Comcast to Distribute NBA TV to Wider Group of Viewers

Comcast has sewn up a new deal that will promote NBA TV to a more widely distributed digital tier, a move that will boost the network’s distribution by some 8.8 million subscribers.

The deal, which will go into effect before the 2009-10 season tips off in October, shifts NBA TV from Comcast’s premium sports tier to its “Digital Classic” line-up, raising its sub count to nearly 11 million customers.

Earlier this week, Comcast announced a similar upgrade for the NHL Network, which will is also moving to the “Digital Classic” tier. The trend began in May, when the cable operator came to an agreement with the NFL Network, ending a protracted stalemate between the two powers.

While Comcast does not disclose the terms of its carriage deals, a move to a more popular tier is generally predicated on the lowering of the network’s sub fee. In the most recent move, it is believed that the NBA dropped its license fee from

In order to make the move, the NBA dropped its license fee by around 30 percent, from an estimated 28 cents per sub to around 20 cents.  

We appreciate the commitment of our longtime and valued partner Comcast to expand NBA TV’s distribution and provide more of its customers with the network’s wall-to-wall NBA coverage and innovative programming,” said NBA deputy commissioner and COO Adam Silver, by way of announcing the deal.

Comcast will continue to offer NBA League Pass, a subscription package of 40 weekly out-of-market games.