SBD/19/Leagues Governing Bodies

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  • BASEBALL OWNERS VOTE TO ADOPT INTERLEAGUE PLAY

         MLB owners voted unanimously to approve a proposal to
    experiment with limited interleague play in '97.  Under the plan,
    each team will play 15-16 games versus teams from the same
    division in the opposite league; games will be played around
    Memorial Day and Labor Day; the DH will be used in AL parks only
    ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 1/18).
         WHAT MAKES BUD HAPPY?  NEWSDAY's Jon Heyman writes,
    "Yesterday was a rare day for total good feeling in the baseball
    community" (NEWSDAY, 1/19).  Murray Chass notes the likely
    controversy over the DH under the new system, but writes acting
    MLB Commissioner Bud Selig "was too ecstatic, though, to allow
    details such as the [DH] to intrude on his elation" (N.Y. TIMES,
    1/19).  Selig:  "I think the DH is a nonissue" (I.J. Rosenberg,
    ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 1/19).   Selig, on possible union
    opposition:  "Don [Fehr] and I personally have talked about
    interleague play for a long time and its a subject we've never
    had any disagreement on" (Tom Keegan, N.Y. POST, 1/19).  Red Sox
    CEO John Harrington, on the DH:  "It might kill interleague play,
    but I don't expect the union to do that" (BOSTON GLOBE, 1/19).
         TV REAX:  ESPN's Charley Steiner:  "On a day when Lisa Marie
    tells Michael to beat it, when Disney buys the Angels in the
    outfield -- and the infield, and the dugout, and the bullpen --
    Major League Baseball took a major step towards Fantasy Land."
    Peter Gammons:  "All that's happened the last couple years has
    been about demographics. ... They are trying to address some fans
    who really don't care about numbers, but about moving forward"
    ("SportsCenter," 1/18).
         PRINT REAX:  In Philadelphia, Bill Conlin: "Interleague play
    will work better only because nothing the owners came up with in
    Los Angeles could possibly be worse than the Baseball Network"
    (PHILA. DAILY NEWS, 1/19).  In Chicago, Bob Verdi: "This schedule
    modification is so overdue and so logical that even the union's
    most militant soldiers will have to dig deep for causes to
    resist" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 1/18).  In New York, Mike Lupica --
    arguing that MLB needs a CBA, a commissioner, revenue-sharing and
    a less confrontational union:  "Baseball did not take a giant
    step forward yesterday with interleague play.  It just danced a
    little more" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 1/19).  Ira Berkow, who argues for
    realignment:  "Baseball was frightened into it" (N.Y. TIMES,
    1/19).  Steve Jacobson:  "In a word, it stinks.  It messes up a
    century of geometry" (NEWSDAY, 1/19).  In Washington, Tom
    Boswell:  "It's about time baseball tried to please the public,
    even if embracing change leads to a few errors in judgment"
    (WASHINGTON POST, 1/19).  In Atlanta, I.J. Rosenberg:
    "Interleague play should put a charge into a sport that continues
    to try to regain what it lost in the strike" (ATLANTA
    CONSTITUTION, 1/19).  But Terence Moore adds, the problem with
    baseball isn't the lack of interleague play, it's the lack of a
    CBA -- and the fact "that most of those who run the game would
    rather trick the public with smoke and mirrors" (ATLANTA
    CONSTITUTION, 1/19).  In Orlando, George Diaz writes, "For once,
    baseball got it right" (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 1/19).  In Tampa,
    Martin Fennelly:  "Interleague play isn't a grim reaper.  He has
    come and going, going, gone" (TAMPA TRIBUNE, 1/19).  In Dallas,
    Cathy Harasta:  "Making sense and taking a positive step?
    Baseball owners?" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 1/19).
    

