ESPN-Cable One: It’s Official

As expected, Cable One Inc. will participate in the National Cable Television Cooperative’s deal to carry all of the ESPN cable networks, the MSO and the sports programmer announced Wednesday.

The MSO will continue carrying ESPN and ESPN2 on expanded basic, as well as ESPNews and ESPN Classic on pricier tiers. Cable One will also launch ESPN HD and ESPN Deportes.

Cable One is one of the NCTC’s largest members, and it was one of the first to ink a deal with the sports programmer.

The new pact, similar to ones recently negotiated by Cox Communications Inc. and Charter Communications Inc., reportedly calls for annual rate hikes in the 7% range --substantially less than the yearly 20% increases ESPN has been levying -- in exchange for the ESPN HD and ESPN Deportes launches.

Additional terms of the agreement were not disclosed.