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Yankees To Stay On MSG Next Season

November 17, 2000

NEW YORK (AP) _ The Yankees will return to the Madison Square Garden Network next season.

The MSG Network, exercising a provision in its expired 12-year contract, agreed to match the Yankees’ new $52 million, one-year contract with a division of the International Management Group, according to a baseball official with knowledge of the negotiations.

At the same time, MSG sued the Yankees on Thursday, asking that a justice decide whether the network also should get a right to match any offer at the end of the 2001 season.

The deal with IMG’s Trans World International division was submitted Nov. 8 to MSG Network, which had seven business days to match it under the terms of MSG’s expired $486 million contract with the Yankees.

A key provision of the TWI deal is that it contains no right to match, which has hampered the Yankees in their attempts to negotiate a multiyear contract.

MSG, a division of Cablevision Systems Corp., has gone to court twice previously to enforce the right to match. The Yankees and TWI agreed in July to a 10-year contract that would have created a network 95 percent-owned by the team. It would have guaranteed the Yankees about $900 million in the next 10 years.

Justice Barry A. Cozier, who issued an injunction on July 31 that blocked the Yankees’ first deal with IMG, will hear the latest lawsuit, the baseball official said. The Yankees and MSG have asked Cozier to hear the case on an expedited basis, and a hearing is likely to take place in January, the official said.

By going with a one-year deal with no right of refusal, the Yankees would gain the freedom to negotiate anew for their rights starting with the 2002 season.

MSG has broadcast Yankees games since 1989.

``The discussions are ongoing,″ MSG spokesman Barry Watkins said Thursday.

The Yankees declined comment.

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