SBD/9/Leagues Governing Bodies

BETTMAN CALLS FOR PATIENCE WITH CAROLINA AND PLAYER SALARIES

          NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman was in Toronto yesterday
     at the Canadian Sports Media achievement awards luncheon. 
     During his visit, Bettman discussed the state of the league
     with local writers.  On the sparse attendance for the second
     Hurricanes home game: "There's no surprise here.  You're
     dealing with a situation where the team is playing over 70
     miles from its permanent home.  We knew ... this would be a
     problem, particularly on weeknights."  Bettman likened the
     situation to the NFL's Oilers who are experiencing
     attendance problems while playing in Memphis temporarily
     before moving to Nashville.  Regarding the number of player
     holdouts and the increasing team payrolls, Bettman said,
     "You have to look at these things over time. ... We've had
     holdouts in prior years.  It's easy to say, 'Oh my, look at
     this.'  But if you go back over time holdouts have happened.
     ... The thing you have to look at over time is: Are our
     revenues and our salaries, our players costs, increasing
     about the same rate?  My preference is that our revenues
     increase faster than the salaries, which is what's been
     happening for the past few years."  Bettman said that he had
     "no news" concerning the sale of the Oilers (David Shoalts,
     Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 10/9).  He also added that the sale of
     the Islanders is a "work in progress" (CP, 10/9).
          FAMILIAR REFRAIN: Fox Sports Net's John Walsh reported
     on the increase in NHL salaries, noting that they have risen
     "a shocking" 265% in the last six years.  Walsh: "Who's to
     blame for these salaries?  One argument says that it's the
     GMs' fault ... the other school of thought is that it's the
     players who are just too greedy ... So general managers have
     to adjust; now they see athletes as investments and not just
     talented hockey players."  Flyers GM Bobby Clarke: "[W]e
     have a great sport to sell, but we don't know how to raise
     the revenues to pay the salaries that are being demanded by
     our players ... We're one of the high revenue teams in the
     league, and we're really concerned with where this is going. 
     And we don't know ... how to put the brakes on."  Kings GM
     Dave Taylor: "[I]t's going to be very difficult for the
     small markets to compete" ("Fox Sports News," FSN, 10/8).

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