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  • COULD ONE MAN SAVE BASEBALL? CAL CAN!

         In Boston, Peter Gammons compares Cal Ripken's feat this
    year with Babe Ruth's effect after the Black Sox scandal --
    having the potential to save the sport.  Gammons writes that
    acting MLB Commissioner Bud Selig, who was "genuinely touched" by
    the Camden Yards celebration, "has to convince his fellow owners
    that this is what the game is about; baseball is not as simple as
    Wal-Mart."  And MLBPA Exec Dir Don Fehr, "must also grasp the
    moment.  When they resume talks soon, they must keep quiet, get
    it done and not soil what Ripken hath wrought" (BOSTON GLOBE,
    9/10).  In Philadelphia, Jayson Stark writes of Selig's and
    Fehr's presence:  "Let's hope that what they saw and what they
    felt remain as firmly embedded in their memories as it will
    inside the people who only want to keep loving baseball as much
    as they did that night" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 9/10).
         LOOKING BACK, AND AHEAD:  Selig spoke with Tom Haudricourt
    of the MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL on his tenure as acting
    Commissioner.  Selig:  "There's never been a dull moment. ...
    Nobody regrets more the interruptions, the sadness of a year ago.
    But if it leads to long-term peace that future generations can
    enjoy without having to worry like we have the past 30 years, it
    will all have been worth it" (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 9/10).
    

    Print | Tags: Anheuser Busch, Leagues and Governing Bodies, MLB, Wal Mart
  • EVERYTHING'S COMING UP SILVER & BLUE IN THE NFL

         With the signing of Deion Sanders, Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones
    continued to hold the off-the-field spotlight as the NFL entered
    Week 2.  However, one of the NFL's newer owners, the Patriots'
    Robert Kraft, spoke out against Jones' deals with Nike and Pepsi
    and his attacks on NFL Properties.  Kraft:  "We're the best
    sports entertainment property in America.  Those who are
    privileged to be a part of it should work hard to make it work.
    When we run our club it's important that we maximize our
    opportunities, but not at the expense of the whole league.  I
    always try to stay within the boundaries.  Sometimes I'll benefit
    and sometimes I won't" (Timothy Smith, N.Y. TIMES, 9/10).
         HE'S EVERYWHERE:  BUSINESS WEEK profiles Jones as a
    "Headliner" under, "A Cowboy the NFL Can't Lasso" (BUSINESS WEEK,
    9/18 issue).  Rob Prazmark, President of 21 Marketing, which has
    been advising the Cowboys:  "The difference in opinion is a
    simple American business problem.  [NFL Properties is] interested
    in enhancing the NFL corporate brand.  Jerry and the other clubs
    are interested in selling more product."  NFL Properties
    President Sara Levinson, in a statement:  "National sponsors tell
    us the ability of the clubs to market themselves as a group is
    the primary reason the NFL is the most valuable and attractive
    property in sports" (Jeff Jensen, AD AGE ONLINE, 9/11).  Mike
    Ditka, on the Deion signing:  "Mr. Jerry Jones, everything in
    life is cyclical.  What goes around comes around.  Watch out!"
    ("NFL On NBC," 9/10).  Mike Lupica:  "This Nike-Cowboys deal may
    be one of the great money laundering scams in all of professional
    sports" ("Sports Reporters," ESPN, 9/10).  In L.A., columnist
    Mike Downey calls Jones "an old Arkansas Razorback who keeps
    acting like a pig" (L.A. TIMES, 9/10).  In Boston, Will McDonough
    writes the Jones-Sanders-Pepsi-Nike deal "could, very easily,
    shake the foundation of the league" (BOSTON GLOBE, 9/10).  But in
    Miami, Greg Cote writes, "Jones simply forged a different way to
    do what the communal system discourages:  Reap justly due benefit
    from the Cowboys' stature and good name.  Let the rest of the
    league whine" (MIAMI HERALD, 9/8).  And USA TODAY's Bryan Burwell
    writes, "[Jones] did not disrupt the NFL's holier-than-holy
    revenue-sharing pie.  He simply baked himself another, equally
    lucrative one" (USA TODAY, 9/11).
         NEXT?  In Tampa, Pat Yasinskas writes, "If [Jones] gets away
    with it, the floodgates could open for other owners to follow
    with exclusive deals and maybe even challenge the league's
    sharing of television revenues" (TAMPA TRIBUNE, 9/10).  On NBC,
    McDonough, who reported that Jones "is now going to completely
    pull away as fast as he can from NFL Properties" adds, "Look for
    Al Davis and the Oakland Raiders to be the next to step away from
    NFL Properties and be the next to market themselves" ("NFL On
    NBC," 9/10).  Dolphins VP Eddie Jones tells the MIAMI HERALD that
    "he wants to hear more about [the Jones-Nike deal], which could
    mean he's looking for wrongdoing, or for ways to apply the
    business acumen to his own club" (Greg Cote, MIAMI HERALD, 9/8).
         WHO'S AFRAID OF THE BIG, BAD SWOOSH?  The NFL has not
    decided on a course of action against Jones, according to Paul
    Domowitch of the PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS.  Although any solution
    is unlikely to include a licensing deal with Nike.  According to
    one exec from a NFL-licensed apparel company, the NFL is "scared"
    of Nike.  The exec:  "They feel Nike is too big.  Everything
    they've gotten involved in they've taken over.  And the NFL is
    leery of that."  Sources say Commissioner Paul Tagliabue and NFL
    President Neil Austrian have discussed the possibility of taking
    away Properties revenue or draft picks from the Cowboys
    (PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 9/8).  The Nike symbol was spotted
    throughout Texas Stadium Sunday:  on a building near the parking
    lot,  above ticket windows, and on stairwells, uniforms of
    stadium personnel and the game program.  A mural on a pillar
    read, "Just Do It" (Mark Blaudschun, BOSTON GLOBE, 9/11).
         MEDIA MAN:  Jones, during halftime of last night's TNT game:
    "I want every team to feel like they can go out and get the
    revenues and then they feel better about doing some of the things
    like we did with Deion" (TNT, 9/10).
    

