All Sports Network eyes playing time

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ESPN is fairly giddy to start National Basketball Association coverage and
Turner Network Television is an old hand, but the league's third cable outlet is
scrambling.

As part of the NBA's new TV deal, a new channel co-owned by the league and
AOL Time Warner Inc. has 96 games in the 2002-2003 season. But All Sports
Network still needs to line up more staff, distribution and ads.

The partners said they are working furiously. They hope to have the channel
up by September or October.

NBA commissioner David Stern and Turner Sports president Mark Lazarus are
leading a search for a top executive. Stern is talking with major operators.

ASN will replace CNN/SI -- which is currently in about 20 million homes,
mostly satellite and digital cable -- and inherit some of its programming, like
lacrosse and auto racing.

If the channel isn't ready, games could temporarily air on the league's
thinly distributed digital network, NBA.comTV.

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