MSG net, WPIX strike Yankees b’cast deal

NEW YORK — Halfway into baseball season, Madison Square Garden Network and Tribune Broadcasting’s WPIX have finally reached a deal on broadcasting Yankees games: WPIX has purchased the rights to 40 games this season and 50 in 1998.

WPIX, which has aired Yankees games for more than 40 years, had been in jeopardy of losing the rights to WBIS New York, the former pubcaster that ITT and Dow Jones acquired last year and launched as a business news station in January. ITT-owned MSG wanted to give the games to WBIS in an attempt to boost the newcomer’s sagging ratings, but no longer has incentive now that the station will likely be acquired by Paxson Communications.

The agreement is a reversal of MSG’s former deal with WPIX, in which MSG paid the station $60,000 to broadcast each game and sold all ad time during the games itself. Under the new arrangement, WPIX will pay MSG an unspecified rights fee but will sell all ad time, which sources said will bring the station as much as $300,000 for each 2 1/2-hour game in primetime.

MSG will produce all games for WPIX, the first of which airs June 1.

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