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NBA TV Jumps To Broader Comcast Carriage

Comcast has reached a new seven-year agreement that will add the NBA TV channel to the cable TV operator's most popular digital tier of service before the start of the next pro basketball season. 

The deal, which the Associated Press says has a seven-year term, will push NBA TV from Comcast's sports tier to its Digital Classic level of service, raising its subscriber count with the nation's top distributor to 10.8 million from 2 million.

Comcast will continue separately to offer the NBA League Pass package of games, a subscription package of out-of-market NBA games. 

Coming on the day of the first day of the 2009 NBA Finals between the Orlando Magic and Los Angeles Lakers, the Comcast move is a similar to pact that  NBA TV reached with DirecTV in April that will see it migrate to the DBS leader's Choice Xtra package from its Premier Package and Sports Pack, also tipping off with the 2009-10 NBA season next fall, when the pro hoops service hopes to have a 30-million subscriber roster.

As was the case with the DirecTV deal, license fee information was not disclosed with the Comcast agreement. However, published reports indicate that NBA TV has been willing to drop its price in order to gain wider carriage. Comcast also recently upgraded carriage of the National Football League's NFL Network and the National Hockey League's NHL Network to its Digital Classic service.