SBD/8/Leagues Governing Bodies

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  • BASEBALL HELD HOSTAGE -- DAY 119: THE PLAYERS HAVE A PLAN

         The MLBPA Exec Board ended three days of meetings by
    approving the outlines of a plan to engage club owners and
    striking major leaguers in an economic partnership" (Chris Haft,
    CINCINNATI ENQUIRER, 12/8).  Union members left their meetings
    "with such confidence and enthusiasm, one might think they'd
    already purchased the ceremonial pens with which to sign the new
    agreement" (I.J. Rosenberg, ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 12/8).  This
    weekend's talks between players and owners in Rye Brook, NY, will
    be the "final attempt" to reach a settlement before the owners
    declare an impasse and impose their salary cap (Ross Newhan, L.A.
    TIMES, 12/8).
         THE PLAYERS' PLAN:  The plan is believed to tax clubs
    between 5-7% of their payrolls.  It would also give players a say
    on major decisions such as hiring a commissioner and national TV
    contracts (I.J. Rosenberg, ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 12/8).  The plan
    "does not include the one item owners have wanted most:  a
    ceiling on cost controls, be it a straight cap or a high-rate tax
    plan" that includes a payroll ceiling.  It does retain free
    agency and arbitration in their current forms, but also calls for
    "joint marketing and capital ventures" including elements of a
    suggestion by Orioles owner Peter Angelos, who has said some of
    the funds shared by the clubs go towards stadium construction in
    failing cities (Ross Newhan, L.A. TIMES, 12/8).  In New York,
    Joel Sherman reports the players would put money from their $150M
    licensing fund to help with owners' financial problems.  That
    money could be used to build stadiums, promote the game and
    create int'l markets (N.Y. POST, 12/8).
         THE SALARY SURVEY:  According to USA TODAY's 10th annual
    salary survey, major leaguers lost nearly $230M during the 52
    days of the baseball strike last season.  Mets third baseman
    Bobby Bonilla was hit hardest, losing $1.706M.  Only base
    salaries were used for the survey, conducted of 760 players on
    major league rosters as of August 31.  The average loss per
    player was $300,000.  Complete NL payrolls are listed in the
    paper today, while complete AL payrolls will appear tomorrow (Hal
    Bodley, USA TODAY, 12/8).
    

    Print | Tags: Baltimore Orioles, Leagues and Governing Bodies, New York Mets
  • HOCKEY HELD HOSTAGE -- DAY 69: ALL TALK, NO ACTION

         NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and NHLPA Exec Dir Bob
    Goodenow are expected to speak by phone today, although no
    further action on a new collective bargaining agreement is
    expected until after the NHL Board of Governors meets on Monday
    in New York (Dave Fuller, TORONTO SUN, 12/8).
         BOARD OF GOVERNORS MEETING:  While some teams "are worried
    the 'hawks' could win control of the board" and cancel the season
    if the players don't agree to a deal with a tax, it is "more
    likely" the Board will set a deadline, possibly December 17 (Dave
    Fuller, TORONTO SUN, 12/8).  In Tampa, Roy Cummings reports the
    Lightning is among a group of about 11 teams that will vote to
    continue talks. The Blues, Rangers, Penguins and Kings "are also
    said to be in favor of playing" (TAMPA TRIBUNE, 12/8).  ESPN's Al
    Morganti said, because they suspect Goodenow "will wait until the
    last minute," owners will set a deadline sometime between
    December 15-19 ("SportsCenter," 12/7).  "If the tax alone is
    blocking a deal," owners are "likely to urge Bettman to drop it
    or reduce it again" (Helene Elliott, L.A. TIMES, 12/8).
         BEHIND THE TAX:  The union stressed that the owners' tax
    would be levied against a team's entire payroll if that team goes
    above the $18M trigger.  In a fax to union members, Goodenow
    stated the proposal has a top marginal rate of 81% (CP/VANCOUVER
    SUN, 12/8).  NHLPA economist Jerry Haussman of MIT called it
    "essentially the same" as the NHL's 122% proposal (Kevin Allen,
    USA TODAY, 12/8).  But Damien Cox of the TORONTO STAR asks:  "Has
    the issue become more emotional that financial?"  Under the plan,
    20 of 26 teams would be under the trigger; three of the six teams
    over $18M would likely have their penalty offset by the 3% gate
    receipts tax; the worst hit team, the Blues, would pay about
    $1.8M; the trigger would increase by $1M every year (TORONTO
    STAR, 12/8).  In Winnipeg, Ed Willes writes, "All our taxes
    should be this bad" (WINNIPEG SUN, 12/8).
         SHOCK, DISMAY, HORROR:  ESPN's Al Morganti calls the union's
    complaint about the return of the owners' tax plan
    "choreographed":  "If it wasn't on the table right in front of
    them, it was a 600-pound gorilla that the league's been carrying
    around for the past two months.  If you couldn't see it, you
    should have been able to smell it or hear it" ("SportsCenter,"
    12/7).  In fact, Larry Brooks reports that Goodenow admitted to
    Bettman that he was expecting to receive the tax proposal (N.Y.
    POST, 12/8).
         WHAT'S NEXT?  "The next step would appear obvious:  Remove
    the tax from the table and reopen discussions, with the focus on
    the systemic issue over which the players believe they differ
    most, salary arbitration" (Scott Morrison, TORONTO SUN, 12/8).
    "The next move is to reduce the peak tax rate from 25% to 20% and
    lower the age for unrestricted free agency to 29 or 30" (Helene
    Elliott, L.A. TIMES, 12/8).  One ownership source:  "If they'd
    give up arbitration for the first four years of a player's
    career, we might not need the tax" (Dave Fuller, TORONTO SUN,
    12/8).
         FEARLESS LEADERS:  In New York, Larry Brooks accuses
    Goodenow of being a "union-buster":  "Never have we witnessed the
    boss of a Players' Association who flees from, rather than seeks,
    more liberal free agency; who gives away years of freedom in a
    desperate attempt to hold onto the status quo; who presides over
    a union where a minority of skilled players get employment while
    the majority of the rank-and-file sit home, idle and unpaid"
    (N.Y. POST, 12/8).  In Washington, Tony Kornheiser predicts
    Bettman will be a casualty of the post-lockout world (WASHINGTON
    POST, 12/8).
         SOLIDARITY WATCH:  In Vancouver, Tony Gallagher writes only
    three or four players are urging Goodenow to make a deal "at any
    cost."  Of the stars on the Gretzky tour, "other than to mention
    that Goodenow might have done a better job with public opinion,
    all are solidly onside" (Vancouver PROVINCE, 12/8).  ESPN's Al
    Morganti believes Goodenow has "a bit of a problem."  Because the
    union has proposed some sort of tax in the past, Goodenow must
    now "decide exactly what sort of last moment concession he will
    ask for from the league.  And he has to decide if the philosophy
    [of no tax] is enough to lose an entire season over"
    ("SportsCenter," 12/7).
    

    Print | Tags: ESPN, Leagues and Governing Bodies, NHL, Palace Sports & Entertainment, Pittsburgh Penguins, St. Louis Blues, Tampa Bay Lightning, Walt Disney
  • IF THERE'S BASEBALL, '97 ALL-STAR GAME WILL BE IN CLEVELAND

         The Indians are expected to announce today that they will
    host the '97 MLB All-Star Game at Jacobs Field.  Acting MLB
    Commissioner Bud Selig, AL President Gene Budig, Cleveland Mayor
    Michael White and Indians owner Dick Jacobs are all expected to
    attend today's ceremony.  The team applied for the '97 game in
    August after being turned down as host for the '95 game, which
    will take place at The Ballpark at Arlington.  The '96 game will
    be played at Veterans Stadium.  This would be the 5th time
    Cleveland has hosted the game (Paul Hoynes, Cleveland PLAIN
    DEALER, 12/7).
    

