SBD/16/Leagues Governing Bodies

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  • BASEBALL EXPANSION GETS A VOTE OF CONFIDENCE

         Phillies Owner Bill Giles, a member of MLB's expansion
    committee, said that MLB owners are expected to award two
    expansion franchises by February to begin play in '97 (Bill
    Chastain, TAMPA TRIBUNE, 12/16).  But a report in the ST.
    PETERSBURG TIMES notes that Red Sox CEO John Harrington outlined
    a timetable that calls for the committee to make a recommendation
    and owners to vote on it in late January or early February.  Then
    if expansion is approved, the committee will take an additional
    4-6 weeks for a second round of interviews with the prospective
    cities.  That would put an expansion announcement in March (ST.
    PETERSBURG TIMES, 12/16).  The fee has not been set, but one
    expansion applicant estimated it would be about $125M per team.
    Several ownership sources say the vote "almost certainly will be
    to add teams."  During the labor negotiations, both sides have
    offered proposals that involved sharing money gained from
    expansion (Bill Chastain, TAMPA TRIBUNE, 12/16).
         PADRES SALE:  MLB owners "gave the go-ahead" for TV producer
    Tom Werner to sell the Padres to TX software millionaire John
    Moores.  Former Orioles President Larry Lucchino, who would run
    the team, said the sale is expected to be completed in a few
    weeks (AP/BOSTON GLOBE, 12/16).
    

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  • BASEBALL HELD HOSTAGE -- DAY 127: A STAY OF EXECUTION

         Meeting in Chicago, MLB owners agreed to extend negotiations
    with the players' union for seven more days rather than
    immediately implement their economic system.  The owners voted to
    give MLB's Executive Council the authority to implement a cap
    next Thursday if an agreement between with the union is not
    reached.  The vote was 25-3, with the Orioles, Blue Jays and Mets
    opposing.  This "fueled speculation that the previous week of
    negotiations brought the two sides closer," but Red Sox CEO John
    Harrington said "that wasn't necessarily true" (Jeffrey Flanagan,
    K.C. STAR, 12/16).  In L.A., Ross Newhan writes, "It is difficult
    to say whether [the vote] is merely the latest chapter in what
    some believe has been a shameful attempt by both sides to
    establish evidence of good-faith bargaining if that becomes an
    issue" before the NLRB (L.A. TIMES, 12/16).
         FROM THE UNION:  With the 7-day reprieve, the union agreed
    to postpone basic agreement deadlines:  arbitration offers have
    been delayed to December 23 and the December 20 deadline for
    tendering '95 contracts was put off.
         WHY THE DELAY?  It was learned that the owners approved a
    delayed implementation, "despite a warning" by an attorney for
    Mets co-owner Fred Wilpon that the owners cannot withstand a
    union challenge before the NLRB (Ross Newhan, L.A. TIMES, 12/16).
    "Maybe the owners are getting soft.  Maybe they aren't all in
    agreement.  Whatever, it was their move, and they blinked" (Tom
    Knott, WASHINGTON TIMES, 12/16).  Not everyone on the owners'
    side "was pleased with the delay."  Reds Owner Marge Schott
    "seemed agitated as she left, amid speculation she wanted to get
    on with the implementation" (Mike Shalin, BOSTON HERALD, 12/16).
    ESPN's Peter Gammons, asked if the delay was to fix the problem
    in Toronto where Ontario law prevents use of replacement players:
    "No, that's something that they will deal with in January and
    February" ("SportsCenter," 12/15).  The owners' negotiating
    committee of Harrington, Braves President Stan Kasten and Rockies
    Owner Jerry McMorris was credited with the idea of a delay.
    Negotiations are expected to resume Monday in Washington, with
    William Usery presiding.
         OTHER NEWS:  Union officials protested information published
    by the ASSCOCIATED PRESS on Monday that put union reserve fund
    assets from licensing revnues well over $100M. MLBPA Licensing
    Chief Judy Heeter called the figures "misleading and inaccurate"
    and denied that the information was leaked to the AP or any other
    news organization by the union (Bob Brill, THE BRILL REPORT,
    12/15).
    

