BASEBALL OWNERS' VOTE ON REVENUE- SHARING EXPECTED TODAY
While few MLB owners would say so, "it appears likely they
will vote on a revenue-sharing plan today as meetings come to an
end in Phoenix," according to this morning's ARIZONA REPUBLIC.
Once put into action with union approval, revenue-sharing "should
accelerate ongoing labor talks." The proposed plan calls for
MLB's top 13 revenue-producing teams to contribute 22% of all
ticket and local TV revenue to a central fund, with portions
redistributed to the low-revenue teams. After the meetings,
chief labor negotiator Randy Levine will take management's latest
proposal to the union (Bob McManaman, ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 3/21).
However, in Milwaukee, Tom Haudricourt cites a source involved in
the revenue-sharing talks who says not to expect the "22% plan"
to get approval. The source: "It will be something close. It
will amount to the same thing." One detail to be worked out is
superstation rights fees, with acting Commissioner Bud Selig
saying the issue needs to be addressed before any vote on
revenue-sharing (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL-SENTINEL, 3/21). QUOTES OF
NOTE: Astros Owner Drayton McLane, a "staunch backer" of
revenue-sharing as Chair of MLB's Strategic Planning Committee:
"We may be here until Saturday trying to work it out" (Alen
Truex, HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 3/21). AL President Gene Budig: "I
expect the owners will take some action on revenue-sharing" (Rod
Beaton, USA TODAY, 3/21). Rangers President Tom Schieffer:
"Conceptually, there is a lot to be said for revenue-sharing. ...
[But] I don't think it is absolutely critical that it be done at
this time" (Ken Daley, DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 3/21).
OTHER ISSUES: Diamondbacks Owner Jerry Colangelo continued
to push his idea of neutral-site World Series games, noting the
advantages of having the media, fans and sponsors knowing where
the games will be in advance. Colangelo also proposed an NBA-
style rookie game during MLB's All-Star break (TAMPA TRIBUNE,
3/21)....Budig said the AL did not consider talks dead between
Anaheim and Disney. Budig: "We continue to believe in the deal"
(MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 3/21)....NL owners unanimously
approved the sale of the Cardinals. ... Owners will decide in
June on the placement of the Devil Rays and D'Backs. ... Budig
approved the A's request to open in Las Vegas due to Coliseum
construction, although that depends on a survey of field and
lighting conditions (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 3/21).