Cablevision Systems will become the latest multichannel video distributor to implement a monthly surcharge to cover the high cost of sports programming, slapping a $2.98 Sports Programming Surcharge on its customers’ monthly bills, beginning in April.
Cablevision is the third distributor to implement the surcharge on regional sports networks– DirecTV and Verizon Communications are the others. In a statement the company said it has not raised video prices since late 2010.
"We are very focused on the price our customers pay for our services, and the value we deliver," said Cablevision's vice president of video product management Bradley Feldman in a statement. "We have not raised our cable television prices in more than two years, even as we have added channels, on demand content, new TV to Go services and other benefits. Unfortunately, the rising cost of programming has resulted in this sports surcharge, which is similar to those introduced by other TV providers."
The surcharge will be applied to cable television customers subscribing to Family or Value packages or above. Cablevision is also implementing a $2-per-month adjustment to the price of its Optimum en Espanol Spanish-language package, which includes more than 45 Spanish-language channels. The rate of commercial cable television service offered through Optimum Business will increase by $4 per month.
Cablevision has about 3 million customers in the New York metropolitan area, which is served by several RSNs, including Madison Square Garden Network, MSG +, the Yankees Entertainment & Sports Network and SNY, the cable home of the New York Mets. The MSO spun off its Madison Square Garden unit, which includes its sports teams, arenas and RSNs in 2010.