Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Cablevision sells regional sports holdings to Comcast

from Daniel Wagner at Newsday

Cablevision has executed a $581-million deal that will give Comcast Corp. full ownership of Cablevision's remaining regional sports holdings outside of the New York area, the company announced Tuesday.

Under the agreement, Rainbow Media Holdings Llc, a subsidiary of Bethpage-based Cablevision Systems Corp., will transfer to Comcast a 60-percent stake in the corporate parent of the FSN Bay Area regional sports channel and a 50-percent interest in the owner of the FSN New England channel.

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Comcast has just purchased an ownership stake in the cable stations that broadcast the Boston Celtics, San Francisco Giants, Oakland A's, San Jose Sharks, and Golden State Warriors. One benefit to Comcast is that the stations provide excellent marketing opportunities, as cable companies face increasing competition from telephone and satellite providers. However, another potential benefit may be that these stations can provide Comcast with both content and on-air talent for their Versus cable sports network. Judging from Versus' Nielsen ratings, it can use all the help it can get.