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TV And NFL Working Out Contract Issues

Updated:
NEW YORK (AP) - With a potentially historic NFL game on their schedules Saturday, three television stations in the Boston and New York areas were thrilled. When they learned that two competing networks would also be airing the Patriots-Giants matchup, they believed their contracts had been violated.

The league and the stations were ``working through contractual issues'' on Thursday, NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said.

``We are having private and confidential conversations with the NFL and are very hopeful that this unfortunate situation can be worked out to our satisfaction, in light of the fact we do have a valid contract for exclusive broadcast rights to the Patriots vs. Giants game in the Boston market,'' said Bill Fine, the president and general manager of ABC affiliate WCVB.

WCVB and Manchester, N.H., station WMUR, which are owned by the same company, and New York station WWOR had won bidding processes for the right to simulcast NFL Network games involving local teams. All contests on the NFL Network and ESPN are also shown on free TV in the clubs' home markets.

The Patriots would become the first team in NFL history to go 16-0 in the regular season if they beat the Giants on Saturday. Outside of the Boston and New York areas, the game was originally scheduled to be broadcast only on the NFL Network, which is available in fewer than 40 percent of the nation's homes with televisions.

On Wednesday, the NFL announced the matchup would also be aired on CBS and NBC. The game would not be blacked out in those networks in the Boston and New York areas.

``We inquired about that, but CBS and NBC said it didn't work for them; they needed to clear the game nationally or it didn't work,'' Aiello said.

Aiello said he expected that the game would still air on three local channels plus the NFL Network in the Boston and New York areas.
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