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Comcast Sets Cost for MASN: $2 Per Sub

The cost for Comcast Corp. subscribers to watch Alfonso Soriano go deep from the comfort of their living room couch: a couple of bucks per month.

Cable bills for 1.6 million Comcast customers in the Washington, D.C., and Baltimore markets, as well as those in Salisbury, Md., are going to escalate in the wake of the cable operator’s Aug. 4 agreement with Mid-Atlantic Sports Network, home to Washington Nationals Major League Baseball games.

Comcast, which is providing customers with a 30-day notice about the change to its expanded-basic lineup, will throw out the first pitch on MASN around Sept. 8. Senior director of corporate communications Jennifer Khoury said local systems are still evaluating which channels will be bumped for MASN.

“MASN’s programming is very expensive — it will cost literally hundreds of millions of dollars over the next decade to provide MASN to our 2.2 million cable customers,” Comcast said, in part, in a statement.

The agreement, more than a year in the making and preceded by lawsuits and deep-rooted stances by MASN and the cable operator, was prompted by the FCC’s order outlining the approval of Comcast and Time Warner Cable’s acquisition of Adelphia Communications Corp. Next season, spillover channel MASN Plus will also show 150 games of the Baltimore Orioles, which will end their 10-year run after the 2006 season on Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic, leaving that regional in search of summer programming.

Conversely, the establishment of Comcast SportsNet Chicago, through which the cable operator wrested rights for the four area pro teams from FSN Chicago, resulted in the shuttering of that Rainbow Media Holdings service in mid-June.

Also last week:

  • FSN Ohio, which lost Cleveland Indians MLB games to team-owned startup channel SportsTime Ohio, was close to keeping LeBron James and the National Basketball Association Cavaliers in the house, via a multiyear extension worth a reported $25 million annually.
  • FSN Midwest inked a multiyear contract extension with the NBA’s Indiana Pacers that will put 72 regular-season and select playoff games on its air, starting with the upcoming season, and take WTTV out of the broadcast mix. FSN West had been airing 40 Pacers contests. FSN said the Pacers pact marked the 18th MLB, NBA or National Hockey League team to reach a deal with one of its regional sports networks since 2004.