LONE RANGERS BRIEFLY WITHOUT TV COVERAGE DUE TO FOX DISPUTE
Published June 24, 1998
Fox Sports Southwest (FSSW) "threatened to pull the plug on" Marcus Cable's broadcast of last night's Rangers- D'Backs game "because of a contract dispute," according to Mark Couch of the FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM. FSSW had "yanked the game" from Marcus' lineup late in the day "because Marcus wouldn't sign a new contract" to carry FSSW's programming. Marcus, the largest cable provider in Tarrant County, TX, ran a blue screen apologizing to its customers, and continued to run the apology even after FSSW reinstated the game. The game was back on the air at about 8:30pm local time, right around the first pitch. Marcus' deal expired in December, and it has been paying expired rates for Rangers games. FSSW VP & GM Jon Heidtke: "There comes a certain point where you can't continue to offer that unfair advantage to them." Marcus Cable COO Lou Borrelli: "Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that they would use our customers as a bargaining chip." Rangers VP/Media Relations John Blake said the dispute was between FSSW and Marcus: "We have nothing to do with it" (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 6/24). Heidtke said that after the game returned, "Negotiations picked up. ... We hope they are concluded without any additional interruption" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 6/24).