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"I definitely feel that CATV would kill practically all of our fans we have left."
"It is my definite opinion that telecasts [by] cable [of] league games into this area would definitely hinder our attendance. I do not have to remind you that attendance in Minor League Baseball parks is a nationwide problem and any further infringement of telecast baseball broadcasts would probably make it impossible for most minor league clubs to continue a successful operation. It is too easy even now to stay at home and watch television than to go out and support your own local activities whether it be baseball, hockey or basketballand we have all three in Salem,"
“Again, in my opinion, CATV in this area would come close to being the death knell of Minor League Baseball in Rochester. We are trying by every promotional means possible to keep AAA baseball in Rochester for the benefit of the entire community and are attempting in every way possible to provide wholesome recreation for families and youth in Rochester. I feel it is about time we had help instead of hindrance."
"If we were to be exposed to this type coverage, there would be no doubt in our minds that it would affect our attendance seriously.
"Obviously, if such telecasts were to reach our city, our attendance would suffer drastically.”
A reduc on in gate attendance at Minor League games with a corresponding reduction in revenues would pose a dilemma for the Major Leagues which do not have available additional resources to keep the Minor Leagues in operation.
In summary, I believe there are sound legal, public policy, and practical reasons why Baseball must maintain control over the dissemination of its games to the viewing public. The Federal Communications Commission's new regulatory scheme for cable television will permit the development of cable in such a way that it could completely undermine Baseball's orderly telecasting patterns and, hence, seriously dilute the value of Baseball's gate receipts and broadcasting rights.
While Baseball is anxious to experiment with the promises of the new cable technology, it is fundamental for Baseball to have complete control of the rights to its games in order to strike an appropriate balance between Baseball's traditional commiment to over-the-air broadcasting and any experimentation with cable television.
EXHIBIT A See the attached black binder for the complete survey, with a covering memorandum, commissioned by the Commissioner of Baseball to study the effects of the first year of the Federal Communications Commission's new regulatory structure for cable television.
REVENUES TO ALL MAJOR LEAGUE CLUBS FROM TV AND RADIO
National network contracts
$12, 497, COC
14.2 $13,907, OCO
13.9 $13, 747, 000
13.9 $16, 375, 000
16.3 $17, 970,000
10.5 $9, 424,000
9.4 $11, 807,000
12.0 $12, 339,000
12.3 $15, 529,000
$21, 751, 000
24.7 $23, 331, 000
23.3 $25, 554, 000
28.6 $33, 499, 002
REPRESENTATIVE COMMENTS OF MINOR LEAGUE BASEBALL TEAMS ON THE IMPACT
OF CATV UPON THEIR ATTENDANCE
"I definitely feel that CATV would kill practically all of our fans we have left."
“There is no doubt as to the fact that this WOULD HURT our attendance TREMENDOUSLY, as do ALL telecasts against our HOME games. This is the very thing that can and will put us all out of business, but quick."
“It is my definite opinion that telecasts [by] cable [of] league games into this area would definitely hinder our attendance. I do not have to remind you that attendance in minor league baseball parks is a nationwide problem and any further infringement of telecast baseball broadcasts would probably make it impossible for most minor league clubs to continue a successful operation. It is too easy even now to stay at home and watch television than to go out and support your own local activities whether it be baseball, hockey or basketball—and we have all three in Salem."
“Again, in my opinion, CATV in this area would come close to being the death knell of minor league baseball in Rochester. We are trying by every promotional means possible to keep AAA baseball in Rochester for the benefit of the entire community and are attempting in every way possible to provide wholesome recreation for families and youth in Rochester. I feel it is about time we help instead of hindrance."
“Cable TV does hurt our attendance when we play at home. Most every night of the week you are able to get either the Mets or Yankees games when they play at night. Sometimes you can get both the Yankee and Met games. On holidays it kills our attendance when we play at night.”
