SBD/2/Leagues Governing Bodies

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  • CAN'T HARDLY WAIT: NFL ANXIOUS TO GET BACK TO CITY OF ANGELS

              "Fox NFL Sunday" host James Brown reported yesterday
         that the NFL "is so desperate to get a team in Los Angeles
         that they will rip up their own timetable to decide on the
         franchise and give the two L.A. owner groups every chance. 
         Houston, the previous favorite ... may now have to resort to
         grabbing an existing team."  Brown called the Raiders and
         Cardinals two "potential targets" ("Fox NFL Sunday," 11/1). 
         ESPN's Chris Mortensen reported that despite a "spectacular"
         presentation from Bob McNair's Houston group, "there's still
         a strong sentiment to award the 32nd [team] to Los Angeles. 
         The feeling being that L.A. is a luke warm market that might
         heat up to the excitement of an expansion team, as opposed
         to relocation."  Mortensen said that Bill Bidwell's
         Cardinals "may be the number one candidate for such a move"
         to Houston ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 10/31).  
              L.A. STORY: In L.A., T.J. Simers wrote that Fox joining
         Ed Roski's New Coliseum Partners "makes too much sense" as
         Fox "already has its hooks into the Dodgers and the Staples
         Center, and Fox is going to need political support to redo
         Dodger Stadium.  Hopping aboard the Mark Ridley-Thomas
         project, which already has wide political appeal in L.A.,
         also keeps Fox in the programming game, something vital to
         its existence" (L.A. TIMES, 11/1).  In Chicago, Don Pierson
         wrote that fan support in Charlotte, Jacksonville and
         Nashville "has not been overwhelming," and the league "can
         hardly wait to get back to" Cleveland (CHICAGO TRIBUNE,
         11/1).  In Cleveland, Tony Grossi wrote that Commissioner
         Tagliabue's "goal" is to have the 32nd team playing in 2002,
         the fifth year of the TV deal.  The league has the right to
         reopen its TV deal after the 2002 season.  Grossi: "The
         worst it can do is maintain the present schedule of TV fees.
         ... Tagliabue's hope is that TV ratings will rise
         dramatically in 2002 when the 32nd team debuts in a newly
         realigned NFL" (Cleveland PLAIN DEALER, 11/1).
    
    

    Print | Tags: ESPN, Leagues and Governing Bodies, Los Angeles Dodgers, News Corp./Fox, NFL, Oakland Raiders, Walt Disney
  • DAVID REMAINS A GOLIATH; PLAYER BOYCOTT OF NETS EARNS SCORN

              FAME's David Falk plans to take a "more proactive role
         in ending the lockout," according to Mike Wise of the N.Y.
         TIMES.  Wise: "It remains to be seen whether his presence
         will be divisive or helpful."  Noting Michael Jordan's
         active role in last Wednesday's talks, Falk said, "I'd like
         to think Michael spoke up partly because of our conversation
         the night before."  Falk said he told Jordan and NBPA
         President Patrick Ewing: "If I told you I bought four
         vacation homes around the world and realized that I could
         not reasonably afford all of them, and then I decided to
         raise your fees to 50 percent to pay for them, what would
         you tell me?  You'd tell me, 'If you can't afford them, sell
         them.'"  Falk would "not elaborate" on his threat to create
         a new league through his partnership with SFX: "I don't want
         to blow up what we've created in the way of progress, but
         when billionaire owners show they want to break the will of
         the players by direct economic power, then the players have
         a right to break their will, too.  There are ways to
         exercise economic power" (N.Y. TIMES, 10/31). 
              FROM THE LIP: In N.Y., Mike Lupica noted Falk's
         comments: "There may be worse phonies in sports than David
         Falk, but it is hard to come up with one today."  Calling
         Falk a "cheap hustler," Lupica concluded, "There aren't many
         guys who can make you root for a sports owner.  Falk can"
         (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 11/1).  On "The Sports Reporters," Lupica
         continued and said, "I just wonder how Michael feels about
         looking like a bobblehead doll for [Falk]?" (ESPN, 11/1).
              AND WHAT OF JORDAN? In Chicago, Bernie Lincicome calls
         Jordan "Air Hoffa," as he has become a "crusading union
         boss."  Lincicome: "I can just see Jordan now, out there in
         those Southeast Asia shoe factories, sleeves rolled up,
         righting neglected wrongs. ... I am sure that just as soon
         as Jordan has secured the right of Kevin Garnett to be
         overpaid beyond reason and budget, he will get around to
         those Third World exploitees.  A man can only do so much,
         and there are tee times to arrange" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 11/2).
              NBC/TNT BOYCOTT? In N.Y., Phil Mushnick calls the
         union's threatened boycott of the league's TV partners
         "kinda sad, given that NBC had spent years pandering to and
         promoting the players, even going to absurd lengths to
         protect their ugly sides from view.  After the lockout,
         perhaps NBC should refuse to interview players who insist on
         appearing while wearing their endorsement logos" (N.Y. POST,
         11/2).  Also in N.Y., Bob Raissman called the boycott "a
         very dumb negotiating ploy that no one is taking seriously." 
         Raissman: "The only logical reaction to this proposed
         interview boycott is to laugh" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 11/1).  In
         Charlotte, Rick Bonnell: "You know this lockout thing is
         nasty when it threatens to break up Michael and Ahmad." 
         Jordan: "I'm not saying that the players shouldn't give
         interviews.  But I'm saying that they should remember what
         (the networks) did when terms were being negotiated"
         (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 11/1).  On "The Sports Reporters," Dick
         Schaap: "Does this mean Michael Jordan is no longer going to
         confide in Ahmad Rashad?  How are we going to find out
         Michael's innermost thoughts without Ahmad's probing
         questions?  How will journalism survive?" (ESPN, 11/1).
              SPONSOR FALLOUT? In Miami, Steve Wyche reported that
         "there is mounting speculation that high-paying sponsors are
         leaning on the networks to lean on owners to reach a deal so
         lost broadcasts are minimized" (MIAMI HERALD, 11/1).
    
