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Volume 24 No. 156

Leagues Governing Bodies

     "There will come a day -- maybe today, maybe tommorrow --
when Bud Selig finally will pull the plug on the late, great
baseball season of 1994," writes Jayson Stark in this morning's
PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER.  "It is only a matter of time now.  But
even amid an atmosphere marked by no new talks, no new ideas, and
no reason for hope, Selig refused to pull that plug yesterday"
(9/13).
     JUST LIKE MOM USED TO MAKE:  During a media conference call
yesterday, Acting Commissioner Bud Selig said he still hopes that
"something happens" in the next day or two:  "It's sort of like
chicken soup when you have a cold.  We know it's a long shot, but
nothing bad can come of it" (Jerome Holtzman, CHICAGO TRIBUNE,
9/13).  But he made clear during a halftime interview on "Monday
Night Football" that the end is near: "We are going to try
everything we possibly can to avoid calling the season off.  So
we will just take each day as it comes.  There is no specific
deadline, but it is true, we are very close to the end" (ABC,
9/12).
     CALL WHEN YOU'RE READY:  On CNN's "Sports Tonight," MLBPA
chief Donald Fehr said the union is available to talk, but he is
not optimistic.  Fehr:  "Unless and until the owners show a
willingness to negotiate, there is not really very much else left
to do" (CNN, 9/12).
     NOW, TALK AMONGST YOURSELVES:  Owners spoke to owners
yesterday, and players spoke to players, but there were no
coversations between the two groups, especially on the issue of
ending the season.  In fact, the N.Y. TIMES reports this morning
that Selig and Fehr have not spoken about a formal cancellation
in over a week.  Fehr:  "It doesn't matter what I say.  He'll do
what he wants to do.  The notion that he cares the slightest
about what we say is nonsense.  It's all pretense" (Murray Chass,
N.Y. TIMES, 9/13).
     STANDSTILL NOT A POSSIBILITY:  Union officials said at their
meeting yesterday with player reps in New York that they "briefly
discussed the possibility of returning to work to play some of
the remaining portion of the season if the owners would agree to
a 'standstill' period," but are adament "that scenario wouldn't
unfold."  MLBPA general counsel Gene Orza:  "I can see no
scenario under which the players would return to work without an
agreement."  The players also discussed the possibility of
forming a new league, but such speculation is "premature"
according to Fehr (Mark Maske, WASHINGTON POST, 9/13).
     BRING ON THE LAWYERS:  Fehr did indicate "the players are
prepared to negotiate on the 'taxation' concept they proposed
last week, and also "said the union is preparing possible bad-
faith bargaining charges against the owners with the National
Labor Relations Board."  Fehr:  "It will come as no surprise to
anyone that if the season is lost, lawyers are going to fill an
awful lot of hours this winter" (Mike Fish, ATLANTA CONSTITUTION,
9/13).
     TRUST-BUSTERS:  Rep. Jack Brooks, Chair of the House
Judiciary Committee, will hold a hearing Sept. 22 on MLB's
antitrust exemption.  Brooks:  "My general view is that
exemptions are disfavored and that the burden is on those seeking
to obtain or maintain such special treatments from our
competition statutes" (Peter Schmuck, Baltimore SUN, 9/13).  ALSO
HEARD ON THE HILL:  An editorial in today's WALL STREET JOURNAL
takes a swing at George Mitchell for his latest efforts on health
care reform.  "We're beginning to understand why baseball owners
are so eager to make Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell their
next commissioner.  They must figure that a man who has been so
relentless on health care, and has so often gulled so many
Republicans, is just the man to break the players' union next
year. ... If the owners want Mr. Mitchell to destroy a free-
market in baseball salaries, we might even say it's worth it if
it takes him away from trying to destroy the world's greatest
health care system" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 9/13).

