SBD/Issue 222/Leagues & Governing Bodies

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  • Judge Denies NFLPA's Motion To Dismiss Retirees' Licensing Claims

     
    A federal court judge late yesterday denied the NFLPA’s motion to dismiss claims by a group of retired players that they have not been adequately compensated for their licensing rights, clearing the way for a trial to begin on September 22. The case, first brought 18 months ago, seeks in excess of $100M in damages, said Ron Katz, attorney for former player Herb Adderley, the class representative of retired players who had group licensing agreements (GLAs) with the union between '03-07. Katz said, “Anyone who sees my clients situation will see they have a very deserving case.” U.S. District Judge William Alsup, in a decision issued yesterday, wrote, “There continues to exist a genuine issue of material fact as to whether the GLAs guaranteed retired players something more than empty promises.” NFLPA outside counsel Jeffrey Kessler said, “We are obviously disappointed with the decision but we are highly confident there is no merit to this case and we look forward to proving that at the trial. The claim that the EA license and other agreements included retired players rights will be completely refuted by the testimony of all the licensees including EA that no such rights were obtained. The evidence is also going to show whenever the rights of retired players were utilized that money was paid to the retired players. What Mr. Adderley and his lawyers are doing in this case is seeking the money that is generated by active players. We believe the jury will understand that and reject Mr. Adderley’s claims.” Alsup noted in his opinion that while the NFLPA claimed the licenses did not include retired players, the language of the contracts said otherwise.

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  • Budweiser Shootout To Have Different Look, New Format In '09

    A-B, NASCAR Changing Up Format,
    Look Of Budweiser Shootout
    The '09 Budweiser Shootout will have a different race format and a new method for qualifying. NASCAR's top officials, from Chair & CEO Brian France to President Mike Helton, have worked with Anheuser-Busch and Daytona Int'l Speedway (DIS) to recreate the event as part of A-B's sponsorship renewal with DIS. In the past, pole winners from the previous year have automatically qualified for the non-points race, which is considered the unofficial kickoff to the Sprint Cup season. But when Coors replaced Bud as the official beer of NASCAR and took over entitlement of the Coors Light Pole Award, A-B sought to separate its marquee event from the award. The specifics of those changes are still being finalized. Changes are expected to be announced later this month. The '09 race is scheduled for February 7, the weekend prior to the Daytona 500.

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  • League Notes

    Zambrano Could Be Next Venezuelan
    Player To Pull Out Of World Baseball Classic
    In Chicago, Gordon Wittenmyer reports four of the "biggest-name [MLBers] in Venezuela have pulled out of next spring's" World Baseball Classic, and a fifth Venezuelan player, Cubs P Carlos Zambrano, yesterday said that he is "not sure whether he'll play." Mets P Johan Santana and Tigers 1B Miguel Cabrera, 3B Carlos Guillen and RF Magglio Ordonez all have said that they will not play for their national team. The players reportedly are "blaming the Venezuelan tournament committee for problems getting enough tickets and hotel rooms for families, for shoddy organization that led to at least one instance of Burger King postgame meals and for the return of unsuccessful manager Luis Sojo without consulting some of the team members" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 8/7).

    COURT IN ORDER: ATP Chief Counsel Brad Ruskin, who presided over the circuit's antitrust trial brought on by its Hamburg, Germany, event, in a Q&A with TENNIS WEEK's Richard Pagliaro said the ATP's desire to downgrade the event was "about the ability to create a schedule that was healthier for the players and it was about best serving the fans and consumers by expanding exposure to markets like China and to fabulous stadiums like the new complex in Madrid." When asked if shifting the event was "worthwhile," Ruskin said, "It's a powerful affirmation for the right of a pro sports league to operate all aspects of the circuit and that's a good thing for the ATP, for the tournaments, for the players, for the fans and for the sport." Ruskin said the court ruling in the ATP's favor "reaffirms the ATP's right to set a schedule that is healthiest for its players while bringing the game to more consumers and more fans in more markets" (TENNISWEEK.com, 8/6).

    GLOBAL VIEW: Following reports that Cavaliers F LeBron James would consider playing basketball overseas if he was offered a $50M a year contract, ESPN's Tony Kornheiser said, “If your goal, as he has stated, is to become a billionaire, increments of $50[M] helps you a lot. By the way, if he were to go, at that very day the NBA would announce a European division because they’re not going to lose him.” ESPN’s J.A. Adande added James leaving to play overseas would “fast-forward (NBA Commissioner) David Stern’s plan for globalization” (“PTI,” ESPN, 8/6). ESPN’s Kevin Blackistone said of James, “He can go over there for three years, make $150[M], come back here as a free agent, sign with somebody else and make a bunch more loot. … It’s not all about the reverence we hold these sports leagues in” (“Around The Horn,” ESPN, 8/6).

    NOTES: UFC President Dana White Tuesday said that the UFC is "looking to return to Canada later this year," following the league's April 19 debut at the Bell Centre drew a "loud and proud crowd of 21,390." The Canadian card was the UFC's "biggest ever in terms of attendance, its fastest ever sellout, and produced a gate of some $5[M]" (CP, 8/6)....Sources indicated that organizers of the Solheim Cup are considering getting the "players now dominating women's golf into the mix," as players from Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Mexico and Australia currently are not eligible for the biennial event. GOLF WORLD's Ron Sirak writes to make the "competitive landscape less lopsided, the rest of the world needs to be brought into the event" (GOLF WORLD, 8/8 issue).

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