SBD/26/Franchises

DEVILS SPORTSCHANNEL DEAL NO INCENTIVE TO STAY

     In New York, Richard Sandomir examines the Devils' current
TV deal and how it may contribute to a possible move to
Nashville.  The Devils' SportsChannel deal expires in '97-98, but
Devils Owner John McMullen "has not asked SportsChannel to
renegotiate."  However, if the team stays they still wouldn't be
able to "dictate higher local rights fees" -- even with their
current success."  SportsChannel and MSG (the Devils former
network) are both run by Cablevision Chair Chuck Dolan, and
"there is no true competitive bidding" in New York for TV rights.
"That quandary could hurt the bargaining position of the Devils,
and even the Yankees," whose deal runs out in 2000.  Sandomir
writes that both "would be helped if another bidder entered" --
such as Liberty Sports -- with the resources to create an outlet
that could compete (N.Y. TIMES, 5/26).  Phil Mushnick reports,
"Everyone we've spoken with who has an interest in NHL TV
contracts is convinced that the Devils are already gone to
Nashville" (N.Y. POST, 5/26).  The POST's Thomas Hill reports
that the Nets, spurred on by the Devils, also hope to negotiate
changes in their Meadowlands lease with the NJSEA (N.Y. POST,
5/26).
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