SBD/May 12, 2014/Leagues and Governing Bodies

MLB Owners Want More Transparency In Search For Bud Selig's Successor

Selig and a small group of owners launched discussions about a successor
With eight months to go until MLB Commissioner Bud Selig's announced retirement date, there still is "no new baseball commissioner on deck," which "sets the stage for what could be some mighty interesting conversations this week, when baseball's owners meet" in N.Y., according to Bill Shaikin of the L.A. TIMES. Sources said that Selig and a small group of owners have "launched preliminary discussions about a successor." However, other owners said that they "have no idea that any process has started." One owner said, "A lot of clubs want to see a search and they want to see it soon." Shaikin noted if Selig "has his way, there will be no announcement of any formal search." He "fears that qualified candidates might excuse themselves from consideration if their names are disclosed." He "worries that even putting forth a timetable might hamper the search." But the "absence of information fuels speculation." Shaikin: "Could Selig change his mind about retirement, as he has done previously? Could a search committee decide he is the best candidate and persuade him to stay on, at least through the 2016 labor talks? Could the executive council of owners decide to run the sport itself until after the labor talks, then appoint a commissioner?" The answers "are no, no and no, at least from those close to Selig." Rumors are that White Sox Chair Jerry Reinsdorf and Angels Owner Arte Moreno "each is among those involved in the early talks about a new commissioner." Ultimately, though, would the owners "simply let Selig pick his successor?" One owner said, "Absolutely not." Selig "has positioned" MLB COO Rob Manfred as his successor, and if owners "want a full search that would allow for at least the possibility of someone besides Manfred, time is of the essence" (L.A. TIMES, 5/11).

HATE TO BURST YOUR BUBBLE: In Seattle, Geoff Baker notes MLB teams are "committing record salaries over the next decade based off anticipated revenue" from new RSN contracts. But these deals "have been increasingly likened to a real-estate 'bubble' prone to bursting." Selig hopes the money "manifests his sport's popularity, but admits even TV industry insiders he's known for years can't provide definitive answers." Selig said, "One can ask a question: Is this going to continue? I don't have an answer to that. But I'm going to be really candid with you: I do have concerns." Baker notes further "complicating matters are MLB teams, like the Mariners, acquiring RSN ownership in hopes of even bigger revenue" (SEATTLE TIMES, 5/12).
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