Negotiators for MLB's owners plan to give union
representatives another new proposal today. The N.Y. TIMES
reports the pace of proposals is "quickening." The owners'
counter-proposal is seen as an effort to settle the dispute and
get a new CBA before the season. While the two sides have shared
tax proposals, they are "no closer together" than last March when
a federal judge ordered the game to resume (N.Y. TIMES, 2/21).
Randy Levine, the owners' chief negotiator, hopes for a deal by
March 31 (N.Y. POST, 2/21).
NFL Properties can proceed with its breach of contract
lawsuit against the Cowboys, according to BLOOMBERG BUSINESS
NEWS. U.S. District Court Judge Shira Scheindlin in New York
declined Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones' request to have the league's
contract- and trademark-infringement suit dismissed. NFL
Properties spokesperson Chris Widmaier: "We expected this
outcome and we expect this case to move forward." The NFL sued
Jones and the team last year for more than $300M to block the
Cowboys from signing endorsement deals with Pepsi, Nike, American
Express and Dr. Pepper -- none of which are league sponsors.
Jones has a counter-suit pending which alleges antitrust
violations in the league's sponsorship enforcement (N.Y. POST,
2/21). The judge did consolidate the league's nine complaints
into seven noting some repetition (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 2/21).
FROM IRVING: Jones' response, from a statement quoted by
the DALLAS MORNING NEWS: "I've been sued before and know that if
we had prevailed on a Motion to Dismiss, it would be like winning
a game by forfeit after the coin toss. We will continue to the
next stage of the suit, where I am confident we will prevail."
At issue is the use of Jones' newly created Texas Stadium logo,
which features a star similar to the team's mark. Jones:
"Everything Texas Stadium and the Dallas Cowboys have done is
consistent with NFL policies and practices, and is no different
from the activities of many different teams. The details of what
other teams are doing and the inconsistent treatment of teams by
the league will be exposed as this litigation, initiated by the
league, proceeds" (Ed Werder, DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 2/21).
THE RULING: The Cowboys contended that because their deals
neither referred to the phrase "Home of the Dallas Cowboys" nor
agreed to have personnel wear unauthorized apparel on the
sidelines, they were not in breach of contract. But the judge
accepted the league's claim that Texas Stadium entered into the
deals as a "stand in" for the Cowboys. The judge also cited a
"concerted campaign to create the impression that companies such
as Nike and Pepsi were sponsors of the Cowboys organization" (THE
LPGA Commissioner Jim Ritts is profiled in USA TODAY.
Ritts: "Three years from now, I don't care if the generic golf
fans can point to one thing specifically, that connects to the
LPGA, but I want them to feel the presence of the LPGA to a
greater degree. You take all these isolated incidents -- TV
shows, magazine articles -- put them together, and you have a
quilt of visibility" (USA TODAY, 2/21)....Bruton Smith, head of
Speedway Motorsports and developer of the new Texas Motor
Speedway in Ft. Worth, used SpeedWeeks in Daytona to deliver a
"public pledge of allegiance" to NASCAR President Bill France Jr.
Smith's purchase of Bristol Int'l Raceway in TN had led some to
believe he might be planning a rival stock-car circuit. Smith,
who "steadfastly" denied that rumor: "I'm committed to NASCAR
forever" (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 2/21).
While efforts by Toronto Sun publisher Paul Godfrey to
attract an NFL expansion team for the city have gone on behind-
the-scenes to this point, "that is about to change," according to
the FINANCIAL POST. The paper reports the Godfrey-led group "is
officially pounding the pavement looking for money." The person
in charge of finances is Capital Canada Ltd. President & CEO
Robert Foster, who put together the financing of SkyDome and
engineered the management-led buyout of TSN. Others said to be
involved include Coopers & Lybrand, attorney Dale Lastman of
Goodman Phillips & Vineberg, and financier Larry Tanenbaum. With
SkyDome luxury box leases expiring in '99, the facility's
partners should also want to attract an NFL team to join the
"fading" Blue Jays (Jamie Wayne, FINANCIAL POST, 2/20).