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Bodenheimer to Address ESPN Sub Costs

ESPN's top executive, George Bodenheimer, president of ESPN and ABC Sports, will discuss and presumably defend the cable sports channel's subscriber rates at a Thursday 10 a.m. press conference titled "Real Story Behind Cable Programming and Retail Pricing" at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

ESPN has been whacked recently by cable operators, especially Cox Communications Inc. president and CEO James Robbins, who complained about ESPN's costs to the Senate Commerce Committee in May.

At a recent New York conference, Robbins complained that ESPN raised its rates 20%, to $2.65 per month, per subscriber. He argued that ESPN's high rates, absorbed by cable systems, raise the cost of cable to consumers regardless of whether they are sports viewers or not.