     Federal Judge Dickinson Debevoise ruled yesterday that the
contracts of Toni Kukoc, A.C. Green and Chris Dudley did not
violate the NBA's collective bargaining agreement, but withheld a
ruling on the validity of Horace Grant's contract with the Magic.
Debevoise stated that his original ruling on the Dudley contract
last year governed all three "opt-out" contracts signed last
year.  The key difference with Grant is that he signed his
contract, which contains the one-year "opt-out" clause, this
year.  The judge "left the door open to the league."  But Grant
is still expected to play for Orlando next season, regardless of
the "disposition of the case, because he can always re-sign the
same deal" with a 2-year out (Sam Smith, CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 9/13).
     LEAGUE IS HOPEFUL:  In rejecting a motion for summary
judgment in favor of the Magic and Grant, Debevoise "set the
stage for a reargument of the underlying issues" from last year's
Dudley case.  A trial is expected to take place before the start
of the season (Robert Thomas, N.Y. TIMES, 9/13).  The decision
"buoyed the hopes" of NBA VP for Legal/ Business Affairs Jeffrey
Mishkin: "By far the more important holding is that all new
contracts can be challenged if they contain the one-year outs and
appear to be designed to circumvent the cap."  Mishkin said any
free agents who sign contracts for less than market value that
include one-year outs can expect them to be voided.  A.C. Green:
"What the NBA thinks is your market value, and what your team
thinks may be completely different.  This was a perfect example
of that" (Bob Young, ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 9/13).  Deputy NBA
Commissioner Russ Granik was "cheered" by the decision "simply
because it established that the Dudley case was not the last word
on the subject" (N.Y. TIMES, 9/13).
     ORLANDO REAX:  Magic VP John Gabriel: "The cap will seem to
change each year as we try to find ways to get around the
problems of the salary cap.  It is something we have to be
prepared for.  We need to utilize the next few days to get
together with these agents to find out what some of our options
are" ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 9/12).  Gabriel "said the Magic are
reluctant to pursue the issue further in court because training
camp opens in just three weeks."  Several agents said Grant "must
decide between his professed love for Orlando and re-signing with
the Bulls for more money" (Barry Cooper, ORLANDO SENTINEL, 9/13).
     PLAYERS REAX:  NBPA exec dir Charles Grantham: "We are
pleased the Judge agreed with the players that this issue was
decided last year, and that the players had every right to opt
out and sign new contracts with their teams without regard to the
salary cap" (DAILY sources, 9/12).  Green's agent Marc Fleisher:
"The judge made the right decision. ... We followed the NBA's
instructions and did everything they asked.  If we had known they
would challenge it, we could have signed a contract with a two-
year out.  Once the judge ruled that one-year outs were
acceptable, we chose to incorporate that in the contract"
(ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 9/13).

     The ATP Tour announced that it is deferring implementation
of a rule passed by the Board of Directors during Wimbledon that
would have reduced the time between points to 20 seconds.  The
decision was based on the belief that "strict enforcement" of the
25-second rule is speeding up play.  ATP CEO Mark Miles said the
Tour wanted to study more data and talk more with broadcasters
and players (DAILY sources, 9/13)....New WTA Chief Exec Ann
Person Worcester faces "plenty of problems" in her new position,
including the search for a tour sponsor.  Worcester:  "There's a
real misconception about that.  A lot of people think if we don't
find a title sponsor, the tour is going under.  But we have a
balanced budget without it."  Worcester also suggests that IMG,
which aborted an attempt to start a new women's tour, is
"satisfied we'd make significant changes":  "Theoretically,
what's best for IMG is also what's best for the tour" (Michael
Hiestand, USA TODAY, 9/13).

     Talks between the NHL owners and the NHLPA, "which are
expected to resume this week, have gone nowhere thus far and the
likelihood of a work stoppage grows with each passing day."
However, one NHL GM "feels there's still time to reach a
settlement":  "It's not the 11th hour, so there is no need to
panic.  But it will be interesting to see what happens when the
11th hour is reached" (Alan Adams, OTTAWA CITIZEN, 9/13).  ESPN's
Keith Olberman reported that the NHL has decided to go ahead with
the lockout "within the first few weeks of the regular season
unless their union has agreed to a collective bargaining
agreement by then."  It is still undecided whether the lockout
will take place before or after October 1.  Olberman:  "Our
sources report owners are considering playing the opening game to
reduce the amount of full refund request from season ticket
holders.  One veteran exec tells ESPN that the owners are ready
to shut it all down for two months" ("SportsCenter", 9/12).
     WILL FOX CHASE AWAY THOSE LOCKOUT BLUES?  Agent Mark
LaChance told THE SPORTS BUSINESS DAILY:  "The Fox deal won't
affect the lockout.  The increase in revenues won't matter.  The
Players Association will never go for a salary cap" (DAILY
sources, 9/13).  In Toronto, Jim Hunt writes, "Surely, now that
the NHL has bagged a TV contract with the Fox network, [NHL]
Commissioner Gary Bettman won't be crazy enough to lock out the
players.  But I wouldn't bet on it" (TORONTO SUN, 9/13).  Bob
McKenzie, on the league's view:  "The future of the league is in
good hands with Bettman.  The players should have faith in him
and his ability to increase revenues and have no fear of an
agreement that links salaries to revenue because revenue is on
the way up."  On the NHLPA's view:  "The league is not, as
Bettman wrote to [NHLPA Exec Dir Bob] Goodenow last January, in
'tenuous financial condition,' not even close.  And the new TV
deal not only proves that, but is one more compelling reason to
avoid at all costs a lockout that would halt hockey's momentum as
a major player in North American pro sports" (TORONTO STAR,
9/13).

