SBD/17/Leagues Governing Bodies

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         Baseball's owners this week "intensified" discussions about
    adopting a revenue sharing plan next year with or without a new
    labor agreement, according to the WASHINGTON POST.  A committee
    headed by Astros Owner Drayton McLane proposed the plan.  The
    owners already have a plan that would transfer $58M annually from
    large to small-market clubs.  However, the owners argue that the
    plan can't be put in place until there is agreement on curbing
    players' salaries.  McLane's plan would immediately aid small-
    market clubs which say they need revenue-sharing to survive.
    Mark Maske notes large-market clubs are "wary" of such a plan
    without a salary cap or payroll tax (WASHINGTON POST, 8/17).
         OTHER HAPPENINGS:  Dave van Dyck noted from Chicago that one
    "moderate" owner said the labor situation better be resolved by
    mid-September if baseball wants to cut a multimillion-dollar deal
    with Fox (CHICAGO SUN TIMES, 8/15).  New York City's Commissioner
    of Labor Relations Randy Levin appears to be the choice as new
    chief labor negotiator with an announcement to be "made soon."
    Owners are also close to hiring a new marketing director
    (WASHINGTON POST, 8/17).
         MADAME COMMISSIONER?  When asked to name two public figures
    he thought would be good Commissioners, former Commissioner Bowie
    Kuhn named former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and
    former Joint Chiefs of Staff Chair Colin Powell.  Kuhn added
    while he didn't think either would want the job, he also didn't
    think the owners would approve either of them because of each
    one's ability to be a "strong leader" (Bob Wolfley, MILWAUKEE
         UBL GEARING UP: The UBL will hold a press conference today
    in New York to announce major developments for the season
    starting in the spring of '96.  Included will be information on a
    commitment for an extensive national media deal, franchise
    owner/owner groups for the first season, locations of first
    season stadium facilities, UBL's schedule, and the format for its
    Championship Series (UBL).

    Print | Tags: Houston Astros, Kansas City Chiefs, Leagues and Governing Bodies

         In yesterday's media teleconference, NBA Commissioner David
    Stern said a deal is the best way to protect the NBA's sponsors
    and the league's continued growth.  Stern:  "We are absolutely,
    flat-out poised for extraordinary growth.  The recent Disney
    acquisition of ABC, with a reference to the importance of ESPN;
    the fact that an NBC would sort of step up and make its statement
    by acquiring a sports property such as the Olympics; the fact
    that CBS further cements its growth by focusing on NCAA
    basetball; the fact that the Fox network focuses on the NFL and
    hockey to improve its status; this all speaks well for enormous
    potential growth of our league.  And we think the best way to
    come up with a collective bargaining agreement is to promise
    player and owner alike that they will share in that growth.
    That's why we reached out to the players with the second deal and
    that's the soft message, in effect, that we're sending both to
    our sponsors and our players.  We understand both the opportunity
    and the risk and we'd like to take advantage of the opportunity
    and avoid the risk" (THE DAILY).
         ARMATO ON "MONEYLINE":  Leonard Armato, agent to Shaquille
    O'Neal, on CNN last night:  "A lot of people don't understand
    just how important it is to companies involved in the sport to be
    able to plan their marketing themes.  And what happens sometimes
    when there's labor unrest is that those companies start to get a
    little nervous, and that tends to take money out of the sport.
    Basketball has been such a fast growing sport and captured the
    imaginations of fans and sponsors and people all over the world,
    I think it's dangerous to mess with that right now --
    particularly in light of the most recent round of labor
    negotiations.  So, right now before I have analyzed in full
    detail the proposals that are on the table, my initial indication
    is that it is best for all to simply settle their differences in
    connection with the current agreement" (CNN, 8/16).

