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Volume 24 No. 137

Leagues Governing Bodies

     During the Memorial Day weekend, traditionally the time when
interest in baseball begins to flourish, the sport's troubled
state was again a hot topic in the media.  In New York, Claire
Smith summed it up by writing that the strike "has clearly
alienated a paying public now suspicious of the national pastime.
The resultant backlash has sent ball clubs reeling as they ponder
all sorts of unhappy numbers for a game now entering its crucial
selling season -- Memorial Day to Labor Day" (N.Y. TIMES, 5/28).
     OPINION SAMPLER:  In Montreal, Jack Todd reacts to acting
Commissioner Bud Selig's assessment that "it's too early to make
snap judgments."  Todd writes, "Baseball is facing a fan
revolution and baseball is in big trouble.  If anything, it's
already too late" (Montreal GAZETTE, 5/27).  AL President Gene
Budig:  "The fans are still irritated. ... But I expect them to
start coming back by All-Star time" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE,
5/27).  In Chicago, Andrew Gottesman writes, "So far, neither
passions nor bargains have succeeded in filling seats."  Citing
factors such as emergency marketing efforts and a lack of group
sales following the strike, some team officials hope the summer
will bring fans back (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 5/27).  But Braves
President Stan Kasten notes that the teams in pennant races will
get attendance back up, but warns, "Many cities haven't seen the
worst" (Claire Smith, N.Y. TIMES, 5/28).  In Toronto, Adam Meyers
sees "an industry heading for restructuring."  And Richard
Griffin writes that MLB needs a "Ruthian equivalent" to "make it
cool to love baseball" for a new generation of fans (TORONTO
STAR, 5/27).
     SOME TELLING STATS:  BUSINESS WEEK cites Disney's purchase
of a controlling interest in the Angels for "an unimpressive"
$30M as a signal of the "start of a series of lowball deals."
Sports Franchises Inc.'s Doug Metchick:  "The day of the
Baltimore Orioles selling for $175 million at auction are over."
TV ad billings have fallen as much as 30% in some markets, and
teams have lost up to half of their game-day promotion sponsors
(Greising & Palmer, BUSINESS WEEK, 6/5 issue).  TEAM MARKETING
REPORT estimates a 25-30% drop in radio and TV ad revenues, with
the losses as high as 30-40% in some cases.  As former MLB
broadcast head Bryan Burns notes, while rightsholders are being
hurt now, "it will all come around" -- in the form of lower
rights fees (John Helyar, WALL STREET JOURNAL, 5/30).  In
Toronto, Larry Millson estimates MLB's revenues could drop to
$1.4B this year, down from $1.88B in '93 (Toronto GLOBE & MAIL,
5/30).    HELP WANTED?  AD AGE leads the call for a marketing
director for MLB.  Jeff Jensen writes, "The perception is that
MLB's marketing is rudderless and in need of a visionary and
visible leader."  On the list to head MLBP is Arlen Kantarian,
Exec VP Marketing & Special Events for Radio City Music Hall
Productions.  However, with the MLBP job vacant since last year,
Kathleen Davis, MLB Dir of Market Development, has assumed a
"leadership role" and defends their efforts.  Davis:  "We are
getting things done.  With ['Welcome to the Show'], we're moving
in a direction we wanted to head even before the strike" (AD AGE,
5/29 issue).  Claire Smith faults baseball for not promoting the
positive images of its players.  Phillies President Bill Giles:
"The most amazing thing is that in my lifetime we've never had a
vice president of marketing or a marketing director" (N.Y. TIMES,
5/30).  George Steinbrenner named five owners who should handle
marketing:  Wayne Huizenga (Marlins), Drayton McLane (Astros),
David Glass (Royals), Jerry McMorris (Rockies) and Disney
(Angels).  Steinbrenner:  "Let them dictate what we should do,
and let those of us who evidently don't know what we're doing
stay aside" (NEWSDAY, 5/29).       NOMINEES FOR COMMISSIONER:
Peter Gammons reports that after reading Paul Kirk's "brilliant"
Declaration of Interdependence in the May 22 issue of THE
SPORTING NEWS, MLBPA Exec Dir Don Fehr met with Kirk -- the
former chairman of the Democratic National Committee -- and later
"made it clear he is one person the players would embrace as
commissioner."  Fehr, on Kirk:  "He is one of those rare people
who sees the big picture.  I am more than just impressed" (BOSTON
GLOBE, 5/28).  In Toronto, Jim Hunt floats Blue Jays VP Pat
Gillick, calling him "one of the most respected executives in
baseball among both players and owners."  Hunt writes that
Gillick might be interested -- "if the owners would give him the
same sort of power that the owners of the Blue Jays did" (TORONTO
SUN, 5/29).

     NBA officials admitted yesterday that a work stoppage is
possible next season as discussions with the NBPA over a new CBA
have broken down, according to Frank Hughes of the WASHINGTON
TIMES.  NBA Deputy Commissioner Russ Granik: "Obviously, if we
don't have a deal at some point, a work stoppage becomes a
possibility.  Both sides recognize that's not something we want
to happen."  Granik and NBA VP of Operations Rod Thorn both cited
a stalemate and said no further talks are scheduled (WASHINGTON
TIMES, 5/30).
     GET UP, STAND UP:  In New York, NEWSDAY's Rob Parker writes
that a strike may be necessary since NBA owners "have been
robbing players blind for years" and they aren't in "a rush to
change things."  Parker contends the "players have to be serious
about carrying out a work stoppage if the owners don't want to
negotiate in good faith."  Parker takes the league to task for
its sharing to total revenue.  He points out that the "big money-
making NBA licensing and lucrative corporate suites aren't
included" in total gross revenues, of which the players get 53%
(N.Y. NEWSDAY, 5/28).  In Dallas, David Moore writes that Stern
likes "to point out the NBA has never lost a single game to a
strike.  Of course, the league and its Players Association have
never gone this long without an agreement."  Moore labels as
"significant" Stern's admission that a work stoppage is possible