    

    Print | Tags: Clear Channel/SFX Sports, ESPN, Leagues and Governing Bodies, NBC, TBS/TNT, Walt Disney
  • NBA AND UNION TO TALK TODAY; WEDNESDAY SEEN AS NEXT SESSION

              CBA talks between the NBA and its players union could
         resume "as soon as Wednesday," according to Phil Jasner of
         the PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS.  Attorneys for the league and
         the NBPA were to "meet today on technical and legal issues." 
         It was "not clear" whether NBA Commissioner David Stern or
         Deputy Commissioner Russ Granik would participate in today's
         session (PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 11/2).  In Saturday's
         WASHINGTON POST, NBPA Dir of Communications Dan Wasserman
         said the union "would not bring in its full 20 member
         negotiating team" on Wednesday "unless progress was made on
         Monday" (Mark Asher, WASHINGTON POST, 10/31).
              HUNTER'S CHALLENGE: NBPA Exec Dir Billy Hunter is
         interviewed in USA TODAY by Roscoe Nance.  On negotiations:
         "I think there's a great gulf.  They've said all along that
         they want to ensure a profit, a significant profit for their
         owners.  They're demanding something like a $10 million
         profit per year for each owner."  More Hunter: "I anticipate
         that by the first of January, if we have not reached an
         accord in some shorter period, the season will commence"
         (USA TODAY, 11/2).  In N.Y., Harvey Araton wrote that Hunter
         "won't be immune to what befell" former NBPA execs Simon
         Gourdine and Charles Grantham "if this goes on much longer." 
         Araton: "Hunter has to play his cards so that he doesn't put
         his less-leveraged players in the cash-strapped position to
         panic" (N.Y. TIMES, 11/1).
              DETAILS OF DEAL: On ESPN.com, David Aldridge outlined
         the framework of the deal and noted that a new rookie deal
         consisting of a four- or five-year contract, three or four
         years followed by a right-of-first-refusal year is a "big
         win for the owners."   A "big win" for the union is the
         increase in the minimum salary for veterans, which will
         "almost certainly" be at least $500,000, up from the current
         $272,000.  Aldridge added that how soon the two sides reach
         a deal "depends" on Stern and his negotiators: "How serious
         is the league about eliminating signing bonuses; about
         eliminating sign-and-trade deals; about eliminating its $25
         million annual licensing payment to the players; about
         keeping all future revenues developed for itself without
         sharing with the players?  All of those proposals are still
         in the air.  If the league quietly folds most of them ... a
         deal could be made within a fortnight" (ESPN.com, 11/1). 
         NBPA lead attorney Jeffrey Kessler, on the percentage of BRI
         directed toward players' salaries: "The numbers they're
         talking about, there will be no deal at 50 or 52 percent or
         anything close to that."  Kessler said a rollback from the
         current 57% of BRI "won't happen.  The players are not going
         to go backward" (NEWSDAY, 10/31).  In NJ, Dave D'Alessandro
         noted that the sides "must agree" on revenue sources "that
         are to comprise the BRI."  Magic C Danny Schayes "slammed
         the owners for hiding revenue streams."  But Stern said,
         "Our definition of BRI (is) ... to include everything,
         including the kitchen sink" (STAR-LEDGER, 11/1).  In N.Y.,
         Mitch Lawrence: "While the league has been haggling with
         players about paying them for any make-up games, all
         indications are that when there's a settlement, players will
         get their money.  As they should" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 11/1).
    
    

    Print | Tags: ESPN, Leagues and Governing Bodies, NBA, Orlando Magic, RDV Sports, Walt Disney
  • NINE WEEKS IN, MANY WONDER "WHAT'S WRONG WITH THE NFL?"

