Kentucky-Arkansas Hoops Set For CBS MLS Set For Three Days Of CBA Talks NFL Hires Chief Republican Lobbyist Hisense To Invest More In NASCAR Earthquakes To Debut New Stadium MLBAM Launches MLB At Bat Update Classified Advertisements Ovechkin Signs With Fanatics Authentic Weekend Plans With NBC's Jim Bell Fresno State Gets Fresh Start With Bartko
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Upshaw Says Uncapped Season
Could Be End Of Salary Cap In NFL
Rooney Says Revenue Sharing
Must Be Addressed In New CBA
PREEMPTIVE MOVE: In Green Bay, Pete Dougherty writes the NFL announced the vote to opt out of the CBA as “unanimous, though it’s unlikely every team voted against ratification initially.” There “presumably was a re-vote once the decision was made so they’d have the strength of unanimity” (GREEN BAY PRESS-GAZETTE, 5/21). Labor experts said that the NFL is “taking the unique step of acting before problems become too severe.” Columbia Law School lecturer Robert Kheel: “I have no doubt there’s a proactive aspect to this. Teams may be making money, but if you put your money in a savings account, you might make 4 or 5[%]. The question is whether the return is economically rational” (WASHINGTON TIMES, 5/21). SI.com’s Peter King wrote the owners deciding to opt out of the CBA is “one of the best things that could happen to the process. That isn’t to say that this won’t be a long and arduous fight.” But “timing was a key element here” (SI.com, 5/20). Broncos Owner Pat Bowlen said of opting out of the CBA, “Really, there was no reason not to do it now. We might as well get that part of it out of the way, so we can hopefully get into some serious negotiations and get a deal” (N.Y. TIMES, 5/21).
LOOKING TO 2010: In N.Y., Judy Battista writes, “While rhetoric is sure to fly … the two sides will almost certainly not get serious for another two years” (N.Y. TIMES, 5/21). SI.com’s King wrote there is “no question that the key point, the deadline point that really means something, now comes in March 2010” (SI.com, 5/20). Upshaw: “The point of no return will be the beginning of the league year in 2010; that will push us into an uncapped year. That’s what we see as a realistic deadline” (BOSTON GLOBE, 5/21). In S.F., Nancy Gay writes, "March 2010. That is the new deadline. And when you get past the tough talk, no one, neither owners nor players, wants to envision the NFL in labor disarray beyond that date” (S.F. CHRONICLE, 5/21). Bowlen: “We obviously have three more seasons to play. So I’m sure we’ll be spending lots of time with the NFLPA” (USA TODAY, 5/21).
RAMIFICATIONS OF CAPLESS SEASON: In L.A., Sam Farmer writes assuming no CBA deal gets done, there will be no salary cap for the 2010 season, but “it won’t necessarily be the wild, wild West when it comes to teams signing players.” There are “several rules in place that would limit the ability of notoriously free-spending teams … to snap up the best players.” There would be “additional restrictions on the top eight playoff teams from the previous season," as those clubs would be able "to add free agents only at the rate they lost them” (L.A. TIMES, 5/21). SI.com’s King: “Let’s say the Patriots are one of the top eight and want to sign a free-agent to a five-year, $20[M] contract. They’d have to lose their own player or players to contracts totaling $20[M] before they could sign the free agent they want” (SI.com, 5/20). In N.Y., Gary Myers notes in an uncapped year, there also “would not be a minimum each team would be required to spend” (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 5/21). The WALL STREET JOURNAL’s Matthew Futterman writes the “likely outcome might be that a few star players reap a windfall, and although the free-agent pool won’t be that big, benchmarks could change and lead to higher salaries later” (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 5/21).
Cowboys Sign Barber To Six-
Year, $45M Contract Extension
PLANNING AHEAD: PROFOOTBALLTALK.com’s Mike Florio wrote moving forward, NFL front offices “will have to come up with contracts that comply with the 2008 cap rules, the rules of the last capped year in 2009, and the realities of the uncapped year.” They also will have to “account for the presently unknown terms of an extension, if an extension is eventually reached” (PROFOOTBALLTALK.com, 5/20). ESPN's Mortensen: "Even new contracts that are going to be negotiated going forward, those first three years are going to be more important than ever because obviously, we don’t know what the future holds after 2010" ("NFL Live," ESPN, 5/20).
