SBD/23/Leagues Governing Bodies

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  • BASEBALL HELD HOSTAGE -- DAY 165: ENOUGH BLAME FOR ALL SIDES

         According to an independent survey conducted by the sports
    division of Golin/Harris Communications from January 12-15, twice
    as many respondents blame players than owners over the baseball
    strike.  Of the 1,008 adults surveyed throughout the country, 51%
    were categorized as baseball fans -- because they at least watch
    baseball on TV (45%), listen to baseball on the radio (20%), or
    attend games (19%).  Of those "fans," 55% blame both players and
    owners; 21% the players; 11% the owners; 10% don't care.  Of all
    respondents:  46% blame both; 24% don't care; 18% blame the
    players; and, 8% blame owners (Golin/Harris).
         PLAYING HARDBALL:  In Denver, Tracy Ringolsby notes that the
    union's threat to withhold licensing money from managers and
    coaches if they coach replacements "may backfire."  A's Manager
    Tony La Russa, who has questioned whether he would manage a
    replacement team: "If the union doesn't go about its business in
    the right way, that's when I lose sympathy for the cause. ... I
    guess that means we're supposed to feel threatened.  Isn't that
    blackmail?" (ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, 1/21).  The Brewers have
    insisted that manager Phil Garner and his staff report on
    February 20.  Brewers coach Duffy Dyer: "If I don't have a job, I
    can't get licensing money anyway.  There's really not much of a
    choice" (Tom Haudricourt, MILWAUKEE SENTINEL, 1/23).
         RADIO AND TV RIGHTS, THE NEXT BATTLE:  One broadcasting
    exec, who noted the contingency plans the owners have come up
    with on ticket prices and replacements: "If ballclubs think
    they'll get the regular TV and radio rights payments, there will
    be a war" (Phil Mushnick, N.Y. POST, 1/23).
         UNITED THEY STAND:  Dick Moss, who is heading the effort to
    start the United Baseball League, announced that any
    strikebreakers will not be considered for jobs in the new league
    (Murray Chass, N.Y. TIMES, 1/22).
    

    Print | Tags: Leagues and Governing Bodies, Milwaukee Brewers, Oakland Athletics
  • GETTING BEHIND THE FTC'S PROBE OF THE PGA TOUR

         In this week's "Inside Golf" section of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED,
    Tim Rosaforte writes that "there has been speculation" that IMG
    Chair Mark McCormack "sicced the FTC" on the PGA Tour.
    McCormack, who sponsors tournaments featuring IMG players
    worldwide, would have "the most to gain should the Tour have to
    alter its ways."  The proposed World Golf Tour would also benefit
    (SI, 1/23 issue).  In Washington, John Hawkins comes out in favor
    of the PGA Tour: "Give me a sport run by an entity that has shown
    unabashed success at satisfying the public.  Not one run by a
    federal bureaucrat" (WASHINGTON TIMES, 1/22).
    

    Print | Tags: IMG, Leagues and Governing Bodies, PGA Tour, Sports Illustrated, Time Warner
  • MLB DECIDES TO EXPAND BY FOUR; TWO SOON AND TWO LATER

