Wednesday, August 02, 2006

MASN Nabs Ravens- Expands to full time

Jim Williams, The Examiner
Aug 2, 2006 5:00 AM (5 hrs ago)
Current rank: # 2 of 6,338 articles

BALTIMORE - As of this morning, Baltimore-based Mid-Atlantic Sports Network has officially launched as a full-time, 24-hour programming service. As part of its programming, the network has become the official cable home of the Baltimore Ravens. That was a huge gain for the young network, luring the Ravens away from Comcast SportsNet.

MASN, which is owned by Baltimore Orioles owner Peter Angelos, will carry the Ravens’ four preseason games versus the New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles, Minnesota Vikings and Washington Redskins, as well as special programming including Ravens GamePlan, Ravens Wired, Ravens Report, The Brian Billick Show, Ravens Pre-Game Kickoff and Ravens Postgame Extra. (Locally, as reported last week, Ravens games can be seen on Fox 45 in Baltimore.)

This season, MASN is home to Washington Nationals games, and in 2007, they will add the Baltimore Orioles for over 300 live Major League Baseball contests.

“Because MASN is owned by the home teams, MASN can bring fans special in-game enhancements and inside access to the Nationals and Orioles that a corporate-owned RSN (regional sports network) could never deliver,” said MASN spokesman Todd Webster. “This is a new approach to regional sports programming that removes the middle man between the fans and their teams. MASN is must-see TV delivered from the teams directly to our fans.”

MASN will be home to a variety of local NCAA sporting events, including football, men’s and women’s basketball, and lacrosse. Featured local teams include Georgetown, Howard, Morgan State, Loyola, Towson, Coppin State, UMBC and Bowie State.

The network has created partnerships with ESPN Radio 1300 in Baltimore to simulcast shows like the Tom Davis Show with The Examiners, Phil Wood, Press Box Live with Stan “The Fan” Charles, The Mark Viviano Show and The Anita Marks Show.

The problem remains that Comcast subscribers will not be able to see the product on MASN. Currently, only Cox, DirecTV, RCN, Charter and Verizon carry the network. Later this week, MASN will have to decide how to respond to the Federal Communications Commission’s ruling at take Comcast to binding arbitration.

The bottom line? If you’re a sports fan, call your cable company and the mayor’s office in Baltimore and urge them to pressure Comcast to put MASN on. Otherwise, you won’t see your favorite teams. Just ask Nationals fans what it is like not to have MASN.

Jim Williams is a seven-time Emmy Award-winning TV producer, director and writer.

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