×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Yes Network Mounts ‘Drop Comcast’ Campaign Amid Carriage Standoff in New York

Fox’s Yes network aims to turn up the pressure in its carriage standoff with Comcast by launching a media blitz to encourage New York City-area viewers to switch providers as the start of baseball season approaches.

Yes’ advertising efforts are expected to be unveiled tomorrow with full-page ads in the New York Times and other newspapers, as well as radio and TV spots, outdoor placements and an aggressive social media strategy. The campaign is a bold tactic that underscores the dollars at stake for regional sports networks, which are increasingly a flash point for tensions among programmers and distributors.

Tracy Dolgin, CEO of Yes, said the two sides have had no substantive conversations since Comcast surprised Fox by dropping the channel in late November. He said Yes felt it had no choice but to spread the word to viewers after months of no movement with Comcast.

“They dropped us,” he told Variety. “We didn’t drop them. We decided we needed to inform viewers about their alternatives before they miss Opening Day.”

Yes is New York’s hometown provider of New York Yankees games as well as the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets. It is considered the most successful RSN in the country and one of the priciest cable channels for distributors in the industry at an estimated $5 monthly subscriber fee.

Comcast had carried Yes in about 900,000-1 million homes on the edges of the New York City DMA, mostly in New Jersey, Scranton, Pa., and Connecticut. Comcast had reached an agreement in principle on a new carriage deal for Yes in early 2015 because at the time it expected to become New York City’s largest cable provider, following its acquisition of Time Warner Cable.

But when Comcast’s merger with TW Cable was scuttled last April, Comcast took a hard look at the deal and viewership of Yes, particularly during the Yankees’ off season, and decided the channel wasn’t worth the cost. There was other wrangling on deal points that had been the source of much back-and-forth between the Yes and Comcast camps. But fundamentally, Comcast asserted: “the price/value proposition for the YES network did not justify the price that Fox was asking for the network.”

Dolgin notes that Comcast itself owns eight RSNs including the high-priced CSN channel in Chicago that is home to the city’s NFL, NBA and Major League Baseball teams.

Yes’ newspaper ad features a picture of Yankees pitcher Dellin Petances on the mound and urges viewers to “Drop Comcast Today” and includes a toll-free number for viewers to call for more information. AT&T’s DirecTV could be a beneficiary of the push but has no financial involvement in the effort, Dolgin said.

Fox acquired 49% of Yes in 2012 for $584 million and raised its stake to 80% in January 2014.

 

More TV

  • Jason Mitchell

    Jason Mitchell Dropped From 'The Chi' Season 3, Netflix Film

    Jason Mitchell is being dropped from a number of his current and upcoming projects. Variety has confirmed that the up and coming actor will not return for “The Chi’s” already announced third season, with Season 2 of the show currently airing on Showtime. In addition, Mitchell will no longer be starring in the Netflix film “Desperados,” in [...]

  • Maisie Williams

    TV News Roundup: Maisie Williams to Guest Judge 'RuPaul's Drag Race UK'

    In today’s roundup, Maisie Williams will guest judge on “RuPaul’s Drag Race UK” and “Drunk History” will return with eight new episodes to Comedy Central.  DATES Comedy Central‘s “Drunk History” will return with eight new episodes beginning with “Derek Waters’ Believe It or Not” Tuesday, June 18 at 10 p.m. The series premiere of “Alternatino [...]

  • Lisa Kudrow

    Lisa Kudrow Joins Lee Daniels-Whitney Cummings Comedy Pilot 'Good People' at Amazon

    Lisa Kudrow has signed on to star in and executive produce the comedy pilot “Good People” currently in the works at Amazon, Variety has learned. The half-hour project hails from writers and executive producers Whitney Cummings and Lee Daniels, with Cummings also set to star. It centers on three generations of women working in the [...]

  • 'Game of Thrones' Series Finale: Much

    'Game of Thrones' Series Finale: A Lot of 'Love' Despite Much-Criticized Ending

    Spoiler alert: Do not read until you’ve watched “The Iron Throne,” the series finale of HBO’s “Game of Thrones,” aka season 8, episode 6. Bran Stark may have a perpetual poker face, but “Game of Thrones” fans certainly had a lot of feelings about him Sunday night. The stony faced character was the No. 1 [...]

  • Naomi Watts Game of Thrones

    Everything We Know About the 'Game of Thrones' Prequels (So Far)

    Prequels are coming. Fans looking for their next fix after “Game of Thrones,” rest assured, plans are already in the works to cash in on George R.R. Martin’s expansive fantasy universe. HBO has been tight-lipped about details, but at least one prequel series has already been ordered with four others in development. Ancient History The [...]

  • 'Game of Thrones' Finale: Burning Questions

    'Game of Thrones': Burning Questions (and Some Answers) After the Series Finale

    [SPOILER ALERT: Do not read ahead if you have not seen the series finale of “Game of Thrones.”] All told, “Game of Thrones” got a pretty tidy ending. Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) is dead, the Starks have all embarked on different paths, and there’s a new king in town with a different council. However, with all [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content