    Print | Tags: Anheuser Busch, Cleveland Indians, Leagues and Governing Bodies, MLB
  • IMG BUYS GRAND PRIX OF DALLAS, LOOKS TO BOOST ROLE IN RACING

         IMG, the Cleveland-based management and marketing firm,
    yesterday bought the Grand Prix of Dallas, the season finale of
    the SCCA Pro-Racing Trans-Am Championships.  The annual race is
    seen as the city's premier summer sporting event and brings an
    estimated $16M in economic impact to the city of Dallas.  IMG
    purchased the event from Harry Farham, President of Grand Prix of
    Texas Inc., and Buddy Boren, Race Director from the Grand Prix of
    Dallas, and will take over as promoter immediately.  Boren said
    the "motorsports group at IMG is one of the country's best" and
    with "their expertise in event management ... we will see the
    event grow into one of the top city races in the country."  Bud
    Stanner, President of the new Grand Prix organization and IMG
    Senior VP, said Dallas-Fort Worth "has become an extremely
    important market in our business" (IMG).
    

    Print | Tags: Anheuser Busch, IMG, Leagues and Governing Bodies
  • MAJOR LEAGUE SOCCER LAUNCHES NEWSLETTER/PR CAMPAIGN

         MLS is launching a newsletter featuring updates on the
    league, from new sponsors to new ownership groups.  The front
    page includes the logos of five of MLS's sponsors:  Adidas
    (uniform & footwear supplier), Apex (uniform & footwear
    supplier), Mitre (game ball supplier), Nike (uniform & footwear)
    and Reebok (uniform & footwear).  Other news:  The NYC/NJ team
    has named Charlie Still as its GM; MLS Senior VP Mark Abbott told
    the SOCCER AMERICA that MLS is examining two options for
    developing players:  either the MLB/NABPL model or the NBA/CBA.
    The newsletter also included profiles of six MLS investment
    partners:  John Kluge, Stuart Subotnick, Lamar Hunt, Clark Hunt,
    API Soccer and LA Soccer Partners (MLS).
    

    Print | Tags: Leagues and Governing Bodies, MLB, MLS, NBA, Nike, Reebok, Washington Nationals
  • RELOCATION AT THE TOP OF CFL GOVERNORS' AGENDA

         CFL owners "hope to find a home for the displaced Las Vegas
    Posse during a two-day board of governors meeting in Baltimore
    starting today."  CFL governors will also "address potential
    moves by franchises in Sacramento, Hamilton and Calgary."  While
    Las Vegas "appears the most pressing item here," Calgary might be
    the "most vexing."  Calgary owner Larry Ryckman has "threatened
    to move what perhaps is the league's marquee franchise out of
    Calgary if he does not receive major concessions on the
    Stampeders' lease at McMahon Stadium."  Ryckman has set a
    December 17 deadline for rent relief.  If that does not occur,
    his most likely target city is San Antonio.  Last week, Ryckman
    met with San Antonio Mayor Nelson Wolff about putting the team in
    the Alamodome.  But in recent weeks, Ryckman has discussed moving
    the team to Hartford -- closer to the home of star Doug Flutie.
    Baltimore owner Jim Speros believes Ryckman will stay in Calgary
    (Ken Murray, Baltimore SUN, 12/8).
         OTHER ISSUES:  If the Posse can be moved, they are most
    likely headed for Birmingham, AL.  In Hamilton, the Tiger-Cats
    have until December 23 to meet a league mandate of 12,500 season
    tickets and $1M in corporate sponsorship.  The team reportedly
    has sold 9,000 tickets and gotten $700,000 in sponsorships.  In
    Sacramento, Gold Miners owner Fred Anderson is attempting to move
    the team to Oakland.  If that is unsuccessful, he will likely
    move the team to L.A.  The governors will also discuss two
    potential TV contracts with U.S. networks and negotiations on
    expired Canadian contracts with CBC and TSN (Baltimore SUN,
    12/8).
    

    Print | Tags: Canadian Broadcasting Corp., CFL, Leagues and Governing Bodies
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