SBD/Issue 198/Leagues & Governing Bodies

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  • MLB Commissioner Bud Selig Talks State Of The League

    Selig Discusses State Of
    MLB During Q&A Session



    MLB Commissioner Bud Selig during his annual Q&A session with members of the Baseball Writers Association of America yesterday “wanted to talk about the increased attendance in [MLB], the boost in revenues and the marquee players who were playing in the All-Star Game,” but he “was realistic enough to know he had to address other topics, too,” according to Jack Curry of the N.Y. TIMES. Selig discussed subjects ranging from Giants LF Barry Bonds to performance-enhancing substances to the next CBA, saying, “There are always going to be problems” (N.Y. TIMES, 7/12). But he added, “One thing I’ve learned about baseball — I’ve learned to live with it — we are held to a higher standard. People are more critical of whatever the negative issues of the day are than in other things. By any accepted yardstick today, this sport has never been more popular” (USA TODAY, 7/12). Selig said gross revenue is projected to increase to $5.2B this season (Mult., 7/12). Selig, on attendance: “We’re at 40.4 million fans. That’s important to me, to hopefully set another attendance record. We’re going to come very close” (TORONTO STAR, 7/12).

    DRUG TESTING: Selig said that he is “happy with the effectiveness” of MLB’s drug-testing policy, and that he “does not believe use of [HGH] is a widespread problem in baseball.” Selig: “I’ve asked that question to a lot of [team] doctors and trainers. The most I’ve gotten out of anybody is, ‘If more than one or two people on our team is doing it, we’d be shocked.’ ... Steroid use has been minimized. On amphetamines, we’re doing okay.” Only one player this season, Mets minor league P Yusaku Iriki, has tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs. When asked if anyone has tested positive for amphetamines this season, Selig said, “Amphetamine testing is working.” The names of first-time amphetamine offenders are not made public (WASHINGTON POST, 7/12).

    ALL-STAR GAME ISSUES: Selig said of players such as Red Sox LF Manny Ramirez who are voted to the All-Star Game by fans but do not attend, “Maybe I’m old-fashioned, you’re voted onto the All-Star team, it’s a privilege. You ought to be here” (BOSTON HERALD, 7/12). Selig also suggested that MLB “needed to look into the possibility of enacting a rule that all-star pitchers cannot pitch on the Sunday before the game” (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 7/12). The AL won last night’s game 3-2 in the ninth inning, and Selig said of the format awarding home field advantage in the World Series to the game’s winner, “Did you see the reaction of both teams at the end? The intensity was tremendous. That’s the thing that had been missing. And now we’ve brought it back” (MLB.com, 7/12).

    CBA TALKS: With the current CBA set to expire in December, Selig said, “I think the relationship between the parties is as good as we have seen. Obviously, nothing is a sure thing. We have a lot of hard negotiations ahead. But I think we’ve come a long way” (N.Y. TIMES, 7/12). He added that owners “are again likely to propose a minimum payroll in upcoming negotiations” (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 7/12). Selig also “expressed contentment with the current revenue sharing plan, which should distribute some $323[M] this year.” Selig, on how team use the money: “I have never had a complaint from a big-market club. ... [But] we will not tolerate people not spending the money. We are trying to level the playing field” (BOSTON HERALD, 7/12). Selig said that revenue sharing “is ‘close’ to being adequate enough to eliminate the complaint that teams like the Pirates and [Royals] can’t compete” (PITT. POST-GAZETTE, 7/12). Selig said the Tigers’ on-field resurgence “is proof that the economic system is working” (DETROIT NEWS, 7/12).

    Selig Says ’08 All-Star Game At Yankee
    Stadium Could Become A Reality



    FUTURE ALL-STAR SITES: Selig called the idea of holding the ’08 All-Star Game at Yankee Stadium “a very intriguing possibility” (Mult., 7/12). He added that “no decision had been made and that there are two or three strong contenders”
    (PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 7/12). Blue Jays President Paul Godfrey believes that his team has “a good chance of landing” the 2010 or 2012 All-Star Game. Godfrey: “In two or three years, our stadium will have enough of a makeover that we feel we’ll have a shot”
    (Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 7/12). The Twins and MLB “have had informal dialogue about bringing another All-Star Game to Minnesota.” The “best bet for the game is 2014, 2015 or 2016 in the new downtown Minneapolis ballpark, scheduled to open in 2010” (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 7/12).

    LEAGUE NOTES: Selig, on the state of George Mitchell’s steroid investigation: “He’s very independent. I don’t hear from him” (N.Y. POST, 7/12)....Selig said that there is “no prospect of unifying the [AL and NL] with either an MLB-wide implementation or elimination of the [DH] unless there’s a ‘cataclysmic event like geographical realignment of both leagues,’ a matter that is not currently under discussion” (MLB.com, 7/11)....Selig said that he “intends to change” the blackout policy for MLB Extra Innings and MLB.TV “that leaves some cities without as many as six baseball games each night.” Selig: “I’ve already told our people we have to do something about it” (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 7/12).

