National Basketball Association commissioner David Stern has delivered on a preseason prediction that his
NBA TV channel would have cable carriage in time for the 2003-04 season.
Time Warner Cable, Cox Communications Inc. and Cablevision Systems Corp. have signed on
to carry the digital network beginning in October, just in time for the league's
Oct. 28 tipoff.
NBA TV is already available on EchoStar Communications Corp.'s Dish Network and
DirecTV Inc., accounting for about 3 million subscribers.
The new cable carriage should add between 4 million and 5 million subscribers, Stern
said. The deals give MSOs the option to carry NBA TV on digital tiers or sports tiers.
Cablevision plans to offer the channel on its top-shelf "iO Gold" digital
package. Time Warner Cable will carry NBA TV on its digital sports tier, which will be
available on nearly all systems by year-end.
Time Warner Cable executive vice president of programming Fred Dressler expects NBA
TV to help drive the sports package: "It is the most high-profile product we
have," he said.
In addition, the network is partnering with In Demand to transmit its HD and
standard-definition programming to cable operators and for In Demand to offer
some NBA TV programming on its upcoming high-definition