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Celtics Deal with CSNNE Includes Equity Stake

The Boston Celtics are reportedly on the verge of becoming the latest team to acquire an equity stake in the television station that broadcasts their games, as Sports Business Journal is reporting the team is preparing to extend the current broadcasting rights with Comcast SportsNet New England through the 2038 season while acquiring equity that could amount to a 20 percent share of the company.

The Celtics currently earn between $15 million and $20 million per year in rights fees from CSNNE, an average that is expected to rise significantly in a new deal.

The two sides first started talking about a long-term deal a year ago. Sources said that talks heated up just before the Los Angeles Lakers blockbuster 25-year RSN deal with Time Warner Cable was announced in February. That deal averages $200 million per year. Serious negotiations between the Celtics and Comcast then ensued this spring under the shadow of the league’s labor uncertainty.

The lockout has not cooled negotiations, but a formal agreement would probably not be announced until the labor unrest has ended.

The Houston Astros and Rockets own a combined 80 percent of CSN Houston, while the San Francisco Giants hold a 30 percent stake in CSN Bay Area. In Chicago, the White Sox, Cubs, Bulls and Blackhawks hold a combined 70 percent stake of CSN Chicago.

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