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The New Boston Garden Corp. has filed suit and "has threatened to block Fox Sports New England [FSNE] from televising games," because it has failed to pay new fees that went into effect when the FleetCenter opened in '95, according to Andrea Estes of the BOSTON HERALD. FSNE, which recently bought SportsChannel New England, has reportedly "balked" at new fees for hooking up TV trucks outside the arena, which "soared" from $550 per truck per game to $1,500, a 200% increase. FleetCenter officials claim the cable company now owes $297,000 in charges as of January 30. Estes reports that FSNE officials have not yet responded to the suit, filed January 20, "nor would they discuss the dispute." Current FleetCenter President Richard Krezwick said that the fees "were hiked because the company had high- tech features built into the new arena" and added that the new fees are "completely justifiable" (BOSTON HERALD, 3/2).
In N.Y., Phil Mushnick notes that Tiger Woods and Billy Mayfair rode golf carts to the first hole of sudden death in yesterday's Nissan Open on CBS. Mushnick: "That neither Jim Nantz nor Ken Venturi mentioned this -- as it was Venturi who testified on behalf of the PGA Tour in the Casey Martin case -- was pathetic." The carts were used in sudden death "to expedite play to keep CBS from minimizing its loss of previously scheduled programming" (N.Y. POST, 3/2)....Hughes Electronics Corp.'s DirecTV unit "plans to announce long- term marketing deals" with Bell-Atlantic and SBC Communications. The new partners "won't take an equity stake" in DirecTV (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 3/2).
The re-branding of sports magazines with the impending arrival of ESPN Magazine is examined by Stuart Elliott of the N.Y. TIMES. Noting the redesign of SI, Sport and editorial changes at Inside Sports, Elliott writes that "the most ambitious revamping is being undertaken" by The Sporting News (TSN). TSN has introduced a consumer and trade ad campaign by NY-based Christy MacDougall Mitchell. After it spent $500,000 on research, TSN concluded that it should remain a "niche publication" for readers known as "team loyalists: the true sports fans who want a deeper perspective." The campaign, which features the tagline "See a different game," presents TSN as "the publication for the most ardent and knowledgeable fans of the so-called Big Six sports: baseball, basketball, football, hockey, college basketball and college football" (N.Y. TIMES, 3/2).
In Saturday's NEWSDAY, Steve Zipay reported that THE SPORTS BUSINESS DAILY "has been purchased" by Times Mirror Co., which owns the L.A. Times, Newsday and The Sporting News. Zipay reported that Times Mirror's deal for InterZine Productions, owners of THE SPORTS BUSINESS DAILY, is for $5M (Steve Zipay, NEWSDAY, 2/28).