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WHAT WILL BASEBALL RIGHTS HOLDERS DO WITH REPLACEMENT GAMES?
Published January 26, 1995
One of the "biggest problems" facing MLB and its teams in the event replacement players are used is whether TV and radio outlets "will demand rebates to air games -- or not carry them at all," writes Richard Sandomir in the N.Y. TIMES. So far, MLB has not "articulated a policy to deal with their TV and radio rights holders." And local and TV stations are in "uncharted terrain regarding what they can or will do." Mets Owner Fred Wilpon: "We don't know what we'll do. In terms of SportsChannel, we've always taken the view of long-term versus short-term relationships." WFAN VP Joel Hollander, on their rights to the Mets: "We're examining all our options." Several TV execs said they have asked their lawyers to examine their contracts, "seeking ways to wriggle out of paying what their contracts call for, or to reduce the number of games they carry." Baseball does have a "precedent to follow." In '87, the NFL announced that it would make rebates to the networks when they sanctioned games with replacments. ABC, NBC and CBS eventually received about $60M (N.Y. TIMES, 1/26).