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Dave Dixon, a founder of the USFL, plans a new pro football league with fans as owners. Within the next ten days Dixon plans to announce formation of the FanOwnership Football League, with the unveiling in either Cleveland or Houston. The New Orleans businessman "envisions a league that will offer cheaper tickets, a longer season, and, above all, stability." Dixon said in "its present structure, the NFL cannot survive. ... You can't treat the public this way." Dixon said eight founding owners will put up a one-time fee of $5M, plus $2M in operating funds. The owner retains 30% of team stock, with 70% sold to fans with no single person able to own more than one percent. The league would have 12-16 teams and play a 24-game, fall-winter schedule. Negotiations are "underway with a major network" for a TV deal, but Dixon said without a TV contract, the league would go after syndication or other TV outlets. The league will target "major cities," domed stadiums and warm weather cities. Play is scheduled to begin play September '96 with an average ticket price of $10 (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 11/10). Dixon said he had spoken to CBS, Warner Brothers, and UPN and predicted CBS "will make a major bid" for the NFL in '97 (USA TODAY, 11/10). ANOTHER LEAGUE: Robert Lewis, a New York lawyer who is trying to form another pro league with Calvin Hill as Commissioner said if they don't get a TV network deal in the next 2-3 weeks, "we'll probably delay until 1997." Lewis: "It amazes me how fearful these (network) guys are of the NFL" (Rudy Martzke, USA TODAY, 11/10).
The World Cup, formerly the Canada Cup, has seven games set for Canada, seven for Europe and five for the U.S., according to a "preliminary schedule" obtained by the CANADIAN PRESS. The eight-team tournament is tentatively scheduled to begin August 29 as Canada takes on Russia in Vancover, and Sweden meets Finland in either Helsinki or Stockholm. The Cup ends with a best-of- three final starting September 10 in Boston and ending in Montreal. A final schedule may be finished by next week. European cities have yet to be decided, and Boston is the only definite U.S. site with Detroit, Pittsburgh, and St. Louis "vying for the other two." Canadian sites include Vancouver, Montreal, Toronto and Ottawa (Alan Adams, CP/Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 11/1O). THE COMMISH: NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman is featured by the N.Y. TIMES' Robert Lipsyte in his column titled, "Hot under the collar for the 'Coolest Game.'" Bettman on hockey's future: "The interest level is huge among kids, it's unchanneled and untapped, but we won't really see it for five or 10 years, until they get out of college, buy their own tickets, and take control of their TV remotes. We are where the NBA was in the 80's." Lipsyte writes while hockey is a "New World for entertainment entrepreneurs apparel and equipment marketers, Bettman has to make sure the natives aren't killed off right away. ... future profits will come from the family trade in warm climates." Bettman says Americanization does not mean "gutting" the game, but instead marketing "around the edges" (N.Y. TIMES, 11/10). NEWS & NOTES: At a meeting yesterday with NHL Senior VP Brian Burke, a number of GMs, led by Toronto's Cliff Fletcher and Chicago's Bob Pulford, expressed displeasure over the removal of club logos from official game pucks. A few GMs also spoke on the "perceived inadequacies" of the schedule and suggested clubs "have greater input" (TORONTO STAR, 11/10)....The lawsuit brought against the teams and league by five former players charging collusion could have a "big payoff" (David Shoalts, Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 11/10).
MLB's labor committee met yesterday in Chicago to finalize a proposal to give the MLBPA. The meeting was attended by acting Commissioner Bud Selig, White Sox Chair Jerry Reinsdorf, among others (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 11/10).... The Browns move may "take the air" out of the move to lift MLB's antitrust exemption, according to USA TODAY's Tom Weir, as baseball can now "make a stronger case than ever that its teams will take flight" if it is lost (USA TODAY, 11/10)....Philip Penston III, who has developed the World Boxing League, which would "reform the boxing industry," is profiled by John Heylar of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. The WBL would seek a "team format, market boxers into matinee idols" and get it out of the "red light district of sports" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 11/10)....NFLPA Exec Dir Gene Upshaw, on Commissioner Tagliabue admitting the current CBA is not working as intended: "It's my fault again. But that's OK. We're big boys. ... I'm not going to sell the players out" (PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 11/10)....SportsLine USA is putting the text of Jerry Jones' $750M lawsuit against the NFL on the internet. The suit is the "first legal document to make it to the service" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 11/10)....
"Either the NBA or its referees' union will suffer a significant defeat today," according to Bill Harris of the TORONTO SUN. Both sides made final arguments to the Ontario Labor Relations Board, and the board has been asked to determine if the NBA's lockout of the refs is legal under Ontario labor laws. Board Chair Janice Johnston could give her decision today. Arguments yesterday by the league said the union has "never been recognized in Ontario and therefore the refs have never been employees in this province." Even if the lockout is declared unlawful, it's not known what Johnston "will instruct the two sides to do about it" (Bill Harris, TORONTO SUN, 11/10). The GLOBE & MAIL's Robert MacLeod calls it "uncertain" if Johnston will hand down her ruling today (Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 11/10).