SBD/16/Leagues Governing Bodies

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              SI's Jackie MacMullan reports that the NBPA, having
         "expressed skepticism" over Commissioner David Stern's
         "assertion that almost one third" of the league is losing
         money, "plans to randomly audit five franchises" (SI, 1/19
         issue)....The ABL is profiled in the N.Y. TIMES, halfway
         through its second year.  As it prepares to play its second
         All-Star Game in Orlando, league officials say attendance is
         up 21% over last season (Jack Cavanaugh, N.Y. TIMES, 1/16).

    Print | Tags: Leagues and Governing Bodies, Sports Illustrated

              NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman is profiled by Helene
         Elliott in the L.A. TIMES.  The NHL "differs greatly from
         the enterprise Bettman inherited" in '93 and the fact that
         Bettman "has wrought so many changes is a tribute to his
         business acumen."  Elliott: "But growth and change have
         spawned new problems for a league that still lacks the wide
         acceptance of baseball, basketball and football."  Bettman:
         "We've been able to do things to, hopefully, create more
         interest in the game, and we're trying to eliminate
         distractions (such as) work stoppages, franchises in
         trouble."  Bettman said that he "isn't concerned" with the
         current decline in attendance, but next season will start a
         week to 10 days later "to capitalize on the NHL's pattern of
         drawing better later in the season" (L.A. TIMES, 1/16).
              LEGAL THREAT? With the NHL's All-Star Weekend starting
         today, "it seems the league is far stronger than it was
         before Bettman arrived" in '93, according Iain MacIntyre of
         the VANCOUVER SUN.  But "how Bettman and his office handle
         the current problems" -- "especially" fallout from former
         NHLPA Exec Dir Alan Eagleson's admission of guilt on fraud
         and theft charges and the decrease in scoring this year --
         "will be crucial in determining if his next five years are
         as good as first five."  Bettman, on the Eagleson affair:
         "The sooner we can get it behind us, the better.  Hopefully
         the sentencing represents the closure of the chapter."   But
         MacIntyre wrote that Eagleson's admission of guilt "has only
         strengthened the resolve of former players who feel they
         were cheated."  One suit claims the league and union
         "colluded to hold down player salaries" between '75 and '93. 
         Twenty-one clubs are named as defendants "and the suit has
         the potential to cost the NHL millions, if not hundreds of
         millions."   Bettman: "From a civil standpoint, as a league
         we're going to have to deal with it. ... But our counsel has
         looked at it and advised me there should be nothing to it." 
         Bettman added that he is not "overly concerned" about the
         drop in scoring, which is down 9% from '96 (SUN, 1/14).
              TEAMS: The league has altered its All-Star format to
         feature North America vs. the World teams, but in S.F., Ross
         McKeon wrote that five teams will have no player reps at the
         game, including the Sharks.  McKeon: "Considering the NHL
         ranks last in popularity and exposure in a four-horse pro
         sports race, it's not a good idea to snub markets."  NHL VP/
         Communications Arthur Pincus: "It was apparent with the new
         format it would be virtually impossible to have every team
         represented" (Ross McKeon, S.F. EXAMINER, 1/14).
              WEEKEND UPDATE: This evening, Canada will play the U.S.
         in an exhibition women's game (Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 1/16).
         ...Willie O'Ree, the first black player in the NHL, will be
         honored during the weekend (VANCOUVER SUN, 1/16)....USA
         TODAY features a 12-page supplement on the All-Star Weekend. 
         Sponsors include Philips Electronics' Norelco, Pinnacle,
         IBM, Chrysler's The New Dodge and Sheraton (THE DAILY). 

