SBD/March 8, 2011/Media

YES Network, Nets Taking Cable Rights Fee Dispute To Arbitration

Nets hired CAA Sports to negotiate a deal with YES Network
YES Network and the Nets are "taking a cable rights fee dispute to arbitration, marking the first time a panel of arbitrators will be used to decide the rights fee an RSN will pay an NBA team," according to Ourand & Lombardo of SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL. The two sides "have been trying to work out a deal over the past year," with YES President & CEO Tracy Dolgin and Nets CEO Brett Yormark "leading the negotiations." It is "not clear what YES currently pays the team in an annual rights fee," but sources said that the two sides "remain far apart, leading to the unprecedented step of using an arbitrator to determine the fee." In a "last-ditch attempt to avoid arbitration," the Nets "hired CAA Sports to negotiate a deal" on their behalf. Sources said that YES and CAA's David Rone "reached a tentative agreement ... after a marathon session during the first week in February." YES "agreed to pay the Nets a healthy increase -- around $20 million per year to start, with moderate annual increases -- but only if a long-term extension was on the table." The Nets "agreed to give YES a 10-year extension." But sources said that "almost a week after CAA and YES committed to a deal," Nets Owner Mikhail Prokhorov "stunned executives by nixing it." The sources said that the 10-year extension was the "sticking point" (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 3/7 issue).

LATER TIP: In N.Y., Fred Kerber reports the Nets are "headed toward returning to 7:30 p.m. starts -- from 7 -- next season ... to answer empty seats at the start of games as well as the league's lowest home attendance for a second straight year." The later start time "should be formally adopted after the season" (N.Y. POST, 3/8).
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Brooklyn Nets, YES Network, Media

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