PORTLAND, Maine — With Time Warner Cable and the Cumberland County Civic Center reaching a three-year production agreement, the Class A high school basketball state finals will be televised on March 1, the cable company announced in a news release Tuesday.
The agreement will allow Time Warner Cable to extend its fiber-optic connectivity in order to produce and televise live programming from the civic center, according to the release.
Steve Crane, general manager of the Cumberland County Civic Center, said the agreement is similar to the one it had with Time Warner Cable for 12 years prior to the recent renovation to the civic center.
Under the new agreement, Time Warner Cable will pay a fee of $15,000 per year but, in return, it will receive free tickets to civic center events and signage on the big scoreboard. In addition, the cable company will be allowed to keep its fiber-optic connectivity in the civic center in order to produce other events such as the Portland Pirates hockey games.
Time Warner Cable used to pay $10,000 per year.
The Pirates of the American Hockey League and the civic center reached an agreement which will see the Pirates return to the civic center next season after a contract impasse resulted in them playing their games in Lewiston this season.
“We will both benefit from this agreement, and I’m happy for all the basketball fans in the state of Maine,” said Crane.
Crane said the fact the civic center and the Pirates were able to reach an agreement also played a role because it gives the Pirates and Time Warner Cable the opportunity to resume a partnership.
He said he has always had a “real good relationship” with Time Warner Cable representatives but was quick to point out that “people forget that we were also engaged in a business transaction” this time around that required negotiation.
“The local Time Warner Cable people are fantastic, and the right people got back involved,” he said.
“We are happy to continue our relationship with the Cumberland County Civic Center,” Paul Schonewolf, area vice president of operations for Time Warner Cable said in the news release. “As a result of our agreement, we are able to partner with MPBN again to produce and televise the Maine Principals’ Association Invitational high school basketball tournament boys and girls Class A championship games on March 1 to high school basketball fans across Maine.”
Dick Durost, executive director of the Maine Principals’ Association, was pleased.
“We were optimistic all along that reasonable people would come together and work this out, and that is exactly what happened,” said Durost. “The Cumberland County Civic Center and Time Warner Cable were able to come to an agreement that is certainly in the best interest of the students and communities in the state of Maine, and we applaud them for being able to work this out.”
Time Warner Cable and the civic center had reached an impasse because, due to the renovation, the cable company needed to extend the existing fiber-optic connection within the facility to reach the press box.
Crane said they would allow them to do so for a $200 origination fee and labor, but they would have to remove their equipment after televising the games.
The cable company wanted to keep its equipment in the facility to televise other sporting events, but Crane said that would cost them $5,000 a year to do so.
The cable company didn’t want to pay the fee.