Jazz, Pirates Stick with FSN

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The National Basketball Association’s Utah Jazz dribbled past a Comcast SportsNet full-court press for its cable rights and reupped with FSN as part of a long-term affiliation deal.

In concert with the extension of a new long-term pact with Major League Baseball’s Pittsburgh Pirates earlier in the week, the national sports network and its affiliated regional services have now signed rights contracts with 17 professional teams over the past year and hold the rights to 62 of the nation’s 82 pro baseball, basketball and National Hockey League clubs, according to network executives.

Comcast attempted to lure the Jazz from FSN Rocky Mountain, according to team sources. As a cable operator, Comcast Corp. has a presence in the state of Utah.

But Jazz chief marketing officer Randy Rigby said FSN’s multiyear deal -- which will include a minimum of 40 regular-season games and pregame shows -- was compelling for the Jazz.

Comcast officials would not comment at press time.

As part of the agreement, Fox will also look to rebrand the service as FSN Utah within the state and will work with the Jazz to bring additional local programming to the network.

As for the Pirates, FSN Pittsburgh secured the telecast rights to a minimum of 120 of the club’s regular-season games with an option to carry as many as three spring-training games, according to the network. In addition to game coverage, the Pittsburgh regional sports network will also provide expanded Pirates-centric fare.

With the Jazz and Pirates deals, president Bob Thompson said, FSN for the most part has been able to hold serve with most of its pro-team cable deals.

For more on FSN, please see R. Thomas Umstead’s story on page 12 of Monday’s issue of Multichannel News.

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