RCN Plays Ball with In Demand for Extra Innings Package

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In a first, In Demand will distribute Major League Baseball’s “Extra Innings” package to cable overbuilder RCN.

Neither executives from In Demand nor RCN would officially confirm the deal, but RCN has already begun promoting the package in its systems. RCN will offer the 60-game-perweek package after the All-Star break for $129, according to RCN customer-service representatives.

As part of the Extra Innings deal, RCN is also required to distribute the league’s new 24/7 baseball channel.

Executives close to both parties said the deal was brokered prior to the league’s imposed May 4 deadline for distributors to reach a seven-year carriage deal for Extra Innings and to carry the Baseball Channel when it launches in 2009.

The deal marks the first time In Demand -- which is owned by RCN cable rivals Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cox Communications and Advance/Newhouse -- has distributed any content to RCN. It’s unclear whether the two parties will negotiate for carriage of other out-of-market packages such as NBA League Pass or NHL Center Ice.

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