The Tennis Channel may soon be playing doubles with the National Cable
The fledgling sports service has signed a letter of intent with the NCTC that
would give it access to the group's member systems through 2011.
'We're looking at a long-term deal, but we're still working on the final
details,' NCTC senior vice president of programming Frank Hughes said.
Tennis chairman and CEO David Meister was optimistic about the potential
deal. 'We have agreed materially on the business terms,' he said. 'We hope to
close within a couple of weeks.'
Should the parties finalize the nine-year pact, it would mark the second
major affiliation deal for Tennis, which is now slated to launch sometime in the
Last month, the network inked a 15-year carriage contract with Time Warner
Cable that will ultimately give it carriage on all of the MSO's systems,
reaching 12.8 million subscribers. Tennis will be largely distributed on the
MSO's newly created, à la carte digital-sports tier.
Tennis expects the NCTC deal to close by the end of July -- a time frame that
would enable executives to serve up their pitch before co-op members, who will
convene in Orlando, Fla., July 28 through 31 at the group's annual meeting.
The NCTC affords purchasing efficiencies for a cross-section of cable
operators reaching some 14.5 million subscribers nationwide.