MLB Network is set to throw out the first pitch tonight on a new ad hoc, look-in channel that will bow with a quartet of distributors.
Beginning April 10 at 7 p.m., MLB Network Strike Zone, akin to the NFL Network's NFL RedZone and DirecTV's Red Zone, will provide live look-ins and highlights on Tuesday and Friday nights, when MLB Network is presenting its live game action.
MLB Network has inked Strike Zone affiliate deals, terms of which were undisclosed, with Time Warner Cable, Bright House Network, DirecTV and Dish Network. The cable companies and DirecTV have an equity stake in MLB Network. An MLB Network spokeswoman said carriage conversations are ongoing with other distributors.
Strike Zone will be offered as part of DirecTV's Sports Pack and MLB Extra Innings package, and via Dish's Multi-Sport Pack.
On the cable side, Bright House is setting up Strike Zone for its customers in Bakersfield, Calif. (channel 1124), Birmingham, Ala. (464) and Indianapolis (425), as well as Orlando and Tampa (1143).
For its part, Time Warner Cable will make Strike Zone iavailable to subscribers in a large swatch of its systems: Albany, Austin, Buffalo, Cincinnati, Charlotte, Cleveland, Columbia, Columbus, Corpus Christi, Dallas, El Paso, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Milwaukee/Green Bay, New York City, Palm Springs, Portland, Raleigh, Rochester, San Antonio, San Diego, Syracuse and Waco.
"MLB Network Strike Zone will provide baseball fans with the award-winning coverage of all 30 clubs they've come to rely on from MLB Network," said Tony Petitti, president and CEO of MLB Network in announcing the service. "We're excited to continue to expand the reach and scope of MLB Network's programming."
Last week, MLB Network launched on the former Insight Communications systems, which were bought by Time Warner Cable. The 670,000 customer adds lifted MLB Network's count to some 70 million subscribers.