      The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), the NFL and the
NFLPA yesterday reached a settlement that will release $30M in
back pay, bonuses and interest to players prevented from
returning to the field immediately after the end of the '87
strike.  The settlement -- the largest back pay award in the
NLRB's history -- resulted from the owners' decision following
the strike to not allow players who had returned to their teams
on Thursday, October 15, to play in games the following Sunday.
The owners had imposed a Wednesday deadline for players to
report, and when the players missed the deadline, the owners
staged games with replacement players (Steve Berkowitz,
WASHINGTON POST, 9/13).
     THE NFL CAN COVER IT:  NFL VP of Communications Joe Browne
said that the $30M had already been set aside as part of the
$200M collective bargaining agreement with the players that was
reached in January 1993 (N.Y. TIMES, 9/13).  NFLPA Assistant Exec
Dir Doug Allen: "It's a real step forward for us.  It's long
overdue."  But former Redskin Jeff Bostic said while the
settlement would be "welcome," the deal only compensated the
players with simple interest, not compound interest:  "It's
another case of this union fumbling the ball" (Vito Stellino,
Baltimore SUN, 9/13).

     In his halftime report during last night's "Monday Night
Football" broadcast, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED's Peter King reported
that NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue will go to Chicago to
intervene "in what has become a pretty nasty dispute between game
officials and the NFL.  The game officials are upset over their
pension, they have threatened an October strike.  The
commissioner would not get involved if it were not serious.  The
[NFL] is even thinking about hiring replacement officials later
this week" (ABC, 9/12).

     According to the latest issue of ADVERTISING AGE: "If its
rookie season is washed out, The Baseball Network will refund
advertisers or provide them with make-goods on ABC and NBC.  One
Baseball Network exec said if the season is cancelled, TBN won't
make a two-year sale of $330M and owners will likely decide its
fate at their winter meetings."  AD AGE also reports Gillette
will hold the finals of its "$1 Million Home Run Challenge"
sweepstakes in an empty stadium if there is no World Series (9/12
issue).

     In a fact sheet distributed from the NHL to each of the 26
clubs prior to last night's ratification vote by NHL governors,
it was revealed the Fox TV deal that is expected to be formally
announced today in New York "could be worth significantly more
than the original reported figure of $155 million," according to
Bob McKenzie in this morning's TORONTO STAR.  "Fox has guaranteed
the NHL that amount for the next five seasons, but has the option
to pick up the 1999-2000 and 2000-2001 seasons for an additional
$120 million."  Even if Fox doesn't exercise its 2-year option,
annual U.S. TV revenue will increase by 75%, an average of more
than $1M per team per year (TORONTO STAR, 9/13).
     THE ESPN FACTOR:  According to the NHL fact sheet, the "new"
ESPN deal is worth $65.1M through '98-99.  ESPN "is losing some
properties but isn't paying as much as it was.  Also, ESPN will
be permitted to lift a local team's regional blackout rights once
per season per team in the the first three years of the deal.  In
years four and five, ESPN's lifting of blackout rights increases
to two times per team per year" (Bob McKenzie, TORONTO STAR,
9/13).
     LEAGUE VIEW:  NHL Senior VP Steve Solomon:  "By our going
out into the ad market and coming up with sponsors Anheuser-Busch
and Nike, the value of the NHL was enhanced.  And by
regionalizing games and Fox promoting them like they do the NFL,
the ratings figure to improve.  Our high demos for 18-49 men make
hockey a happening sport" (Rudy Martzke, USA TODAY, 9/13).
Solomon and Commissioner Gary Bettman will be joined by ESPN Exec
VP Ed Durso, Fox Television President Chase Carey, Fox Sports
President David Hill, Anheuser-Busch VP/Corporate Media and
Sports Marketing Tony Ponturo and Nike Sports Marketing and
League Relations official Doug Stamm at the 2pm announcement in
NYC today.