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Volume 25 No. 28
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COMCAST SPORTSNET LAUNCHES OCTOBER 1, LANDS 76ERS' RIGHTS

          Comcast SportsNet, the new Philadelphia RSN that is a
     joint venture between Comcast-Spectacor and the Phillies,
     will launch as a basic cable service in October.  The RSN
     has acquired broadcast rights to the 76ers, and now holds
     cable rights to the Phillies, Flyers and 76ers.  Comcast
     SportsNet also signed a deal to carry Fox Sports Net
     programming.  Additional programming will include the AHL
     Phantoms, NPSL Kixx, local sports news shows and fan-
     interactive sports talk shows (Comcast-Spectacor). 
          REAX: In Philadelphia, Mike Bruton writes that Prism,
     who held the rights to the 76ers, and SportsChannel
     Philadelphia will go off the air September 30.  He adds that
     yesterday's deal "signals the end of a turf war" between
     Comcast and "rival" Cablevision Systems Corp., parent of
     SportsChannel Philadelphia/Prism.  Bruton: "Comcast appears
     to be the big winner."  Comcast SportsNet "is expected to be
     offered to local and area cable operators for as much as
     $1.50 per customer, a hefty rate in the cable business.  The
     operators either will take some loss to have such a coveted
     sports network or they'll pass the cost to viewers"
     (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 7/22).  Rainbow Media Exec VP/Sports
     Michael Blair said that "relinquishing the Sixers' rights"
     to Comcast now "was good business."  Blair said that since
     Rainbow Media is a partner with Fox Sports Net, "it made
     sense to have the Sixers on the Comcast channel."  Comcast
     SportsNet President Jack Williams estimates that the network
     will launch in more than 2 million homes out of a potential
     market of 2.5 million.  Around 20 Sixers games will be seen 
     on an over-the-air channel (PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 7/22).