SBD/24/Sports Media

LONE RANGERS BRIEFLY WITHOUT TV COVERAGE DUE TO FOX DISPUTE

          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).

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