SBD/22/Leagues Governing Bodies

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              NFLPA Exec Dir Gene Upshaw "is going to become the
         richest union boss in all of team sports," according to
         CNN/SI's Peter King.   Upshaw "is expected" to sign a $1.6M
         per-year deal through 2003 "this week," a six-year extension
         worth $9.6M.  King: "There's going to be a lot of fallout
         over this, because a lot of players have been critical of
         Upshaw over the years.  It's going to be interesting to hear
         the initial reaction from players in the league about
         Upshaw's huge new deal."  CNN/SI's Bob Golic, former player,
         on Upshaw's deal: "This guy is supposed to be helping all
         players as a union leader, not just some players. ... It is
         absolutely a crime if they give this guy this raise, because
         he has not helped all players like his job description tells
         him he's supposed to" ("NFL Preview," CNN/SI, 9/21).

    Print | Tags: Leagues and Governing Bodies, NFL, Sports Illustrated

              MLS' "pending" TV deal will see the ABC/ESPN "combo
         paying a rights fee for around 60 games, 12 of which will be
         on ABC next year," network sources told Terry Lefton of
         BRANDWEEK.  The league's first TV arrangement with ABC/ESPN
         "were via a time-buy arrangement, produced by MLS and
         packaged with media buys from MLS sponsors."  Lefton: "Other
         than the benefits to MLS of sheer on-air time, a truer media
         partnership gives ABC incentive to promote MLS and gives MLS
         more inventory to offer potential corporate sponsors."  The
         deal is "expected to be wrapped up within a month."  In
         other news, the league is expected to hold a "'spring
         training' of sorts for all teams" at Walt Disney's Sports
         Complex and will also implement a "fan balloting element" to
         the '98 All-Star game, "which will likely be sponsored by a
         large" mass-merchant retailer (BRANDWEEK, 9/22 issue). 

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

              NBA Commissioner David Stern, on finding ways to
         address conduct-related problems among NBA personnel: "There
         is nothing special we are going to do.  We are going to
         continue our programs that we have in place and continue 
         our dialogue with the [NBPA] as to what standards of conduct
         are reasonable."  Noting the recent legal troubles of Marv
         Albert and Hornets Owner George Shinn, Stern added, "We're
         not about any kind of witch hunt.  But illegal actions or
         criminal actions which result in convictions are things we
         have to be ready to deal with for all people, not just
         players.  We're prepared to deal with all of it" (Eddie
         Sefko, HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 9/20).  More Stern: "This involves
         a very, very, very small percentage of our players, and on
         one hand concerns us greatly.  But on the other hand, causes
         us to make sure we don't contribute to the stereotyping that
         historically has gone on" (SACRAMENTO BEE, 9/21).  In
         Boston, Peter May: "It was refreshing to hear Stern confront
         the issue of moral turpitude and not limit it to players." 
         May also noted that NBA GMs "were presented with a rough
         draft proposal about the CBA becoming more of a development/
         farm league for the NBA" (BOSTON GLOBE, 9/21).
              NOTES: Stern said TV revenue will be limited to network
         and cable deals, with no plans to offer games on pay-per-
         view (SACRAMENTO BEE, 9/21)....In Ft. Lauderdale, Ira
         Winderman wrote the league put together a presentation of
         "questionable music that included a tape of" the Rocky
         theme, "Gonna Fly Now," aired during the Heat-Knicks playoff
         "brawl."  The Heat "was chastised for the musical selection
         and possible incendiary ramifications" (SUN-SENTINEL,
         9/20)....The Competition Committee discussed rule changes
         for this season, including moving the three-point line back
         to 23 feet, 9 inches (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 9/22). 

    Print | Tags: Cablevision, Leagues and Governing Bodies, Miami Heat, NBA, New Orleans Pelicans, New York Knicks

              At the league meetings in Orlando, NBA Commissioner
         David Stern suggested Friday "that the owners will exercise
         their option to reopen and renegotiate" the CBA after this
         season, according to Tim Povtak of the ORLANDO SENTINEL. 
         Such a reopening "could lead to a player lockout, another
         decertification effort of the player's union and the first
         regular-season work stoppage in league history."  Stern: "I
         understand the possibilities, but we'll do what we have to
         do.  We think it [the CBA] could use some improvement." 
         Povtak: "Even with ticket prices escalating and the
         popularity of the game moving globally, too many teams are
         beginning to lose money.  Many owners don't like what they
         see in the future."  Stern estimated that "one-third or
         more" of the NBA teams lost money last season and that
         "almost" half "are expected to lose money this season."  The
         NBA would like to close "various loopholes" that enable
         teams to exceed the current salary cap and owners "want a
         new deal before the bidding begins next summer on a new crop
         of free agents."  NBA Deputy Commissioner Russ Granik: "We
         feel that the salary system may be out of whack."  Stern:
         "We would like to come up with a notion that actually sees
         player salaries continue to rise at a rate that keeps pace
         with increases in revenue without seeing ticket prices rise
         at such an extraordinary rate" (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 9/20). 
         Granik, on the number of teams losing money: "That's a big
         difference from a few years ago, when it was only one or two
         teams" (Peter May, BOSTON GLOBE, 9/20).  In N.Y., Mike Wise
         wrote that NBA labor peace "may be threatened again."  The
         league can reopen talks at its option, without union
         approval, but no action can be taken until April (N.Y.
         TIMES, 9/20).  NBPA Exec Dir Bill Hunter: "If the league is
         so inclined to set aside that deal, so be it.  Everything
         will be back on the table" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 9/20).
              REAX: In Fort Lauderdale, Ira Winderman: "Based on the
         tone of the league's highest-ranking officials, as well as
         the stance of the union's newly elected leadership, a
         showdown appears inevitable for the lone major U.S. sports
         league never to experience a work stoppage" (SUN-SENTINEL,
         9/20).  In Boston, Peter May: "The possibility of another
         summer labor mess is real" (BOSTON GLOBE, 9/21).  USA
         TODAY's Greg Boeck writes that "at issue" is the league's
         salary structure, as "owners committed more than" $1B to
         long-term player deals last summer.  But Boeck adds that the
         NBPA "is armed for a confrontation" with its newly elected
         President, Patrick Ewing (USA TODAY, 9/22).  One NBA exec,
         who requested anonymity: "I think there are some big
         questions about whether the league can continue to work this
         way.  Something has to be done."  The exec added: "If we
         ever come to a period of non-growth, then the league is in
         deep, deep, deep trouble" (DENVER POST, 9/21).

    Print | Tags: Leagues and Governing Bodies, NBA
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