MLS Scores HDNet Deal

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HDNet, the high-definition programming service run by Dallas Mavericks
National Basketball Association team owner Marc Cuban, reached a three-year
agreement with Major League Soccer Thursday afternoon to run league games live
in HD.

The channel will carry 28 games on a weekly basis Saturdays beginning April
12. Also in the package is a Fourth of July match from Denver, complete with
fireworks display.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

The deal comes as HDNet is beginning to make distribution traction with cable
operators.

Charter Communications Inc. is in the midst of rolling the service out in
several markets, and on a conference call for the MLS agreement, Cuban disclosed
that a number of Cox Communications Inc. and Service Electric Cable TV Inc.
systems have reached agreements.

More cable-operator contracts will be finalized in the next two weeks, he
promised.

However, participation at the National Show in Chicago this June is a
question mark. "All of the operators know we're out here," Cuban said.

This year's National Show will feature a HDTV pavilion for the first
time.

HDNet is the second TV direction MLS has traveled this week. Tuesday, the
league concluded a four-year agreement with Fox Sports World and Fox Sports en
Español, under which 25 regular-season and eight playoff games will run on both
channels, also starting April 12.

ESPN has a 26-game-per-year deal going through the 2006 season, while ABC has
several regular-season games and the league championship in October.

Fox Sports en Español will become the third Spanish-language channel to
program MLS action. Telemundo covered games the past two years, but MLS searched
for a new home in 2003 due to scheduling issues. Univision previously offered
MLS coverage.

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