Cablevision Systems Corp. CEO Jim Dolan said during a radio interview Friday that he didn’t think the MSO would be able to refuse to carry a regional sports network Major League Baseball’s New York Mets plan to launch in 2006 with Comcast Corp. and Time Warner Inc. the way that it had refused to carry the New York Yankees’ Yankees Entertainment & Sports Network the first year after its launch.
“No, I don’t think so,” Dolan told WFAN-AM’s Mike and the Mad Dog show. “I don’t think Cablevision can fight this battle all by itself,” he added, noting that Time Warner -- which will own a stake in the Mets network -- didn’t help Cablevision during its fight with YES.
Cablevision sued the Mets Wednesday in hopes of blocking the team from moving its TV rights to the new regional sports network.
Dolan also warned that sports-programming costs would escalate with the addition of another regional sports network in New York, which already has YES and Cablevision’s Madison Square Garden Network and Fox Sports New York.
“You’re going to have four different networks, and each one of them is going to price itself under the Yankee model. That’s going to be a big ticket,” he added.
Interviewer Mike Francesa also railed on Dolan for Cablevision’s practice of running certain sporting events on MetroChannels, which isn’t distributed by direct-broadcast satellite operators DirecTV Inc. or EchoStar Communications Corp.
Dolan said Cablevision-owned MSG and FSNY usually only move overflow games to MetroChannels, but he acknowledged that the company does place some games on MetroChannels to strengthen the service.
Francesca also told Dolan he subscribes to both Cablevision and DirecTV, and Dolan asked Francesca which service he prefers.
“I watch DirecTV … I have to admit, it’s a better product. I’m sorry, it is,” Francesca responded. Dolan responded that digital cable is better.