Arab.  In the
    last 20 years, we've probably had 4,000 draftees.  Not one, to my
    knowledge, even went to arbitration.  And I'd say 95 percent of
    all the draft choices are on two-way contracts anyway" (Jeff
    Jacobs, HARTFORD COURANT, 11/17).
         ROOKIE RESTRICTIONS:  In Toronto, Al Strachan writes that
    some entry-level restrictions is the "spark that could ignite the
    process."  He proposes either extending a team's rights to an
    unsigned rookie from two years to three or bonding a draftee to a
    team until he's 22.  The players might accept the first option in
    return for more freedom for veteran players (TORONTO SUN, 11/17).
         D-DAY?  Bettman: "I'm frustrated, I'm sure the players are
    frustrated.  I'm not going to throw up my hands and rush off
    until I have no choice and we're not at that stage yet.
    Although, I think we'd all agree we're getting periously close to
    that point" ("Sports Tonight," CNN, 11/16).
    

    Print | Tags: Boston Bruins, Comcast-Spectacor, Edmonton Oilers, Leagues and Governing Bodies, Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, New Jersey Devils, NHL, Philadelphia Flyers, Time Warner, Toronto Maple Leafs, YankeeNets
  • MAJOR LEAGUE SOCCER MAKES IT OFFICIAL, SEE YA' IN '96

         MLS Chair Alan Rothenberg made several announcements
    yesterday concerning the development of the league -- including
    new franchise cities and a list of investors.  The charter
    investors -- VA billionaire John Kluge and Metromedia Exec VP
    Stuart Subotnick, the Hunt family (owners of the Chiefs), API
    Soccer, headed by Kevin Payne, and LA Soccer Partners, headed by
    L.A. investor Marc Rapaport -- will form the financial and
    operational base for the new league that will commence play in
    April 1996.  MLS will have a minimum of 10, with possibly as many
    as 12 teams.  Additionally, Patriots owner Robert Kraft said: "I
    fully support MLS and look forward to their playing in Foxboro
    Stadium.  In 1995, I will meet with MLS officials and examine the
    opportunity to become one of the investors and team operators"
    (MLS).  Two cities were added to the franchise list, Tampa and
    Chicago.  Other cities already awarded franchises:  Washington,
    L.A., San Jose, Columbus, Foxboro/Boston, Northern NJ and Long
    Island.  The Long Island franchise will not begin until '97
    (WASHINGTON POST, 11/17).  Other candidates for franchises
    include:  Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Indianapolis, Kansas City,
    Miami, San Diego, Tulsa and at least one Canadian city (Mult.,
    11/17).   WHAT NEXT?  Rothenberg says that in the next 18 months,
    MLS will be "busy promoting itself, taking cues from the
    expansion teams in other American sports" (David Waldstein, N.Y.
    POST, 11/17).  In Hartford, Jerry Trecker implies that MLS
    merchandise may precede the actual playing of games (HARTFORD
    COURANT, 11/17).  Exhibitions between national teams and pro
    clubs will be staged in MLS-designated stadiums in '95 (Frank
    Dell'Apa, BOSTON GLOBE, 11/17).  One big change from MLS's
    original strategy is that the investors will in fact run their
    own teams.  Originally, MLS planned on running the league on a
    single-entity basis, but "when investors became reluctant to
    accept such a venture," Rothenberg shifted (Alex Yannis, N.Y.
    TIMES, 11/17).
         OTHER SOCCER NEWS:  The MLS is being challenged by the
    American Professional Soccer League, which is moving to occupy
    major markets and sign up top U.S. players before MLS gets
    started.  A press conference today in Atlanta will introduce the
    franchise's new name, logo and ad campaign (Doug Cress, ATLANTA
    CONSTITUTION, 11/17).
    

    Print | Tags: Kansas City Chiefs, Leagues and Governing Bodies, MLS, New England Patriots
  • NFL FACES LAWSUIT FROM ANOTHER FORMER PATRIOTS OWNER

         Former Patriots owner Victor Kiam filed a $450M lawsuit
    yesterday against the NFL, "saying it forced him to sell his team
    by denying his right to move it to Florida."  The suit, filed in
    U.S. District Court in Manhattan, states the NFL and its teams
    violated antitrust laws when they kept the Pats "hostage" in
    Foxboro, MA.  Named as defendants in the were the NFL and all of
    its teams except the Rams, Raiders, 49ers, Saints and Jaguars.
    Kiam: "But for the antitrust violation, I would today own a
    highly profitable professional football team with a current value
    of more than $200 million, even with the current NFL restrictions
    on ownership.  With the blocking of the moves, I was forced to
    sell a financial ailing Foxboro situation for about $103 million,
    an overall loss."  Kiam sold the team in '92 to James Orthwein,
    who in turn sold the team to Robert Kraft this year.  The suit
    was filed for Kiam by attorney Joseph Alioto, the former San
    Francisco mayor who won a $51M award for another former Patriots
    owner, Billy Sullivan, by convincing a jury that Sullivan would
    not have had to sell the team to Kiam if the league had allowed
    him to sell public stock.  That verdict was overturned in
    September by a federal appeals court (Larry Neumeister, AP/BOSTON
    HERALD, 11/17).  During his tenure as Pats owner, Kiam said he
    had offers from groups in Memphis and Jacksonville for more than
    $100M, but that his agreement with the NFL "prevented him from
    doing so" (Will McDonough, BOSTON GLOBE, 11/17).  According to
    the suit, the league rewarded the owners of the Jaguars a with
    franchise "only after they agreed to stop negotiating with Kiam
    about buying and moving the Patriots" (Colin Miner, N.Y. POST,
    11/17).  The suit also alleges that Redskins owner Jack Kent
    Cooke told several people, including MD's governor, that he and
    the NFL would never permit a team in Baltimore to compete for
    fans with the Redskins.  Baltimore is one of the cities listed as
    interested in being home to the Pats (AP/HERALD, 11/17).
    

    Print | Tags: Jacksonville Jaguars, Leagues and Governing Bodies, New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints, NFL, Oakland Raiders, San Francisco 49ers, St. Louis Rams, Washington Redskins
  • WBC TAKES A STAND AGAINST CA'S PROP 187

         WBC President Jose Sulaiman announced that the WBC will
    institute a temporary boycott of all title fights in California
    to protest the recent voter-approved Proposition 187, which bars
    public aid to illegal immigrants in the state.  Sulaiman said
    that the boycott win be in effect from November 22 through March
    30, 1995.  In addition, Sulaiman said that any Mexican boxer who
    fights in CA during that period will be barred from WBC matches
    for two years: "The boycott is against the governor of
    California, for promoting a racist and inhumane law" (L.A. TIMES,
    11/16).
    

    Print | Tags: Leagues and Governing Bodies
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