By Alan Pergament
The New York Yankees are on the move on local television.
The package of 21 non-cable games that had been carried on WBBZ-TV for the past two seasons is moving to Sinclair's WNYO-TV this season.
Nick Magnini, the general manager of WNYO and sister station WUTV, confirmed the deal this afternoon. He said that Sinclair Broadcasting, which owns the local stations, will be carrying the Yankee package in all of its upstate markets -- Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse and Albany.
Magnini said all the exclusive broadcast station telecasts of games that aren't carried on the YES Network cable package will be in prime time and air on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.
WBBZ General Manager Bob Koshinski said the independent station decided to pass on the package because of the increased license fee it was asked to pay.
Of course, it isn't easy for an independent station like WBBZ to compete with a broadcast group like Sinclair.
"We enjoyed our relationship with the Yankees," said Koshinski "At the end of the day, it is a business."
The Yankee games had been among the highest-rated telecasts on WBBZ, but Koshinski said by the end of last season they were not out-performing the station's Me-TV lineup of classic programs.
The first game on WNYO will be April 15 against the Chicago Cubs and the last of the 21 scheduled games will be on the season's final weekend when the Yankees play the Boston Red Sox on Sept. 26 in one of shortstop Derek Jeter's final regular season games.
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