    Print | Tags: ABC, CBS, ESPN, Leagues and Governing Bodies, NBA, NBC, NCAA, NFL, Viacom, Walt Disney

         "The battle over decertification of the NBA Players
    Association intensified Wednesday as each side hurled
    inflammatory rhetoric at the other," according to David Moore in
    this morning's DALLAS MORNING NEWS.  "Dissident" players led by
    Michael Jordan, Patrick Ewing, and attorney Jeffrey Kessler held
    a press conference in Chicago and a teleconference with the media
    to reiterate their stance, and NBA Commissioner David Stern also
    held a teleconference to push the league's perspective.  Jordan:
    "A fair deal begins with what we just finished.  Everyone has
    said the league is successful, the players and the owners are
    both making money.  Let's start with that and move forward.
    Don't start below that and make the players try to get that back.
    ... I know if David Stern represented the players, he would not
    ask the players to accept this deal from a business standpoint.
    Why is he asking us to accept this now?"  Stern:  "If I were a
    player, I would say what everyone else knows, and that is the cap
    was riddled with some Mickey Mouse loopholes that made us a
    laughing stock.  We stepped up and made substantial financial
    promises to the players. ... I would say, hey, we have a heck of
    a lot better deal than the football union negotiated by a large
    margin.  I think we struck a pretty good compromise.  It's easy
    to use phrases like rollback, and we did tighten some loopholes.
    But tell me, is the ability to become a free agent after three
    years, is the reduction of the draft to one round, is the
    increase in the percentage of revenue that will push the average
    salary to $3 million by the end of this deal, a rollback?  I
    would ask people to study this deal and reach their own
    conclusions" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 8/17).
         I'M NOT GOING TO TAKE IT ANYMORE:  According to most press
    accounts, Stern took direct aim at Kessler for driving the
    campaign of "misinformation" about decertification and the
    proposed CBA.  Stern:  "I listened to a lawyer misrepresent the
    facts of the deal, and we owe it to our players to get the truth
    out.  We've allowed him to occupy the public, and he's putting
    out all sorts of disinformation in the newspaper.  Maybe I made a
    mistake in allowing it to be put out there without saying
    anything before. ... The decertificaiton effort is an attempt to
    kidnap the negotiation process, and we're not going to abide by
    the kidnapping.  I hate to predict doom, but if it happens, and
    the owners are clear about this, I don't believe there can be a
    season" (Dave D'Alessandro, BERGEN RECORD, 8/17).
         THERE'S A MR. STERN ON LINE 1:  According to Jeffrey Denberg
    in the ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, Stern "probably will contact
    dissident players with a personal plea to support the new labor
    agreement." Stern:  "I've been known to lobby our players from
    time to time."  The commissioner also said team execs will reach
    out as well.  Stern:  "We have designated people on each team who
    will talk with the players because we are very interested in
    having a season.  We will urge them to study the deal and vote."
    Denberg also reports that Stern will call a meeting of owners
    immediately after the vote  (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 8/17).
         STICK TO YOUR OWN SPORT:  Stern took at aim at NFLPA Exec
    Dir Gene Upshaw for urging NBA players to decertify.  Stern:  "I
    am especially perplexed as to why Gene Upshaw is going around
    talking to our players about decertifying.  His league has a hard
    cap. ... I think he would worry about his own league" (L. C.
    Johnson, CLEVELAND PLAIN DEALER, 8/17).
         MORE FROM MJ & CO.:  Jordan in today's CHICAGO TRIBUNE:
    "What we're asking, and what we're basically using
    decertification as, is an opportunity to get the fairest deal and
    he [Stern] controls that issue.  We're not striking here.  We
    want to play."  Jordan, to the fans:  "It's not us causing this.
    It's the league that has locked us out thus far, which has
    enabled us to do what we can to give the season back to the fans.
    ... We don't want the same situation as baseball.  But at the
    same time, I don't think it's fair for them to pressure us to
    accept a bad deal so that the fans can criticize the players.
    That's the way the league is positioning this whole situation."
    Jordan, on the rank-and-file:  "Yeah, it's a good deal for us --
    for the superstars.  But for these young players who are going to
    move forward and make this league and make the game of basketball
    as popular as it is today, it's not a good deal for them.  That's
    why we're making this stand" (Terry Armour, CHICAGO TRIBUNE,
    8/17).  Alonzo Mourning:  "We should be compensated on our
    talent, our worth to our team and also the success of the team."
    Patrick Ewing:  "It's printed that I have the most to lose, so if
    I can step up and put my money where my mouth is, I think all the
    other guys should do the same" ("Sports Tonight," CNN, 8/16).

    Print | Tags: Leagues and Governing Bodies, NBA
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