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THE UNITED BASEBALL LEAGUE UNVEILS ITS FRANCHISE PLAN
Published February 15, 1995
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).