With negotiations having broken off, chances are slim that 3 million New
York-area Cablevision Systems Corp. subscribers will have access to Yankees
Entertainment & Sports Network by opening day.
YES chairman and CEO Leo J. Hindery Jr. said during a press luncheon that the
network isn't currently negotiating with Cablevision, despite the fact that the
fledgling sports channel launches March 19 and the New York Yankees' Major
League Baseball regular season begins two weeks later.
Hindery confirmed that a 'junior-level' Cablevision executive approached YES
last week with a deal that offered 'pennies' for the network. YES, which is
offering 130 Yankees games, is asking for a $2-per-subscriber licensing fee.
'We haven't had any substantial negotiations [with Cablevision] since
January,' he added.
A Cablevision spokesman would only say that the MSO 'would not respond' to
Hindery's 'transparent attempts to pressure Cablevision into accepting an
expensive deal that is not in the best interests of all of our customers.'
Hindery added that YES' deals with Time Warner Cable, Comcast Corp. and other
area MSOs have most-favored-nation clauses in them, which severely limit
Cablevision's negotiating room.
'In September, [Dolan] had to order off the menu, but in April, he has to eat
what Time Warner eats,' Hindery said. 'The deal [Time Warner] wrote will dictate
largely what [Cablevision] has to do at this juncture.'
Given the condensed time frame and the logistics involved in launching a new
network, Hindery said it may be difficult for Cablevision to launch YES by
To compliment its 130 Yankees telecasts, YES will offer several original
informational and magazine-style shows, including CenterStage, a
sports-talk show featuring sports and entertainment personalities;
Yankeeography, a team biography series; and YES Network Magazine,
focusing on local college and high-school sports.