Major League Baseball Hooks Cablevision

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Cablevision Systems agreed Friday to launch Major League Baseball’s planned MLB Channel as part of an agreement to distribute its MLB Extra Innings subscription game package.

The deal came one month after the league struck a deal with pay-per-view distributor In Demand for MLB Channel and Extra Innings. Until Friday, DirecTV and In Demand owners Comcast, Cox Communications, Time Warner Cable and Advance/Newhouse Communications' Bright House Networks were the only cable operators that had reached agreements to distribute Extra Innings.

MLB originally struck a $700 million deal with DirecTV in March. The deal gave DirecTV equity in MLB Channel, set to debut in 2009.

The league reworked terms of its DirecTV deal after signing an agreement with In Demand’s owners -- which also received an ownership stake in MLB Channel -- and the league has demanded that any pay TV provider that wants to distribute Extra Innings also must widely distribute its MLB Channel.

Cablevision said it will sell the Extra Innings package for $159, offering up to 60 out-of-market baseball games each week for the entire season. Cablevision subscribers can order Extra Innings with their remote controls on channel 900.

Other than In Demand’s owners, Cablevision is the only major cable operator that has agreed to launch MLB Channel.

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