Cable veteran Leo J. Hindery Jr. officially made his return to cable Monday
as CEO and part owner of the Yankees Entertainment and Sports network.
Hindery -- along with Quadrangle Group LLC, Goldman, Sachs and Co. and cable
veteran Amos Hostetter -- will own a 40 percent interest in YankeeNets LLC,
which will launch in March 2002 with 125 to 130 regular-season New York Yankees
Major League Baseball telecasts, Hindery said. YankeeNets holds the remaining
interest in the service.
Hindery added that the network is not seeking additional investors, nor will
it provide opportunities for local MSOs to invest in the service.
Although Hindery said no official deals are in place, the network is expected
to telecast 75 New Jersey Nets National Basketball Association and New Jersey
Devils National Hockey League games once the teams' carriage deals with Fox
Sports New York expire in 2002 and 2007, respectively.
The service will also distribute select games from the England-based
Manchester United Football Club as part of a YankeeNets marketing and
promotional agreement with the soccer team.
Hindery also said he would talk with other content providers about providing
'lifestyle' sports programming specific to the region.
He added that he would begin discussions with local operators 'right away' in
an effort to secure distribution for the network. While he wouldn't reveal
specific rate-card figures, sources said the service could cost operators as
much as $2 per subscriber.
'These deals aren't going to happen overnight, but we'll reach out to our
cable brethren right away,' Hindery said.
Local operators are ready for the pitch. 'We remain very interested in
carrying the channel,' Time Warner Cable vice president of corporate
communications Mike Luftman said.