SBD/15/Leagues Governing Bodies

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  • A LOOK AT EACH UBL FRANCHISE CITY

         The franchise entry fee for each UBL ownership group is $5M
    and co-founder Bob Mrazek estimates start-up costs at $20M per
    team (THE DAILY).
         NEW ORLEANS:  New Orleans Mayor Marc Morial held his own
    press conference following the UBL's tele-conference announcing
    the city's intent to assemble a local ownership group with strong
    minority involvement.  Morial said the UBL franchise will give
    the city an economic boost during the "slack" tourism months of
    June through August (George Sweeney, New Orleans TIMES-PICAYUNE,
    2/15).
         WASHINGTON, DC:  Mrazek said the league has received a
    commitment from Jim Dalrymple, Exec Dir of the DC Sports
    Commission, that UBL will immediately conclude lease negotiations
    for the use of RFK on a multi-year basis with a "long-term" and
    "exclusive" lease -- if Northern VA is not awarded an MLB
    franchise by April 2, 1995.  Former U.S. Rep. Tom McMillen is the
    designated leader of the DC franchise group (THE DAILY).  In
    Washington, Mark Maske notes that the area's best chance of
    getting a professional baseball team "rests" with the UBL
    (WASHINGTON POST, 2/15).
         VANCOUVER:  The UBL franchise would play in B.C. Place, a
    domed facility with a seating capacity of 55,818 for baseball and
    the potential for up to 110 luxury suites.  Warren Buckley,
    President/CEO of the British Columbia Pavilion Corp., operators
    of B.C. Place: "The news of the UBL coming to Vancouver has
    received very positive reaction.  City and provincial leaders are
    excited to host a big league baseball team" (UBL).  According to
    Mrazek, Buckley has requested time to build a local ownership
    group, but the league is committed to providing help from its
    national investors.  However, Buckley is quoted in this morning's
    papers saying it was not his job to find a local ownership group:
    "I've told the UBL my job is not to convince (owners) on their
    behalf but to get them the audience and let them do the
    convincing" (Terry Bell, Vancouver PROVINCE, 2/15).  Mrazek said
    the UBL received a commitment for an exclusive lease with B.C.
    Place, in light of the Mariners' plans to play 8-10 games a year
    there (THE DAILY).  Brent Imlach, GM of the AAA Vancouver
    Canadians, said the Japanese company that owns his club will not
    be involved (TORONTO SUN, 2/15).   SAN JUAN: San Juan Mayor
    Hector Luis Acevedo: "Baseball is deeply rooted in the culture of
    our island and we look forward to being first in the Latin
    American baseball market."  The franchise will be housed at the
    Hiram Bithorn Stadium, which hosted the Caribbean World Series
    (UBL).
         GREATER NEW YORK:  Mrazek said the league has three
    different options for this area:  Long Island, Brooklyn and
    Northern NJ, with prospective ownership interested in each
    locale.  Mrazek: "The issue in New York ... is complicated by the
    fact that there is no adequate stadium."  Any new stadium would
    have to have a minimum 25,000-seat capacity.  The league has
    retained Dallas-based HKS, designers of The Ballpark at
    Arlington, to develop a prototype facility for the UBL.  For '96,
    the league would need a temporary facility in New York, and plans
    are under way to develop facilities similar to those for Atlanta
    '96 (THE DAILY).  Murray Chass notes Mrazek "didn't say, but the
    likelihood is that ultimately one team will play in New Jersey
    and another in Brooklyn or Long Island" (N.Y. TIMES, 2/15).
         SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA:  Los Angeles or the Riverside-San
    Bernardino area are the two prospective sites, and UBL claims to
    have at least two prospective investor groups.   As for
    Riverside/San Bernardino, there is no adequate stadium but Mrazek
    said there is a "definitive interest" to see a stadium built.
    Moss added that in discussions with the L.A. Coliseum Commission,
    they said the stadium would be re-configured to become a "true
    baseball facility" -- not like the way it was when the Dodgers
    used the venue in '58 (THE DAILY).  In Riverside, Maureen Delany
    notes the 3,500-seat Riverside Sports Center exists in a
    residential neighborhood and could not be expanded easily.
    Meanwhile, Pat Lynch, GM of the Coliseum and L.A. Sports Arena,
    said he has spoken with UBL reps but is waiting for more
    information (Riverside PRESS ENTERPRISE, 2/15).
    

