Cable groups reach deal to restore Mets to Gotham

Agreement reached to restore MSG net, Fox Sports NY

The drought has ended for cable-wired New York Mets fans deprived of the team’s games over the last six weeks because of a dispute between Time Warner Cable of NYC and Chuck Dolan’s Cablevision.

The parties reached agreement late Monday after an all-day bargaining session that will restore the Dolan-owned Madison Square Garden network and Fox Sports Net NY, along with three Fox Sports digital networks, to 2.4 million Time Warner subscribers in the Greater N.Y. area.

The parties declined to provide financial details but one concession granted by Dolan is that TW will not have to carry a local channel called Metro, which TW said was not getting enough viewers to warrant further carriage.

TW had also balked at Dolan’s pricetag on MSG, which lost the games of the New York Yankees three years ago when the team created its own network, and Fox Sports Net NY, which loses the games of the Mets when the team sets up its own sports regional after the 2005 season. Time Warner is one of the partners with the Mets in the new channel.

Both sides were under pressure to reach an agreement from Eliot Spitzer, the aggressive attorney general of New York State, who rode herd on the talks that resulted in a deal, which one source said runs through 2008.