SBD/31/Sports Media

FEDERAL JUDGE SIDES WITH BULLS OVER SUPERSTATION FEE

     U.S. District Judge Hubert Will ruled in favor of the Bulls
and Chicago's WGN-TV, "saying they will be able to pay lower fees
than the NBA sought to broadcast Bulls games," according to
today's WALL STREET JOURNAL.  In January, Judge Will ruled that
the NBA could impose a "reasonable fee" on the Bulls and WGN as
compensation for airing games nationally on the cable
superstation.  But after the two sides failed to agree on that
fee, a hearing was held in June.  Will decided that the Bulls and
WGN "should pay the NBA half of the revenue from broadcasts
outside of the Chicago area, about $40,000 per game, rather than
the over $100,000 the NBA sought under a formula it adopted in
1993."  The NBA already receives $2M a year in copyright payments
for broadcast of Bulls games over WGN.  John McCambridge,
attorney for WGN:  "We're pleased that the judge rejected the
NBA's attempt to impose a punitive tax that would have eliminated
many Bulls games with Michael Jordan for viewers."  NBA Senior
VP/Legal & Business Affairs Jeffrey Mishkin:  "Our view is that
the right to telecast to a national market belongs only to the
league."  Mishkin said the fee issue will be considered as part
of an ongoing appeal (Margarate Jacobs, WALL STREET JOURNAL,
8/31).
     TWO VIEWS:  The CHICAGO TRIBUNE reports that WGN and the
Bulls must pay the NBA $1.2M for last season's rights, but that
the NBA's rejected fee proposal would have cost "three to six
times more" (Steve Nidetz, CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 8/31).  An NBA
release states that future fees "will be computed under a formula
set forward by the court that should yield higher payments."
Mishkin, in the release:  "We are gratified that the Court
confirmed the NBA's ownership of the games and its entitlement to
a fee" (NBA).
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Chicago Bulls, NBA, Media

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