Philadelphia beat out Boston and was awarded the 1998 U.S. Figure Staking Championships. The event will be held one month before the Winter Games in Nagano, and will determine the US Olympic Figure Skating team. The event will be held at the CoreStates Spectrum (Sally Pollack, PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 10/9). Boston lost by only one vote, 20-19. Larry Moulter, President of the New Boston Garden Corp., said two things worked against them: Providence has the event in '95, and Philadelphia's recent rejections by the USFSA (Kevin Paul Dupont, BOSTON GLOBE, 10/9). ALSO: Minneapolis is the U.S.'s bid city for the '98 World Figure Skating Championships. Nashville will be the site of the '97 U.S. Championships (THE DAILY).
Leagues Governing Bodies
READ THE FINE PRINT: This morning's CHICAGO TRIBUNE reports that "several lawyers for both sides predicted" MLB owners "will be unable to sell any major-league teams until there is a new collective bargaining agreement." Agent Tom Reich: "Anyone who buys a team until there's an agreement is a moron unless there's an indemnification." Acting Commissioner Bud Selig doesn't think "any sales will be delayed." Selig: "Each deal will have to be worked out differently." The Pirates, A's, and Padres are currently on the block (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 10/11). "OWNERS BENCH RAVITCH": According to Bill Madden of the N.Y. DAILY NEWS, Rockies Owner Jerry McMorris -- who "has always been classified as a moderate among owners" and "viewed as the one with the most experience in dealing with labor unions" -- may be the new point man for the owners when negotiations resume. Madden: "One thing that has become clear in the two-month hiatus since the players walked: Dick Ravitch is no longer batting cleanup for management" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 10/9/94). THE LEGAL LINE-UP: In Sunday's NEW YORK TIMES, Murray Chass writes that MLB owners "face a legal wilderness of decisions that history says they will mess up." For anyone who has lost track of the decisions that the owners must make, here's a run-down: do owners "impose their 45-day freeze on player transactions?"; if owners impose the freeze, "do they unilaterally suspend the provision in the expired basic agreement that provides for triple damages if clubs are caught colluding again?"; do owners "declare an impasse" in the negotiations for a new labor agreement?; if the owners declare an impasse, do they impose a salary cap?; if the owners decide to declare an impasse and implement the salary cap, "do they first make another proposal, changing the economics to conform to the revenues from the strike-shattered season?"; do owners appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court for a ruling on last week's decision by the Florida State Supreme Court? (N.Y. TIMES, 10/9). BACK TO THE BASICS: In Sunday's DALLAS MORNING NEWS, Richard Alm provides a comprehensive review of the state of the industry. "Baseball is resilient. In its 125 years as a business, it has survived player revolts, rival leagues, the Black Sox scandal and the rise of the National Football League, National Basketball Association and other rivals for sports fans dollars. Whether it can weather this latest crisis will depend on how successful the sport is in finding a way to put a good product on the market and win back its customers" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 10/9). MEANWHILE, IN ARLINGTON: The FORT WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM recently conducted a mail-in survey of 3,200 people who purchased seat bonds for the Rangers. On a 16% response rate, the survey found that about 25% of respondents were very dissatisfied, 14% enough to not renew next year. The other 11% "griped that they were renewing only because the felt locked into the tickets by their seat bonds." 80% of all respondents said they would renew season tickets -- "of those, 69 percent gave unqualified yeses." STAR-TELEGRAM Dir of Research Gary Kromer noted it wasn't a "scientific survey," but said: "It's a good indicator of the depth of feeling among these particular fans" (STAR-TELEGRAM, 10/9).
CFL Players Association President Dan Ferrone says that even though the league's collective bargaining agreement expires June 1, 1995 the "CFL could not afford a strike or lockout. It would be too damaging." Issues such as the "possible elimination of the Canadian-American ratio of players on each team and changes to the $2.5M spending cap must be settled," but Ferrone doesn't foresee a work stoppage (Jim Morris, CANADIAN PRESS, 10/8).