“During the 1968 season, the telecasts of Major League games via CATV did reach Elmira and, although it is hard to estimate if these games had any effect on our attendance, I'm sure it did. On nights when there was a so-called 'crucial' game on TV and we were playing home, our game attendance was down. This was also true if the weather conditions were less than ideal.”
“In reply to your request for CATV information, the telecasts of the games played by the Mets and Yankees all reached our city in the three years we have been members of the NY-Penn League. These are the years 1966, 1967, and 1968.
"While it is most difficult to accurately gauge the effect of the activities without a comprehensive study, I would think they did adversely affect our attendance. One thing is sure ... they did affect us on the nites which were threatened by inclement weather.”
"I did operate the Williamsport Club in 1964 and 1965 and we did have cable TV there. I felt that it did hurt our attendance, since people were less inclined to go out at night and pay to see minor league baseball when they could see one or more major league games at home in the comfort of their living room, at a much lower price, which was next to nothing."
"Should the CATV telecasts of Major League games ... come to our city I believe we would have to disband baseball. This year the Major League night telecast of baseball cut our attendance about four fifths."
"If we were to be exposed to this type coverage, there would be no doubt in our minds that it would affect our attendance seriously.”
"Obviously, if such telecasts were to reach our city, our attendance would suffer drastically."
"I sincerely believe that any telecasts of major league games into our city while we are playing hurts our attendance very much. I do not see how TV games can help the minor league attendance.”
STATEMENT OF Don V. RUCK, VICE PRESIDENT, NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE Mr. Chairman, my name is Don V. Ruck and I am Vice President of the Na. tional Hockey League. I am accompanied by counsel, Philip R. Hochberg of Washington, D.C.
We appreciate the opportunity to come before you and testify on your bill, S. 1361, which we fully support. I think there is a consensus that this Subcommittee may be the court of last resort in the copyright area; we welcome the chance to place our case before you.
I would like to second the remarks offered by Commissioner Kuhn. Since hockey and baseball share similar player developmental patterns, we echo his concern for the minor leagues.
The National Hockey League is not the benefactor of ready-made players from the Collegiate ranks. We must develop our own talent. There are, in the United States, five leagues on a minor level. And it is the NHL teams which underwrite the bulk of the cost to operate the minor teams so as to assure the development of young talent.
We, like baseball, are very concerned with the impact that importation of sports signals via cable systems would have on these minor leagues.
More importantly, however, is our concern for the major league of hockey, the National Hockey League. Again, like baseball (and like basketball), the NHL has games scheduled virtually every night of the week. You can well imagine what would be the fate of our new Washington hockey team in 1974 if it facedon a Washington cable system—the importation of NHL hockey from Philadelphia, New York, and Boston on a nightly basis. The same problem would be faced by our newer teams in Los Angeles, Oakland and Atlanta where hockey has not yet caught on.
And yet the Commission's Rules would afford greater protection to “Pantomine Quiz” and “Bridget Loves Bernie” than they would to professional and amateur sports. Something, I suggest to you, Mr. Chairman, is out of kilter there.
It is indeed ironic that we should be here this week. It was almost exactly two years ago that Chairman Burch, in his Letter of Intent of August 5, 1971, noted that the question of sports programming was a difficult one. He promised expedited consideration of the matter, so that it would be concluded before "the significant emergence of new systems”.
And again, a year ago in oral argument on this issue before the Commission, the same fear was voiced. It was stated to the chairman that systems would attempt to sell hookups on the basis of importing distant sports signals.
At one point, he noted that (as of that date) only 13 Certificates had been granted. Today, some 1,100 certificates have been granted and more are being granted daily. Many of the applications and grants are for either the core city contiguous suburban area.
For instance, literally dozens are in the Philadelphia area and four are specifically within the City of Philadelphia itself—including one literally across the street from the Spectrum where these teams play. And this is the very system which has based its appeal for subscribers on distant sports signals! (I am attaching as an Exhibit an advertisement which recently appeared in a Philadelphia newspaper.)
