SBD/Issue 238/Sports Media

Tennis Channel Sends New, Scaled-Back Proposal To Cablevision

Solomon Says Cablevision Has
Yet To Respond To New Proposal
Tennis Channel Thursday sent Cablevision a new carriage proposal that has been "scaled back from earlier offers, but still falls within its business model's penetration threshold levels," according to Mike Reynolds of MULTICHANNEL NEWS. Cablevision confirmed that the MSO "received an email" from the network, but Tennis Channel Chair & CEO Ken Solomon said that Cablevision has "not responded to the proposal." Solomon said that the new proposal is "different from what it offered as recently as last weekend, reflecting 'a creative way' in which the network could reach about half of Cablevision's universe." Meanwhile, after Cablevision Wednesday announced plans to launch Tennis Channel on a sports tier through its membership in the National Cable Television Cooperative (NCTC), a Cablevision spokesperson Thursday said, "We have a valid affiliation agreement, which was reiterated earlier today by the NCTC, and we expect the Tennis Channel to authorize its signal, so our customers can watch its coverage of the U.S. Open." Still, Solomon "avers that the contract is not binding and the network does not plan to authorize its signal on Friday" (MULTICHANNEL.com, 8/28).

IMPROVING THEIR SWING: In L.A., Meg James notes Tennis Channel has "burned through $100[M]" since its launch in '03, but in the last two years the net has "dramatically raised its profile, and its ratings, with live matches from major tournaments." SNL Kagan estimated that Tennis Channel will "lose $1.5[M] this year on $61[M] in revenue." Cablevision BOD member and former Viacom CEO Frank Biondi Jr., who "recused himself from Cablevision's Tennis Channel dealings," said of the net, "It's the classic story: Entrepreneurs come in with an idea, they get funding, find initial success, and then a professional management team comes in and takes it to the next level" (L.A. TIMES, 8/28).

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