Sportsman Goes Hunting with Comcast

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The Sportsman Channel has the big buck in its sights.

The hunting and fishing network has signed a multiyear agreement with Comcast Corp. to seek distribution opportunities with the nation’s largest MSO.

A spokeswoman for the Big Bend, Wis.-headquartered service said that under the “hunting license” with Comcast, affiliate representatives have already engaged systems in talks, but they have not yet secured any carriage.

The spokeswoman added that Sportsman is working toward deals with Comcast systems in areas with a high propensity for fishing and hunting, including Florida, Georgia, Michigan and Pennsylvania.

Rate-card specifics were not disclosed, but Sportsman CEO Michael Cooley said in a previous interview that the network received a small license fee from affiliates.

Through pacts with Time Warner Cable, Charter Communications Inc., Cox Communications Inc. and Adelphia Communications Corp., among others, Sportsman currently counts some 13 million full- and part-time (largely weekend-morning and overnight blocks with broadcast stations) subscribers.

“We’re pleased that Comcast sees the value in a channel dedicated to the 47 million hunters and anglers in the United States,” Cooley said in a prepared statement. “We have experienced tremendous growth just this past year, and this agreement will allow us to provide dedicated sportsmen with the hunting and fishing programming they desire.”

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