After weeks of relative quiet, the Yankees Entertainment & Sports
Network/Cablevision System Corp. battle erupted again Thursday with both
companies firing shots over their impending legal skirmish.
YES president Leo J. Hindery Jr., during a press conference Thursday, berated
Cablevision for asking the court for an 'unparalleled' 660 days to prepare for
the discovery portion of the regional sports network's federal antitrust
lawsuit, which charged the MSO with keeping the upstart service off its systems
for anti-competitive reasons.
YES carries 130 regular-season New York Yankees Major League Baseball games.
Cablevision-owned Madison Square Garden Network was the former cable home of the
YES -- which is asking the MSO for basic carriage at $2 for each of its 3
million New York-area subscribers -- presented a case-management plan to
Cablevision that contemplated a trial by Labor Day 2002. Cablevision wants to
offer YES as a pay service.
'It's an acknowledgement that Cablevision wants to put us out of business,'
Hindery said. 'This is not a cable company that wants to carry the YES Network
But in a prepared statement, Cablevision said it was YES that dictated the
timetable 'when it decided to file an extremely broad and complex federal
antitrust lawsuit knowing that this is particularly lengthy and time-consuming
litigation and that it would take Cablevision appropriate time to prepare its
Cablevision also maintained that the lawsuit 'is entirely without merit,' and
that it 'ignores the fact that Cablevision has made fair and nondiscriminatory
offers to the YES Network that have all been rejected by YES.'
While Hindery admitted that the issues regarding the lawsuit are 'complex,'
he said 660 days is 'extreme,' especially considering the fact that the network
is only three months old. 'A discovery of this type does not take 660 days -- it
doesn't take 60 days,' he added.
Hindery said YES would survive even if Cablevision is
granted its request for time, but the network would 'be on life support.'