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ABL Signs Deal With Fox Sports Net

July 27, 1998

PALO ALTO, Calif. (AP) _ The ABL completed its television deals for the upcoming season and only half as many games will be nationally televised.

The league agreed Monday to show up to 16 of its games of Fox Sports Net, down from 24 last season. Earlier this month, the league signed a deal with CBS to air two games of the championship series _ the first ABL games to be shown on broadcast television.

Both of those deals are time buys, meaning the league will be responsible for selling advertising and will co-produce the games with the networks.

Black Entertainment Television, which showed 12 games last season, is not part of the TV deal for this season.

The agreement with Fox Sports Net includes 10 regular-season games _ including the season opener and games on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s _ the ABL All-Star game and as many as five playoff contests.

``This agreement gives us a strong national cable package for the regular season and playoffs,″ said ABL CEO and co-founder Gary Cavalli. ``Combined with our games on CBS, we’ve certainly enhanced the ABL’s TV exposure for the 1998-99 season.″

By choosing dates with light professional sports schedules, the ABL is hoping more of Fox’s 22 regional networks will be able to show the games live this season.

``The schedule we’ve put together will increase viewership by taking advantage of full network clearance opportunities,″ Fox Sports Net vice president of programming Frank Sinton said.″

The 10-team ABL tips off its third season the first week of November.

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