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Adelphia Serves Up Tennis Channel

The Tennis Channel aced another major MSO carriage deal, signing a multiyear distribution agreement with Adelphia Communications Corp.

The agreement immediately puts the upstart niche sports service, which bowed this past spring, in front of more than 400,000 subscribers to Adelphia’s Los Angeles-area systems, according to network executives. It’s unclear when the network will launch on other Adelphia systems.

The channel will appear on the MSO’s "Digital Plus" tier, which costs around $5 per month.

Along with Adelphia, Tennis has carriage agreements with Time Warner Cable, the National Cable Television Cooperative, Cox Communications Inc. and Knology Inc.

Vice president of distribution Randy Brown would not disclose specifics of the Adelphia pact, but he did say the deal terms are "shorter" than the network’s precedent-setting 15-year distribution agreement with Time Warner Cable.

Adelphia didn’t return phone calls by press time.

This marks the first affiliation agreement inked by Tennis’ new internal affiliate-sales force. Previously, Comedy Central handled the network’s MSO deals, but that relationship ended when Comedy co-owner Viacom Inc. purchased AOL Time Warner Inc.’s 50% stake in the network last summer.

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.