The Yankees Entertainment & Sports Network has landed a carriage deal with Comcast and its 900,000 subscribers in the New York area, leaving Chuck Dolan’s Cablevision Systems Corp. as the only cable-operator holdout.
The YES network kicks off March 19 as a 24-hour cable network, with exclusive cable rights to Yankee games. YES is cooperating with DirecTV on a print and radio campaign urging Cablevision customers who are Yankees fans to cancel their subscriptions and instead buy satellite dishes so they can receive the games from DirecTV.
Comcast joins DirecTV, Time Warner Cable and RCN Cable in agreeing to distribute YES to their subscribers at a strapping cost of $2 a month for each subscriber, making YES the most expensive individual cable network in the New York area.
Cablevision is balking at paying that price, claiming YES should go out as an a la carte service, in which the subscriber would have to pay an additional monthly fee. So instead of paying YES a license fee, Cablevision would split the subscriber dollars with YES.
YES has said that model doesn’t work because it cuts down on the number of viewers to the network, thus slicing into advertising revenues, which the network is counting on to help cover its costs.