SBD/1/Leagues Governing Bodies

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  • CFL'S AMERICAN DREAM BEGINS TO UNRAVEL

         None of the CFL's Board of Governors were willing to declare
    U.S. expansion an "abject failure" yesterday,  despite the fact
    that Board Chair John Tory opened the annual meeting with the
    news the Memphis Mad Dogs had folded and that the Birmingham
    Barracudas would do the same unless the team is sold and
    relocated.  In Toronto, Rick Matsumoto writes to expect the
    Barracudas to pull out and the CFL to go with an 11-team league
    next year.  But, "there might be more to come" as far as problems
    in U.S. cities.  San Antonio Texans Owner Fred Anderson is
    conducting a ticket drive and could still withdraw if he fails to
    gain 12,000 season-ticket buyers.  The Shreveport Pirates are
    examining Norfolk, VA, as a possible new home next year.  And the
    Grey Cup Champion Baltimore Stallions could be forced to move
    with the Browns coming to their city next year.  In the face of
    all this, the Governors gave a vote of confidence to Commissioner
    Larry Smith and voted to make no rule changes and to retain the
    name "CFL" (TORONTO STAR, 12/1).  Also, the Governors agreed to a
    C$200,000 cut to the C$2.5M salary cap, as well as a 25% cut in
    league payroll and a 20% cut in operating costs.  Each team will
    also lower non-player salary costs by up to 25% (Mike Ganter,
    TORONTO SUN, 12/1).
    

    Print | Tags: CFL, Cleveland Browns, Houston Texans, Leagues and Governing Bodies, Pittsburgh Pirates
  • FROM THE FAR TURN AT TALLADEGA TO THE FAR EAST

         The first of three NASCAR demonstration races scheduled in
    Japan over the next three years will be held November 24, 1996,
    on the 1.4-mile Suzuka Circuitland race course in Suzuka City.
    NASCAR President Bill France and Suzuka Circuitland President
    Takashi Matsuda made the announcement yesterday.  In a filmed
    speech, U.S. Ambassador to Japan Walter Mondale said the
    agreement is an opportunity for the two societies to better
    understand each other and that it will also help the American
    auto industry.  The cars running in Japan will be from the
    Winston Cup, Winston West and Busch Grand National circuits.
    Honda has announced it will build a 1.5-mile oval outside Tokyo,
    which France said NASCAR expects to race on in '98.  Former
    NASCAR Champion Rusty Wallace said it is good to race "somewhere
    new," but he noted there are still places in the U.S. that want
    NASCAR racing (Sandra McKee, Baltimore SUN, 12/1).  In Ft. Worth,
    John Sturbin notes Japan invitations will be sent to
    approximately 30 drivers, but France said no decisions have been
    made on who will go (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 12/1).
         GORDON MAKES THE ROUNDS:  NASCAR Winston Cup Champ Jeff
    Gordon appeared on the "Late Show" with David Letterman last
    night and on "Good Morning America" this morning.  On "Late
    Night," Gordon made a grand entrance by parking his stock car
    (all sponsors showing) out front and then running into the
    studio.  Gordon promised to give Letterman one of his cars if he
    came to his little race track in Charlotte (CBS, 11/30).  This
    morning, Gordon drove during NYC rush hour with a camera crew
    ("GMA," ABC, 11/30).
    

    Print | Tags: ABC, Anheuser Busch, CBS, Leagues and Governing Bodies, NASCAR, R J Reynolds, Viacom, Walt Disney
  • LEGISLATION FILED TO PREVENT NFL FRANCHISE MOVES

         As expected, legislation was introduced in both houses of
    Congress yesterday by members of Ohio's delegation designed to
    control the relocation of franchises, particularly in the NFL.
    According to the Akron BEACON JOURNAL, Congress is now in a "two-
    minute drill" to try to save the Browns, and possibly the Oilers.
    Primary sponsors are Sen. John Glenn and Rep. Louis Stokes.
         THE BILL WOULD:  Grant the NFL, NBA and NHL a limited
    antitrust exemption allowing them to block franchise moves;
    Require six months' notice of a planned move to give communities
    a chance to respond; Ban relocation fees paid to league.  Hoke
    will also introduce another bill to prevent a relocating team
    from keeping its name, colors and logos if it had been in a city
    for more than 10 years; and require leagues to put an expansion
    team in an abandoned city if capable ownership is found (Akron
    BEACON JOURNAL, 12/1).
         REACTION:  Predictably, members of Maryland's delegation
    were not confident of the bill's chances for passage.  MD Sen.
    Barbara Mikulski:  "I understand why [Sen. Glenn] wants to fight
    for his team, but I believe this is a done deal -- Baltimore is
    getting a team" (Brad Snyder, Baltimore SUN, 12/1).  In Houston,
    Ed Fowler notes that granting the NFL a limited exemption would
    provide no guarantee to the fans that teams will not move.
    Fowler notes many NFL owners "are as covetous as Art Modell and
    Bud Adams of fancier stadiums with more luxury boxes and might
    some day soon need the votes of those two to get moves of their
    own approved" (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 12/1).
    

