SBD/12/Leagues Governing Bodies

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  • BASEBALL BACK TO THE TABLE? SOME THOUGHTS ON SHORTER GAMES

         MLB owners are reportedly ready to resume negotiations with
    the players for a new collective bargaining agreement, according
    to Murray Chass in this morning's N.Y. TIMES.  Two owners,
    speaking anonymously, told Chass they expect talks to begin
    shortly.  One owner said reaching an agreement was stressed last
    week at the owners meetings in Minneapolis: "The pressure's on
    and it's coming from all directions.  [Marlins Owner Wayne]
    Huizenga, [Orioles Owner Peter] Angleos and others spoke, people
    from different positions.  The consensus clearly is let's get it
    done."  Lawyers from both sides have been meeting to reach a
    settlement on the charges levied by the NLRB against the owners,
    and if some progress is made, "they are expected to ask for a
    postponement of the trial" on the NLRB's points scheduled to
    begin in New York on Monday (N.Y. TIMES, 6/12).
         OPINION ON SPEED-UP RULE CHANGES:  In New York, Phil
    Mushnick writes that "if the owners think teams' affiliated TV
    and radio networks ... will comply with a rule designed to hit
    their bottom line by a minimum of 17 30-second commercial spots
    per game, the owners are pushing a fantasy."  MSG Network Exec
    Producer Mike McCarthy, said the rule change "will create a huge
    problem ... These ads are already sold" (N.Y. POST, 6/12).  The
    N.Y. DAILY NEWS' Bob Raissman writes the changes will produce
    "some major fallout" as TV and radio rights holder will look for
    rights fee reductions (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 6/11).  But Red Sox
    Broadcast VP Jim Healey said the rules will speed the game
    without hurting rights holders: "This will still allow three 30-
    second commercials, as at present" (BOSTON GLOBE, 6/9).  In
    Dallas, Randy Galloway writes the time change will also mean less
    trips to the concession stand, "unless of course, the concessions
    stands are better staffed" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 6/10).  In
    Milwaukee, Kevin Seitzer said:  "If people think that the games
    are too long, tell them to go to the movies or something"
    (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 6/10). In Boston, Jack Craig writes
    the rule will have a "direct impact on television replays."
    Craig notes that four 30-second spots would be reduced to three
    on The Baseball Network's telecasts -- a 25% loss of revenue of
    which 87.5% is split between the teams.  Craig writes, "It will
    be surprising if the shortened half-innings, back by new
    discipline, are ever imposed on national telecasts" (BOSTON
    GLOBE, 6/11).  ESPN's Peter Gammons called for a 20-second clock:
    "The pace of the game is slowed down so much by pitchers
    wandering around" (ESPN, 6/11).
         DESTRUCTIVE CRITICISM:  David Letterman: "Mets and Yankees
    fans have been shortening games all season -- they leave after
    the third inning."  His "Top Ten Proposed New Baseball Rules:"
    10) Clothing optional in dugouts; 9) Infield chatter must be in
    the form of a question; 8) Knock out beer vendor with ball and
    you automatically win the game; 7) Extra outs for every person on
    your team named "Mookie," "Scooter," or "Pee Wee"; 6) Games will
    not start until the players' drugs have kicked in; 5) No more
    keeping your eye on the ball; 4) Goodbye Gatorade, hello
    Riunite!; 3) If catcher snags your pop foul, he gets to make out
    with your wife in the stands for awhile; 2) No team roster may
    include more than two dismissed Simpson jurors; 1) Reach a base,
    do a shot ("Late Show," CBS, 6/9)....ESPN's Keith Olbermann on
    Sunday's Pirates-Marlins game -- without Gary Sheffield: "This
    could have been the least interesting game of the Twentieth
    Century" ("SportsCenter," 6/11).  "Fans Taking Themselves Out of
    the Ballgame" was the headline of a front-page piece in Sunday's
    WASHINGTON POST.  Orioles Owner Peter Angelos: "The continual
    hammering of baseball by the media is a signification factor.
    ... Maybe the media should let up a bit" (WASHINGTON POST, 6/11).
    

