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Volume 24 No. 160

Leagues Governing Bodies

     According to an independent survey conducted by the sports
division of Golin/Harris Communications from January 12-15, twice
as many respondents blame players than owners over the baseball
strike.  Of the 1,008 adults surveyed throughout the country, 51%
were categorized as baseball fans -- because they at least watch
baseball on TV (45%), listen to baseball on the radio (20%), or
attend games (19%).  Of those "fans," 55% blame both players and
owners; 21% the players; 11% the owners; 10% don't care.  Of all
respondents:  46% blame both; 24% don't care; 18% blame the
players; and, 8% blame owners (Golin/Harris).
     PLAYING HARDBALL:  In Denver, Tracy Ringolsby notes that the
union's threat to withhold licensing money from managers and
coaches if they coach replacements "may backfire."  A's Manager
Tony La Russa, who has questioned whether he would manage a
replacement team: "If the union doesn't go about its business in
the right way, that's when I lose sympathy for the cause. ... I
guess that means we're supposed to feel threatened.  Isn't that
blackmail?" (ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, 1/21).  The Brewers have
insisted that manager Phil Garner and his staff report on
February 20.  Brewers coach Duffy Dyer: "If I don't have a job, I
can't get licensing money anyway.  There's really not much of a
choice" (Tom Haudricourt, MILWAUKEE SENTINEL, 1/23).
     RADIO AND TV RIGHTS, THE NEXT BATTLE:  One broadcasting
exec, who noted the contingency plans the owners have come up
with on ticket prices and replacements: "If ballclubs think
they'll get the regular TV and radio rights payments, there will
be a war" (Phil Mushnick, N.Y. POST, 1/23).
     UNITED THEY STAND:  Dick Moss, who is heading the effort to
start the United Baseball League, announced that any
strikebreakers will not be considered for jobs in the new league
(Murray Chass, N.Y. TIMES, 1/22).

     In this week's "Inside Golf" section of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED,
Tim Rosaforte writes that "there has been speculation" that IMG
Chair Mark McCormack "sicced the FTC" on the PGA Tour.
McCormack, who sponsors tournaments featuring IMG players
worldwide, would have "the most to gain should the Tour have to
alter its ways."  The proposed World Golf Tour would also benefit
(SI, 1/23 issue).  In Washington, John Hawkins comes out in favor
of the PGA Tour: "Give me a sport run by an entity that has shown
unabashed success at satisfying the public.  Not one run by a
federal bureaucrat" (WASHINGTON TIMES, 1/22).

     The MLB Expansion Committee unanimously recommended  that
MLB proceed with expansion of four teams, two of which will be
awarded in an "expeditious manner" and two more franchises to be
added in a "reasonable amount of time thereafter."  MLB Acting
Commissioner Bud Selig: "Expansion continues to be on a fast
track" (MLB).  Expansion Committee Chair John Harrington hinted
that the final steps in the process could be completed at the
next owners' meeting, scheduled to be held March 7-9.  But there
are indications a meeting could be held in early February (Marc
Topkin, ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 1/21).  Four cities have made
official expansion bids:  Tampa-St. Pete, Phoenix, Orlando, and
two separate groups from Northern VA, with Tampa and Phoenix
considered front runners.  The cost for the next two franchises
is estimated at $125-140M.  The first two teams will be chosen
from the four finalists, but the second two teams will most
likely be chosen from a larger list of applicants that could
include Vancouver, Mexico City, Monterrey, Nashville, Buffalo and
Charlotte (Mult., 1/21).
     TAMPA BAY:  Tampa Bay's expansion effort is headed by Vince
Naimoli, and if chosen, would likely be placed in the AL.  Yankee
Owner George Steinbrenner, who has been an advocate for the area
getting a team: "This is a good sign."  Sen. Connie Mack (R-FL),
who had suggested that he would drop his opposition to MLB's
antitrust exemption if Tampa gets a team: "I hope this is a sign
the long ordeal of heartbreaks and headaches is coming to an end"
(Marc Topkin, ST. PETE TIMES, 1/21).  In Tampa, Joe Henderson
writes, "If Tampa Bay doesn't get a team out of that mix, it
never will and we all can get on with our lives" (TAMPA TRIBUNE,
1/21).    PHOENIX:  Suns Owner Jerry Colangelo is heading up this
city's efforts and is very confident that he will gain a team:
"This was a big hurdle.  We're well on our way to being one of
the up and coming cities of the next century" (PHOENIX GAZETTE,
1/21).  The city has placed an April 1 deadline for a team to be
named so that public money can be allocated for the new $275M
stadium.  If MLB owners insist on having two teams begin play in
'97, Phoenix may not make the first round since their stadium
will not be ready until '98 (Maske & Lipton, WASHINGTON POST,
1/21).  But one MLB  owner said of Tampa and Phoenix: "It's a
fait accompli.  Those franchises have been promised to Phoenix
and Tampa" (Mark Maske, WASHINGTON POST, 1/21).  Colangelo also
has begun plans to find a temporary home for the '97 season.  The
most likely site is the Peoria Sports Complex.  Still, Colangelo
thinks the next two teams will not begin play until '98 (Eric
Miller, ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 1/21).
     NORTHERN VA:  There are two groups vying for a team:  one
headed by telecomm exec Bill Collins and the other by attorney
Bart Fisher.  Many baseball and local officials have acknowledged
that Collins' partnership will be awarded the franchise if the
owners select this area.  Collins said he has reached a
"memorandum of understanding" on a temporary lease at RFK
Stadium, which would require $7M in renovations.  The team would
play there until a new park is built, probably near Dulles Int'l
Airport (Maske & Lipton, WASHINGTON POST, 1/21).  While the
proximity of the Orioles always had hurt expansion efforts in the
area, the "unpopularity" of Orioles Owner Peter Angelos among his
peers "has made that a moot point."  MLBPA Exec Dir Donald Fehr:
"They might want to punish Angelos by putting a team there.
That's the sort of under-the-table comment you pick up" (Mark
Maske, WASHINGTON POST, 1/21).
     ORLANDO:  Real estate developer Norton Herrick is leading
the drive for an Orlando franchise.  Herrick: "If they award a
team to St. Petersburg, I'd have to rethink my position in
Orlando.  I'm not sure if Central Florida can support two teams"
(TAMPA TRIBUNE, 1/21).