IMPACT ON SMALL MARKET TEAMS: In Milwaukee, Greg Bedard writes the NFL’s “much-celebrated parity … could be on a death march.” Packers President & CEO Mark Murphy: “I think a salary cap is good for the game, it’s good for the owners and I’m hopeful that we don’t get to that point (without a cap) and that we can reach an agreement before then” (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 5/21). Redskins TE Chris Cooley on his blog wrote small-market owners “are about to opt out of an agreement that would help their teams in the future. How much of a fighting change do small-market teams have in 2011 of getting either top-ranked college prospects with no draft, or legitimate free agents with no money?” (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 5/20). Washington Post reporter Les Carpenter said an uncapped year "could mean chaos for small-market teams if someone like [Redskins Owner] Dan Snyder has a checkbook that he could just write and write and write and write checks with no limits” ("Washington Post Live," CSN, 5/20).
Goodell Raises Possibility Of Adding
Another Game To Regular-Season Schedule
BUILDING BOOM: In San Diego, Tim Sullivan writes with their football revenues increasing “rapidly and their stadium deals increasingly augmented by real estate development, the owners occupy an enviable bargaining position." They “should be able to offer the players significant raises while at the same time gradually slicing their piece of the overall pie” (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 5/21). However, Chiefs Chair Clark Hunt said, “The cost of building or renovating stadiums has absolutely skyrocketed in the last five years, almost doubled in fact. That has put a lot of stress on teams that have stadium projects. The current labor agreement does not reflect the private cost of stadiums borne by the teams” (K.C. STAR, 5/21).
BARGAINING POSITION: In Philadelphia, Rich Hofmann writes, “The owners cannot lose here unless they get piggish.” The situation is “stacked in the owners’ favor as long as the players continue to have such short careers and high injury risks” (PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 5/21). In Chicago, Dan Pompei writes players “are not going to be happy when they probably are going to have to give back a portion of their piece of the pie. Some of the less rational ones could point the finger at Upshaw, who did so well last time that this time he can only look bad by comparison” (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 5/21). However, Upshaw said, “Don’t worry. It’ll get done” (SI.com, 5/20). Steelers coach Mike Tomlin: "From my perspective, it seems like they're just probably bringing it to a head. I don't think anybody wants a work stoppage -- owners and players” (Pittsburgh TRIBUNE-REVIEW, 5/21).
TOO MUCH TO LOSE: CBSSPORTS.com’s Pete Prisco wrote, “In the end, smart minds will come to an agreement. … There’s simply too much to lose. This will pass” (CBSSPORTS.com, 5/21). In Richmond, Paul Woody writes, “Stadiums are full and television ratings are high. Revenue flows from corporate sponsorships, NFL property sales and online opportunities. To risk tarnishing all that with an ugly labor dispute is shortsighted and greedy” (RICHMOND TIMES-DISPATCH, 5/21).
BACKBONE OF BID: In Indianapolis, O'Shaughnessy & Chappell report Indianapolis won the hosting rights with a "unique gambit: plans to transform a downtrodden Near-Eastside neighborhood in a project meant to create a lasting legacy." The centerpiece of the bid was a $9M athletic facility at Tech High School that would serve as a practice facility for the Super Bowl, which NFL officials and team owners cited as a "key factor in choosing Indianapolis." NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell: "That's a facility that will be used for many generations by people who play sports. I think that's a great thing for the NFL and the community." Irsay: "A lot of times, people think it's just about big numbers and big money, but it's also about big hearts." Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard said that he "expects the city to have to pay [$1-2M] for public safety support but estimated the game would generate an economic impact of at least $100[M] and up to $20[M] in tax revenue." The bid committee raised $25M in "private pledges to build the facility, host the parties and turn Downtown into a Super Bowl Village that will draw tens of thousands of visitors despite frigid temperatures" (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 5/21).
Writer Believes Irsay Deserves
Credit For Landing Super Bowl
GAME WILL INCREASE CITY'S PROFILE: Greater Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce President Roland Dorson "views the Super Bowl as a global coming-out party for the city." Dorson: "For many people around the country and the world, there really isn't a clear image of Indianapolis. I think we're beginning to be recognized as a destination town, and this just enhances the cachet that we have" (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 5/21). An INDIANAPOLIS STAR editorial states, "The benefits of staging the nation's most high-profile annual event go well beyond a well-deserved shot of pride for the city and its residents" (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 5/21). In Indianapolis, Bob Kravitz writes, "This is for the movers and the shakers, the visionaries who had the foresight and the insight to position Indianapolis as a sports city back in the 1970s. This is for all the thousands of volunteers, who, for the past 30 years, made it possible for Indianapolis to host so many major sports events" (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 5/21).
