DBS Programming: DISH Retrans Deal, March Madness on DIRECTV

DISH Network entered into an agreement for the retransmission of Lin TV's broadcast stations in both standard and high-definition.

The deal covers stations owned and/or operated by Lin TV spanning 17 markets: Albuquerque, Austin, Columbus, Dayton, Ft. Wayne, Grand Rapids, Green Bay, Hartford-New Haven, Indianapolis, Lafayette, Mobile, Norfolk, Providence, Springfield, Terre Haute and Toledo.

Also, DISH Network and Lin TV said they would collaborate on marketing and promotional efforts to encourage consumers to switch to the DBS service if a Lin TV station is removed from a cable system. And the companies said they would help build awareness of the upcoming digital TV transition, providing information about transition requirements and digital-to-analog converter boxes before the Feb. 17, 2009, switch.

Meanwhile, DIRECTV on Thursday announced the return of its exclusive Mega March Madness service, the sports package available only through the DBS platform that supplements CBS Sports' live coverage of the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship.

With the Mega March Madness package, DIRECTV is offering access to up to 37 live games from the first three rounds of the tournament, and this year, all of the games are in HD. The offering returns to DIRECTV March 20-28.