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YANKEES HIT BY LAWSUIT BY WABC-AM; MSG ALSO OPTS OUT
Published March 20, 1995
WABC-AM filed a $10M lawsuit against the Yankees for the advertising dollars "they expect to lose because of the strike." The station charged that the use of replacement players is "the object of general scorn, derision and dissatisfaction among baseball fans." It also noted the Yankees Owner George Steinbrenner has admitted replacement baseball is "not the same product" as major league players. WABC pays the Yankees about $5.5M a year (Zipay & Bowles, N.Y. NEWSDAY, 3/19). The MSG Network is also "frustrated with the Yankees position," and canceled its telecasts of exhibitions over the weekend. The team has offered 50% reduction in ticket prices to replacement games, but has not reduced the estimated $44M MSG will pay in '95. MSG has reported that 95% of its advertisers will boycott replacement games. Marty Brooks, acting head at MSG: "This is not what we bought." Brooks said "if the situation doesn't change with meaningful discussions," exhibition games will not be telecast. Brooks would not speculate whether regular season games would be canceled "to force the Yankees to renegotiate what is baseball's largest media rights fee" (Richard Sandomir, NEW YORK TIMES, 3/18). The lawsuit by WABC could be a way for ther station to get out of its contract with the Yankees, which expires after the '96 season, according to Bob Raissman. Raissman: "No secret the station is losing money airing Yankee baseball." If WABC opts out, Raissman writes that WFAN in New York may go after the Yankee deal (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 3/19).