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RED SOX SIGN TV DEAL FOR CLOSE TO $5M LESS THAN '94
Published January 3, 1996
The Red Sox announced yesterday they have signed a one-year contract with WABU-TV to carry 80 games next season. Terms were not announced, but Jack Craig of the BOSTON GLOBE writes the station will guarantee the Sox approximately $9M, "some $5 million less than they have averaged over the last five years." A one-year deal is "highly unusual," but Craig notes, "so was the delay in choosing a TV station, something normally done in late summer." Red Sox VP/Broadcast Jim Healy: "It would have taken too much more time to agree on five years." Over the past week, the team saw a five-year, $67M syndication package led by Kevin Dunn dissolve "when his investors pulled out." The new deal reportedly has options for both sides -- WABU could pull out if "losses are severe," and the team could "auction off rights again in 1997, when they might come closer to their former $14M plateau" (Jack Craig, BOSTON GLOBE, 1/3). Jim Baker of the BOSTON HERALD writes Red Sox officials "swallowed a multimillion dollar decline and a heaping platter of pride" with the deal, which he pegged at $10M (BOSTON HERALD, 1/3).