SBD/7/Sports Media

BLACKOUT CRACKDOWN MEANS SYRACUSE WON'T SEE BILLS HOME GAMES

          Thousands of Bills fans who were able to see blacked
     out Bills home games via a Syracuse TV station last year
     "will be shut out" this fall, after the NFL informed CBS's
     Syracuse affil, WTVH, that its blackout rule "prevents the
     station from showing any Bills games that do not sell out 72
     hours before kickoff," according to Batzold & Roth of the
     Rochester DEMOCRAT & CHRONICLE.  The NFL's new
     interpretation of the rule will affect "at least" 48,000
     customers in upstate NY, and will "also hurt bars and
     restaurants" that previously showed the games.  Following
     the NFL's new TV deals, league lawyers "looked closer" at
     the 75-mile blackout radius and "found two markets" --
     Syracuse and Biloxi, MS -- where the TV signal "was received
     within 75 miles of an NFL stadium."  Batzold & Roth reported
     that although the situation "may aid the Bills' effort to
     regionalize its market," team Treasurer Jeffrey Littmann
     said that "it was the NFL that alerted the Bills to the
     blackout rule infringement from Syracuse, not the other way
     around."  Littmann said the league found 10 Rochester bars
     "picking up the Syracuse signal" (DEMOCRAT & CHRONICLE, 8/6)

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