Trib Slamdunks NBA

Tribune Broadcasting and its superstation WGN won a major victory in federal court against the National Basketball Assn. to carry national coverage of the Chicago Bulls.

The battle, which had been going for several years, was over whether WGN’s national cable coverage of the Chicago Bulls was hurting the NBA’s attendance and creating an over saturation of games in the market and was detrimental to its TV deals with NBC and Turner Broadcasting. The NBA sought to have WGN banned from carrying Bulls games nationally on the WGN superstation.

But U.S. District Court Judge Hubert Will did not buy the NBA’s arguments and told the league that it is not exempt from antitrust laws and to sit down with Tribune and hammer out a deal that will allow WGN to carry 30 games or more nationwide.

“I hope that what (the ruling) does is to make more sports broadcasting available to more people while preserving the financial base for growth for the owners, players, advertisers and everybody else,” Will said in his ruling Jan. 6 ruling.

The NBA has not said if it plans to appeal the decision.

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