     A look at the NHL's opening weekend finds that, at leastinitially, the league's U.S. cities are outdrawing their Canadiancounterparts.  Of the 12 teams that had their home openers overthe weekend, eight sold out -- all of them American.  Three ofthe four cities short of sell-outs are Canadian, but Tampa Bay -- at 94% on Friday and 82% on Sunday -- drew over 20,000 for eachof its games.  The ThunderDome holds 28,000.  Toronto andMontreal are yet to open their home schedules.  Listed below areattendance and percent capacity for each game (USA TODAY, 1/23;THE DAILY).
FRIDAY
BUF at NYR
18,200
100%
CHI at DET
19,875
100%
STL at SJ
17,190
100%
TOR at LA
16,005
100%
PIT at TAM
26,387
94%
CAL at WIN
13,382
87%
ANA at EDM
14,967
86%
DAL at VAN
12,038
74%
 
SATURDAY
MON at NYR
18,200
100%
QUE at PHI
17,380
100%
TOR at SJ
17,190
100%
WAS at HAR
15,635
100%
FLA at NYI
14,106
87%
STL at VAN
12,558
78%
ANA at WIN
9,725
63%
 
SUNDAY
PHI at BOS
14,448
100%
CAL at DET
19,683
100%
BUF at TAM
22,952
82%
EDM at LA
13,160
82%
NJD at HAR
12,054
77%
OTT at NYI
10,311
63%

NOTES: "In the United States the 3 1/2-month lockout isalready a distant memory to hockey hungry-spectators. But inCanada, cradle of the game, healing will apparently not be sospeedy" (Neil Campbell, Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 1/23)....Thesmallest crowd the Canucks had last season was 12,479; they drew12,038 on Friday (VANCOUVER SUN, 1/21).... Noting the smallcrowds in Winnipeg, Dave Roberts writes, "There was a feelingWinnipeggers had crossed the Rubicon: They've grown accustomedto the absence of hockey during the labour hiatus and may be ableto live without it in the future." With public funds necessaryfor a new arena, "such indifference" rekindles the possibilitythat the Jets will play elsewhere next year" (Toronto GLOBE &MAIL, 1/23). GAME ON! Spotted during ESPN's Friday night NHL broadcastwere lockout-related spots by Starter and Bud Ice. The Starterspot had scenes of last year's playoffs with an announcer callingthe game as if it were a negotiation. Excerpt: "The lockout isover! The lockout is over! Holy cow, they've reached acollective bargaining agreement!" Bud Ice featured two spots,both with action highlights. The tag-line for one of the Budads: "You miss it? -- This is the ice." The NHL also ran its"Game On!" spot with a scene from "Wayne's World" (ESPN, 1/20).The NHL is spending $10M on the "Game On!" campaign. While theleague managed to keep sponsors Anheuser-Busch, Nike, Molson andFord on board, NHL Enterprises COO Rick Dudley admits the lockoutslowed momentum in adding new sponsors. The NHL and NHLPA arediscussing a promotion with McDonald's, possibly with tradingcards (Gayle MacDonald, FINANCIAL POST, 1/21).

     Orioles Owner Peter Angelos has "taken center stage in
baseball's labor battle with his refusal to use replacement
players -- even under the threat of having his franchise revoked"
(Thom Loverro, WASHINGTON TIMES, 1/23). SPORTS ILLUSTRATED's Tim
Kurkjian profiled Angelos on ABC's "Wide World of Sports."
Angelos, on the fielding of replacement players:  "We are
convinced that 90% or more of our fans would demand a refund of
their money.  So that in itself tells you that this threat, and
that's exactly what it is.  This rattling of the sabre by the
owners -- 'if we can't work something out we'll use replacement
players' -- is an empty threat because the parties that will be
injured the most if we resort to so-called replacement players
will be the owners of the franchises" (ABC, 1/21).  In New York,
Claire Smith profiles Angelos: "He single-handedly fights on,
establishing himself as the proverbial thorn and the potential
worst nightmare of the game's top authorities" (N.Y. TIMES,
1/22).  Mike Lupica:  "His stand against replacement baseball is
proper, and he comes up looking like a hero at a time when
baseball needs at least one hero" ("SportsReporters," ESPN,
1/22).  Angelos will speak with AL President Gene Budig about the
league's contention that he must field a replacement team
(WASHINGTON POST, 1/22).
     O'S FANS:  More than 6,000 attended the Orioles' winter
carnival at Camden Yards and bought 30,000 tickets to regular
season games.  The turnout almost doubled attendance from last
year's carnival (Jim Henneman, Baltimore SUN, 1/22).  Orioles
spokesperson Charles Steinberg:  "What strike?  Enthusiasm is
rampant" (USA TODAY, 1/23).