Mets Take Swing at New Network

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The New York Mets didn’t wait until the last pitch of the 2005 season to officially announce plans for its new regional sports service.

The Major League Baseball team -- along with co-partners Time Warner Cable and Comcast Corp. -- unveiled the new SportsNet New York service Thursday, which will telecast up to 125 regular-season games beginning in spring 2006, network president John Litner said.

Time Warner and Comcast will carry the network on basic, and Litner said negotiations are ongoing with other distributors, including Cablevision Systems Corp., DirecTV Inc. and EchoStar Communications Corp.

Litner added that he’s confident that the network will be able to reach a carriage deal with Cablevision, which filed suit last year to stop the Mets from pursuing the new network before the team’s current deal with Cablevision’s FSN New York expired at the end of the 2005 season. A New York State Supreme Court judge threw out the suit this past August.

Along with Mets telecasts, the network will feature up to 30 college-football games and up to 85 college-basketball games featuring teams from such conferences as the Big East and Big Ten.

Following the model of Comcast’s SportsNet services, SportsNet New York will also feature three nightly SportsNite shows, as well as a daily SportsRise morning show that will originate from the network’s New York-based studio. All studio shows will be shot in HD, as well as all home Mets telecasts, Litner said.

The network will also feature a “robust” video-on-demand offering, but no details were provided.

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