Robbins Rails on Sports Costs


Cox Communications Inc. CEO Jim Robbins used his appearance at the opening
session of the Cable Television Public Affairs Association's annual confab in
Washington, D.C., Monday to rail on the rising sports of cost programming.

Robbins scolded Yankees Entertainment & Sports Network and Cablevision
Systems Corp. for their bitter public spat that erupted Friday, three days
before the New York Yankees' opening day Monday. "This is not going to help our
industry collectively," he said.

But when asked if Cox would consider Cablevision's strategy of kicking pricey
sports networks onto a sports tier, Robbins said, "I think there is some
rationale for that." Robbins, who has been cable's most vocal critic of rising
programming costs in recent months, warned once again that Cox would drop
networks if costs don't improve.

ESPN, the most expensive basic-cable network, was also a target for

"Only two people are making money in the sports business -- that's ESPN and
the players," he said.

An ESPN spokeswoman responded by noting, "Cox has a very healthy business by
any measure, and we believe ESPN significantly contributes to