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  • BASEBALL HELD HOSTAGE -- DAY 174: SIGNING FREEZE STAYS

         The MLBPA "left little doubt yesterday that it is willing to
    remain on strike until ownership retreats or the government
    imposes a settlement," writes Peter Schmuck in this morning's
    Baltimore SUN.  The union's executive board voted yesterday to
    maintain the signing freeze for all free agents for an indefinite
    period.  Writes Schmuck, "The embargo may eventually result in a
    talent glut if a settlement is reached -- and perhaps even work
    to ownership's advantage --but the players have chosen to keep it
    in effect on principle" (Baltimore SUN, 2/1).
         BACK TO THE TABLE:  Collective bargaining negotiations
    resume today in downtown Washington.  The owners met yesterday to
    finalize a new proposal that they will present today (ROCKY
    MOUNTAIN NEWS, 2/1).  Rockies Owner Jerry McMorris:  "It'll be
    viewed as a significant move on our part."  Red Sox CEO John
    Harrington: "We're not trying to turn the clock back in terms of
    player salaries, but to inhibit the growth of player salaries."
    But CNN's Mark Morgan reported, "Unless there is dramatic
    movement here this week, it appears the only players taking the
    field will be replacements" ("Sports Tonight," CNN, 1/31).  Union
    reps declined to discuss their position, but a source said they
    would not remove a December 22 offer of a limited luxury tax
    (Tracy Ringolsby, ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, 2/1).  In Philadelphia,
    Jayson Stark suggests that yesterday's moves show that the
    players "don't expect an end to this strike anytime soon"
    (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 2/1).
         MORE FROM THE PLAYERS:  The union will notify players not to
    report to spring training, and will ask players with minor-league
    contracts not to play in MLB exhibitions that start March 3, if
    the strike is still on (Michael Sznajderman, TAMPA TRIBUNE, 2/1).
    MLBPA Exec Dir Donald Fehr also indicated the union will go ahead
    with a Monday meeting with managers and coaches to discuss the
    possibility of cutting them off from union benefits if they work
    with replacements (Mark Maske, WASHINGTON POST, 2/1).
         ... AND IN WASHINGTON:  Senate Judiciary Chair Orrin Hatch
    indicated yesterday that any effort by President Clinton to end
    the strike will "have support in the Senate" (WASHINGTON TIMES,
    2/1).  NLRB General Counsel Fred Feinstein is expected to rule
    next week on the players' charges of unfair labor practices (USA
    TODAY, 2/1).
         NEWS & NOTES:  Former player Bert Blyleven: "It's time that
    players look at their overall pool of the total revenue that's
    out there.  If the owners are willing to give fifty-percent of
    that pool, than something has to be worked around that.  As a fan
    now I look at it that both sides are really in the wrong" ("Press
    Box," PRIME, 1/31)....ESPN noted a WMVP-radio (Chicago) report on
    the format for the striking players all-star tour:  Four teams of
    32 players each playing a 60-game round-robin season with four
    games a weekend starting May 15 ("SportsCenter," 1/31)....The
    Mets announced that fans who purchase regular-priced tickets will
    be eligible for a 2/3 rebate should the season start with
    replacements (N.Y. TIMES, 2/1).
    

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  • IHL EUROPEAN DIVISION TO START IN '96-97

         The IHL has announced that it will be forming a European
    division for the '96-97 season.  The conference will include
    teams from Britain, Austria, Denmark, France, Italy, Sweden and
    Switzerland (N.Y. POST, 2/1).
         NHL ABROAD:  CP's Alan Adams reports that Sweden wants the
    NHL to "help Canada and the United States to enter strong teams
    at the world hockey championships."  Swedish Ice Hockey
    Federation President Rickard Fagerlund:  "It will be bad for the
    world championships if Canada and the United States do not have
    strong teams."  The tournament starts 10 days before the NHL
    season ends (Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 2/1).
    

