In an effort to spur cable carriage, upstart Minnesota regional sports network Victory Sports announced that it will offer local operators its service free-of-charge into early spring.
The network -- which is offering a rate card of $2.10 per subscriber -- will provide the service free-of-charge to the top operators in the market: Charter Communications Inc., Comcast Corp. and Mediacom Communications Corp.
The offer runs through the end of its coverage of the Minnesota Golden Gopher college-basketball season sometime in March.
Victory also holds rights to Minnesota Twins Major League Baseball games, as well as St. Cloud State Husky and Minnesota State Maverick college-hockey games.
Victory president Kevin Cattoor said that while he doesn't expect operators to take advantage of the offer, he at least wants to bring cable executives to the table to negotiate carriage deals.
"I'm hopeful that they'll [take the offer] and -- something out of the box, for once -- tend to their customers and provide them the games that they want to see," he said. "I am hopeful that this will break the impasse and quickly pave the way to agreements between Victory and cable and satellite providers."
Representatives from the various operators could not be reached for comment at press time.