    Print | Tags: Leagues and Governing Bodies, Los Angeles Dodgers, MLB, News Corp./Fox, Seattle Mariners
  • BASEBALL HELD HOSTAGE -- DAY 188: ON THE HILL AGAIN

         As expected, Senate Judiciary Chair Orrin Hatch, and Sens.
    Pat Moynihan and Bob Graham introduced the first bipartisan
    legislation to address MLB's antitrust exemption.  The bill would
    permit players to sue if the owners again attempt to implement an
    economic system.  Hatch: "This would not affect baseball's
    ability to control franchise relocation, nor would it affect the
    minor leagues."  The bill would not impose a settlement, but the
    players have promised to return if it passes -- probably
    resulting in a lockout by owners (Steve Daley, CHICAGO TRIBUNE,
    2/15).
         LOW EXPECTATIONS:  Reaction among Hatch's Republican
    colleagues was less than favorable.  Sen. Trent Lott, No. 2 in
    the Senate leadership:  "Totally insane.  We're not going to get
    in the middle of a baseball strike."  Lott, who says he backs the
    idea of ending the exemption, said he would "not be part of a
    deal that would force one side or another into an agreement."
    House Speaker Newt Gingrich echoed Lott:  "I'm not sure I want to
    use [Hatch's bill] as a club to beat up the owners on behalf of
    the players."  House Judiciary Chair Henry Hyde said he would be
    willing to hold hearings on the exemption, but not until "later
    this year" (Steve Daley, CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 2/15).  MLB General
    Counsel Chuck O'Connor on the Hatch bill: "It's a straw man.
    It's a false issue.  It deserves no attention because it is
    special-interest legislation" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 2/15).
         TODAY'S HEARING:  Scheduled witnesses for today's baseball
    hearing before the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust,
    Business and Competition:  Moynihan, Sen. Nancy Kassebaum,
    Graham, Acting MLB Commissioner Bud Selig, Red Sox CEO John
    Harrington, former assistant Attorney General James Rill, MLBPA
    Exec Dir Donald Fehr, Royals Player Rep David Cone, Indians
    veteran Eddie Murray and former FTC General Counsel Kevin Arquit
    (USA TODAY, 2/15).
    

    Print | Tags: Anheuser Busch, Boston Red Sox, Cleveland Indians, Kansas City Royals, Leagues and Governing Bodies, MLB
  • THE UNITED BASEBALL LEAGUE UNVEILS ITS FRANCHISE PLAN

         The United Baseball League announced its six location for
    charter franchises:  New Orleans, Washington, Vancouver, San
    Juan, Greater New York and Southern California.  The announcement
    was made by UBL co-founders -- former U.S. Rep. Bob Mrazek,
    player agent Dick Moss, U.S. Rep. John Bryant and economist
    Andrew Zimbalist -- from the league's headquarters in New York
    City.  UBL's inaugural '96 season will be played with a minimum
    of eight franchises.  UBL officials identified a number of
    locations as the other potential '96 sites:  New England (either
    Hartford or Worcester), Sacramento, San Antonio, Honolulu, Miami,
    Orlando, Portland, OR, Jacksonville, Columbus, OH, Mexico City
    and Monterrey, Mexico (THE DAILY).
         GAME/RULES STRUCTURE:  The league intends to play a 154-game
    schedule.  Noting changes brought about in other sports by
    upstart leagues, Mrazek said the UBL will make an effort to speed
    up the game without affecting its integrity.  As for player
    development, the UBL hopes to develop their own minor league as
    well as work with independent minor leagues, including the Texas-
    Louisiana League, whose commissioner is John Bryant, a UBL co-
    founder (THE DAILY). Dick Moss:  "Players in our league are going
    to share in profits, they will share in equity interests in teams
    and they will share also in decision-making as much as possible.
    There will not be this kind of a confrontational attitude where
    in the establishment now, the owners feel the players are the
    enemy, and vice-versa" (CNBC, 2/14).
         TIMING AND SCHEDULE:  Expect the UBL to issue a series of
    announcements in the coming weeks, dealing with either new
    franchises, stadium construction or rule changes.
         TV DEAL/SPONSORS:  Mrazek said UBL has had contact with two
    different national networks:  "Essentially, their interest is in
    determining what our markets are going to be. ... There was a
    time when a network contract was in fact the only game in town in
    order to determine the viability of a new league. ... But with
    the growth of regional TV and cable TV and a whole range of
    wireless and satellite services and pay-per-view, there are a
    whole lot of things that we have to look at."  Mrazek said the
    league is presently not in need of short-term income, and that it
    would be a few months before they begin courting corporate
    sponsors (THE DAILY).
    

    Print | Tags: Leagues and Governing Bodies
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