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  • THE SPORTS BUSINESS DAILY/INT'L SPORT SUMMIT INDUSTRY SURVEY

         THE SPORTS BUSINESS DAILY conducted a survey of participants
    at the 17th International Sport Summit, held in New York from
    January 17-18.  The results, gathered from approximately 100
    responses, are not scientific, but meant to give "a sense of the
    industry."
    1) QUESTION:  Do you think the sports industry is generally on
    the right track, or is headed in the wrong direction?
              RIGHT TRACK   59%        WRONG DIRECTION   39%
    2) QUESTION:  How do you rate the job performance of the
    following industry executives?
                      FAV/UNFAV/NEUT                  FAV/UNFAV/NEUT
    PAUL TAGLIABUE    94%/  5% /  1%   GARY BETTMAN   36%/ 59% /  1%
    DAVID STERN       91 /  7  /  3    BOB GOODENOW   26 / 50  / 13
    ALAN ROTHENBERG   73 / 19  /  6    TIM FINCHEM    24 /  4  / 48
    GENE UPSHAW       49 / 23  / 22    DONALD FEHR    20 / 68  /  7
    CHARLES GRANTHAM  41 / 19  / 31    BUD SELIG       7 / 88  /  3
                        FAVORABLE       UNFAVORABLE
                      VERY SOMEWHAT    SOMEWHAT VERY    NEUTRAL
    PAUL TAGLIABUE     58%   36%          4%      1%       1%
    DAVID STERN        78    13           6       1        3
    ALAN ROTHENBERG    43    30          10       9        6
    GENE UPSHAW        12    37          13      10       22
    CHARLES GRANTHAM   13    28          15       4       31
    GARY BETTMAN        6    30          37      22        1
    BOB GOODENOW        1    25          25      25       13
    TIM FINCHEM         3    21           4       0       48
    DONALD FEHR        13     7          22      46        7
    BUD SELIG           0     7          33      55        3
    3) QUESTION:  Over the next five years, will sports sponsorship
    dollars increase (significantly or somewhat), decrease
    (significantly or somewhat), or stay the same?
         INCREASE            88%       DECREASE            11%
           (SIGNIFICANTLY  32%)          (SIGNIFICANTLY   2%)
           (SOMEWHAT       56%)          (SOMEWHAT        9%)
                        STAY THE SAME       2%
    4) QUESTION:  Will the following leagues succeed?
                                       YES    NO
         UNITED BASEBALL LEAGUE        10%    90%
         MAJOR LEAGUE SOCCER           67%    33%
         WORLD GOLF TOUR               46%    54%
    5) QUESTION:  Which are the hottest sports?  Please rank the
    following sports properties on a scale of 1-10 (1=Cold, 5=Warm,
    10=Hot).  "OVERALL" is the total number of points received.
    "HEAT INDEX" is the average on the 1-10 scale.
                            HEAT                             HEAT
                  OVERALL  INDEX                    OVERALL INDEX
    NFL             534     8.90     Men's Tennis     267    4.85
    NBA             496     8.13     MLS              276    4.52
    NASCAR          414     7.39     MLB              238    4.33
    PGA Tour        322     6.04     Women's Tennis   248    4.28
    NHL             345     5.85     CFL              222    4.11
    Minor Hockey    309     5.42     Roller Hockey    212    4.00
    Minor Baseball  323     5.38     Indoor Soccer    196    3.35
    Pro Volleyball  289     5.07     Arena Football   179    3.31
         WRITE-INS:  College football (2), figure skating (1),
    college basketball (1), '96 Olympics (1), lacrosse (1), amateur
    golf (1), track & field (1), IndyCar (1), IMSA Road Racing (1).
    6) QUESTION:  Which are the hottest endorsers?  Please rank the
    following athletes on a scale of 1-10 (1=Cold, 5=Warm, 10=Hot).
    "OVERALL" is the total amount of points received.  "HEAT INDEX"
    is the average on the 1-10 scale.
                            HEAT                                HEAT
                  OVERALL  INDEX                      OVERALL  INDEX
    Shaq. O'Neal    491     8.32       Ken Griffey Jr   337     6.74
    Deion Sanders 443       8.05       Grant Hill       329     6.71
    Michael Jordan  473     8.02       Andre Agassi     365     6.40
    Emmitt Smith    439     7.98       Frank Thomas     309     6.29
    George Foreman  444     7.93       Dale Earnhardt   303     6.18
    Troy Aikman     415     7.41       Greg Norman      304     5.96
    Chas. Barkley   415     7.15       Steffi Graf      250     5.00
    Wayne Gretzky   406     7.12       Nancy Kerrigan   259     4.71
         WRITE-INS:  Steve Young (2), Fred Couples (1), Jackie
    Joyner-Kersee (1), Junior Seau (1), Glenn Robinson (1), Nolan
    Ryan (1), Jimmy Jackson (1).
    

