Cablevision Still Looking To Ace Tennis Channel Sports Tier Positioning

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With the first serve of the U.S. Open scheduled for Aug. 31, Cablevision on Friday urged the Tennis Channel to make its service available to the operator's sports tier.

The New York DMA's predominant cable operator also noted that it will make its iO Sports Pak free for the next month upon Tennis authorizing the signal for the launch of the service in both standard and high-definition formats.

Cablevision said it has opened up standard channel 399 and HD 795 (HD) for the Tennis Channel, and had provided the Santa Monica, Calif-headquartered programmer with all of the technical information it needs to "flip the switch" and authorize the signal.

Cablevision believes it has the right to carry Tennis under the agreement between the programmer and the National Cable Television Cooperative, of which the MSO "recently" became a member.

Cablevision and Tennis, which will provide 240 hours of Open coverage, including 72 dedicated to live match play, have been publicly exchanging volleys in newspaper ads and in the press recently over their long-running carriage contretemps. On Aug. 26, Cablevision said it was availing itself of the NCTC contract to put the network on its iO Sports Pak, which houses 15 other sports networks and retails for $5.95 per month.

Tennis CEO Ken Solomon said yesterday that the network had sent Cablevision a revised proposal from the one it had offered last weekend. In an interview with MCN.com Thursday night, Solomon also indicated that Tennis doesn't believe the NCTC contract is binding and that he didn't expect the network to authorize the signal.

Tennis officials were not immediately available to respond to Cablevision's latest return at press time Friday afternoon.

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