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Volume 24 No. 157

Leagues Governing Bodies

     NFL officials meeting this week on the probable loss of
Cleveland discussed a number of possible resolutions to the
situation, but arrived at no consensus, according to the
Baltimore SUN.  The meetings included NFL Commissioner Paul
Tagliabue, NFL President Neil Austrian and the Broncos Owner Pat
Bowlen, Chair of the NFL's Broadcast Committee, Saints Owner Tom
Benson, Chair of the NFL Finance Committee, and Browns Exec VP
James Bailey.  Jon Morgan reports that among the options
discussed were getting another team for the city, or passing a
resolution demonstrating an intent to eventually move a team
there, as the NFL did with L.A.  The stadium and finance
committees are scheduled to hold a joint meeting on January 4 to
review the Browns' relocation application.  Both the team and
Cleveland Mayor Michael White will be given the opportunity to
make presentations.  The full NFL ownership vote on the matter is
still scheduled for January 17 ( Baltimore SUN, 12/15).
     ALL EYES ON ART MODELL:  The WALL STREET JOURNAL John Helyar
profiles Browns Owner Art Modell's history in Cleveland and the
decisions that led to the move in a front-page piece (WALL STREET
JOURNAL, 12/15).  ESPN's "Outside the Lines" presents a special
on franchise movement tonight, live from Cleveland.  ESPN's Bob
Ley said Modell's attorneys prevented an interview.  Also, the
Akron BEACON JOURNAL reports NBC's Bob Costas will be in
Cleveland for a pregame show Sunday from Modell's box (Akron
BEACON JOURNAL, 12/15).       L.A. COLISEUM IS OUT:  L.A. City
Council President John Ferraro, who is also head of the Coliseum
Commission, said he was told this week by NFL officials that the
L.A. Coliseum will not be considered as a permanent venue for
football, according to the L.A. TIMES.  While Ferraro disagrees
with the assessment, he thinks the city should move on rather
than fight.  He said he would support Dodgers Owner Peter
O'Malley in his efforts to build a stadium and get a team.
Panthers Owner Jerry Richardson, Chair of the NFL Stadium
Committee, has toured all L.A. stadium sites, including the
Coliseum, and he says that if football is going to be successful
in L.A., a state-of-the-art facility will have to be built.
Richardson: "Los Angeles is a very special city, we have had good
experiences there with Super Bowls, but it just doesn't make
sense to go back with warmed over, renovated stadiums" (T.J.
Simers, L.A. TIMES, 12/15).

     The NHL Board of Governors voted yesterday to extend Gary
Bettman's term as Commissioner.  As part of their meetings in
Palm Beach, FL, the Governors gave unanimous approval to the
extension, the terms of which are to be negotiated.  Board Chair
Harley Hotchkiss:  "There was a strong feeling among the
Governors that we have exactly the right person running the
National Hockey League.  We wanted to make sure that Gary would
be available to lead us into the next century."  In a statement,
Bettman noted the Board "initiated the discussion on an
extension" (NHL).  Bettman, in a conference call:  "I love this
game.  I love this job. ... I'm not looking to do anything else"
(THE DAILY).
     DETAILS TO COME:  The TORONTO STAR reports the Board intends
to give Bettman a five-year extension, which combined with his
remaining two years would take him through February 2003.  Bob
McKenzie reports part of the reason was a "fear" that another
league might hire Bettman away (TORONTO STAR, 12/15).  Asked
about potential term of the new deal, Hotchkiss noted they would
want Bettman to stay through talks on a new CBA in 2000 and
future TV negotiations in '98 and '99 (THE DAILY).  Al Strachan
notes the Exec Committee was "quick to point out that the
initiative was with the governors. ... The owners rail against
players who try to renegotiate, so it wouldn't look good to have
their commissioner do it."  Strachan cites "highly placed
sources" who say Bettman's salary will be $2.5-3M (TORONTO SUN,
12/15).  USA TODAY notes, "Presumably, Bettman would be looking
to at least double his salary" -- presently over $1M per year
(Kevin Allen, USA TODAY, 12/15).   TOP ISSUES:  In a conference
call, Bettman outlined the issues discussed during yesterday's
meetings.  The Governors heard updates on the sale of the Stars
and the relocation of the Jets to Phoenix, both of which are
expected to gain approval at the league's January 19 meeting.
There was also an update on the Panthers' situation.  Bettman
said while all options -- including relocation -- are being
considered, their "preference" is to keep the team in South FL.
 Bettman:  "My tolerance is lowering, my frustration level is
raising."  Asked to elaborate, Bettman said, "What we have in
Florida is not a hockey problem.  We have a building problem."
Comsat's spin-off of its entertainment companies, including the
Avalanche, into Ascent Entertainment, which launched a 20% IPO
yesterday, was approved by the Board.  On expansion, Bettman said
consensus was to focus on stability of current franchises.
Bettman:  "Until we're comfortable that we have our house in
order, there's no point in adding an addition or additions to our
house. ... At some point we'll pursue it, but this is not the
right time."  Fox made a presentation on its plans for '96
coverage (THE DAILY).
     FOX'S "HERETIC":  Fox Sports President David Hill's a
presentation left the Governors "clearly awestruck," according to
Tony Gallagher in Vancouver.  Gallagher noted Hill's persistence
on requesting the league go to four quarters and for other
changes, including more special-event jerseys from teams
(Vancouver PROVINCE, 12/15).  In Ottawa, Roy MacGregor calls
Hill's talk "more than a bit chilling, particularly for
traditionalists" (OTTAWA CITIZEN, 12/15).
     OTHER TOPICS:  In Minneapolis, Jay Weiner reports that one
Governor -- the Blackhawks' William Wirtz -- said the Twin Cities
area "doesn't deserve a franchise" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE,
12/15).  The N.Y. TIMES focuses on reports the Oilers may be the
next team with financial problems that need to be addressed
(Charlie Nobles, N.Y. TIMES, 12/15).
The Canucks, Penguins, Mighty Ducks, Kings and Bruins will all
unveil a third jersey after January 1.  They debut on national TV
broadcasts (CBC for the Canucks, Fox for the U.S. teams) and are
"geared toward kids" (USA TODAY, 12/15).

     Jud Perkins, NBA President of Events and Attractions,
characterized the league as "satisfied" with the terms of a
$200,000 rebate it will receive from the city of San Antonio over
a dispute over facilities.  The SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS reports
the dispute came after the league discovered the city was tearing
down HemisFair Arena, which the NBA had planned to use for part
of its four-day Jam Session.  The NBA estimates it will lose
$350,000 by moving events such as All-Star and rookie game
practice sessions from the 16,000-seat arena to a temporary 4,000
seat facility at the San Antonio Convention Center.  The city had
offered the HemisFair Arena to the league as part of its bid to
host All-Star Weekend, but has since decided to expand its
convention center in place of the HemisFair.   The city still
plans on profits of $10,400 from the Weekend despite the rebate,
which will be given half in cash and half in credits (Jerry
Briggs, SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS, 12/15).