A court order prevents WGN from showing Bulls games outside of the Chicago area, meaning cable outlets in the Rochester area and the rest of the country won't carry WGN Bulls games.

The station announced this week that they would beam Bulls games to Chicago's 3 million homes, but not to the 40 million homes around the country that get WGN via cable television. Instead, it will provide movies for those viewers.

WGN will air 35 Bulls games this season.

``It stinks, especially with Jordan and the rest of the team being so popular,'' said Jerry Crowley of Rochester's TCI Cable. ``But it looks like there isn't anything we can do about it.''

The court order is the result of a six-year dispute between the NBA and WGN over who controls the NBA's national TV rights. The case was recently sent back to federal district court in Chicago. Without an injunction, which allowed WGN to carry Bulls games on cable, WGN was forced to drop its Bulls cable coverage.

WGN CEO Roy Bliss, in a press release, said: ``Our satellite carriage of WGN has been specifically targeted by the NBA to test the legal limits of the league's authority over teams' television rights. Through on-going complicated legal maneuverings, the NBA has been able to expand its monopolistic power to include the WGN satellite audience and deny Bulls games to the masses. The NBA's vendetta against WGN coverage robs cable television viewers of seeing the Bulls in action.''

Bliss pointed out: `Our inability to deliver Bulls telecasts to our viewers outside Chicago is due to the punitive and unlawful television policies if the NBA. We intend to return to federal court and win a reaffirmation of our rights to televise the Chicago Bulls nationwide.''

The problem for the NBA is it sells games throughout the country via NBA's League Pass on DirectTV, Primestar, Dish TV and other satellites and it doesn't want WGN to give NBA games to TV viewers free of charge. Just the ticket

A Rochester television sportscaster went to Green Bay without a ticket for Monday night's sold-out Packers-San Francisco 49ers game, wound up getting one for what he thought was a bargain and had what he called, ``the time of my life.''

Pat Lund of KTTC TV didn't have to work Monday and Tuesday, so he decided to make the trip to Green Bay as a fan to see former KTTC colleague Joel Ott, who's now working for a television station there.

``I went to Lambeau Field about 5 'o clock (three hours before gametime),'' Lund said. ``There were people selling tickets for $200 to $300 apiece. That was more than I could afford, so I thought I'd wait for the prices to get lower. Before gametime I got one for $100 from a San Francisco fan who had an extra ticket because his wife couldn't make it to the game. I thought that was a pretty good deal.''

Lund was happy to be part of the festivities.

``There's nothing that compares to a Lambeau Field crowd,'' he said. ``On top of that, it was the best sporting event I've ever been to.''

That's not all.

Lund was interviewed -- as a fan -- by Green Bay's ABC television affiliate and told of his quest to get a ticket. It was aired after the game in Green Bay. This and that

The Rochester Mustangs' hockey team will play an exhibition game on Nov. 2 at the Rec Center, but don't blow it off because it's an exhibition game. The Mustangs will play the German Junior National team, which features a first-round and a second-round selection in the National Hockey League player draft. Marco Sturm was picked in the first round in 1996 by the San Jose Sharks and Jochen Hecht was the first pick in the second round in 1995 by St. Louis Blues. . . .

There's still room on the University of Minnesota Rochester fan bus for the Nov. 2 football game at Ohio State. The bus will leave Friday and return to Rochester on Sunday. For more information, call Paul Lehman at 507-282-2226.@et

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