Cable Operators

Majority of NCTC Members Ink ESPN Deal

6/15/2004 10:36 AM Eastern

More than 90% of the National Cable Television Cooperative’s membership was opting to participate in a new carriage deal with ESPN as of Tuesday, the deadline for getting into the agreement, according to the sports programmer.

In fact, “many more” elections from small operators to take part in the pact were still coming in Tuesday, so much so that ESPN hadn’t been able to count them yet, according to ESPN spokeswoman Katina Arnold.

“It’s been very successful,” she added.

The NCTC’s new ESPN contract, which runs through 2014, reportedly calls for annual license-fee increases in the neighborhood of 7% -- way below the 20% hikes that were part of the old contract.

The co-op’s revamped ESPN deal, announced in March, is similar to affiliation agreements that the giant sports programmer forged earlier this year with MSOs such as Cox Communications Inc., Charter Communications Inc. and Cablevision Systems Corp.

March