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FOX SPORTS PITTSBURGH KEEPS PENGUINS GAMES, AT LEAST FOR NOW
Published March 9, 1998
Fox Sports Pittsburgh (FSP) will "continue to broadcast Penguins games at least through the end of this season," while the network and team "battle over disputed" TV rights, according to David Brown of the Pittsburgh TRIBUNE-REVIEW. On Friday, Judge Judith Friedman "continued a temporary restraining order" that blocks Pittsburgh Hockey Associates, owner of the Penguins, from "immediately" dropping FSP and broadcasting its team's game on its own cable network. Friedman also established a schedule of legal action in the dispute that could lead to a trial "no sooner than June 1." After the ruling, both sides "claimed a degree of success," with FSP attorney Greg Jordan saying the injunction was upheld because the network's case is "very strong." Brown wrote that the ruling does not restrain the newly created Marino Sports Television "from promoting, developing and/or operating as a regional sports network." Yale Gutnick, an attorney for Penguins Owners Roger Marino and Howard Baldwin, said the owners "intend to move forward with their [TV] business aggressively" (TRIBUNE-REVIEW, 3/7). CRITICAL OF TEAM: In Pittsburgh, Steve Sampsell called the dispute "unsettling." Sampsell: "Here's a hockey team that wants its players to honor its contract and its trying to break its arrangement with the existing regional sports channel." Sampsell, on the decision to name its channel after Marino, who is from Boston: "That'll really help build ties with the region. What's wrong with Pittsburgh Sports Television?" (Pittsburgh TRIBUNE-REVIEW, 3/8).