Mets net in Verizon pact

SportsNet new part of distrib package

SportsNet New York, the 24/7 network of the New York Mets that opened for business March 16, has signed a carriage agreement with Verizon’s new TV service.

Since Verizon has just begun distributing a package of TV stations and cable networks similar to that of cable TV and satellite companies, SportsNet New York will collect very few immediate dollars: Verizon will pony up a monthly fee of about $1.70 a subscriber, the rate card for the net.

The three most significant distributors that still haven’t signed with SportsNet New York are Cablevision, the biggest in the area with 3 million subscribers; DirecTV, which reaches close to a million satellite homes; and EchoStar, which has sold about 250,000 satellite dishes.

A spokesman for SportsNet said negotiations are going on with all three, and that Cablevision is likely to be onboard April 3, opening day of the Mets season.

Verizon’s service, called FiOS and featuring 180 digital channels and 20 high-def networks, is now available in three communities in New York: Massapequa Park, Nyack and South Nyack.

The co-owners of SportsNet –Time Warner Cable of New York, with about 2 million subscribers, and Comcast, with just under a million –have begun carrying it, along with Mid-Hudson Cablevision, MTV Cable and the Warwick Valley Telephone Co.