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Archive for Tuesday, September 19, 2000

Yankees, MSG postpone deadline

September 19, 2000

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— The New York Yankees and Madison Square Garden Network postponed their Monday deadline for deciding whether MSG would match the team's proposal to start its own cable network.

On Sept. 8, the Yankees notified MSG they intended to start their own channel, a move the team said would bring it about $1.4 billion in profit in the next 10 years.

Under the terms of MSG's current contract with the Yankees, a $486 million, 12-year deal that expires after this season, the network had until Monday to match the offer.

"As the parties are in conversation, we have agreed to postponed the seven-day match period," MSG Network spokeswoman Cara Taback said.

The Yankees hired Morgan Stanley Dean Witter to evaluate what their television rights were worth for the next 10 years. The move came after MSG obtained an injunction to block the Yankees' first attempt at a deal, a contract with the Trans World International division of the International Management Group.

MSG, a division of Cablevision Systems Corp., would be without its key programming for the summer months if it lost the Yankees.

A team-owned network eventually would broadcast games of the NBA's New Jersey Nets and the NHL's New Jersey Devils, both owned by YankeeNets, the parent company of all three.

"The parties are in heavy discussions," a person familiar with the negotiations said, speaking on the condition they not be identified.

No matter what happens, the Yankees are expected to more than double their broadcasting revenue, to an average of $100 million a season or more, enabling them to raise their payroll, already a major league-high $112.12 million.

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