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SPORTS NETWORKS TRY TO SURVIVE WITH ABSENCE OF GAMES
Published October 6, 1994
Regional sports networks, already struggling due to the loss of a significant amount of baseball games and ad revenues, are bracing themselves for more programming losses if the hockey postponement is prolonged. Many regional broadcast and cable execs, having exhausted a significant amount of inventory to cover canceled baseball telecasts, said they have not considered what replacement programming they will use if regular season games are lost. In a best-case scenario, the NHL has proposed playing a full schedule beginning October 15 and lasting into July. But MSG Network President Douglas Moss said even that "could complicate network programming and advertising efforts by putting NHL games in direct competition with the Knicks and Yankees" (Thomas Umstead, MULTICHANNEL NEWS, 10/3 issue). John Claiborne, GM of New England Sports Network which carries the Bruins and the Red Sox, said that the work stoppages have had a "negative impact" on programming: "There's no question we've lost subscribers -- more than a reasonable amount" (Jim Baker, BOSTON HERALD, 10/5). ESPN GOES TO SCHOOL: Bruce McLeod, commissioner of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, said he has been contacted by ESPN about the possibility of broadcasting some WCHA games to fill spots intended for the NHL (John Gilbert, ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 10/5).