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Volume 24 No. 159

Leagues Governing Bodies

     Representatives of the 28 MLB teams met outside Chicago
yesterday and held a "wide-ranging discussion" on how to proceed
in labor negotiations -- with "renewing their pursuit for a
salary cap" among the possibilities.  After a six-hour meeting in
Itasca, IL, owners acknowledged that there was "sentiment" for
dropping their most recent payroll tax proposal in favor of
another salary cap plan.  Red Sox CEO John Harrington:  "You
still have to think about achieving the goals you started out to
achieve. ... Two other sports have caps that work reasonably
well."  In Washington, Mark Maske writes that "a return by the
owners to the pursuit of a salary cap would diminish greatly" the
chance of a settlement (WASHINGTON POST, 5/11).  The owners "do
not seem to have a clear cut plan," according to Murray Chass in
today's N.Y. TIMES.  The owners are likely to change their
bargaining team, and sources on the players side have heard AL
President Gene Budig and NL President Len Coleman might join the
talks when they resume.  An owners' committee -- chaired by Rusty
Rose of Texas and joined by White Sox Owner Jerry Reinsdorf, Blue
Jays President Paul Beeston, Braves President Stan Kasten,
Phillies VP Dave Montgomery and Cubs President Andy MacPhail --
is working on the "plans to pursue with the union" (N.Y. TIMES,
5/11).
     SECRET PEACE TALKS:  Sources among the players and owners
told the L.A. TIMES there have been secret talks between both
sides to ensure the '95 season will be played to completion (Ross
Newhan, L.A. TIMES, 5/11).
     THANKS, BUT NO THANKS:  A person close to Morgan, Lewis &
Brockius' Rob Manfred has said that Manfred "has no plans" to
assume the role of the owners' chief labor negotiator, but that
Manfred "will aid in the transition to a new legal team" (Murray
Chass, N.Y. TIMES, 5/11).

     NBA Commissioner David Stern, in Toronto to announce the
Canadian national TV deal with CTV, said an agreement has been
reached to allow the Raptors and the Grizzlies "to make the
balance" of their $125M franchise fees in the absence of a CBA
with the league's players.  According to Craig Daniels of the
TORONTO SUN, "Stern stopped short of calling the deal a
guarantee, but, ultimately, that's what it amounts to."  The NBA
is requiring each expansion team to come up with just over $50M
of their franchise fees in cash, with the rest in secured debt.
The problem was, however, that no bank would secure the debt
without a CBA and a guarantee that next season would be played.
So, Daniels reports, "the NBA has essentially stepped in and
agreed to assume both teams' debt obligations until the new CBA
comes into effect.  Once that happens, the debt will be
transferred to each team's respective bank."  One league source
said the NBA is essentially "acting as a bank until the CBA is
signed" (TORONTO SUN, 5/11).

     The "attendance drop" that hit the NHL's Canadian teamsafter the lockout "has persisted into the playoffs," according toan analysis in today's Toronto GLOBE & MAIL.  Attendance for theFlames' 1st-round game against the Sharks at the Saddledome drewonly 15,624, with Tuesday's Game 2 drawing 16,389.  Capacity is20,230.  In Quebec, the Nordiques have drawn 14,360 and 14,178 -- more than 1,000 seats below the 15,399 capacity.  Nordiquesofficials blame a late schedule change and the local broadcast ofthe game.  Nordiques Dir of Media Relations Jean Martineau:  "Wework with individual season-ticket subscribers rather thancompanies.  So when a home game is on TV, it really hurts us"(Shoalts and Campbell, Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 5/11).                       
NHL PLAYOFF ATTENDANCE
TEAM
GAME 1
GAME 2
CAPACITY
% CAPACITY
Flames
15,624
16,389
20,230
79.1
Penguins
15,910
15,079
17,181
90.1
Nordiques
14,360
14,178
15,399
92.7
Blackhawks
19,042
19,017
20,500
92.8
Blues
18,788
18,876
19,260
97.8
Bruins
14,448
14,448
14,448
100
Flyers
17,380
17,380
17,380
100
Red Wings
19,875
19,875
19,275
103.1