    FRANCHISE NOTES: Selig said of the Pirates’ ownership group, “I have faith in this group. I know how determined they are, and I know how desperate they are to produce a winner.” He noted that the Reds and Tigers “have recently rebounded, and markets such as Oakland and Minnesota field competitive teams” (PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 7/12). Selig: “If you think changing ownership is an immediate panacea to solving this problem, you’re kidding yourself” (Pittsburgh TRIBUNE-REVIEW, 7/12)....Selig said of the Phillies’ handling of the alleged domestic violence incident involving P Brett Myers, “Once they got everything in perspective, I think they’ve handled it very well” (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 7/12)....Selig “emphasized that [MLB] is committed to keeping baseball in South Florida,” despite the Marlins’ failed attempts to build a new ballpark. But Selig added, “They can’t survive in [Dolphin Stadium]. A ballpark is the only economic variable that can control your revenue” (PALM BEACH POST, 7/12).

    Print | Tags: CBA, Cincinnati Reds, Detroit Tigers, Miami Marlins, Kansas City Royals, Leagues and Governing Bodies, Minnesota Twins, MLB, New York Giants, New York Mets, Pittsburgh Pirates, San Francisco Giants, Toronto Blue Jays
  • NBA Increases Salary Cap For Next Season To $53.135M

    The NBA salary cap for the ’06-07 season will be $53.135M and the luxury tax level will be $65.42M. The minimum salary level is set at $39.85M, or 75% of the cap (NBA). ESPN.com’s Chad Ford noted the salary cap is $3.6M more than last season. The Knicks, projected to have a payroll over $109M next year, are the only team currently “way over” the luxury tax threshold. The Warriors and Mavericks are projected to be “just barely over” the limit (ESPN.com, 7/11).

    METTLE & ‘BRON: In Akron, Brian Windhorst reports Cavaliers F LeBron James will sign a three-year contract extension for an estimated $43M, “the maximum allowable salary,” that will go into effect for the ’07-08 season. James also holds an option for a fourth year at $17M. Under the deal, James could become an unrestricted free agent in 2010, and as a seven-year veteran would be “eligible for a new maximum contract that starts at 30[%] of the salary cap” (AKRON BEACON JOURNAL, 7/12). James: “We did extensive research and with the way the CBA is set up, it makes the most business sense to sign this extension and then look at another new contract in four years” (AP, 7/12).

    FOLLOW THE LEADER: ESPN.com reports Heat G Dwyane Wade, who reportedly agreed to a maximum five-year, $80M extension last week, is instead expected to sign a three-year deal with an option for a fourth year, similar to James’ extension (ESPN.com, 7/12). In Denver, Adam Thompson reports the Nuggets plan to sign F Carmelo Anthony to a five-year extension worth $80M, but Anthony’s agent, Bill Duffy, said that he expects Anthony’s contract “to include an early termination option on the fifth year,” allowing him to opt out of the deal before the 2011-2012 season. Anthony’s agents “re-examined the deal” after James decided to sign a shorter contract (DENVER POST, 7/12).

    Print | Tags: Cablevision, CBA, Cleveland Cavaliers, Dallas Mavericks, Denver Nuggets, ESPN, Golden State Warriors, Kroenke Sports Enterprises, Leagues and Governing Bodies, Miami Heat, NBA, New York Knicks, Walt Disney
  • WNBA Nearing Profitability As It Celebrates Tenth Season

     
    The WNBA is holding the All-Star Game for its tenth season tonight in N.Y., and while the league still requires “annual infusions of $12[M] or so from the NBA,” NBA Commissioner David Stern said that it “is on track to turn a small profit next year,” according to Thomas Heath of the WASHINGTON POST. Stern said that the WNBA’s “value as an ambassador that draws new fans -– especially women –- to the sport is worth the financial losses it has incurred over its first decade.” Stern: “We have a good strategic reason to support the WNBA, which is the growth of viewership and fans for basketball.” Heath notes ticket sales and local sponsorships “can help cover the [teams’] expenses,” but “real profitability lies in the multimillion-dollar television rights deals, which the WNBA does not enjoy.” ESPN/ABC Sports Senior VP/Programming & Acquisitions Len DeLuca said, “If you think this is going to be the NBA or get men’s college basketball ratings or baseball ratings, that’s not going to happen. But it’s a good niche and it has to be done at a realistic scale” (WASHINGTON POST, 7/12). WNBA President Donna Orender said the league is “very close to making money. We need to grow our sponsorship base, continue to broaden our appeal and get our attendance numbers up.” Lynx Owner Glen Taylor said, “We are still not running the league on a profitable basis, but the girls that are coming out each year from college are better. ... If we can get bigger crowds and more attendance, that’s all it would take (to be profitable)” (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 7/9).