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  • CBA ENJOYS RECORD ATTENDANCE IN OPENING WEEKS

         With 373 games remaining in the regular season, the CBA is
    on track to break last year's attendance record of 1.8M.  This
    year's numbers are 8,118 ahead of last season's average of 3,895
    per game, and the final count is expected to exceed 2 million.
    CBA Commissioner Tom Valdiserri: "I believe that this is a credit
    to our clubs, and the fact that our level of quality players is
    at an all-time high."  Much success can be attributed to the
    league's move into five new larger markets, with three of those
    new teams increasing gate totals by 10%.  The Mexico Aztecas
    report a 71.9% jump over '93-94 when the team was in Fargo, ND
    (CBA).
    

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  • HOCKEY HELD HOSTAGE -- DAY 77: SECRET TALKS CONTINUE

         The "secret subcommittees" in the NHL labor dispute met
    yesterday for the second day in a row.  One union exec:  "Real
    cloak-and-dagger stuff."  The representatives met at a secret
    location, and while the delegations were in contact with NHL
    Commissioner Gary Bettman and NHLPA Exec Dir Bob Goodenow, the
    two principals were not involved.  The NHL delegation was
    believed to include NHL Senior VP & General Counsel Jeff Pash and
    Maple Leafs President Cliff Fletcher, while the NHLPA sent
    attorneys John McCambridge and Bob Riley.  "Some of the best-
    informed executives and agents were not briefed about the talks,
    suggesting an air of sensitivity and gravity to the issues being
    discussed" (Joe Lapointe, N.Y. TIMES, 12/16).  There were no
    official plans to resume full negotiations, although the CANADIAN
    PRESS is reporting that talks are planned for the weekend.
    Fletcher:  "There will be more meetings" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE,
    12/16).
         SMALL GROUPS, BIG TALKS:  In Toronto, Bob McKenzie writes,
    "If the two sides weren't making some progress on the sticky
    systemic issues -- everything from rookie salary caps to salary
    arbitration to free agency to the mother of them all, the payroll
    tax -- they wouldn't be getting back together. ... The
    lieutenants on both sides are skilled professionals and creative
    problem solvers.  The urgency of the situation, along with the
    absence of two hard-line leaders, may be just what's needed to
    breathe some life into the talks" (TORONTO STAR, 12/16).  One
    source told the CANADIAN PRESS:  "If this thing is going to get
    done and the season is going to be saved, these small groups will
    have played a big part of the process" (VANCOUVER SUN, 12/16).
         DEAL IN THE WORKS?  Several owners told THE SPORTING NEWS
    "that reintroducing the tax was a 'face-saving tactic to show
    small-market teams the league had not sold them out.  But the
    charade was part of a natural process.'  That's why the tax will
    disappear this week and the Edmontons and Winnipegs of the NHL
    will have to make it on their own.  Seventy-five percent of the
    owners will not vote to cancel the season" (THE SPORTING
    NEWS/L.A. TIMES, 12/16).
         IF YOU'VE GOT THE YEN, THEY'VE GOT THE TIME:  The TORONTO
    SUN reports that if the season is canceled, the next stop for
    Wayne Gretzky and his all-stars would be Japan.  "The precise
    format has yet to be determined, but the financial backing has
    already been arranged -- and it is substantial," reports Al
    Strachan.  Since the level of competition would not be the same
    as in Europe, the NHLPA would have to send two teams (TORONTO
    SUN, 12/16).
         THE "I" WATCHES AND WAITS:  IHL Commissioner Bob Ufer said
    he is "unsure" whether he will extend his ban of IHL teams
    signing locked-out NHL players before it expires today.  Ufer
    will make his decision after talking with Professional Hockey
    Players Association Exec Dir Larry Landon.  Ufer:  "It's a very
    sensitive issue because of the potential loss of jobs" (Kevin
    Allen, USA TODAY, 12/16).
    

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