SBD/11/Sports Media

APPELLATE JUDGE GIVES NBA NEW HOPE IN CASE AGAINST WGN

     The NBA's "longstanding legal fight" over how many Bulls
games can be telecast on WGN is "essentially back to Square One,"
according to Matt O'Connor of the CHICAGO TRIBUNE.  O'Connor: "In
a victory Tuesday for the NBA, a federal appeals court threw out
a lower court decision that had allowed telecasts of 30 games on
the superstation in each of the last two seasons.  The lower
court also held the NBA's proposed fee for the telecasts to be
excessive."  A three-judge panel of the 7th Circuit Court of
Appeals ruled the lower court decision "legally flawed and
ordered the case returned to a federal judge."  The court wrote,
"With apologies to both sides, we conclude that they must suffer
through still more litigation."  Despite the ruling, an
attorney's for the Bulls and WGN said the superstation would
still be able to telecast 25 Bulls games this season, but the NBA
"disputes that" and cited the closing sentence of Tuesday's
decision that the Bulls and WGN "must respect" limitations of
both the NBA and its contract with NBC on the maximum number of
superstation telecasts (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 9/11). NBA Exec VP
Jeffrey Mishkin, said the league was "pleased that the Court of
Appeals has vacated the trial court's decision limiting the
League's exclusive right to sell games in the national
marketplace" (NBA).
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