Cable Still Has Shot at `Sunday Ticket'


The National Football League dismissed a report in Friday's Los Angeles
, which said the league planned to extend DirecTV Inc.'s exclusive
rights to the hot 'NFL Sunday Ticket' through the 2005 season.

'We're not ruling out anything,' NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said when asked
if cable operators could get access to the out-of-market pay-per-view package
next year.

The NFL has hired former ESPN CEO Steve Bornstein as a consultant to study
whether it should open the package -- which offers subscribers every NFL game --
to cable operators.

Broadcasters have been opposed to such a move. They argued that local-station
ad sales would be drained if viewers aren't held captive to whichever game their
local Fox or CBS affiliate runs each Sunday.