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THE COLA WARS IN TORONTO TAKE A BREAK OVER THE WEEKEND
Published August 4, 1995
More meetings are scheduled in Toronto over TSN's non- coverage of a Coca-Cola sign behind home plate at SkyDome. TSN, which has a deal with PepsiCo. for sponsorship of Blue Jays telecasts, has refused to use their center-field camera angle while a Coca-Cola sign appears on the backdrop of homeplate. The ads will be blacked out this weekend, as both Blue Jays games will be televised nationally. The Baseball Network and ESPN covering the games have contract clauses "banning the billboards." One industry exec says the "issue of site signage" is a "serious threat to revenue," adding the Jays "get at least $22 million from Canadian television" and if advertisers stop buying TV time feeling they get more on-camera exposure for less money with stadium signs, then TV rights won't be worth as much (Ken McKee, TORONTO STAR, 8/4). TSN VP Rick Brace "isn't convinced" the Coca-Cola sign could be removed from TSN's broadcast through a virtual reality process. Brace: "I'm not sure there's something that works live, although I've heard rumors there may be" (William Houston, GLOBE & MAIL, 8/4).