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NFL Championship Game To Be Presented on Theater Television

Dec. 16, 1963 - An NFL game will be presented on theater television for the first time on Dec. 29 when the New York Giants play the Chicago Bears at Wrigley Field for the championship. The game will be blacked out in the Chicago area on broadcast television but will be presented elsewhere by NBC. The game will be transmitted to several Chicago theaters by closed circuit. The theater rights to the game have been purchased by Theater Network Television, Inc. Last week, the same company obtained rights to the Sonny Liston-Cassius Clay heavyweight championship fight scheduled at Miami Beach in February. It is a league rule that a game must be blacked out on home television for a radius of 75 miles from the stadium where it is played. “I don’t think the closed circuit will hurt our gate sale,” George Halas, the owner-coach of the Bears said. “Some fans who wouldn’t want to come to Wrigley Field might want to go to the closed-circuit presentation.” When the Giants met the Packers at Yankee Stadium in last year’s championship game, the NFL wanted to present the game by closed circuit at Madison Square Garden. But NBC pointed out that its contract specified there was to be no telecast except the one carried by NBC. When this year’s contract was written, the league inserted a clause reserving the right to use theater television in the home city. NBC paid the league $926,000 for television and radio rights to this year’s championship game. It is the largest amount ever paid for coverage of a single sports event.


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