The NHLPA offered its counterproposal to the owners yesterday claiming that it addresses the owners' concerns about revenue allocation. The NHLPA's proposal: Impose graduated tax rates on the player payrolls of the top 16 revenue clubs, increasing them to a maximum of 7%; Reduce the proposed tax on gate receipts from 5.5% to 3%; Guarantee a revenue pool of $20M from the above for small-market clubs (Mult., 10/11). In New York, Murray Chass cites a source familiar with the players' proposal who says 55% of the revenue-sharing pool would come from payrolls and 45% from gate receipts (N.Y. TIMES, 10/11). NHLPA VP Kelly Miller: "If you would have asked me before if we would have accepted tax rates -- no way" (WASHINGTON POST, 10/11). NHLPA President Mike Gartner claims the proposal makes "significant strides in meeting the concerns that the league has stated to us" ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 10/10). WILL THE OWNERS JUMP? The players "have extended an olive branch to the owners," but NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman "is likely to respond with a weed whacker" (Lance Hornby, TORONTO SUN, 10/11). For the NHLPA, "it was a substantial leap." For example, the players' proposal would impose a tax on the Blues of between $1.7-2M, but the league plan would tax the Blues $7M. "The players, in other words, still aren't buying the idea that a payroll tax should be so onerous that it forces teams to axe salaries in order to avoid paying the tax" (Damien Cox, TORONTO STAR, 10/11). CNN's Nick Charles: "It looks like the players did some significant bending" ("Sports Tonight," CNN, 10/10). ESPN's Al Morganti: "Boy, it's a long way philosophically from .... the luxury tax that the NHL had proposed. However, it could give you some common ground" ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 10/10). The players' proposal "is certainly worth a look." But the owners "want a punitive-enough tax to virtually guarantee salaries won't continue to rise. It's the old cap vs. drag argument" (Bob McKenzie, TORONTO STAR, 10/11). WHAT TO EXPECT: "Initial reaction to the NHLPA moves was pessimistic on the part of management" (Dave Fay, WASHINGTON TIMES, 10/11). Bettman said that players "would have to do more than jiggle the numbers of their previous offers. And that seems to be what the players have done" (Gary Miles, PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 10/11). NHL owners "aren't expected to look upon the offer with favourable eyes." CP's Alan Adams cites sources who say one of the last things Bettman told Goodenow when talks broke off last week "was not to come back with an offer to increase the tax on salaries and gate receipts" (Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 10/11). Bettman "did not seem overwhelmed" (Len Hochberg, WASHINGTON POST, 10/11). Bruins President & GM Harry Sinden: "You could say there is a sense of optimism simply because we did sit down and have a meeting" (BOSTON HERALD, 10/11). One management source: "At least they have recognized our problem and the need for a tax system" (NEWSDAY, 10/11). SAVE THE SEASON? In Toronto, Bob McKenzie reports a few NHL Governors support a "longshot" plan to accept the players' no- strike pledge on one condition: "no new player contracts can be signed between now and the end of the season" (TORONTO STAR, 10/11). The "most pertinent question" heading into today's NHL Governors meeting is whether Bettman will identify the players' proposal as "meaningful progress" (Sandra McKee, Baltimore SUN, 10/11). Bettman "has one out pitch: He has never said that there will be no games without a signed deal" (Kevin Paul Dupont, BOSTON GLOBE, 10/11). If the deal is rejected, Bettman is likely to shift the restart date to November 1 (Lance Hornby, TORONTO SUN, 10/11). A rejection by the owners could endanger a "serious chunk" of the season, since the players "aren't likely to move much farther on their side" (Murray Chass, N.Y. TIMES, 10/11). Whalers GM Jim Rutherford: "In order to start on the 15th, the decision is going to have to be made (today)" (HARTFORD COURANT, 10/11).
In Boston, Jackie MacMullan credits NBA Commissioner David Stern with a "public relations coup" for declaring he has no plans for a lockout: "'Easy Dave' can't lose. If the players strike, he'll 'aw shucks' his way into our living room every night, pleading for his players to return for the good of the game. If they don't strike, he'll continue to hammer out what he wants privately, while publicly the game continue, the revenue keeps pouring in, and the NBA is held up again as the model in professional sports" (BOSTON GLOBE, 10/9). But one Western Conference owner says: "There's a real good chance the NBA will be in the same situation as hockey." Another owner: "I don't see us opening the season without a deal." Mitch Lawrence writes that the "problem" for Stern is that he has to deal with NBA Exec Dir Charles Grantham -- the "X factor, and a seemingly dangerous one at that." Lawrence adds, "Some people who have been around Grantham get the distinct impression that he wants to carve out his place in history, as the man who forced the NBA to change its system" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 10/9). On ESPN's "Sports Reporters," Mike Lupica noted the contracts going to NBA 1st round picks: "When these sorts of dollars and these sorts of figures begin to dominate the coverage of your sport, you better believe that your sport is headed towards trouble. And I believe the [NBA] is. ... Stern's always very lucky. There seems to be some crisis all the time in another sport, so he can look like a hero when he really is not" (ESPN, 10/9).