LOS ANGELES -Comcast Corp. has closed major distribution agreements to launch News Corp.'s FX and Fox News Channel, officials said last week.
Comcast is the last top-10 MSO to agree to broad distribution for FX. The new deal will bring the network to more than 65 million Comcast homes within three years, up from its current 56 million.
The pact calls for Comcast to roll out FX on basic or expanded basic to roughly 80 percent of its homes, said Lindsay Gardner, executive vice president of affiliate sales and marketing for Fox Cable Networks Group.
The addition of National Association for Stock Car Racing coverage was a big reason why Comcast did the deal, Gardner said. The MSO has clusters in the Southeast and Michigan, where the sport is popular.
In fact, FX-which acquired the rights to NASCAR along with several other networks-jockeyed to arrange to air the Michigan race, in part, because it takes place in the Comcast- controlled Detroit market, according to Gardner.
FX is now carried in roughly 3 million Comcast homes. The new deal calls for an incremental rollout of FX to at least double that amount by year-end 2003.
The distribution pact for FNC calls for the all-news channel to be rolled out to a majority of Comcast's major-market customers over the next three years. The MSO recently launched the service in Baltimore and Sarasota, Fla.