No Mets Deal Yet for Cablevision

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New York Mets fans serviced by Cablevision Systems Corp. may want to temper their enthusiasm just a tad.

Although a number of published reports, citing Bloomberg, already have the deal as being finalized, a carriage pact between the cable operator, which serves some 3 million homes in the New York DMA, and SportsNet New York, the new cable home of the Major League Baseball team, had yet to be consummated by press time.

SportsNet New York -- owned by the ballclub, Time Warner Cable and Comcast Corp. -- will carry 125 regular-season Mets games during the 2006 season. The service is set to launch March 16.

“We can’t comment on negotiations. We’re in discussions with cable and satellite operators in our footprint,” SportsNet New York spokesman Andrew Fegyveresi said.

Cablevision spokesman Jim Maiella said, “As we’ve said along, we fully expect to telecast Mets games this season and beyond.”

A source familiar with the negotiating process said the parties have “a handshake agreement. An announcement could come next week.”

That would prove to be an upset in the eyes of many area observers. In 2002, Cablevision didn’t carry the rookie season of Yankees Entertainment & Sports Network. YES carries New York Yankees MLB games, which previously aired on Cablevision-owned Madison Square Garden Network.

Many had expected a similarly lengthy and perhaps bitter negotiating period between Cablevision and SportsNet New York, which will carry the Mets games that previously aired on MSGN and FSN New York, which is also owned by Cablevision.

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