              Headlines in Sunday's Sports sections of the ATLANTA
         CONSTITUTION and the HARTFORD COURANT asked, "What's Wrong
         With The NFL?"  In Atlanta, Len Pasquarelli wrote that fans
         "are expressing their displeasure with the game by tuning
         out NFL telecasts," as ratings are "down considerably
         overall."  Pasquarelli: "The game is confronted by a reality
         that eventually could erode its unprecedented popularity:
         While the players are better than ever, the overall product
         has regressed.  The standard of play in the NFL is lower." 
         Today's NFL sees more player turnover as teams have "less
         patience" in player development.  Pasquarelli lists "dearth
         of quality at quarterback" and owners who "are increasingly
         less patient with head coaches" as two other reasons for the
         quality of play (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 11/1).  In Hartford,
         Dom Amore: "Has the caliber of play declined? ... If the
         future is so bright, where are the new stars?" (HARTFORD
         COURANT, 11/1).  In Phoenix, Dan Bickley: "The NFL is
         hearing the whispers: Bad games.  Bad teams.  Bad football. 
         Eight weeks into the season, and the King of American sports
         rests uneasy on the throne" (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 11/1).
              RATINGS TREND? In Chicago, Ed Sherman notes the
         declining ratings and cites "poor matchups," as well as a
         "big-city slump" among "major-market teams."  The Redskins,
         Bears, Eagles and Lions have "been struggling."  Fox Sports
         Exec Producer Ed Goren: "There's no question (big-market
         teams struggling) has an impact."  Sherman also cites "bad
         football" as a reason for the ratings dip, noting that there
         "aren't enough quality teams and quality players" (CHICAGO
         TRIBUNE, 11/2).  CBS Sports President Sean McManus: "There
         will be weeks and months, or even years, when NFL ratings
         will be better or worse than we hoped.  But the NFL is a
         healthy product, and we're getting the results we hoped for"
         (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 11/1).  NFL Commissioner Paul
         Tagliabue is quoted in the CHICAGO TRIBUNE as saying, "The
         polls show we're more popular than ever. ... We're still the
         best sports product on TV" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 11/1).  
              NOT JUST FOOTBALL? Media buyer Paul Schulman notes that
         all four networks' primetime ratings are down this year, and
         there are "no apparent hits so far among their 37 new
         primetime shows."  Schulman: "Sports ratings may be low, but
         look at everything else" (USA TODAY, 11/2).  The N.Y. TIMES'
         Bill Carter looks at the state of NBC, noting that with the
         loss of the NFL and "Seinfeld," the net's "biggest losses
         have been among younger men" (N.Y. TIMES, 11/2).  
    
    

    Print | Tags: CBS, Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, Leagues and Governing Bodies, NBC, News Corp./Fox, NFL, Philadelphia Eagles, Viacom, Washington Redskins
  • SPIKE SITTING RINKSIDE? CAN NHL CAPITALIZE ON NBA LOCKOUT?

              The NHL has an "opportunity" to reach more fans during
         the NBA lockout, according to Joe Lapointe of the N.Y.
         TIMES. Lapointe: "Will television cameras find the celebrity
         basketball buffs Spike Lee and Jack Nicholson in the front
         row, behind the glass, supporting the Rangers and the [L.A.]
         Kings?  Don't hold your breath. ... There is not a great
         overlap among the two sports' audiences, and if the lockout
         drives N.B.A. fans elsewhere, the beneficiary might be
         college basketball."  ESPN Exec VP/Programming Dick Glover:
         "If there were to be any single programming beneficiary, it
         would more likely be college basketball than anything else." 
         NHL Senior VP & COO Steve Solomon said that the league "has
         no plans" to add games to ESPN, ESPN2 or Fox.  Solomon, on
         whether the NHL will attract NBA fans during the lockout:
         "There is some crossover between N.B.A. and N.H.L. fans. 
         But there is more crossover between N.H.L. fans and N.F.L.
         fans."  Sports marketing consultant Jon Spoelstra: "There is
         some crossover, but I don't see a big benefit for the N.H.L. 
         If the N.B.A. went out for a year, and they canceled the
         season, maybe.  But not substantive" (N.Y. TIMES, 11/1).
              N.Y. STORY: MSG Network/Fox Sports NY Exec Producer
         Mike McCarthy said that more hockey will air in place of
         lost Knicks/Nets games.  McCarthy said "we'll have more
         hockey on the primary channels" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 11/1).
              WORLDLY GAME: The '99 NHL All-Star Game will have stars
         from North America face stars from the rest of the world for
         the second consecutive year.  The game will be held January
         24 at the Ice Palace in Tampa, and broadcast on Fox (NHL).  
    
    

    Print | Tags: Cablevision, ESPN, Leagues and Governing Bodies, Madison Square Garden, NBA, Brooklyn Nets, New York Knicks, News Corp./Fox, NHL, Palace Sports & Entertainment, Walt Disney, YankeeNets
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