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PARAMOUNT TO BUY BOSTON'S TOP SPORTS STATION
Published November 30, 1994
Viacom-owned Paramount Television Group is expected to announce today that it will buy Boston independent station WSBK- TV from New World Communications in a deal reportedly worth more than $100M, according to a report in this morning's BOSTON HERALD. WSBK is the broadcast home to the Red Sox, Bruins and Celtics. Viacom sources say the deal also includes the 20% of the regional sports cable-channel New England Sports Network (NESN) owned by New World/WSBK. The other 80% of NESN is owned by the Red Sox (48%) and the Bruins (32%). Paramount hopes to use WSBK as Boston's home for its fifth network, planned to launch on Monday and Tuesday nights only in January '95. The impact on sports programming should be "relatively minimal" at first, at least until Paramount extends its programming beyond Mondays and Tuesdays. In the event of "sports and entertainment collisions," there is the possibility that more Red Sox or Bruins games would be moved to NESN -- "thereby increasing the value of the pay cable operation" -- and more Celtics games moved to SportsChannel. For now, Paramount "is embracing sports." But should WSBK's sports load become too heavy for the network, Tribune-owned WLVI could enter the picture. The Red Sox have one year left on their WSBK contract; Celtics and Bruins have longer- term deals. The deal is subject to FCC approval, which could be at least 90 days (Jim Baker, BOSTON HERALD, 11/30).