A federal judge ruled yesterday that the NBA's plan to limit the number of Chicago Bulls games that can be shown on superstation WGN would be an unreasonable restraint of trade.
U.S. District Judge Hubert L. Will also issued an injunction against the league's cutback from 25 to 20 games. He gave WGN the go-ahead to add five games to its Bulls TV schedule this season.
"This is a great victory for Chicago Bulls fans," Bulls chairman Jerry Reinsdorf and Dennis FitzSimons, WGN vice president and general manager, said in a joint statement.
Reinsdorf had said the team could lose $1 million in ad revenue this year if the reduction to 20 games was enforced.
NBA senior vice president and general counsel Gary Bettman said the decision was just the first round in the battle.
"We are disappointed we did not win. . . . but the parties acknowledged early on that this is a case that will ultimately be decided by a higher court," he said.
The Bulls and WGN sued to overturn a vote by the league's Board of Governors last April.
The league wants to ban all superstation telecasts by 1995.
Nuggets F Orlando Woolridge, averaging 29 points before being sidelined last month with an eye injury, was activated from the injured list.
The Nuggets have not determined when Woolridge will return to action.