    Print | Tags: Acushnet, IBM, Leagues and Governing Bodies, NHL, San Jose Sharks

              The NFL securing a $17.6B TV rights deal without
         committing a team to L.A. was examined by Randy Harvey of
         the L.A. TIMES.  Harvey wrote that the L.A. factor "wasn't
         one, even for the two networks that do extensive business
         here, Fox and Disney."  Harvey: "When it comes to acquiring
         an NFL franchise, it's clearer than ever that it's a
         seller's market.  If [L.A.] is interested in buying, it must
         do a better job of selling itself to the NFL" (L.A. TIMES,
         1/15).  NBC Sports President Dick Ebersol: "The league
         carefully and consistently avoided telling the networks
         whether an L.A. team would be in the AFC or NFC.  There are
         no guarantees for an L.A. team."  Fox COO Chase Carey: "From
         our position, it's a positive to have a team in L.A.  But in
         this process, there are too many uncertainties and it didn't
         come into an account" (L.A. DAILY NEWS, 1/16). 
              MORE NFL FALLOUT: NEWSDAY's Steve Zipay quotes one
         network "spy" who described dealing with the NFL owners who
         led the NFL TV committee: "These were the hawks, not the
         doves.  They won.  It was like they were wearing masks and
         carrying Uzis" (NEWSDAY, 1/16)...In Toronto, Sun Media Corp.
         President Paul Godfrey said that despite the fact the deal
         will likely increase the cost for an expansion team, "I'll
         continue to knock on their door and ask for a membership
         card" (GLOBE & MAIL, 1/16)....In Atlanta, Terence Moore
         writes with the NFL's new riches, the Smith family should
         "take the money and run" and sell the Falcons.  Moore: "If
         you're the Smiths ... you sell" (ATL. CONSTITUTION, 1/16).
              REAX: A S.F. CHRONICLE editorial: "The NFL has become
         the ultimate loss-leader for the networks in their attempt
         to reach male viewers.  These insane bidding wars were, on
         balance, a negative for viewers.  First of all, the networks
         are dumping massive resources into rights to existing
         programming instead of developing fresh fare. ... The only
         clear winners in the war over NFL rights are the owners and
         athletes who will share the bounty" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 1/16). 
         Under the header, "Breaking Point For Sports?," a SALT LAKE
         TRIBUNE editorial states, "Maybe in the next eight years,
         people won't watch as many NFL games, and advertisers won't
         pay so much to the networks, and the networks will be left
         drowning in red ink as a result of this week's unbelievable
         contracts.  Maybe this is when Americans will reach their
         saturation point and the golden sports egg will finally
         crack" (SALT LAKE TRIBUNE, 1/16).  In DC, Thomas Boswell:
         "The next time an NFL team raises its tickets by a penny,
         there'll be outrage.  And there should be. ... And what will
         happen the next time an NFL team begs for tax money to build
         a luxury stadium ... The vote on that referendum ought to be
         1,000,000 to 0" (WASHINGTON POST, 1/16).

    Print | Tags: Atlanta Falcons, Leagues and Governing Bodies, NBC, NFL, Walt Disney

              Anaheim Sports President Tony Tavares, "long upset
         about voting rules that require three-fourths approval on
         many important baseball issues, blasted that situation
         Thursday, saying it was time to provide a new commissioner
         with real power," according to Ross Newhan of the L.A.
         TIMES.  Tavares made his comments at the Sport Summit in New
         York: "Anyone worth his salt is going to insist on systemic
         change in league rules.  If he doesn't, he will be a
         powerless commissioner.  (As it is), if I find three other
         morons in my league, if it's a good idea for the league or
         if it's not, I can block something.  We've reached the level
         of absurdity in baseball.  The rules are absolutely absurd." 
         Later, in a phone interview, Tavares said his remarks were
         not intended toward Acting Commissioner Bud Selig: "We have
         a vacuum in leadership.  I'm not saying Bud couldn't be the
         commissioner, but I am saying that whoever the new
         commissioner is, there has to be changes."  Selig, when told
         of Tavares' remarks, said, "I certainly understand Tony's
         frustrations on many matters" (L.A. TIMES, 1/16).
              PHOENIX NOTES: USA TODAY's Hal Bodley reports that MLB
         "has commissioned an investment banking firm to study the
         economic impact of a shortened regular-season schedule" (USA
         TODAY, 1/16)....MLB sources "expect" the Ownership Committee
         to recommend approval of the Dodgers sale to News Corp. and
         also expect full ownership support.  One "high-ranking" MLB
         exec: "If you let Disney in and Ted Turner in and the
         Tribune Co. in, how do you say no to Rupert Murdoch?  He's
         the biggest single investor in baseball [through his TV
         deals]" (Ross Newhan, L.A. TIMES, 1/15).

    Print | Tags: Anheuser Busch, Leagues and Governing Bodies, Los Angeles Dodgers, MLB, Walt Disney
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