    Print | Tags: Baltimore Orioles, Boston Red Sox, CBS, ESPN, Miami Marlins, Leagues and Governing Bodies, Madison Square Garden, MLB, New York Mets, New York Yankees, Pittsburgh Pirates, Viacom, Walt Disney, YankeeNets
  • DALLAS REPORT SAYS NBA IS CONSIDERING POST-PLAYOFF LOCKOUT

         "The NBA owners will impose a lockout once the Finals are
    over if they are unable to reach a new collective bargaining
    agreement with their players," according to officials involved in
    the negotiations cited in this morning's DALLAS MORNING NEWS.
    David Moore reports that sources around the league confirm that a
    "formal directive" has been issued to each club stating that a
    lockout will go into effect the day after the Finals.  That
    directive also states that, while the league will conduct the
    draft on June 28, "all other business -- summer training camps,
    contract extensions and free-agent signings -- will halt."  NBA
    Commissioner David Stern, at The Summit for Game 3, "did not deny
    that the league is headed for its first work stoppage."  Stern:
    "Our teams have been fully briefed on the options available to
    the Labor Relations Committee if no agreement is reached by the
    end of the Finals.  We still hope that such an agreement is
    obtainable and won't be commenting on the other options at this
    time."  Neither NBPA Exec Dir Simon Gourdine nor NBPA President
    Buck Williams were available for comment.  Publicly, league
    officials remain optimistic, but privately they are "worried."
    Moore reports that NBA officials say the players would not agree
    to the owners' hard cap proposal and that the players want a
    larger revenue cut than the owners.  One official said the
    players' latest proposal would increase the salary cap from
    $15.9M level to around $22M for '95-96 (DALLAS MORNING NEWS,
    6/12).
         ON THE BRIGHTER SIDE:  CNN's "Inside the NBA" featured the
    NBA's growing popularity.  Magic GM Pat Williams: "It's up with
    the baseballs and footballs, and knocking on the doors with the
    big boys."  CNN's Bob Lorenz noted the NBA's 3% increase in
    attendance, while MLB's numbers have dropped 26.2 percent.  L.A.
    TIMES' Mark Heisler:  "The bottom line is that baseball is very
    tough for a TV set to encompass ... Basketball is perfect."
    Magic Forward Horace Grant: "Baseball, what's baseball?"  Kelly
    Carter of the ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER:  "You look at the MTV
    generation, they don't have the attention span to watch baseball,
    everybody wants everything fast paced now."  Bill Walton:  "The
    players, because of the salary cap, feel a responsibility for the
    overall bottom line of the product"  (CNN, 6/11).
         INTERNATIONAL FLAVOR:  In it pre-Finals special last night,
    NBC profiled the progress of the Raptors and Grizzlies.  Toronto
    VP/Basketball Ops Isiah Thomas:  "This isn't a job for me, this
    isn't a career for me, this is a commitment for us to build a
    winning organization. ... It's the most challenging thing I've
    done in my life."  Grizzlies VP & GM Stu Jackson: "My vision is
    that one day, basketball will be woven into the country of
    Canada" (NBC, 6/11).  Greg Boeck, of USA TODAY, noting that
    Canada is country "Number Two":  "I think David Stern really
    wants to go into Mexico City.  If not by the 2000, shortly
    thereafter" (CNN, 6/11).
    

    Print | Tags: Leagues and Governing Bodies, Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, MLB, NBA, NBC, Orlando Magic, RDV Sports, Time Warner, Toronto Raptors
  • HOCKEY -- THE SPORT OF THE '90S, OR THE SPORT OF 1994?

