THE UNITED BASEBALL LEAGUE UNVEILS ITS FRANCHISE PLAN
The United Baseball League announced its six location for
charter franchises: New Orleans, Washington, Vancouver, San
Juan, Greater New York and Southern California. The announcement
was made by UBL co-founders -- former U.S. Rep. Bob Mrazek,
player agent Dick Moss, U.S. Rep. John Bryant and economist
Andrew Zimbalist -- from the league's headquarters in New York
City. UBL's inaugural '96 season will be played with a minimum
of eight franchises. UBL officials identified a number of
locations as the other potential '96 sites: New England (either
Hartford or Worcester), Sacramento, San Antonio, Honolulu, Miami,
Orlando, Portland, OR, Jacksonville, Columbus, OH, Mexico City
and Monterrey, Mexico (THE DAILY).
GAME/RULES STRUCTURE: The league intends to play a 154-game
schedule. Noting changes brought about in other sports by
upstart leagues, Mrazek said the UBL will make an effort to speed
up the game without affecting its integrity. As for player
development, the UBL hopes to develop their own minor league as
well as work with independent minor leagues, including the Texas-
Louisiana League, whose commissioner is John Bryant, a UBL co-
founder (THE DAILY). Dick Moss: "Players in our league are going
to share in profits, they will share in equity interests in teams
and they will share also in decision-making as much as possible.
There will not be this kind of a confrontational attitude where
in the establishment now, the owners feel the players are the
enemy, and vice-versa" (CNBC, 2/14).
TIMING AND SCHEDULE: Expect the UBL to issue a series of
announcements in the coming weeks, dealing with either new
franchises, stadium construction or rule changes.
TV DEAL/SPONSORS: Mrazek said UBL has had contact with two
different national networks: "Essentially, their interest is in
determining what our markets are going to be. ... There was a
time when a network contract was in fact the only game in town in
order to determine the viability of a new league. ... But with
the growth of regional TV and cable TV and a whole range of
wireless and satellite services and pay-per-view, there are a
whole lot of things that we have to look at." Mrazek said the
league is presently not in need of short-term income, and that it
would be a few months before they begin courting corporate
sponsors (THE DAILY).