IN OTHER MEETING NEWS: Goodell yesterday at the NFL Owners meetings said that the league will "begin fining teams under its personal conduct policy." Goodell said that the NFL will receive a "portion of the player's withheld pay whenever a player is suspended under the policy," and the percentage that goes to the league will "increase for subsequent violations by players from the same team" (WASHINGTON POST, 5/21). Goodell also said that the NFL has “no plans to conduct an independent investigation of the Patriots’ videotaping procedures at this time.” U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) has “pressured the league to do so, but Goodell reiterated his feelings that the league’s investigation was sound and thorough” (BOSTON.com, 5/20).
Penguins-Red Wings Matchup
Dream Scenario For NHL
PERFECT PAIR: SI.com's Michael Farber wrote under the header, "NHL Gets Wish With Dream Cup Final." After several finals matchups "that had less buzz than a circular saw, the NHL finds itself blessed with an Original Six team with national appeal and a worthy history playing a team with a great backstory and the most young talent in the NHL." Farber noted Crosby likely "will be the centerpiece of the final because the exposure of a long series ... can turn Crosby into a crossover star in a star-conscious country" (SI.com, 5/19). In Montreal, Red Fisher writes under the header, "Wings-Pens Matchup Made In NHL Heaven." Fisher: "What you have is a matchup to die for. ... The NHL couldn't have scripted a better finale" (Montreal GAZETTE, 5/21). In Vancouver, Tony Gallagher writes under the header, "Stars Align Perfectly For Final Showdown" (Vancouver PROVINCE, 5/21).
EASY TO MARKET: In L.A., Helene Elliott wrote the finals "will fulfill the NHL's marketing dreams -- and should be a memorable experience for fans too." The NHL, which has "seen a modest increase in its TV ratings this season ... should be grateful for such a bonanza" (L.A. TIMES, 5/20). In Toronto, Damien Cox wrote the matchup is a "gem, the best Stanley Cup final possible for the NHL." Whether anybody watches in the U.S. that "isn't in the Eastern time zone is anyone's guess, but these are two of the more popular U.S. teams, so the Wings and Pens have a chance to attract more eyeballs than did" the previous three finals series, which were won by the Ducks, Hurricanes and Lightning (TORONTO STAR, 5/20). Former NHL coach Jacques Demers, in a special to USA TODAY, writes the Stanley Cup Finals are "filled with stars. Though the NHL would never say so, this is their dream matchup." The Red Wings and Penguins are "what hockey in the post-lockout era is supposed to be about: great scoring chances, puck control, great passes." Demers: "As evenly matched as these teams are, the referees need to let the players play. Open the door to great hockey, and let the dice fall where they may. And the league will reap rewards in the ratings" (USA TODAY, 5/21).
Many Expecting Crosby's First Stanley Cup
Finals Appearance To Give NHL Ratings Uptick
Future Of LPGA Corning Classic
Up In The Air After 2010
OPTIMISTIC ABOUT FUTURE: In New York, Bob Benz reports Tournament President Jack Benjamin is "optimistic Corning will remain part of the LPGA Tour for the foreseeable future." Benjamin: “We have a contract [with the LPGA] through 2009. Then we have an option year for 2010 -- that’s our option. What we’ll do is after 2009, we will begin negotiating a new contract with the LPGA for 2011, ’12 and ’13 and our expectation is it will take a while to do that, so we’ve got the option year to do it and then our plan is to keep right on going, just as we have in the past” (CORNING LEADER, 5/21).
DuPuy Says MLB Looking At Using
Instant Replay On Limited Basis
MLS: In L.A., Grahame Jones writes MLS and Toronto FC coach John Carver “are butting heads” due to Carver’s in-game behavior. Carver is an “emotional coach” who “reacts to what is happening on the field.” Jones: “MLS apparently does not want coaches who show a human side. … What MLS wants are compliant coaches who toe the line. If they speak out and criticize match officials, as many have, they get fined or suspended, or both” (L.A. TIMES, 5/21).
NFL: In Chicago, Dan Pompei reported NFL front offices are “not happy with the new rule that limits training camp roster sizes to 80 players.” Previous rosters included exemptions for NFL Europe players, “leading to rosters close to 90 players.” One GM said, “It’s going to be hard to get through camp and the exhibitions like this. If you have injuries, you are in trouble” (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 5/18).
USSA: USSA VP/Communications Tom Kelly responded to skier Bryon Friedman's claims that the organization "cannot afford to fund their athletes" by indicating that the USSA's funding is up slightly from last year. He also noted that every athlete has the opportunity to qualify for funding, but they "must meet the team’s selection criteria," which was published in May ’07. Friedman did not meet the criteria and was not nominated to the team. Kelly said athletes meeting the team’s criteria will be funded, and athletes on the alpine A, B and C teams are fully funded (THE DAILY).