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Red Sox join Comcast lineup for On Demand

By Johnny Diaz
Globe Staff / June 17, 2009
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Comcast today plans to roll out Red Sox On Demand to provide New England digital cable subscribers with hundreds of hours of footage from the Red Sox on and off the field, from past and present.

The service will enable cable viewers to watch games and behind-the-scene team footage, including highlights of Sox legends Ted Williams and Jim Rice, footage from the trophy tour for the 2004 World Series victory, or Kevin Youkilis hosting a batting clinic. The feature is free for Comcast digital customers, while those who have basic cable would have to upgrade to have the option.

“If there’s one thing that New England wants, it’s more Red Sox,’’ said Steve Hackley, senior vice president of Comcast in greater Boston. “This is better than a channel. It’s a library at your disposal anytime you want.’’

The move comes as Comcast tries to attract and retain subscribers at a time when some people are eyeing their cable bills as they look to slash discretionary spending. The cable company, the largest in the country, has similar deals with other professional sports teams, including the Pittsburgh Penguins, Atlanta Braves, and San Francisco Giants. Locally, Comcast introduced a similar project with the Celtics two years ago.

With Red Sox On Demand, officials say they are pitching to diehard Sox fans who may be nostalgic for old highlights and hungry for new ones. Much of the content for the feature will come from Red Sox Productions, the team’s in-house and video production group, which produces the Red Sox Report on New England Sports Network.

Coverage will include vignettes and snippets from games that already aired on local TV stations NESN, WBZ-TV (Channel 4), and WSBK-TV (Channel 38). A Spanish version of the Red Sox Report will also be available.

“We feel we can provide fans with the kind of Red Sox content that they may have never seen before or may want to see again,’’ said Sam Kennedy, executive vice president of the Red Sox.

Johnny Diaz can be reached at jodiaz@globe.com.

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