    GROWING PAINS: In Minneapolis, Pam Schmid wrote the league “continues to feel growing pains. ... Talent and a growing pool of young female basketball players have yet to translate into profitability for a league some have relegated to permanent ‘second-tier’ status.” Sports Business Group President David Carter said, “The WNBA will never be a big-time, big-money league. ... [It is] a secondary league that delivers modest TV ratings and fan support” (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 7/9). In N.Y., Harvey Araton wrote, “Generally speaking, women are more likely to watch men play on television than men are to watch women.” Also, the WNBA “must compete in a news-media climate that is overwhelmingly male.” Orender said, “The people in charge of editorial direction don’t cater to all potential readers, and they will ultimately send them elsewhere to get what they want” (N.Y. TIMES, 7/11).

    Leslie (c) Says Start Up Of WNBA
    Exceeded Her Expectations

    SURVIVAL SKILLS: In Boston, Kelsie Smith reports the ten years of existence for the WNBA is seven years longer than any other women’s basketball league has lasted, “a surprise to many, including some players.” Sparks F Lisa Leslie said, “I really thought we would be somewhat of a summer league with reversible jerseys, and maybe play in small arenas that maybe hold 2,000 people.” Smith notes the league “turned teams over to NBA ownership groups” in ’02, and teams that were not wanted were either folded or moved to non-NBA locales. Three teams currently are independently owned -– the Sun, Mystics and Sky. Former WNBAer Rebecca Lobo: “When we had up to 16 teams at the time, the talent was a little bit too diluted. I think right now the league is where it needs to be with 14” (BOSTON GLOBE, 7/12).

    YOUTH OF A NATION: In N.Y., Evan Grossman writes while the All-Star Game “is a celebration of a decade of women’s professional basketball, it is also a pep rally for the future of the league.” The “influx of youth” across the WNBA has some observers “looking forward,” and the group of young players “recognizes that it’s now their job to carry the torch into the next 10 years” (N.Y. POST, 7/12).

    Print | Tags: ABC, ESPN, Leagues and Governing Bodies, Los Angeles Sparks, Minnesota Lynx, NBA, Walt Disney, Washington Mystics, WNBA
  • Rounded Out: Champ Car Reportedly Going Street Races Only

    Champ Car Could Leave
    Oval Track Races In The Dust
    The Champ Car World Series will add as many as four new sites to its ’07 schedule, but it “won’t have any ovals unless its teams compete at the Indianapolis 500,” according to Robin Miller of SPEEDTV.com. While the schedule has not been formally announced, the season will start with a street race in Las Vegas in April and close on the streets of Phoenix in November. The circuit is also “likely to trek to Zhuhai, China next May to a venue originally built for Formula 1.” Team owners met last weekend in Toronto and “voted not to leave the month of May open for the Indianapolis 500.” However, there is “still a chance Champ Car could leave two weekends open for any teams willing and able” to run the Indy 500. There are 15 races on the schedule this year, and Champ Car President Steve Johnson said the league would “like to run 16 races next year.” Champ Car will not race at Milwaukee Mile in ’07, leaving the series with no races on oval tracks for the first time in its 28-year history (SPEEDTV.com, 7/11). Milwaukee Mile President Andy Randall, who is scheduled to speak with Johnson this week, said that “no such decision has been conveyed” about the schedule (JOURNAL SENTINEL, 7/12).

    Print | Tags: Champ Car World Series, Leagues and Governing Bodies
  • League Notes

    MLB will acquire all of USA Baseball’s commercial rights under a new ten-year agreement. MLB Properties will provide a guaranteed level of annual funding to support USAB’s athlete programs in exchange for sponsorship, licensing, Internet and other business rights. The deal also has a revenue-sharing opportunity to provide for USAB’s growth (MLB)....In Pittsburgh, Chuck Finder reports protestors blocking the Roberto Clemente Bridge near PNC Park “forced a brief disturbance yesterday, two hours before the start” of the MLB All-Star Game. About 100 representatives of the Pittsburgh Anti-Sweatshop Community Alliance protested the “official [MLB] apparel produced in sweatshops” (PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 7/12).

    GUILDED SWORD: SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL’s Liz Mullen reports Dwight Manley, the new national manager of the Jockeys’ Guild, “has agreed in principle to an unusual employment contract in which he will be paid a percentage of new revenue he brings into the organization, but will split those fees 50-50 with [Senior Advisor] Jesse Jackson.” Manley will receive 5% of new on-track revenue and 15% of any off-track revenue “that he brings into the guild.” The current baseline for on-track revenue is $2.2M a year. While off-track revenue includes advertising and licensing money, the guild currently “has no licensing money coming in” (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 7/10 issue).

    RING TONE: Saturday’s UFC rematch between Tito Ortiz and Ken Shamrock at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas “was expected to tally more than half a million [PPV] buys.” Tickets to the fight sold out, with ringside seats “fetching $750.” About 12,400 people attended and “tickets generated a $3.5[M] gate” (AP, 7/11).

    Print | Tags: Leagues and Governing Bodies, MLB
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