    Print | Tags: LA Angels, Anaheim Sports, Anheuser Busch, Boston Red Sox, ESPN, Leagues and Governing Bodies, MLB, Walt Disney
  • BASEBALL, PART II: NOW, ABOUT THAT LABOR SITUATION

         MLBPA Exec Dir Don Fehr said in a memo distributed to
    players yesterday that the owners' latest labor proposal "does
    not appear to differ significantly from the owners' proposals of
    March."  According to Mark Maske of the WASHINGTON POST, it was a
    signal "that the game's labor negotiations continue to go
    nowhere."  Fehr said in the memo that the union hopes to resume
    talks "very soon, at the latest prior to the beginning of spring
    training."  Acting MLB Commissioner Bud Selig said he is
    "confident" the coming season will not be interrupted (WASHINGTON
    POST, 1/19).  In New York, Murray Chass predicts a union counter-
    proposal "early next month" (N.Y. TIMES, 1/19).  In Chicago,
    Jerome Holtzman predicts another midseason impasse and a return
    to court.  Holtzman foresees Fehr using interleague play -- and a
    subsequent demand the DH be expanded to the NL -- as a bargaining
    chip in overall labor talks (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 1/18).  In Phila.,
    Bill Conlin writes, "Two months to reply, informally, of course,
    to a proposal Fehr says is unchanged from that of last March?"
    (PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 1/19).
         OTHER POST-MEETING NOTES:  A report obtained by USA TODAY's
    Hal Bodley shows that for the first time, the top five revenue-
    producing teams also have the top payrolls.  The difference in
    average payroll between the top five teams and the bottom five is
    $29,892,814 (USA TODAY, 1/19).
    

    Print | Tags: Anheuser Busch, Leagues and Governing Bodies, MLB
  • MARYLAND SEEKS TO PUSH AGENDA WITH SUIT AGAINST THE NFL

         The state of Maryland and the Maryland Stadium Authority
    filed a $36M federal antitrust suit against the NFL and 29 of its
    30 teams "in an attempt to hasten the move of the Cleveland
    Browns to Baltimore for the 1996 season," according to the
    WASHINGTON POST.  Maryland Stadium Authority Chair John Moag
    announced the filing of the suit in Baltimore District Court by
    saying they were "prompted by the illegal failure of the NFL to
    approve the move."  NFL owners ended their January meetings in
    Atlanta yesterday with no decision on the Browns' move.  Moag:
    "This is obviously a preemptory move on our part."  The suit
    claims the league violated state and federal antitrust laws by
    preventing the Authority from competing for teams, asserting its
    right to block the move, injuring the Authority financially
    (delays will cost more than $30M in extra bond payments), and
    injuring the MD economy.  The suit seeks to an order banning the
    NFL from interfering as well as fines and damages.  NFL
    Commissioner Paul Tagliabue said the Browns issue will be taken
    up at a special meeting on February 8-9, at a location to be
    determined.  Tagliabue said at that time he will deliver his
    report on the Browns situation and possibly a personal
    recommendation one way or the other (Leonard Shapiro, WASHINGTON
    POST, 1/19).
         LOOKING AHEAD:  There was "speculation" that the owners
    would vote in February to approve the move while promising
    Cleveland a team once a new stadium is built.  But Fred Nance,
    lead attorney for the city of Cleveland, said a non-binding
    promise is not acceptable.  Tagliabue said the league would not
    force the Bucs to move to Cleveland to resolve the matter, but he
    left open the possibility of that happening on its own (Hubbuch &
    Adams, Akron BEACON JOURNAL, 1/19).  Yesterday, while noting that
    "insiders say there is nothing to the Tampa Bay part of this
    triangle," Will McDonough reported "preliminary talks have begun"
    to get the Bucs to Cleveland with an eye on a settlement before a
    February vote (BOSTON GLOBE, 1/18).  USA TODAY's Gordon Forbes:
    "The big question:  Would Malcom Glazer and Art Modell consider
    swapping franchises, Glazer keeping the Browns in Cleveland and
    Modell moving the Bucs to Baltimore?" (USA TODAY, 1/19).  Today's
    TAMPA TRIBUNE reiterates that three league sources say the
    Glazers have had talks with an unnamed "point man" in Cleveland,
    but NFL Counsel Jay Moyer said, "They haven't said to us that
    they want to move" (Yasinskas & Henderson, TAMPA TRIBUNE, 1/19).
         LABOR DEAL ALSO DELAYED:  The owners also failed to vote on
    the extension of the current CBA with the players.  The league is
    expected also to take up that issue at the special February
    meeting (WASHINGTON POST, 1/19).  McDonough reports there is a
    revenue-sharing deal in the works in which the teams with the
    most lucrative stadium deals would share with lesser teams
    (BOSTON GLOBE, 1/18).
    

