SBD/Issue 138/Leagues & Governing Bodies

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  • AFL Acting Commissioner Ed Policy Resigns, Effective Immediately

    Policy's Resignation Throws More
    Uncertainty Into Future Of AFL
    AFL acting Commissioner Ed Policy has "resigned, throwing more uncertainty into the future of the shuttered league, which is scrambling to complete plans for a relaunch in 2010," according to John Lombardo of SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL. Policy joined the AFL in '01 and was named acting Commissioner last summer after former Commissioner David Baker resigned. Policy said that he is "resigning effective immediately because, if the AFL successfully relaunches, its new centralized structure will call for a chief executive, rather than a commissioner, to run the league." Policy: "It doesn't serve me to have a title or a role that will soon be obsolete. I will be stepping down immediately, and it is an extremely amicable situation. The league's new structure calls for a CEO, and I'm not interested because it is a job that calls for a five-year commitment. I don't know what the position entails, and having been with the AFL for eight years, I'm not in a position where I can commit for another five years." Policy "will work as a consultant to the AFL as the league continues its reorganization effort." Policy said that he has "not lined up another job." AFL Exec Committee Vice Chair and Columbus Destroyers Owner Jim Renacci, "already a key player in the restructuring effort, likely will assume the lead executive role until the league's new structure is completed." The process of hiring a CEO "will begin after a new structure is approved by owners" (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 4/6 issue).

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  • NFLPA's Smith Ready To Tackle NFL Head-On During CBA Talks

    Smith Says He's Extremely Blunt
    When Talking To People
    New NFLPA Exec Dir DeMaurice Smith said the union "elected me to do a job, and I'll tell you what, I'll do it," according to David Elfin of the WASHINGTON TIMES. Smith: "I have one way of talking to people. I'm extremely blunt, sometimes a little too blunt. The NFL is an $8[B] enterprise. Over the last 10 years, the (average) franchise value has grown by over 400[%]. And it operates with antitrust exemptions. It's the only game in town." Smith said he sees his new job as providing "vision and leadership to ... every player in the league to maximize their interests, to understand their problems, to protect their safety and welfare, to provide for a better life for them after football than the life they had before, to engage the retired players in a way to make sure that we're doing everything that we can for them and to work with the owners to make sure that we live up to our obligation to our fans that they get to enjoy the game of football." But Smith said of his looming CBA negotiations with the NFL and Commissioner Roger Goodell, "I don't think that either of us are going to be pushed in any direction because of perception. Both of us understand our respective obligations, and we have a very fine sense of our constituents, but the reality is that we are business partners. This is not an antagonistic relationship. Does it have to be, at times, adversarial or contentious over some issues? Yes. But there's a relationship that has been extremely successful and beneficial for a number of years" (WASHINGTON TIMES, 4/6).

    WELCOME TO THE CLUB: Patriots OT Matt Light will replace LB Mike Vrabel as the team's NFLPA player rep after Vrabel was traded to the Chiefs, and Light believes that the players are "as unified as ever." Light, who attended the NFLPA's March meetings where they elected Smith, said, "I felt like we had four strong candidates, but I think it was really clear to everybody in the room that DeMaurice was the guy that just stood above the rest. He is very polished, a very good speaker, and has some great insight into how business is done at the level of which the NFL conducts business" (BOSTON GLOBE, 4/5).

    Patriots LB Adalius Thomas Does Not Like Idea
    Of Possible 18-Game Regular Season
    BRINGING THE RUSH: Patriots LB Adalius Thomas Friday said of an 18-game regular season, "My idea of it? It sucks. I mean, basically, why would you want an 18-game season? Why? For what?" When told the extra games "are about money," Thomas said, "Exactly. As far as that goes, with me, the money thing, stop. Just stop. If (NFL owners) want to cry about money, then open your books up to an independent audit to really show how much money you're making. If you really want to cry about money, open your books up, put what you really make in the paper like you put our salary in the paper every year" (, 4/3).'s Peter King writes the NFLPA "needs to include Adalius Thomas in its negotiating committee with the owners," because he will "keep it lively, and I think he'll keep it on point." Meanwhile, King added, "I still find it very, very hard to believe in this economy that the owners are going to get the TV networks to pay them any more than the current deals, never mind an increase for the increased inventory" (, 4/6).

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  • League Notes's Pierre LeBrun cited sources as indicating that NHLPA Exec Dir Paul Kelly recently invited NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman "to the players' annual summer meetings in Las Vegas in June and [Bettman] has accepted." LeBrun noted it is "believed to be a first in NHL history to have the commissioner speak to the players directly at their meetings; at the very least, we know it's a first for Bettman since he took the helm in February 1993." Sources also indicated that the NHL has "signed a three-year deal" with the Palms Resort & Casino in Las Vegas to host its annual awards show, "guaranteeing the event will be there through 2011" (, 4/4).

    DOLLARS & SENSE:'s Ian Thomsen noted NBA players this season "continued to rake in huge salaries while the larger economy comes shattering down all around them." Official NBA payroll figures indicated that "more than $2,144,283,570 is being paid to 507 players" this year, which "makes for an average salary of $4.2[M]." Thomsen wrote the Lakers and Magic are the league's two "most efficient franchises," as the Lakers have a $78.3M payroll, or $1.22M per win, while the Magic have a $70.1M payroll, or $1.13M per win. Meanwhile, the Wizards and Kings are the league's two "most wasteful franchises," as the Wizards have a $70.6M payroll, or $3.72M per win, while the Kings have a $67.3M payroll, or $3.74M per win (, 4/3).

    STILL SPEEDING ALONG: In N.Y., Brad Spurgeon wrote the financial situation of the current F1 season will be "little different from past years thanks to sponsorship, circuit hosting and television contracts signed years in advance," though ticket sales and corporate spending "could be off." Much will "depend on where the economy goes and how successfully the series cuts costs," but "many people inside and outside the sport say it remains a value for advertisers." Former F1 team Minardi Owner Paul Stoddart: "It is still the best bang for buck spent in advertising anywhere in the world, and I would argue one of the best sporting opportunities because you're in so many parts of the world, televised to so many different countries" (N.Y. TIMES, 4/5).

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