Members of the Commission urged sports to look to Congress as its remedy. Senator Pastore, for one, has indicated his concern with cable systems importing distant sports signals not authorized to the local station. We agree.
It would seem uncommonly logical that the entrepreneurs who have invested millions of dollars to develop the professional sports franchises should quite reasonably, maintain the right to when and where their product will be telecast.
Accordingly, we urge the passage intact of S. 1361.
Be a Sport and give him the low York Yankoos, Nets, Knicks, Hangers, Islandors and lots!
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CABLE TV SERVICE SCHEDULE
OFFICE OF THE COMMISSIONER,
New York, N.Y., August 1, 1973.
DEAR CHAIRMAN MCCLELLAN: In response to your announcement of further hearings on S. 1361, I am pleased to submit my statement on the treatment in that bill of the carriage of sports telecasts on cable television. Copies of my state ment on behalf of professional football are enclosed herewith.
Let me express the hope that the way can now be cleared for legislative action on this pressing matter in view of the recent new spurt of cable growth and the inaction of the Federal Communications Commission on the matter. In my opinion it would be unfortunate if enactment of Section 111(c)(4)(C) and other relevant provisions were delayed further while large numbers of American families became cable subscribers, and cable owners made substantial capital investments, on the expectation that cable systems would be able to continue pirating NFL game telecasts in derogation of the rights of our member teams.
As in the past, I would be glad to make myself available for further discussion and to supply further information as the Subcommittee may require. Respectfully,
PETE ROZELLE, Commissioner. [Enclosure.]
STATEMENT OF PETE ROZELLE, COMMISSIONER, NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE, BEFORE
THE SUBCOMMITTEE ON PATENTS, TRADEMARKS, AND COPYRIGHTS OF THE SENATE COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY ON S. 1361
Professional football maintains a strong interest in those portions of S. 1361 which would affect, from the copyright point of view, the carriage of sports telecasts on cable television. My statement is on behalf of the 26 member clubs of the National Football League who represent many cities and metropolitan areas across the country.
Our interest dates back to the days when cable systems began moving NFL game telecasts around the country without seeking any permission (or offering any compensation), and my statement to this Subcommittee dated August 3, 1966, commenting on S. 1006, expresses that interest. On March 14, and October 31, 1968, I made further statements commenting on S. 597 and H.R. 2512, and we have expressed our views several times since then.
In December 1969, the Subcommittee unanimously reported out a bill, S. 543, which recognized the rights of those who spend considerable sums to stage professional sports contests for the entertainment of many millions of fans at the ball parks and at their television sets. The Subcommittee (1) expressly gave full statutory copyright protection to live game telecasts and (2) applied that protection to cases where cable systems would import game telecasts into areas where television stations had exclusive rights to receive other games instead or where teams were playing home games. Thus the Subcommittee put cable and broadcast television on an equal footing vis-a-vis the telecasting of NFL and other professional sports contests.
The Federal Communications Commission has not yet acted on its expressed intent to deal with this problem. After the Subcommittee reported S. 543, the Commission announced that it would address itself to various cable television matters, including the carriage of distant stations televising professional games. The Commission has adopted rules that govern general distant-station carriage, and these rules fortuitously resolve many of the NFL's concerns by generally forbidding carriage of distant network-affiliated stations in most television markets; most professional football telecasts are on these network stations. But these rules contain provisions that would permit cable systems to carry single programs from these distant stations at various times. It is likely that cable owners, who often advertise outside sports programming a a prime attraction to gain new subscribers, will take full advantage of these provisions. The Commission said in July 1970 (Docket No. 18397-A), and again in February 1972 (Docket No. 19417) that it would deal specifically with the unique problem of cable carriage of sports telecasts, and we have on many occasions expressed our views to the Commission in writing and orally. No action, however, has