    Print | Tags: Cleveland Browns, Leagues and Governing Bodies, NFL, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  • THE NHL IS COMING! THE NHL IS COMING! HOCKEY FEST HITS HUB

         The 46th NHL All-Star Game will be played tomorrow evening
    in Boston's FleetCenter, and media coverage in Boston is heavy
    with All-Star news and NHL profiles.  The BOSTON GLOBE's David
    Halbfinger writes on the strategy of NHL Commissioner Gary
    Bettman in "marketing a sport whose appeal has long been too
    narrow, the audience too small."  Bettman's plan "is a simple
    one.  Get the sport in front of as many eyeballs as possible."
    Rick Dudley, Senior VP at NHL Enterprises, said the league
    recently went after sponsors who would give "a real commitment"
    to the sport. Halbfinger notes the two-year deal with Campbell
    Soup's Chunky brand, who, in turn, have spent heavily on point-
    of-purchase and in-store presence.  The league has also "dropped
    some existing sponsors," like Thrifty Car Rental, when they
    "balked at the NHL's new demands for exposure" (BOSTON GLOBE,
    1/19).  Bettman is also featured by Kevin Paul Dupont, under
    "Bettman Continues to Twirl His Magic."  Bettman:  "My focus has
    been: 'Give us a chance.'  We have a fast-paced, hard hitting,
    exciting game."  Bettman dismisses talk the NHL has to "catch"
    the NBA, NFL, or MLB.  He adds, "We have to be everything we can
    be .... Are we there yet?  No, but I think we're getting there"
    (BOSTON GLOBE, 1/19).    CRACKS IN THE ICE?  In a feature in
    today's WALL STREET JOURNAL, John Helyar writes the All-Star
    weekend "reaffirms that pro hockey has finally skated out of the
    Dark Ages, under the guidance" of Bettman.  But despite the
    optimism, Helyar notes some problems, including a slight drop-off
    in attendance.  Helyar:  "Too many lockout aftershocks, too many
    shaky franchises, too many pricey tickets.  Despite the NHL's
    slick image, the league has a number of rough spots."  Heylar
    examines each, writing, "All the hype in the world from NHL
    headquarters can't overcome local ownership weaknesses."  One
    explanation comes from NHLPA Exec Dir Bob Goodenow:  "Hockey has
    expanded into a bigger, more complicated business, and some teams
    have been owned by people who maybe saw it as a hobby or a
    business not deserving of their greatest attention.  The new
    environment is hard for these owners to operate in" (WALL STREET
    JOURNAL, 1/19).  In Philadelphia, Les Bowen writes the 46th All-
    Star game comes a year later than planned due to the '94 lockout,
    and "it's safe to say that very few people eagerly awaited its
    return" (PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 1/19).  In Ottawa, Roy
    MacGregor writes that "one day sports historians may say it was
    here [in Boston] ... where hockey took leave of this world."  He
    writes of Fox's new computerized puck, the video enhanced
    NHLFANtasy at the World Trade Center, and, "much to the shock of
    those who came of age during the 1960's, you will find Peter Max"
    -- the official artist of the All-Star Game (OTTAWA CITIZEN,
    1/19).
    

    Print | Tags: Leagues and Governing Bodies, MLB, NBA, News Corp./Fox, NFL, NHL, Orlando Magic, RDV Sports
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