SBD/2/Leagues Governing Bodies

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  • DESPITE SKETCHY DETAILS, MEDIA CHIMES IN ON TURNER/NBC PLAN

              NBC and TBS' proposed new football league would "sell
         franchises to investors and attempt to attract national
         auto, airline, beverage and technology advertisers with the
         promise of high-profile, if low-rated, telecasts," according
         to Steve Zipay of NEWSDAY.  It "appeared likely" that
         Yankees Owner George Steinbrenner "would be approached" to
         invest in the league, although he could not be reached for
         comment.  Steinbrenner is close to TBS Sports President
         Harvey Schiller (NEWSDAY, 1/31).  Turner and NBC said it
         would be "at least" eight weeks before feasibility studies
         on a league would be complete.  In L.A., Scott Hettrick
         reports that talk of a new league comes as NFL Europe "has
         had trouble building an audience in the [U.S], with Fox even
         considering drastically scaling back coverage" from its 30
         games on FX last year (HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, 2/2).  In N.Y.,
         Richard Sandomir added that NBC would broadcast games on
         Sunday afternoons and Turner on Sunday nights.  Although
         details "are few," it appears the two networks are "aiming
         at creating a single-entity league that may sell investors
         some type of local operating agreements" (N.Y. TIMES, 1/31).
              REAX: In N.Y., Phil Mushnick wrote that a GE/Turner-
         backed league could be "launched, sustained and grow at
         maximum exposure, at minimum risk and on the relative
         cheap."  Mushnick: "[T]his isn't as crazy as it sounds at
         first blush" (N.Y. POST, 2/1).  Paul Kagan Senior Sports
         Analyst John Mansell added that with advertisers like Coca-
         Cola "already somewhat reticent about stepping up and paying
         what the NFL is now asking ... it's feasible, although it's
         obviously highly risky" that the league could succeed.
         Mansell: "[T]here are a lot more stadiums now, particularly
         in major markets" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 1/31).  But in N.Y.,
         Mike Lupica wrote that a new league would "dilute the talent
         level more, drive up salaries and put more football on
         television than you have talking lawyer-heads.  Sounds like
         a little slice of heaven, doesn't it?" (DAILY NEWS, 2/1). 
         In St. Pete, Hubert Mizell writes that the league "would
         infringe significantly on college football" and hopes "the
         idea will fade away rapidly" (ST. PETE TIMES, 2/2).  In
         Houston, Dale Robertson: "[T]here's hardly a crying need for
         a full league's worth of more crummy football" (HOUSTON
         CHRONICLE, 2/2).  Ryan Schinman, VP of NJ-based Worldwide
         Team Sports, on a new league: "It's a joke" (CNBC, 1/30).
     
    

    Print | Tags: Leagues and Governing Bodies, NBC, New York Yankees, News Corp./Fox, NFL, TBS/TNT, Time Warner, YankeeNets
  • MARTIN TRIAL A HOT TOPIC AS PROCEEDINGS BEGIN TODAY IN OR

              Casey Martin's challenge to the PGA Tour's walking rule
         goes to court in Eugene, OR, today as Martin tries to prove
         that a cart is "a reasonable modification to the tour's
         rules, not a fundamental change" (Richard Sandomir, N.Y.
         TIMES, 2/2).  USA TODAY's Harry Blauvelt reports that a 12-
         minute videotape showing Martin's right leg "without support
         stockings, which reduce swelling," will "highlight today's
         court proceeding."  Blauvelt adds that Court TV petitioned
         for permission to show the trial "but was turned down" (USA
         TODAY, 2/2).  Martin will be led by attorney William Wiswall
         and ADA "expert" Martha Walters, while the PGA Tour's
         defense team will be led by AZ-attorney William Maledon
         (Thomas Heath, WASHINGTON POST, 2/2).  Reaction toward the
         Martin case continues to be strong.  A sampling follows:
              REAX: Tom Kite offers an op-ed in the N.Y. TIMES and
         writes, "We cannot change an integral aspect of our sport
         for any one person" (N.Y. TIMES, 2/2).  Martin's case was
         featured on "The Sports Reporters."  Bob Ryan: "You can't
         walk, you can't play."  Mike Lupica: "They are missing a
         great kid here, a great story" (ESPN, 2/1).  In Chicago, Sam
         Smith: "It has been such a disappointment to see the golf
         community ... fail to stand up and defend Martin on this
         basic issue of human decency" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 2/1).  In
         Dallas, Kevin Blackistone wrote that golf "still doesn't see
         itself as a game for everyone, hence the argument it will
         make ... that it is a private, not a public, concern and,
         therefore not subject to the law" (MORNING NEWS, 2/1).  
              NIKE'S ROLE: In N.Y., Marcia Chambers writes that with
         its sponsorship of both Martin and the Nike Tour, Nike has
         its money "on both sides of this dispute."  Tom Fox, Nike's
         U.S. Dir of Sports Marketing: "It does not affect our
         relationship with the tour.  We don't agree with them in
         this particular case" (N.Y. TIMES, 2/2).  Martin wore a Nike
         hat, shirt and sneakers, for weekend meetings with his
         lawyers.  Martin: "As for other endorsements, there's a lot
         riding on the trial in that respect" (USA TODAY, 2/2).
    
