OLN Looks to Ice Sports-Tier Carriage

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OLN will offer all operators its Oct. 5 New York Rangers-Philadelphia Flyers National Hockey League opening-night telecast, but it will turn the lights out for the remainder of the season to operators carrying the service on a sports tier.

Cablevision Systems Corp., EchoStar Communications Corp. and select Adelphia Communications Corp. systems will not be able to receive OLN’s weekly Monday- and Tuesday-night NHL telecasts unless they offer the service to at least 40% of their subscriber base, sources close to the network said. The three distributors currently carry the network on low-penetrated sports tiers.

A Cablevision spokesman would only say, “We intend to deliver these games to our customers.” Representatives from EchoStar and Adelphia could not be reached at press time.

OLN spokeswoman Amy Phillips would only say that the network is willing to work with Cablevision and other distributors to “bring hockey to as many people as possible.”

Along with televising the Rangers-Flyers game, the network will also offer highlights from other games around the league, as well as its studio show.

“Opening night is a celebration of the return of these great teams and players to the ice, so we’re making it available free-of-charge to all operators,” OLN president Gavin Harvey said in a prepared statement.

“Rangers vs. Flyers is a legendary matchup and a terrific way to kick off the NHL on OLN,” he added. “We can’t wait to deliver a great hockey season, especially with as many teams going into it with serious playoff potential.”

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