The APSL is set with seven teams for '95 after owners
accepted an application for a New York franchise, and the Ft.
Lauderdale and L.A. teams withdrew from the league. The league
will operate with five holdover teams from last year: Colorado,
Seattle, Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver. The other team is the
expansion Atlanta Ruckus. Ft. Lauderdale's withdrawal was
expected, but L.A.'s was a surprise. L.A. Owner William De La
Pena said he withdrew "because of the confusion that exists in
professional soccer" and said he will retain L.A.'s territorial
rights and assets and compete at the highest level in '96 (Roscoe
Nance, USA TODAY, 1/16).
MLB's Executive Council has approved the recommendation of
the Operating Committee on the guidelines for the use of
replacement players. The directive asks the clubs to prepare for
opening spring training and the season "on time," including
playing the World Series with replacements, if necessary. Acting
MLB Commissioner Bud Selig: "We are committed to playing the
1995 season and will do so with the best players willing to play"
(MLB). Red Sox CEO John Harrington said a replacement plan was
drawn up because "the No. 1 priority is maintaining the framework
of a business that, once the player strike is over, must return
to normal" (Larry Whiteside, BOSTON GLOBE, 1/15).
ANGELOS STANDS PAT: Orioles Owner Peter Angelos continues
to refuse to field a replacement team, and club sources also
indicated that the Orioles will likely refuse to participate in
spring training games (Mark Maske, WASHINGTON POST, 1/15).
Sources say that the only possibility that might cause Angelos to
field a team is if MLB can "lift the franchise" from the Angelos
ownership group (Peter Schmuck, Baltimore SUN, 1/14). The
Orioles have hired a polling firm to determine whether fans are
opposed to replacements (Mark Maske, WASHINGTON POST, 1/17).
CHAOS: In his Sunday column, Peter Gammons examines the
chaos facing MLB's front offices -- from hiring replacements to
fitting teams under the new cap. As for the use of replacements,
Gammons notes that no current agent will or can represent a
"scab." Greg Clifton, CEO of Bob Woolf Associates: "One cannot
represent a [MLB] player and someone who is trying to take that
player's job or bust his union." Gammons closes by noting that
teams may spend less even without a cap since revenues for the
next couple of years are certain to be lower (BOSTON GLOBE,
UNION NEWS: MLBPA Exec Dir Donald Fehr continued his
players tour with a stop in Dallas last Friday. In attendance
was the Astros' Greg Swindell who apologized" to his fellow
players for comments made last month that he would consider
crossing the picket line (Sullivan & Lonnquist, FT. WORTH STAR-
TELEGRAM, 1/14). Dennis Gilbert, Barry Bonds' agent, denies the
rumor that Bonds may cross the line (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 1/15).
In New York, Tom Keegan notes the dispute that local unions are
having with Frank Thomas because Thomas is using non-union labor
to help build his mansion. Keegan also wonders whether Thomas
would possibly cross the picket line (N.Y. POST, 1/17).
NEXT? Special Mediator Bill Usery plans on meeting with
both sides this week in the hopes of setting up joint bargaining
sessions (Mult., 1/16).
An AP report notes that, besides looking for replacements,
the Rangers have "another worry: the All-Star Game." Area
business leaders are concerned that game could be lost which
could cost the Dallas-Ft. Worth area "tens of millions of
dollars." Rangers President Tom Schieffer is optimistic that the
game will not be cancelled: "That would mean that the entire
season has been canceled. I just can't see that happening" (FT.
WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 1/16).
NBA Commissioner David Stern acknowledged that negotiations
with the players union for a new CBA are "moving slowly." Stern,
who has expressed hopes to have a deal by the All-Star break: "I
don't know that there are necessarily enough days left between
now and the All-Star game. We've got some meetings scheduled and
we'd love to make some progress. I just don't want to disappoint
anybody. If we don't do it by the All-Star Game [February 12], I
don't want someone to think we haven't achieved anything." NBPA
Exec Dir Charles Grantham: "We've gone nowhere. In many ways,
we're just stepping into the batter's box." Stern on the NHL's
deal: "It sounds like they have a deal that everybody is unhappy
with, which means it's a good deal" (Chris Young, TORONTO STAR,
A STERN DENIAL: According to a report in Sunday's N.Y.
DAILY NEWS, Stern will not leave his job "to take a job heading
up the Olympics." Mitch Lawrence notes that Stern is very
committed to taking the NBA global, "so who needs the Olympics,
anyway?" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 1/15).
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and NHLPA Exec Dir Bob
Goodenow jointly announced Friday that the players had ratified
the labor agreement by a majority vote and that the season would
begin January 20. Bettman noted that the signed agreement is
"more of a memorandum of understanding." A number of issues have
to be worked out before a formal CBA is signed, but as Bettman
noted, the deal "will keep the game going" (Len Hochberg,
WASHINGTON POST, 1/14). Although a formal tally of the NHLPA
vote was not released, Goodenow said an estimated 85% voted in
favor of ratification (Richard Sandomir, N.Y. TIMES, 1/14).
Goodenow "rejected the notion that the union" lost: "Players are
happy with the results in the context of the whole agreement.
Sure, we made some concessions, but that's part of any
negotiating process" (Helene Elliott, L.A.TIMES, 1/14).