         While the NBA Finals took center stage on prime-time last
    night, a double-overtime thriller in the NHL's Western Conference
    Final was relegated to ESPN2.  The game was shown on local
    outlets in the Chicago and Detroit areas.  But for other fans,
    who only got limited action after "Sunday Night Baseball," access
    to the game was clearly limited.  Earlier on ESPN's "Sports
    Reporters," talk centered around hockey's proclaimed rise during
    last year's Stanley Cup, and the seeming drop in interest this
    year.  Bob Ryan, on hockey vs. basketball:  "The NHL is still on
    the second tier."  Mike Lupica:  "I think people mistook a hockey
    boom on 33rd and Seventh Avenue in New York City for a nation-
    wide hockey boom."  Lupica added that Gary Bettman should be
    rooting for a Flyers win because the league "needs a star like
    Eric Lindros ... This guy could be a real hockey star in this
    country, and this sport needs it."  John Feinstein: "The lockout
    happened, the owners blew it, you can't forget that.  They had a
    great opportunity in October to get off to a flying start, with
    no baseball and the new Fox contract.  Instead, they sat around
    and negotiated for three months then played this aborted 48-game
    season"   More from Lupica:  "It wasn't the sport of the '90s as
    they were hoping it would be, it's the sport of 1994" (ESPN,
    6/11).
         NORTHERN BLIGHTS:  In Toronto, Al Strachan calls this year's
    NHL playoffs a "debacle" and asks, "Can anyone remember a season
    in which the fans were so disinterested, so bored with the
    proceeedings."  Strachan blames the league for giving in to Fox's
    desire for afternoon games:  "Hockey fans do not see their sport
    as an afternoon game like tennis or soccer.  It is a night game
    and it does not seem right to watch it at other times, whether an
    American network wants us to do so or not" (TORONTO SUN, 6/10).
    During the Flyers-Devils Game 4 on Saturday, CBC's Harry Neale
    called the league "inhumane" for making the teams play two games
    in two days.  Neale:  "They have to be more aware of the health
    of the players" (Rob Longley, TORONTO SUN, 6/12).
    

    Print | Tags: Canadian Broadcasting Corp., Comcast-Spectacor, ESPN, Leagues and Governing Bodies, NBA, New Jersey Devils, News Corp./Fox, NHL, Philadelphia Flyers, Walt Disney, YankeeNets
  • SUPREME COURT ANNOUNCEMENT MAY TRANSLATE INTO NFL LABOR WOES

         The Supreme Court could rule as early as today whether or
    not it will hear a case for 18 current and former NFL players who
    say they were unfairly represented by NFLPA-paid lawyers,
    according to this morning's WASHINGTON POST.  The suit seeks to
    overturn a portion of a '93 U.S. District Court settlement that
    led to the current CBA and prevents players from suing the NFL
    for damages allegedly incurred from '89 to '92, when the NFL used
    its Plan B system of restricting free agents.  If the Supreme
    Court declines the case and doesn't send it back to the 8th
    Circuit Court of Appeals for further action, then it will die and
    the NFL and the NFLPA can continue talks to extend the CBA.  If
    the Supreme Court takes the case and rules in favor of the 18
    players, it could lead to hundreds of suits by players whose
    contracts expired from '89 to '92.  In addition, the NFL retains
    the right to cancel the entire CBA if any court allows players to
    opt out and sue.  Dave Sell notes that whether or not the owners
    would do so, and what would result if they did, is "unclear"
    (WASHINGTON POST, 6/12).
         OTHER WOES:  Will McDonough reports in Sunday's BOSTON GLOBE
    that the NFL is "getting nervous" about Malcolm Glazer having not
    finalized the deal to buy the Bucs.  Glazer has until July 14 or
    the team becomes the property of the Culverhouse estate (BOSTON
    GLOBE, 6/11)....The Falcons have sold fewer than 40,000 season
    tickets this year and will start offering three-game packages to
    pick up sales (Tim Tucker, ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 6/11).  The task
    force of regional government and business leaders working to keep
    the Bengals and Reds in Cincinnati plan to update OH Gov. George
    Voinovich and OH Senate President Stanley Aronoff on Tuesday.
    The group hopes to have a detailed plan to Bengals owner Mike
    Brown within two weeks (AP/Baltimore SUN, 6/10).
    

    Print | Tags: Atlanta Falcons, Cincinnati Bengals, Cincinnati Reds, Leagues and Governing Bodies, NFL, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
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