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Mets return to cable; TW charged with error

NEW YORK — A local media frenzy of negative publicity brought a quick end to the blackout of New York Mets games on Time Warner Cable of NYC (Daily Variety, Aug. 19).

Mets’ cable subscribers ended up losing only the two scheduled games with the Colorado Rockies, on Aug. 15 and 17, which Sportschannel NY transmitted to other cable systems in the greater New York, New Jersey and Connecticut area.

TW’s Gotham cable system, with 1.1 million subscribers the largest in the U.S., will now go back to the bargaining table with the joint owners of Sportschannel NY: Chuck Dolan’s Cablevision Systems Corp., which owns 60% of the network; and Rupert Murdoch and John Malone’s Fox/Liberty Sports, which owns the other 40%.

Sources say Sportschannel is asking for an additional $3.3 million payment in calendar 1997 from TW Cable of NYC for the extra 25 Mets games, which became available earlier in the year when WWOR decided not to buy them for broadcast coverage. TW Cable of NYC pays $9.9 million a year for Sportschannel under a contract that expired in December 1996.

Mike Baer, executive VP of sports for Rainbow Programming Services, the Cablevision division that runs Sportschannel, says the parties will resolve the payment for the additional Mets games before they tackle the renewal of the Sportschannel deal.

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