RCN Signs Carriage Deal with ESPN, Disney-ABC

RCN reached a wide-ranging multiyear carriage agreement with ESPN and Disney-ABC Television Group for access to a wide range of programming, broadband and on-demand offerings.

Under the agreement, RCN will carry major Disney-ABC Television Group and ESPN services, including on-demand programming from Disney Channel, ABC Family, ESPN, ABC News broadcasts and an ABC News Now broadband portal, which will be available to customers with video-on-demand-enabled service and RCN high-speed-data service, respectively.

RCN’s announcement didn’t specify exactly which ESPN-Disney cable networks were covered by the agreement, or if the deal includes retransmission consent for ABC-owned TV stations.

"At RCN, we pride ourselves on connecting our customers with something more," CEO Peter Aquino said in a prepared statement. "With this agreement, we continue to do just that. We are pleased to offer our subscribers the high-quality sports, news and entertainment cable programs, broadband services and video-on-demand choices that Disney and ESPN Networks provide."

Under the deal, RCN will also offer ABC News Now, a 24-hour news and information network featuring live breaking news, headlines, original shows and interactive programming to customers in all its markets.

RCN will also distribute ESPN360, ESPN's signature broadband service, to high-speed-data subscribers in all of its markets. ESPN360 will deliver thousands of live events, including an expanded NCAA Football schedule, this fall.

ESPN2 HD, an HD simulcast of ESPN2, is now available as part of RCN's basic HD package. ESPN HD and ESPN2 HD will combine to deliver more than 9,000 hours of HD programming in 2007.