95% Opt In To Co-Op’s ESPN Deal

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More than 95% of the National Cable Television Cooperative’s membership opted to participate in a new carriage deal with ESPN, meeting last Tuesday’s deadline for getting into the agreement, the sports programmer said.

“An overwhelming majority of NCTC members signed up,” ESPN spokeswoman Katina Arnold said. The NCTC couldn’t be reached for comment.

Among the NCTC members who took the deal were Cable One Inc., Cebridge Connections, Buckeye CableSystem and Massillon Cable TV.

The new long-term ESPN deal, which reportedly extends to 2014, calls for annual license-fee increases in the neighborhood of 7%, substantially below the 20% hikes the sports programmer has levied over the past few years. In exchange for the break on the yearly license-fee increases, NCTC members have to launch additional ESPN services, such as ESPN Classic.

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