    Print | Tags: Dallas Cowboys, ESPN, Leagues and Governing Bodies, Miami Dolphins, NBC, New England Patriots, NFL, Nike, Oakland Raiders, PepsiCo, TBS/TNT, Walt Disney
  • FED JUDGE HOLDS RULING UNTIL NBPA VOTES ARE COUNTED

         Federal Judge David Doty said Friday he would not rule on
    the dissident players' motion to end the NBA lockout until after
    the NLRB announces the outcome of the NBPA decertification
    election.  That announcement is expected tomorrow, but Doty said
    he will not rule for about two weeks and gave no indication how
    he might rule (Mark Asher, WASHINGTON POST, 9/9).  NLRB Chair
    William Gould:  "The question of whether a majority of the NBA
    players wish to continue to be represented by the union for
    purposes of collective bargaining with the league should be
    determined by this agency and not by a court" (AP/N.Y. TIMES,
    9/9).
         OUTTA HERE:  According to the ORLANDO SENTINEL, Scott Skiles
    has withdrawn his support from the antitrust suit against the
    league, and his agent, Keith Glass, has resigned from the agents
    advisory committee.  Skiles, in a letter to pro-decertification
    attorney Jeffrey Kessler:  "I do this for my own reasons, which I
    could never explain in letter form.  I respect your efforts in
    this matter but have grown uncomfortable with certain practices
    which have accompanied my involvement" (Tim Povtak, ORLANDO
    SENTINEL, 9/9).
         MORE VOTES TO GET:  The L.A. TIMES reports that NBA owners
    are scheduled to vote September 18 on the proposed CBA.  NBA
    Commissioner David Stern:  "I can tell you that I'm planning to
    deliver the vote, and I've never had a problem before.  And I
    don't expect one now, although it won't be unanimous" (Scott
    Howard-Cooper, L.A. TIMES, 9/9).
         "AGENT FROM HELL"?  David Falk was profiled by Tim Povtak in
    yesterday's ORLANDO Sentinel.  Povtak, on Falk's role in the NBA
    labor dispute:  "If the union is decertified when the election
    results are released this week, Falk will be instrumental in
    charting the next course of action the league will take."  Povtak
    also looked at the role of agents in the labor dispute.  Povtak:
    "Alternately described as slimy, sleazy or greedy, but rarely
    credited for being shrewd, innovative or caring, sports agents
    have been blamed for a variety of woes that have permeated the
    sports world for years.  The labor management/fight that has
    handcuffed the NBA is just the latest -- but may be the most
    serious --problem they supposedly have caused."  Keith Glass:
    "If the owners were such sweet people, I wouldn't have a job."
    Steve Kauffman:  "I personally have no desire to run sports.  I
    just want what's best for my clients.  The reputation doesn't
    bother me.  We're already looked upon as slime.  You can't go
    much lower than that" (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 9/10).
    

