SBD/7/Leagues Governing Bodies

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  • HOCKEY HELD HOSTAGE -- DAY 38: TALKS TO RESUME THIS WEEK

         While meetings between the NHL and its players' union are
    expected to resume this week, "it's unclear where and when."  NHL
    Senior VP & COO Steve Solomon was quoted in Europe over the
    weekend saying the deadline for a deal might be December 15.
    Maple Leafs President Cliff Fletcher was hopeful the next round
    of talks might be more productive:  "There should be a little
    greater sense of urgency.  I think we've gone through a certain
    stage where both sides now realize the resolve of the other side.
    Now it's time to make a deal" (Damien Cox, TORONTO STAR, 11/7).
         NHLPA-SPONSORED GAMES:  According to a report in this
    morning's TORONTO STAR, there are plans for an expanded
    tournament of locked-out NHL players starting in December.  The
    games will be held in non-NHL arenas in Quebec, Ontario and
    Western Canada, with U.S. arenas that were to host neutral-site
    NHL games also reported to be possible sites.  CTV would
    broadcast the games in Canada, with ESPN and ESPN2 possibly
    carrying games -- "if and when" the tourney expands to the U.S.
    (Frank Orr, TORONTO STAR, 11/7).  NHLPA Pres. Mike Gartner said
    the charity games could "eventually wind up benefitting" the
    NHLPA, if the lockout fund drops too low (Gary Miles,
    PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 11/6).
         FROM RUSSIA WITH DISGUST:  While the Russian Dream team was
    a major success among Russian hockey fans, several of the players
    "complained about the tepid participation of American corporate
    sponsors."  Igor Larionov "said he had tried unsuccessfully to
    enlist Budweiser and others to sponsor the tour, estimated to
    cost well over $500,000."  Sun Microsystems contributed $60,000,
    and other Russian sponsors, including the city of Moscow,
    "chipped in" (Alessandra Stanley, N.Y. TIMES, 11/5).
         THE POWER OF THE GREAT ONE:  The IIHF decided to remain
    neutral in regards to the planned tour of Europe by Wayne Gretzky
    and other NHL stars.  The IIHF will let the local federations
    decide whether to allow a stop by Gretzky's tour (TORONTO STAR,
    11/7).  Fasel, on Gretzky's request for support:  "What can you
    do?  Nothing.  He is so famous, but it is not so easy to organize
    the games."  Gretzky said the response has been "overwhelming,"
    adding, "The next week should shed more light on it" (CP/EDMONTON
    JOURNAL, 11/5).     IT'S GETTING UGLY OUT THERE:  Agent Rich
    Winter's suggestion for a settlement:  "Put Bettman and Goodenow
    out on Lake Superior with hockey sticks and heaters.  When the
    ice melts, the game's over" (BOSTON GLOBE, 11/6).  In Tampa, Roy
    Cummings floats the idea that Goodenow is waiting for MLBPA Exec
    Dir Don Fehr to get a deal before he gets serious in
    negotiations.  With baseball talks resuming this week, and some
    predicting a deal by December 1, Cummings writes, "Watch those
    baseball talks closely.  It would seem someone deeply involved in
    hockey is" (TAMPA TRIBUNE, 11/6).  Blues President Jack Quinn:
    "This is getting serious.  If we don't do something in the next
    two weeks, there's a chance we'll lose the season" (Dave
    Luecking, ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 11/6).  Canadiens President
    Ronald Corey:  "Without the punitive tax, we can't make a deal"
    (Jack Todd, MONTREAL GAZETTE, 11/5).  NHL Dir of Hockey Ops Brian
    Burke:  "These days, I don't have a lot of hope" (Gary Miles,
    PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 11/6).  In New York, Mark Everson writes
    under, "DROP THE PUCK, BETTMAN":  "It is time to admit the
    lockout failed and play the season under the old deal while
    talking about a new one" (N.Y. POST, 11/7).
    