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  • WASHINGTON POST POLL SAYS FANS WANT POLITICIANS BENCHED

         The ABC NEWS/WASHINGTON POST poll surveyed 1,026 randomly
    selected adults (382 of which identified themselves as baseball
    fans) from January 26-29.  The margin of error on the poll is +/-
     3% for the full sample, and +/- 6% for the fans subsample
    (Richard Morin, WASHINGTON POST, 2/1).
    QUESTION:  As you may know, professional baseball players have
    been on strike since August.  Whose side would you say you're on
    -- the players' or the owners'?
    ALL
    FANS
    OWNERS' SIDE
    48%
    55%
    PLAYERS' SIDE
    27
    28
    OTHER
    25
    17

    QUESTION: Do you think baseball players are paid too much, not enough or do you think they are paid about right?
    ALL
    FANS
    TOO MUCH
    70%
    71%
    NOT ENOUGH
    2
    1
    ABOUT RIGHT
    24
    27

    QUESTION: Do you think there should be a limit or "cap" on what major league baseball owners may pay their players, or don't you think there should be a limit?
    ALL
    FANS
    SHOULD BE LIMIT
    71%
    73%
    NO LIMIT
    26
    26

    QUESTION: Do you favor or oppose using replacement players in major league baseball games if the strike is not settled by the scheduled opening day of baseball season in April?
    ALL
    FANS
    FAVOR
    59%
    61%
    OPPOSE
    35
    38

    QUESTION: Do you think you, personally, will be as big a baseball fan as you were before the strike, more of a fan or less of a baseball fan?
    ALL
    FANS
    AS BIG A FAN
    35%
    47%
    MORE OF A FAN
    6
    7
    LESS OF A FAN
    42
    44
    NOT A FAN
    17
    1

    QUESTION: As you may know, President Clinton may ask Congress to step in to settle the baseball strike if the owners and players have not reached an agreement by Feb. 6. Suppose no agreement is reached by then: Do you think Clinton and Congress should force a settlement of the strike, or should the players and owners be left alone to work out an agreement for themselves?
    ALL
    FANS
    CLINTON/CONGRESS SHOULD FORCE AGREEMENT
    21%
    32%
    LEFT ALONE TO WORKOUT AGREEMENT THEMSELVES
    78
    68

    REACTIONS TO THE SURVEY: WASHINGTON POST pollster Richard Morin writes that the survey indicates that MLB owners -- and not the players -- "are winning the important battle for public support." But, Morin adds, "However quickly a settlement comes, the survey suggests that the strike has hurt professional baseball and particularly the image of professional baseball players." MLBPA Exec Dir Don Fehr "dismissed the findings and suggested that the language of many of the poll questions produced biased results that favored the owners." Fehr: "I would not pay serious attention to it." Acting MLB Commissioner Bud Selig: "These numbers are absolutely consistent with all the polling we've done. ... Having said that, it only points again to the fact that we have to get back to the table and make a deal" (Richard Morin, WASHINGTON POST, 2/1).

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