    Print | Tags: Leagues and Governing Bodies, NBA
  • FTC DECISION TO DROP PROBE SEEN AS MAJOR BOOST FOR FINCHEM

         The FTC's decision to drop their investigation into the PGA
    Tour was a "stunning and total victory for PGA Commissioner Tim
    Finchem, who exhibited some of his well-honed political acumen
    along the way," according to Thomas Bonk of the L.A. TIMES.  Bonk
    calls the strategy of Finchem and PGA Tour attorney Edward
    Moorhouse "flawless," as they enlisted Congressional support,
    laid the groundwork for "potential limited antitrust exemptions"
    if an unfavorable decision came down.  Also, the two never talked
    about the FTC's investigation without "mentioning that money the
    tour donated to charity would be jeopardized."  The PGA Tour
    spent more than $1M in legal fees over the course of the probe,
    and "held a stance that it needed controls to ensure strong
    player fields to make the sponsors and the networks happy."  PGA
    Tour VP/Communications John Morris:  "If our powers had been
    taken away from us, we'd have been as bad as tennis" (L.A. TIMES,
    9/10).  GOLFWORLD writes the ruling was not good news for the
    proposed World Tour, whose offices in West Palm Beach, FL, had a
    taped message explaining the number had been disconnected
    (GOLFWORLD, 9/8 issue).
    

    Print | Tags: Leagues and Governing Bodies, PGA Tour
  • NFL NEWS & NOTES: DODGERS' O'MALLEY PITCHES FOR L.A. TEAM

         Dodgers Owner Peter O'Malley said Friday that "he is willing
    to be the driving force behind the return of professional
    football to Los Angeles by building a new stadium on Dodger
    Stadium property and 'possibly' owning an expansion team,"
    according to the L.A. TIMES.  A proposal endorsed by O'Malley
    "received rave reviews during a meeting [last] week by owners on
    the NFL Stadium Committee, who believe that a team could be
    playing in an O'Malley-built facility by 1998."  The TIMES notes
    that the NFL has already made an exception to its cross-ownership
    rules for Wayne Huizenga, and "it is believed they would make
    another exception to accommodate O'Malley, whose history as a
    stable, 'fan-friendly' sports owner is unmatched."  One NFL
    source predicted the league would endorse a Dodger Stadium plan,
    but O'Malley is yet to meet with NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue
    -- so no agreement is expected soon.  The Committee makes its
    recommendations to general ownership on September 19 in Atlanta.
    The TIMES also reports that NFL sources say the Coliseum is not
    an option, that Hollywood Park has fallen out of favor because of
    the planned facility's "proximity" to gambling, and that Disney
    Chair Michael Eisner "has yet to convice influential owners that
    he is serious about bringing a team to Orange County."  One
    representative of Football LA, a mayorally-appointed task force:
    "L.A. needs a hero, and Peter O'Malley can be that person"
    (Plaschke & Simer, L.A. TIMES, 9/10).  Officials in Anaheim were
    "caught off-guard," according to the ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER.  But
    Tony Tavares, President of Disney Sports Enterprises, said of
    their interest:  "We are still interested in owning an NFL team.
    We are going through the process in a businesslike way, through
    the right channels" (Janis Carr, ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 9/10).
         CLOCK'S TICKING:  MD Gov. Parris Glendening has sent a
    letter to the NFL formally warning league officials "that if they
    do not promise by December to move a team to Baltimore,
    Maryland's offer to build a publicly financed stadium in Camden
    Yards will probably disappear," according to the Baltimore SUN.
    Maryland Stadium Authority Chair John Moag, to NFL owners:  "You
    need to be aware that the opportunity in Baltimore -- which is
    currently the only turnkey opportunity for any NFL team in the
    country -- is not going to be available a lot longer."
    Glendening and Moag did not set a specific deadline (John Frece,
    Baltimore SUN, 9/9).
         APPAREL POLICE:  ABC's Armen Keteyian reported on the NFL's
    crackdown on dress code violations.  NFL Dir of Player Devlopment
    Gene Washington:  "We have companies pay licensing fees to be on
    the field and on our sideline.  It's important to us that they
    get full value."  Cowboys QB Troy Aikman:  "This has gone purely
    beyond corporate advertising.  It's ridiculous" ("World News
    Sunday," ABC, 9/10).
    

