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Selig Says Meeting Was A
"Great Exchange Of Ideas"
ECONOMIC FORECAST: Selig said it is too soon to say definitively whether the league will have a better fiscal year this year than in '09. League revenues were roughly flat compared to '08 at around $6.5B, in part because of new revenue from the MLB Network offsetting declining gate receipts. Selig: "We're sort of at the same level, perhaps a little better. You can't get a group of economists to agree on what's going to happen, but I think we'll do OK (this year)." To that end, several individual teams have indicated that ticket sales patterns have closely resembled '09 in that consumers are waiting as long as possible to make purchasing decisions. Will, as he did last January, made a presentation to the owners on his outlook for the national economy.
STEPPING UP TO THE PLATE: The owners Thursday also heard a presentation from Stand Up 2 Cancer, which MLB has been supporting since '08, on the organization's ongoing work to fight the disease. Selig called the session among the most moving in his 40 years of attending owners' meetings. "I don't think I've ever seen more emotion. I'm very proud of our association with this group. They do tremendous work. This issue is so pervasive now -- everybody's been affected by it in some way" (Fisher).
STRIKING A NEW DEAL: The AP’s Bob Baum reported MLB owners “unanimously ratified a five-year contract with umpires on Thursday, wrapping up a decade of labor peace in a sport once plagued by work stoppages.” A source said that the deal, “expected to be ratified by umpires on Monday, would remove a ban on umpires appearing in consecutive World Series.” A source said that the agreement “also would allow management to use video to evaluate umpires and establish new programs for early retirement” (AP, 1/14).
Goodell Says Its Becoming Increasingly
Likely NFL Will Be In Uncapped Season
SIDES STILL FAR APART: NFLPA Exec Dir DeMaurice Smith Wednesday addressed the CBA negotiations and said he has a "hard time understanding why in the era of such good business why we just can't get this thing taken care of sooner rather than later." When asked whether he has been contacted by politicians about preventing a work stoppage in '11, Smith said the NFLPA has "fielded a lot of questions across the board and some of those questions have come from not only people on the Hill but people within state houses, state legislatures, state attorney generals, consumer interest groups." Smith: "Everyone wants to make sure that this game goes forward and the players are absolutely committed to that. It's my job to try to figure out why eight billion isn't enough" (CHICAGOBREAKINGSPORTS.com, 1/13).
INCONSISTENT POSITION? In St. Paul, Brian Murphy reports the NFL "went on the offensive in a Minneapolis courtroom Thursday, attacking claims" by Vikings DTs Kevin and Pat Williams that the league "violated state drug-testing laws when it suspended them" in '08 for taking the StarCaps supplement, which contains a banned substance. The NFL "argued for the first time Thursday that the Williamses could not sue the league for violating" the Drug and Alcohol Testing in the Workplace Act because the Vikings "are their employers, not the NFL, which is responsible for disciplining players under the anti-doping policy." Peter Ginsberg, an attorney for the Williamses, "seized on that to portray a conflict in legal positions the NFL is staking in separate court cases," including American Needle v. NFL. The league in that case Wednesday "argued its teams should be allowed to operate as a single business unit when negotiating licensing and merchandising contracts" (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 1/15).
Garber Says MLS, Union Meeting Regularly
In Attempt To Hash Out New CBA