    Print | Tags: Anheuser Busch, Cleveland Browns, Edmonton Oilers, Leagues and Governing Bodies, NBA, NFL, NHL
  • MAGIC NUMBER FOR MLB OWNERS: PAYROLL AT 50% OF REVENUES?

         MLB owners' latest payroll-tax proposal "appears to be aimed
    at ultimately reducing player payrolls to no more than 50 percent
    of club revenues," according to Murray Chass in this morning's
    N.Y. TIMES.  While negotiators from neither side would confirm
    the details of the owners' offer, or the players' expected
    response, Chass reports the plan calls for a 25% tax on portions
    of team payrolls above $44M in Year 1 of a seven-year "adjusting
    tax system."  In the following years, "the tax-triggering
    thresholds would be linked to the previous year's industry
    revenue, and the tax rates would be based on the percentage of
    the previous year's revenue that was spent on player payrolls."
    For Years 2-6, the tax would be anywhere from 25-50%.  But it
    would "disappear" in Year 7 if the clubs spent 50% or less of
    total revenue on player salaries in Year 6.  In addition, the
    threshold would remain at $44M as long as overall revenues were
    below $2.2B (the proposal puts '95 revenues at $1.556B).  Once
    revenue exceeds $2.2B, the threshold would increase by 2% of the
    amount over that figure.  Based on 14% growth, the owners
    estimate the threshold could be $68M by Year 7.  Under the new
    plan, five clubs would have been taxed in '95, compared to 11
    under the owners' March '94 plan (50% at $44M) and six under the
    players' final counter-offer (25% at $50M).  Also, the owners
    would retain arbitration for some players in exchange for earlier
    free agency (N.Y. TIMES, 12/1).
         UNION REACTION:  MLBPA Exec Dir Don Fehr:  "It's premature,
    but all options are open.  The question always becomes, if you're
    getting into a tax, why are you doing it, what is the anticipated
    effect?  What do you do with the money?  Is it used to invest in
    the game's future or just to subsidize people?  Does it have the
    effect of effectively inhibiting a free market or is it a tax
    that has a cost attached to it but preserves the essence of the
    free market?"  Chass notes, if the union accepts the idea of a
    tax, "the proposal could include enough variations for the two
    sides to negotiate an agreement" (N.Y. TIMES, 12/1).
    

    Print | Tags: Leagues and Governing Bodies, MLB
  • NBA REFS LOCKOUT: CLAIMS OF "PROGRESS," BUT NOTHING TO SHOW

         The NBA and its locked-out referees met for the second
    consecutive day with four key issues remaining and another
    session scheduled for today.  Mike Mathis, chief negotiator for
    the refs, said the definition of language for pension and
    benefits, as well as playoff salaries, severance pay and the term
    of the contract still prevent an agreement.  Jeffrey Mishkin, the
    NBA's Senior VP for Legal & Business Affairs, said in a
    statement:  "We're no closer to an agreement and we remain far
    apart" (WASHINGTON POST, 12/1).  NBA Commissioner David Stern has
    attended both meetings this week, the first talks since November
    16.  NBRA General Counsel Fred Slaughter:  "As far as I'm
    concerned, we're continuing to make progress. ... We would love
    to have it done before Monday" (AP/S.F. CHRONICLE, 12/1).  ESPN's
    Jack Edwards:  "The refs apparently see the glass as half full,
    while the league sees it as half empty."  Slaughter: "It's
    amazing to me how people indicate that we have great distances"
    ("SportsCenter," 11/30).
    

    Print | Tags: ESPN, Leagues and Governing Bodies, NBA, Walt Disney
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