    

    Print | Tags: ESPN, Leagues and Governing Bodies, News Corp./Fox, Nike, PGA Tour, Walt Disney
  • PHILADELPHIA COURT GIVES GO-AHEAD ON SUIT AGAINST NHL

              A U.S District Court judge in Philadelphia has allowed
         a lawsuit, filed by five former NHL players against the NHL,
         former league president John Zeigler and NHLPA founder Alan
         Eagleson, to proceed, according to the PHILADELPHIA
         INQUIRER.  The suit "accuses the league of breaching its
         duty" by allowing Eagleson "to act unchecked" in negotiating
         with the league and its players.  The first pretrial
         conference in the case will be held today (PHILADELPHIA
         INQUIRER, 2/1).  In Montreal, Ted Blackman called the
         Philadelphia ruling a potential "billion-dollar hockey
         bombshell," with results that "could hurt the NHL worse than
         the $300-million hit baseball took for collusion." 
         Blackman: "How much worse?  Roughly, given a maximum
         players' victory, $52 million per team!  Or bankruptcy for
         several teams and chaos for the rest" (GAZETTE, 2/1).
              OTHER NEWS: NHL GMs meet in Scottsdale, AZ, this week
         for their annual mid-season meetings, with potential rule
         changes expected to be "hotly debated" (TORONTO STAR, 2/1).
         ...On ESPN's "The Sports Reporters," Bob Ryan noted the
         quality of regular-season play, and said, "No game has
         inflicted more aesthetic misery on its most knowledgeable
         followers than NHL hockey.  If they're lucky, the Olympics
         will shame these who control the game into acknowledging the
         basic mess the day-to-day the NHL has become" (ESPN, 2/1).  
         
    

    Print | Tags: ESPN, Leagues and Governing Bodies, NHL, Walt Disney
  • SPREWELL HEARING SWITCHES COASTS, RESUMES TODAY IN NEW YORK

              TNT's Craig Sager reported from Portland, OR, that
         Latrell Sprewell's agent Arn Tellem gave "the most dramatic"
         and "most significant testimony to date," telling arbitrator
         John Feerick on Friday that Sprewell's punishment "is not
         consistent with previous discipline."  Tellem cited an
         incident in the fall of '90, when then-Hornets VP/Basketball
         Operations Allan Bristow reportedly choked Tellem during
         negotiations for Kendall Gill.  Sager: "After Bristow
         apologized, and agreed to pay any medical expenses for
         Tellem's sore neck, the only action by the league against
         Bristow was a verbal reprimand" ("NBA on TNT," 1/30).
              START SPREADING THE NEWS: Sprewell's hearing resumes
         today in New York.  Over the next four days, Warriors coach
         P.J. Carlesimo, GM Garry St. Jean, NBA Commissioner David
         Stern, deputy commissioner Russ Granik, and Dir of Security
         Horace Balmer "are expected" to testify (David DuPree, USA
         TODAY, 2/2)....With "almost every" story on the Sprewell
         hearing containing a reference to Fordham Univ. Law School
         Dean John Feerick, the school has received "at least" $9M in
         free advertising, according to MI-based Joyce Julius &
         Associates, which tracks such exposure (USA TODAY, 2/2).
    
    

    Print | Tags: Golden State Warriors, Leagues and Governing Bodies, NBA, New Orleans Pelicans, TBS/TNT
  • TRIPLE-A WORLD SERIES LOOKS FOR NEUTRAL SITE AND TV DEAL

              Plans are in the works for a Triple-A World Series
         matching the champions from the Int'l League and the PCL at
         a neutral site, according to the Providence JOURNAL-
         BULLETIN.  The first series will be held this year sometime
         in the middle of September.   Int'l League President Randy
         Mobley: "We want the neutral site in order to sell the event
         year 'round, market it and get the TV locked up.  We still
         have work to be done with [MLB], some sponsorship work and a
         little television work."  Leading neutral-site candidates
         include Las Vegas and New Orleans (JOURNAL-BULLETIN, 1/31).
    
    

    Print | Tags: Leagues and Governing Bodies, MLB
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