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Prime Ticket Will Pay More to Show Kings

August 18, 1988|JERRY CROWE

Prime Ticket will pay $2.4 million in higher rights fees to broadcast the Kings' games over the next four seasons, the majority owner of the cable television network said in an interview with the Rocky Mountain News.

Bill Daniels, who co-owns the station with Jerry Buss, said Prime Ticket will pay the increased rates, which amount to $600,000 a season, as long as Wayne Gretzky plays for the Kings.

Daniels was approached by Bruce McNall, owner of the Kings, before the Kings made the trade last week that brought Gretzky to Los Angeles.

In addition to three players and three first-round draft choices, the Kings sent $15 million to the Edmonton Oilers for Gretzky and three other players.

"Bruce came to me and said, 'Would you raise your rights fees on the Kings games so that I can come up with the amount of money we have to come up with to get Gretzky?' " Daniels said. "My answer was, 'You're damn right.' "

Prime Ticket also agreed to triple the amount of money spent to promote and advertise the Kings' broadcasts, Daniels said.

Daniels said the Gretzky deal would benefit the network, which has exclusive rights to televise the Kings' home games in Southern California, Arizona, Nevada and Hawaii.

"It pleases our affiliates, we'll gain more affiliates and we can considerably increase the advertising dollars we charge," Daniels said.

Prime Ticket, which aired 37 King games last season, will broadcast at least 60 games next season, the network's president, Tony Acone, said last week.

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