         The MLB Expansion Committee unanimously recommended  that
    MLB proceed with expansion of four teams, two of which will be
    awarded in an "expeditious manner" and two more franchises to be
    added in a "reasonable amount of time thereafter."  MLB Acting
    Commissioner Bud Selig: "Expansion continues to be on a fast
    track" (MLB).  Expansion Committee Chair John Harrington hinted
    that the final steps in the process could be completed at the
    next owners' meeting, scheduled to be held March 7-9.  But there
    are indications a meeting could be held in early February (Marc
    Topkin, ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 1/21).  Four cities have made
    official expansion bids:  Tampa-St. Pete, Phoenix, Orlando, and
    two separate groups from Northern VA, with Tampa and Phoenix
    considered front runners.  The cost for the next two franchises
    is estimated at $125-140M.  The first two teams will be chosen
    from the four finalists, but the second two teams will most
    likely be chosen from a larger list of applicants that could
    include Vancouver, Mexico City, Monterrey, Nashville, Buffalo and
    Charlotte (Mult., 1/21).
         TAMPA BAY:  Tampa Bay's expansion effort is headed by Vince
    Naimoli, and if chosen, would likely be placed in the AL.  Yankee
    Owner George Steinbrenner, who has been an advocate for the area
    getting a team: "This is a good sign."  Sen. Connie Mack (R-FL),
    who had suggested that he would drop his opposition to MLB's
    antitrust exemption if Tampa gets a team: "I hope this is a sign
    the long ordeal of heartbreaks and headaches is coming to an end"
    (Marc Topkin, ST. PETE TIMES, 1/21).  In Tampa, Joe Henderson
    writes, "If Tampa Bay doesn't get a team out of that mix, it
    never will and we all can get on with our lives" (TAMPA TRIBUNE,
    1/21).    PHOENIX:  Suns Owner Jerry Colangelo is heading up this
    city's efforts and is very confident that he will gain a team:
    "This was a big hurdle.  We're well on our way to being one of
    the up and coming cities of the next century" (PHOENIX GAZETTE,
    1/21).  The city has placed an April 1 deadline for a team to be
    named so that public money can be allocated for the new $275M
    stadium.  If MLB owners insist on having two teams begin play in
    '97, Phoenix may not make the first round since their stadium
    will not be ready until '98 (Maske & Lipton, WASHINGTON POST,
    1/21).  But one MLB  owner said of Tampa and Phoenix: "It's a
    fait accompli.  Those franchises have been promised to Phoenix
    and Tampa" (Mark Maske, WASHINGTON POST, 1/21).  Colangelo also
    has begun plans to find a temporary home for the '97 season.  The
    most likely site is the Peoria Sports Complex.  Still, Colangelo
    thinks the next two teams will not begin play until '98 (Eric
    Miller, ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 1/21).
         NORTHERN VA:  There are two groups vying for a team:  one
    headed by telecomm exec Bill Collins and the other by attorney
    Bart Fisher.  Many baseball and local officials have acknowledged
    that Collins' partnership will be awarded the franchise if the
    owners select this area.  Collins said he has reached a
    "memorandum of understanding" on a temporary lease at RFK
    Stadium, which would require $7M in renovations.  The team would
    play there until a new park is built, probably near Dulles Int'l
    Airport (Maske & Lipton, WASHINGTON POST, 1/21).  While the
    proximity of the Orioles always had hurt expansion efforts in the
    area, the "unpopularity" of Orioles Owner Peter Angelos among his
    peers "has made that a moot point."  MLBPA Exec Dir Donald Fehr:
    "They might want to punish Angelos by putting a team there.
    That's the sort of under-the-table comment you pick up" (Mark
    Maske, WASHINGTON POST, 1/21).
         ORLANDO:  Real estate developer Norton Herrick is leading
    the drive for an Orlando franchise.  Herrick: "If they award a
    team to St. Petersburg, I'd have to rethink my position in
    Orlando.  I'm not sure if Central Florida can support two teams"
    (TAMPA TRIBUNE, 1/21).
    

    Print | Tags: Anheuser Busch, Baltimore Orioles, Leagues and Governing Bodies, MLB, Phoenix Suns
  • NHL OPENING WEEKEND: NORTH OF THE BORDER DISORDER?

         A look at the NHL's opening weekend finds that, at least
    initially, the league's U.S. cities are outdrawing their Canadian
    counterparts.  Of the 12 teams that had their home openers over
    the weekend, eight sold out -- all of them American.  Three of
    the four cities short of sell-outs are Canadian, but Tampa Bay --
     at 94% on Friday and 82% on Sunday -- drew over 20,000 for each
    of its games.  The ThunderDome holds 28,000.  Toronto and
    Montreal are yet to open their home schedules.  Listed below are
    attendance and percent capacity for each game (USA TODAY, 1/23;
    THE DAILY).
    FRIDAY
    BUF at NYR
    18,200
    100%
    CHI at DET
    19,875
    100%
    STL at SJ
    17,190
    100%
    TOR at LA
    16,005
    100%
    PIT at TAM
    26,387
    94%
    CAL at WIN
    13,382
    87%
    ANA at EDM
    14,967
    86%
    DAL at VAN
    12,038
    74%
     
