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Cable Keeps Baseball Package

4/05/2007 07:54:00 AM Eastern

New York — Cable customers whose systems carry In Demand programming can continue subscribing to Major League Baseball’s Extra Innings out-of-market games package, following an agreement reached between cable distributors and the league Wednesday.

The deal, announced by MLB and In Demand, includes an agreement for In Demand to distribute the MLB Channel, scheduled to launch in January.

DirecTV, which set the bar for the new contract when it negotiated carriage rights that some assumed would lead to an exclusive offering, loses its bid to be the sole provider of the premium sports package.

Commenting on the deal Wednesday, DirecTV CEO Chase Carey said: “We are extremely pleased with our revised agreement. It recognizes DirecTV's role in this process by providing us unique financial benefits in Extra Innings, a leadership equity position in the MLB Channel, an ability to develop expanded features available only to DirecTV customers as well as exclusivity of MLB Extra Innings against satellite and other key cable competitors.”

There was no word on whether or not EchoStar would also continue carrying the service.

Cable systems that own In Demand, including Comcast, Cox Communications and Time Warner Cable, have agreed to carry the package, effective immediately. In Demand will also make the service with the compulsory MLB Channel available to other cable systems across the country.

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