    Print | Tags: ABC, Dallas Cowboys, Leagues and Governing Bodies, Los Angeles Dodgers, News Corp./Fox, NFL, Walt Disney
  • U.S. OPEN WRAP-UP: COREL OFFERS SPONSORSHIP DEAL TO WTA

         Corel Corp., an Ottawa-based computer software company, made
    a multi-year, multi-million dollar offer to sponsor the WTA Tour
    over the weekend at the U.S. Open.  The tour wpould be renamed
    the "Corel WTA Tour" (IMG).  The deal is worth approximately $4M,
    according to the TAMPA TRIBUNE.  Corel has been involved in
    sponsoring Jimmy Connors' Champions Tour.  Nokia, a Finnish
    electronics company, "also reportedly is interested in sponsoring
    the tour."  The WTA is reviewing Corel's offer.  The return of
    Monica Seles and her rivalry with Steffi Graf is seen as a big
    reason for the companies' interest in the tour (TAMPA TRIBUNE,
    9/10).  In Tampa, H.A. Branham called Saturday "a very good day
    for women's tennis" with news of a possible sponsorship deal and
    the Seles-Graf final (TAMPA TRIBUNE, 9/10).
         TV TIME:  In New York, George Vecsey criticizes CBS and the
    USTA for holding the women's final in between the mens' semi-
    finals on Saturday, instead of giving them a day of their own.
    Vecsey: "It is disrespectful to stick the women's finals at some
    undetermined time between two men's semi-finals. ... Maybe [Graf-
    Seles] will force CBS and their lackeys at the Open to do the
    right thing next year and give the women their own day" (N.Y.
    TIMES, 9/9).  In L.A., Mike Penner asks, "Who was the biggest
    winner at the Flushing Meadow Saturday? ... How about Nike" (L.A.
    TIMES, 9/10).
         RIVALRY HOT?  MAYBE NOT:  While the media trumpeted the
    Seles-Graf meeting, the Agassi-Sampras final was met with less
    enthusiasm.  In Baltimore, John Eisenberg writes that Agassi-
    Sampras "isn't a great rivalry, at least not yet.  And maybe
    never. .. The tennis poobahs want it.  Nike wants it" (Baltimore
    SUN, 9/11).  In Washington, Michael Wilbon calls the men's final
    a "dispassionate finish."  Wilbon: "Championship tennis?  Yes.
    Riveting?  Not quite. ... Isn't a rivalry supposed to generate
    some emotional response? ... Heck, Agassi and Sampras make
    commercials together for Nike" (WASHINGTON POST, 9/11).  In
    Minneapolis, Patrick Reusse writes, "No one has pushed the
    Sampras-Agassi angle harder than Nike" -- with the company's
    "influence" one of the key changes in the game since Bjorn Borg
    retired in '81 (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 9/11).  In New York,
    Filip Bondy adds, "[They] slug tennis balls at each other for
    more than two hours, then head off the court toward their next
    endorsements" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 9/11).  Nike "couldn't have had a
    more perfect day if it had arranged it itself," writes Tom Knott
    of the WASHINGTON TIMES.  "Then again, perhaps Nike did arrange
    it all" (WASHINGTON TIMES, 9/11).  DETROIT FREE PRESS' Mitch
    Albom:  "They had Agassi, Sampras, Seles, Deion, Cal.  I mean,
    nobody had a better week in sports than Nike" ("Sports
    Reporters," ESPN, 9/10).
         OPEN NEWS & NOTES:  Sunday's crowd of 19,950 pushed the two-
    week total for the tournament to 504,806 (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION,
    9/11)....Ratings for CBS' "Super Saturday" were up.  From
    11:00am-5:15pm, CBS had a 5.1/14 -- up 46% from last year.  For
    the Becker-Agassi semifinal from 5:15-8:15, they received a
    6.8/15 -- up 58% (L.A. TIMES, 9/11). ....The ATP Tour and the
    four major Grand Slam tournaments announced a multi-year deal
    changing the points awarded for majors and the ATP Tour's "Super
    9" events.  Majors will be worth twice as much as Super 9 events,
    provided they have twice as much prize money (TENNIS
    WEEKLY)....Workers at Chipman-Union, Inc. in GA, sent a letter to
    Adidas endorser Steffi Graf, asking her to end her affliation
    with the company.  They held a demonstration outside the Open on
    Friday.  Union members say the company, that makes Adidas socks,
    has been fined for health and safety violations, and has "been
    charged with race discrimination and sexual harassment"
    (Minneapolis STAR-TRIBUNE, 9/9)....The booth for the Arthur Ashe
    Endowment for the Defeat of AIDS was brought inside the main gate
    of the National Tennis Center after it had been moved to the
    boardwalk at the start of the tournament.  The media "hammered"
    the original move, but the USTA denied it had "anything to do
    with shortchanging a non-profit organization in favor of well-
    heeled corporate customers" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 9/9).  NEWSDAY's
    John Jeansonne give the USTA's an "ace" for the move back
    (NEWSDAY, 9/10).
    

    Print | Tags: ATP, CBS, ESPN, IMG, Leagues and Governing Bodies, Nike, USTA, Viacom, Walt Disney, Washington Nationals
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