NEW YORK (AP) _ Harvey Schiller, who quit as president of Turner Sports in October, was hired today as chairman and CEO of YankeeNets, the merged business operations of the baseball and basketball teams.

The move had been rumored since last summer.

Schiller, the former executive director of the U.S. Olympic Committee, had been with Turner Sports, a division of Time Warner Inc., since 1994. He also was president of the NHL's latest expansion team, the Time Warner-owned Atlanta Thrashers.

YankeeNets is negotiating to buy the New Jersey Devils of the NHL, a deal said to be worth $175 million.

By combining the teams, YankeeNets will have more leverage as it negotiates television deals. The Yankees' $486 million, 12-year contract with Madison Square Garden Network, a division of Cablevision Systems Corp., expires after this season.

With three teams, the company could either start its own cable channel or encourage Time Warner or ESPN, a division of The Walt Disney Co., to start a regional sports channel in the New York metropolitan area.