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Cable Operators

Victory in Doubt for Twins Fans

3/22/2004 5:34 AM Eastern

Victory Sports One Network has thus far failed to secure a single victory.

The network -- which is owned by Major League Baseball’s Minnesota Twins and owns the rights to air the team’s games -- has yet to reach a deal with any of the area’s major cable operators, AP reported.

The major players in the Minneapolis area are Comcast Corp. (340,000 subscribers) and Time Warner Cable (210,000). The largest system outside of the metropolitan area, which belongs to Charter Communications Inc., has 270,000 subscribers, AP reported.

Mediacom also has a 100,000-subscriber system in the state, and Victory has yet to secure deals with direct-broadcast satellite services DirecTV Inc. and EchoStar Communications Corp.’s Dish Network.

Victory does have 30 cable deals serving more than 200 communities, putting the network in some 100,000 homes in the upper-midwest part of the state, AP added.

In a dispute similar to the landmark clash between the New York Yankees’ Yankees Entertainment & Sports Network and Cablevision Systems Corp., Minnesota cable operators said they won't pay Victory's per-subscriber asking price of $2.20-$2.30 and are eyeing putting the network on a digital tier, while the Twins and Victory said the games should be on expanded basic, as was the case with the team's previous partner, Fox Sports Net North, AP said.

Victory, which launched in October, gained the Twins' rights after last season, when the club’s contract with FSN expired, AP reported.

September