Major League Baseball’s New York Mets got the green light to switch networks.
The New York State Supreme Court's Appellate Division voted 5-0 to uphold a ruling by Justice Helen Freedman, who found that the Mets' payment of an early termination fee -- as its contract with FSN New York allowed -- permitted the club to negotiate with another network, according to AP.
The team -- along with co-partners Time Warner Cable and Comcast Corp. -- unveiled SportsNet New York in September. The regional sports network will air up to 125 regular-season games beginning this spring.
FSN New York parent MSG Networks said it had exclusive rights under a 1996 contract to carry Mets games through the end of 2011, adding that the contract "prohibits the Mets from negotiating with any third parties concerning the pay television rights to any Mets games" until after the agreement is terminated, AP reported.
But the appeals court disagreed, saying that the team presented "undisputed evidence" that the parties did not intend to restrict the Mets' right "to walk away 'free and clear' if it exercised its early termination right" and noting that the plaintiffs were paid $54 million, according to AP.
MSGN spokesman Eric Gelfand told AP, “We do not agree with the decision, and we are assessing our options.”
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