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  • NBA LOOKS TO THE FUTURE OVERSEAS, AS '94-95 BEGINS

         As the NBA season was set to start on Friday night,
    including a regular-season game between the Clippers and Blazers
    in Yokohama, Japan, CNN's "Moneyline" profiled the league,
    focusing on the game's popularity in Asia.  NBA Properties
    President Rick Welts: "For the NBA, the great economic
    opportunity immediately is going to be Western Europe, Australia
    -- more mature basketball markets.  But for the NBA, we're going
    to place such a big commitment on Asia because we believe over
    the next 25 years, that's where the great opportunity will be."
    CNN's Bill Dorman says marketing basketball in Asia poses "unique
    challenges" because there are not many playground courts on which
    to cultivate the sport.  An NBA merchandise store reports sales
    of $100,000 per month, but notes that after the original NBA
    Dream Team finished playing, sales dropped by "nearly 80%."
    Athletic shoes makers are "also eager" to recapture some of that
    "marketing heat" but face "language challenges" with translating
    jargon into Japanese ("Moneyline," CNN, 11/4).
         OPENING WEEKEND REVIEWS:  Columns heralding the beginning of
    the basketball season varied between praise for the NBA for
    actually playing games, and the challenges the league faces in
    the post-Jordan/Bird/Magic era.  THE ECONOMIST:  "The problem is
    easier to spot than to solve.  Basketball is suffering a
    (temporary?) shortage of superstars and of the dynastic teams
    they produce" (ECONOMIST, 11/5 issue).  In Chicago, Bob Verdi
    writes, "The NBA has learned an audience is best held captive
    when regularly scheduled programming is not interrupted" (CHICAGO
    TRIBUNE, 11/6).  In Seattle, Jim Moore criticizes the younger NBA
    players for selfishness:  "Coaches aren't cowering yet, but by
    the turn of the century, the league could be one big grovel pit
    with managers sucking down to the employees" (SEATTLE POST-
    INTELLIGENCER, 11/5).
    

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  • SUPPORT FOR UNITED BASEBALL LEAGUE CONTINUES TO GROW

         Support among player agents for the United Baseball League
    is growing, according to Murray Chass of the N.Y. TIMES.
    Longtime agent Tony Attansio said that he has polled his clients
    about the new league and they have reacted with unanimous
    interest: "I was shocked at the response.  One hundred percent
    would go to the new league. ... Guys are fed up to their eyeballs
    with the Bud Selig-Jerry Reinsdorf nonsense."  Agent Tom Reich
    said that the new league will be able to lure players: "I think
    there would be a lot of very good players who would be willing to
    play in the new league" (N.Y. TIMES, 11/6).  In Philadelphia,
    Gary Miles writes, "Even though we don't give the UBL much of a
    shot, if it teaches the rest of baseball anything about putting
    the customer first, we can all be grateful" (PHILADELPHIA
    INQUIRER, 11/6).
    

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  • TAGLIABUE ADDRESSES REALIGNMENT, INSTANT REPLAY ON NBC

         NBC's "NFL Live" featured a taped interview between NFL
    Commissioner Paul Tagliabue and Greg Gumbel.
         LEAGUE ACCOMPLISHMENTS:  Tagliabue, asked to assess his five
    years as Commissioner: "They've been quick, and exciting and a
    good amount of fun.  It was very busy when we started, we had a
    lot on our agenda.  As you suggested, we needed to get a labor
    agreement and we needed to get peace with the Players'
    Association, and there were many other challenges.  We hadn't
    expanded in a number of years.  We've done a lot in five years."
         PROUDEST MOMENTS:  Tagliabue:  "I'm proudest of building a
    consensus within the league to accept some of these changes, and
    to accept innovation, and to be creative, and to look forward to
    new solutions.  I think that's been the key.  I think that's how
    we avoided a real disruptive strike with the players.  We got
    both sides to accept some rather dramatic changes, to accept the
    transition period and to make it work."
         REALIGNMENT:  Tagliabue said he feels "mostly hopeful" about
    league realignment after the meetings in Chicago last week:  "We
    had some very good discussions this week on realignment and I
    think there's a recognition that it's part of a broader puzzle.
    That it's part of making the league ever more attractive for the
    fans."  Gumbel asked Tagliabue if it's necessary for the league
    to be "geographically correct": "I don't think so.  You know
    rivalries are made up of a strange mix of things. ...  The fact
    that we've become too focused on geography in the NFL, I think we
    run the risk of becoming parochial."
         INSTANT REPLAY:  Instant replay is a "difficult concept to
    execute."  Tagliabue believes it is a "two dimensional tool, a
    picture" used to deal with "three-dimensional aspects of the
    game."  Tagliabue also said "It has one real negative in addition
    to the time and the interruption.  It tends to suggest the
    officials are the third team on the field and they're not.  The
    games are still won or lost by the players not the officials"
    ("NFL Live," NBC, 11/7).
    

    Print | Tags: Leagues and Governing Bodies, NBC, NFL
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