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With the All Sports model, programming content in addition to NBA basketball would have to be acquired and paid for, meaning that the network would have to charge operators an estimated 50 cents per subscriber to carry it as a basic service. NBA TV, for which the league already owns all the content, could be offered at much lower per-subscriber fees, making it more palatable for operators to put on their basic tiers.

Several cable operators that are also owners of NBA teams are lobbying Stern to make the new network available only on a digital basis in order to drive subscribers to upgrade to digital service. Since NBA TV is already available in about 10 million TV homes, a good start-up base is in place for a relaunch of the network.

NBA TV, available only on digital cable and on satellite via DirecTV, currently is on the air only during the NBA season and does not have game telecasts. The channel offers an in-studio format that drops into live games, airs highlights from around the league after games end, and programs vintage telecasts and other league-related fare in daytime. Next season, live game telecasts would replace the nightly studio show.

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