Friday, February 8, 2008

Carolina 'Caines All Locked Up By FSN South, Sonics' Escape From Seattle Takes Shape

Good news for Ya-Man & friends: Carolina Hurricanes games will be seen on FSN South for at least the next five years. The new contract calls for an increase from 55 telecasts to a minimum of 65 per season. A minimum of 35 road games will be televised each season, as well as all playoff games exclusively available to local rightsholders.

The contract includes multiple options that could extend the agreement beyond five years.

Time Warner Cable and Baltimore-based MASN were said to be interested in acquiring the TV package as well, but couldn't even make a proposal to the NHL team because FSN's exclusive negotiating window hadn't expired.

Meanwhile the news isn't as good for Seattle's freelancers. Far from it in fact. Supersonics Chairman Clay Bennett gave a ringing endorsement to Oklahoma City's $120 million Ford Center improvement plan yesterday, another big step towards moving the NBA franchise.

On March 4, Oklahoma City residents will vote on a one-cent sales tax to pay for the improvements. A trial will begin on June 16 to decide whether the Sonics can buy out the remainder of their contract with the city of Seattle or if they have to play there until the deal expires prior to the 2009 - 2010 season.

The NBA would also have to approve of the relocation, which Bennett applied for last November after no new arena plan was offered in Seattle. "The goal is to come to Oklahoma", Bennett said yesterday according to the Daily Oklahoman.

For those keeping score, Seattle is the 15th largest market in the US while Oklahoma City ranks 45th.

That says plenty about Seattle's desire to keep the team and/or Bennett's judgment on where he can make more money.

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