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MASN Inks Three Carriage Deals

Mid-Atlantic Sports Network said it signed three new affiliation agreements in North Carolina.

According to an MASN spokesman, the regional sports network signed deals with TV providers in and around Charlotte, Greenville, and Raleigh-Durham, N.C., as well as Richmond, Va.

MI Connection serves 13,000 subscribers in Mooresville, Davidson and Cornelius, outside of Charlotte. Buggs Island Telephone Cooperative serves North Carolina and Virginia communities in Richmond, Va., and Raleigh-Durham. And Red’s Cable serves Bath, N.C., outside of Greenville.

MASN used the opportunity to suggest a growing appetite for sports programming and to remind readers of its press release that Time Warner Cable, the state's largest provider, did not carry its games. Time Warner is fighting an arbitrator's decision that it discriminated against MASN and should start carrying the network in North Carolina.

Cable operators have been caught between a regulatory rock and a hard place. Operators have been under pressure from the Federal Communications Commission and legislators not to deny must-have programming, like college and professional sports, to fans used to getting it over the air or on basic cable. But at the same time, regulators and legislators have complained about soaring cable prices, which cable operators pointed out are linked to programming costs.

One year ago, MASN got some backing from the mayors of Raleigh and Durham, N.C., who wrote identical letters to Time Warner asking them to carry the network on the basic tier. MASN even got support from the managers of the Durham Bulls and Carolina Mudcats minor-league-baseball teams.

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.