    SATURDAY
    MON at NYR
    18,200
    100%
    QUE at PHI
    17,380
    100%
    TOR at SJ
    17,190
    100%
    WAS at HAR
    15,635
    100%
    FLA at NYI
    14,106
    87%
    STL at VAN
    12,558
    78%
    ANA at WIN
    9,725
    63%
     
    SUNDAY
    PHI at BOS
    14,448
    100%
    CAL at DET
    19,683
    100%
    BUF at TAM
    22,952
    82%
    EDM at LA
    13,160
    82%
    NJD at HAR
    12,054
    77%
    OTT at NYI
    10,311
    63%

    NOTES: "In the United States the 3 1/2-month lockout is already a distant memory to hockey hungry-spectators. But in Canada, cradle of the game, healing will apparently not be so speedy" (Neil Campbell, Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 1/23)....The smallest crowd the Canucks had last season was 12,479; they drew 12,038 on Friday (VANCOUVER SUN, 1/21).... Noting the small crowds in Winnipeg, Dave Roberts writes, "There was a feeling Winnipeggers had crossed the Rubicon: They've grown accustomed to the absence of hockey during the labour hiatus and may be able to live without it in the future." With public funds necessary for a new arena, "such indifference" rekindles the possibility that the Jets will play elsewhere next year" (Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 1/23). GAME ON! Spotted during ESPN's Friday night NHL broadcast were lockout-related spots by Starter and Bud Ice. The Starter spot had scenes of last year's playoffs with an announcer calling the game as if it were a negotiation. Excerpt: "The lockout is over! The lockout is over! Holy cow, they've reached a collective bargaining agreement!" Bud Ice featured two spots, both with action highlights. The tag-line for one of the Bud ads: "You miss it? -- This is the ice." The NHL also ran its "Game On!" spot with a scene from "Wayne's World" (ESPN, 1/20). The NHL is spending $10M on the "Game On!" campaign. While the league managed to keep sponsors Anheuser-Busch, Nike, Molson and Ford on board, NHL Enterprises COO Rick Dudley admits the lockout slowed momentum in adding new sponsors. The NHL and NHLPA are discussing a promotion with McDonald's, possibly with trading cards (Gayle MacDonald, FINANCIAL POST, 1/21).

    Print | Tags: Anheuser Busch, ESPN, Leagues and Governing Bodies, McDonalds, New York Jets, NHL, Nike, Canucks Sports and Entertainment, Vancouver Canucks, Walt Disney
  • PETER ANGELOS: THE THORN IN BASEBALL'S SIDE

         Orioles Owner Peter Angelos has "taken center stage in
    baseball's labor battle with his refusal to use replacement
    players -- even under the threat of having his franchise revoked"
    (Thom Loverro, WASHINGTON TIMES, 1/23). SPORTS ILLUSTRATED's Tim
    Kurkjian profiled Angelos on ABC's "Wide World of Sports."
    Angelos, on the fielding of replacement players:  "We are
    convinced that 90% or more of our fans would demand a refund of
    their money.  So that in itself tells you that this threat, and
    that's exactly what it is.  This rattling of the sabre by the
    owners -- 'if we can't work something out we'll use replacement
    players' -- is an empty threat because the parties that will be
    injured the most if we resort to so-called replacement players
    will be the owners of the franchises" (ABC, 1/21).  In New York,
    Claire Smith profiles Angelos: "He single-handedly fights on,
    establishing himself as the proverbial thorn and the potential
    worst nightmare of the game's top authorities" (N.Y. TIMES,
    1/22).  Mike Lupica:  "His stand against replacement baseball is
    proper, and he comes up looking like a hero at a time when
    baseball needs at least one hero" ("SportsReporters," ESPN,
    1/22).  Angelos will speak with AL President Gene Budig about the
    league's contention that he must field a replacement team
    (WASHINGTON POST, 1/22).
         O'S FANS:  More than 6,000 attended the Orioles' winter
    carnival at Camden Yards and bought 30,000 tickets to regular
    season games.  The turnout almost doubled attendance from last
    year's carnival (Jim Henneman, Baltimore SUN, 1/22).  Orioles
    spokesperson Charles Steinberg:  "What strike?  Enthusiasm is
    rampant" (USA TODAY, 1/23).
    

    Print | Tags: ABC, Baltimore Orioles, ESPN, Leagues and Governing Bodies, Sports Illustrated, Time Warner, Walt Disney
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