"GAME ON": At the CBA announcement, both Bettman and
Goodenow donned black hats with the league's "Game On" logo (Jim
Smith, N.Y. NEWSDAY, 1/14). NHL COO Stephen Solomon on the
slogan, taken from "Wayne's World," which will be used in TV,
print and radio ads: "We think this sets the right tone for
fans." Starter will begin sellling NHL/"Game On" apparel. Among
other promotions, Anheuser-Busch is reprinting nearly one million
NHL team schedules -- stamped with "Game On" -- to promote Ice
Draft. Nike does not plan any hockey advertising until the
playoffs (Bruce Horovitz, USA TODAY, 1/16). AD AGE reports that
"talks are under way" with Michael Myers of Wayne's World about
an "expanded role" in NHL marketing (Jeff Jensen, AD AGE, 1/16
issue). Despite word that Fox was "not optimistic" it would
promo the NHL during the Cowboys-49ers NFC Championship game on
Sunday, Fox managed to get an "Fox NHL Sunday" spot in between
the end of the game and the start of "The Simpsons" (THE DAILY).
JOB WELL DONE? While players will receive only 59% of their
salaries for '94-95, NHLPA President Mike Gartner said Goodenow
will get a raise (Lance Hornby, TORONTO SUN, 1/15).
BUFFALO: Empire Sports Network will televise 46 of the
Sabres 48 games, the most games ever carried on the regional
sports network. The remaining two games will appear on Fox's
national broadcast, and WUTV-TV will simulcast 10 regular-season
games and all playoff games (Empire).
DALLAS: Home Sports Entertainment will televise 19 regular-
season Stars games (HSE).
CHICAGO: Chris Chelios and the Blackhawks do not think the
NHL will penalize Chelios for his comments threatening
Commissioner Bettman (Lance Hornby, TORONTO SUN, 1/15). LOS
ANGELES: In summing up the financial losses incurred by the
Kings and the Mighty Ducks, Thomas Mulligan writes that the Kings
"didn't have as much to lose," but the Ducks "should recover much
faster." The Kings' lost revenues are estimated at $10M, but
salary savings of $9M make the overall loss nearly a "wash." The
Ducks lost revenues are estimated at $12.75M, but lower salaries
bring their total losses to about $6M (L.A. TIMES, 1/16).
MONTREAL: Canadiens President Ronald Corey sold 12,000
Class-A non-voting shares in Molson Companies, the owner of the
team, worth C$223,875 at the "height" of the lockout in December
(MONTREAL GAZETTE, 1/14).
NEW YORK: Assessing the Rangers after the lockout, Joe
Lapointe writes that the relationship between Rangers President &
GM and new MSG President Dave Checketts "may be even more complex
and perplexing" than Mark Messier's situation. Lapointe notes it
was Checketts and a Garden lawyer that attended the "crucial"
January 7 Board meeting. Smith's absence "had to create obvious
questions in [his NHL peers'] minds" (N.Y. TIMES, 1/15)....Mark
Everson sees Messier's looming salary dispute as a key post-deal
test for the NHL and the union (N.Y. POST, 1/16). Messier
appeared on "Letterman" Friday and raised the Stanley Cup banner
in the studio ("Late Night," CBS, 1/13).
PHILADELPHIA: Les Bowen of the DAILY NEWS calls Flyers
Owner Ed Snider a "winner" because of the "way he handled" the
lockout (PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 1/13).
TORONTO: Maple Leaf Gardens Ltd. says its pretax income was
reduced by about C$8.5M as a result of the work stoppage (Toronto
GLOBE & MAIL, 1/14)....Ken Baumgartner, who served on the union
negotiating committee with teammate/NHLPA Pres Mike Gartner: "In
the old days in the wrong city, Garts and I would be moving to
another team today. But this is a first-class organization and
there'll be no strong-arm tactics" (Lance Hornby, TORONTO SUN,
1/14). VANCOUVER: Canuck Owner Arthur Griffiths said he voted
"no" on the players' last offer because the deal could have
"severely affected the control of the club": "I'm not saying I
would have lost control of the club, but I'd have had to borrow
more and pledge more security." The Canucks are collateral for
the $163M GM Place that will house Griffiths' Grizzlies (Iain
MacIntyre, VANCOUVER SUN, 1/14).
WASHINGTON: Capitals VP of Marketing Lew Strudler said the
team plans to advertise on local broadcast outlets and in
newspapers and magazines, as well as Metrobuses. Strudler added
that the Capitals have hired a full-time staffer to work on
"presentation" of the game, including music and bands (Athelia
Knight, WASHINGTON POST, 1/14).
"NASCAR these days is a boom town on the frontier of
American sport. Everyone is making money -- drivers, car owners,
track operators," according to Sunday's RICHMOND TIMES-DISPATCH.
Ben Blake writes, "The NASCAR boom began with corporate
involvement in the mid-1980s and today is at critical mass,
bursting at the seams with loot for all comers." The two "hot
spots" for NASCAR now are Southern CA and Dallas-Ft. Worth. But,
NASCAR is "torn between its allegiances with its traditional
tracks and its desire to expand" into new markets (RICHMOND
The AHL's first All-Star game since December 1959 takes
place tonight at the Providence Civic Center, while the IHL plays
its All-Star Game tomorrow in Las Vegas. The AHL game will be
televised at 8:00pm EST on ESPN2. AHL President Dave Andrews:
"We created a strategy for the next few years to increase the
profile of the league" (Judy Van Handle, BOSTON GLOBE, 1/15). In
Milwaukee, Mike Hart takes a look at the IHL's progress. IHL
Commissioner Bob Ufer: "Our ticket prices are extremely popular.
The NHL can't tough that" (MILWAUKEE SENTINEL, 1/17).