SBD/26/Sports Media

WHAT WILL BASEBALL RIGHTS HOLDERS DO WITH REPLACEMENT GAMES?

     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).
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