Group Created with Sketch.
Volume 24 No. 114

Leagues Governing Bodies

     The NFL's deal to return football to Cleveland not only
includes a provision calling on local companies to guarantee they
will rent most of the new stadium's loge and club seats for 10
years, it also states that Cleveland Tomorrow, a group
representing the city's top corporations, will be responsible for
providing a "cushion" against unsold luxury seats beyond that
time.  That cushion would come in the form of upfront cash -- a
$3M deposit by December 31 -- or a $10M line of credit.  But,
according to the Cleveland PLAIN DEALER, Cleveland Tomorrow Exec
Dir Joseph Roman said his group learned of that commitment just
this week when final documents were released by Cleveland Mayor
Michael White.  Kenneth Silliman, an Exec Assistant to Mayor
White, stressed that other businesses would be asked for "seed
money" in addition to Cleveland Tomorrow.  He did not name a
specific organization (Stephen Koff, Cleveland PLAIN DEALER,
     GIVE IT UP:  Columnist Terry Pluto argues that those on the
City Council who oppose the NFL's deal with the city should
remember one thing, "It's over."  Pluto writes, "You may not
believe White secured the best deal, but hands were shook, papers
were signed" (Akron BEACON JOURNAL, 2/29).
     OSU WILLING FOR SHORT-TERM:  OSU President Gordon Gee said
the school would accommodate an NFL team in Columbus, but not for
more than two years (COLUMBUS DISPATCH, 2/28).

     With a '96 start postponed due to stadium and ownership
problems, UBL President Mike Stone reaffirmed the league plans to
start with a 154-game schedule in March '97.  Stone promises a
"rather major announcement" next month, likely concerning
experiments the league may be considering on the rules and speed
of the game (WASHINGTON TIMES, 2/29).... James Bassett III,
President of Breeders' Cup Limited, announced that Hollywood Park
will be the site of the '97 Championship (Breeders' Cup)....The
AVP announced its '96 Miller Lite/AVP Tour schedule, with the
outdoor season starting March 8 in Las Vegas.  Five of the tour's
stops will be franchised out to on-site promoters, including two
to P.S./Stargames, the firm managed by AVP CEO Jerry Solomon
(AVP)....So far this season, the NBA has levied 44 fines for
$261,500 and suspended 28 players for a total of 31 games.  Last
season, there were 35 fines for $305,500 and 12 players suspended
for 21 games (USA TODAY, 2/29).

     Over 50 minor league baseball owners and execs met in
Washington, DC, for their third consecutive "Congressional Day"
to talk with Senators and Representatives on the future of the
minor leagues.  The NAPBL, the governing body of the minor
leagues, has been lobbying members of Congress to keep the
antitrust exemption that baseball now currently enjoys.  Team
officials discussed how the exemption impacts the minor league's
relationship with MLB, noting that under the present PBA with
MLB, minor league players salaries are paid by the Major League
clubs.  Many team execs believe the exemption is vital to the
survival of smaller market clubs.       INSIDE THE NUMBERS:
NAPBL VP Pat O'Conner said while minor league clubs generated
$242M in revenues in '94, they face similar big vs. small market
problems of the major leagues.  To stress this, O'Conner said 10%
of the clubs -- 16 teams -- generated 70% of the operating
income, while 37% of the NAPBL teams lost money or had negative
cash flow.  He called these "modest results," despite the
popularity of the minors over the past two years.  O'Conner said
without the current PBA between the league and NAPBL, which
expires at the end of this year, and MLB's antitrust exemption,
only one in six NAPBL teams would survive.  O'Conner:  "Now is
not the time to play politics with baseball" (THE DAILY).

     The PGA Tours top players "are competing less and less as
their business schedules are filled with more and more, and
commissioner Tim Finchem is saddled with bylaws that render him
virtually powerless to reverse the trend," according to the Jaime
Diaz in the latest issue of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED.  Diaz explains,
"once a touring pro is established as a player of repute, he can
put in as little as 15 to 25 competitive weeks a year -- most of
it aimed at peaking for majors, the true career makers.  In the
remaining time he can play in lucrative unofficial events,
collect appearance money overseas and design golf courses, and in
the process he can make more, much more, than he would win on
tour."  Among the options facing Finchem:  Raising beyond 15 the
minimum number of tournaments required for Tour membership;
mandating that no player skip more than five in a row; or making
the release policy for foreign or TV events "more stringent."
But Finchem is "unwilling to make any of these moves."  He argues
that the top players still play in about the same number of
tournaments, and that TV ratings and attendance figures back the
claim that better competition overall "adequately fills whatever
void is created" when top stars don't show (SI, 3/4 issue).