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Network News

Avalanche and Nuggets owner Stan Kroenke's decision to move his
teams' TV broadcasts to a cable network he's forming is the
latest example of a burgeoning trend. More clubs are producing
their broadcasts themselves on an owner-operated network, selling
advertising and negotiating directly with cable providers for
licensing fees. Says Kroenke, who'll make the switch before next
season, after his contract with Fox Sports Net Rocky Mountain
expires, "It has become clear that successful teams, on the
playing surface and in the financial ledger, are those teams that
retain greater control of their various media rights." Among the
franchises that have already made the jump are the Bulls,
Blackhawks, Cubs and White Sox, who bolted Fox Sports Chicago in
December to form a jointly owned network with cable giant
Comcast; the Twins, on Victory Sports One starting this season;
the Royals, who last March launched Royals Sports Television
Network; and the Yankees and Nets, on the YES Network since 2002.
According to Broadcasting & Cable, of the roughly $700 million
earned by MLB teams in '03 from TV and radio, ad sales by the
teams that owned their own rights represented $200 million.