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FSN Keeps Rockies in House with New Deal

In an effort to keep Major League Baseball’s Colorado Rockies from hitting ratings home runs for a competing network, Fox Sports Net Thursday purchased a minority interest in the club while extending its cable-rights deal through 2012.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but sources said FSN will pay the Rockies $20 million per year beginning next season through 2014 for the rights to telecast up to 150 Rockies games through its FSN Rocky Mountain regional sports network.

In addition, Fox Sports Baseball Holdings Inc., a subsidiary of Fox Cable Networks Group, purchased a 10% nonvoting interest in the team for approximately $20 million. The equity-interest agreement comes seven months after Fox sold its interest in MLB’s Los Angeles Dodgers, which it acquired in 1999.

The deal also effectively keeps the Rockies from migrating to Kroenke Sports Enterprises LLC-owned Altitude Sports Network, which will launch this September.

Earlier this year, FSN lost the rights to the Kroenke-owned Denver Nuggets National Basketball Association and Colorado Avalanche National Hockey League teams to Altitude. The network, though, has yet to secure distribution deals with any major MSOs within the market.