Contract Dispute Blacks Out Yankees’ Network For New York Area Comcast Subscribers

Two of the entities America most loves to hate — Comcast and the New York Yankees — are now duking it out in the Big Apple, as a cable contract carriage fee dispute results in yet another channel blackout.

As the New York Post reports, Comcast and the YES network, which carries the New York Yankees, Brooklyn Nets, and New York FC soccer, were unable to come to an agreement on carriage fees by midnight and the blackout began at 12:01 this morning.

The contract between the two actually expired back in February, but talks had been continuing for months until this most recent deadline.

Comcast does not operate in New York City — that’s Time Warner Cable and Cablevision territory, predominantly — but it does operate in surrounding New Jersey, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania, and those consumers are the ones that can no longer watch their big city sports on YES. The blackout affects roughly 900,000 cable customers across the three states. Baseball season has come and gone, so none of those games are currently affected, but viewers will miss tonight’s basketball game between the Nets and Charlotte.

The Post reports that YES was asking for a 33% increase in the subscriber fees that cable companies pay to the networks they carry. Comcast did not disclose what YES was asking for but told the Post it was completely unacceptable.

In a statement to the Post, Comcast said, “YES Network carried approximately 130 baseball games this past season and well over 90 percent of our 900,000-plus customers who receive YES Network didn’t watch the equivalent of even one quarter of those games during the season, even while the Yankees were in the hunt for a playoff berth.”

Ouch. Perhaps the tri-state area viewers tend to be Mets fans?

Of course, in every carriage dispute the war of words rages hot, and YES fired back to the Post that Comcast had reached “a new low by yanking YES without any notice” to consumers, and said that Comcast was seeking, “special treatment and anti-competitive terms.”

YES is owned 80% by Fox and 20% by the Yankees.

Comcast pulls plug on YES Network [New York Post]

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