SNY is taking some aggressive swings at Dish with a multimedia marketing campaign denouncing its drop from the DBS provider and encouraging New York Mets fans to switch providers.
The campaign can be found in newspapers, online and radio in the New York DMA, as well in upstate New York and Connecticut.
The regional sports network is firing its pitch following the disconnect with the No. 2 DBS provider on April 1, which has already shut out Dish subs from watching the first four Mets games of the 2011 Major League Baseball season. All of the Amazins' first 14 games, including the April 6 contest against the Philadelphia Phillies, will be televised by SNY.
When or if the network will be restored is anybody's guess at this point. While Dish says it is "talking" to SNY, the RSN rejoins that it "has had no meaningful conversations since Dish dropped SNY on Friday morning."
Dish declined to elaborate or characterize the form of the talks, pointing to its most recent statement on the matter: "Regional sports channels like SportsNet NY have become one of the pay-TV industry's fastest-growing expenditures, making our negotiations with content providers increasingly difficult. Our customers are our No. 1 priority, and they look to us to offer the most channel choices and compelling programming, all at the best value. That's why we work hard for fair deals. Unfortunately, the contract with SNY expired at midnight, March 31 before we were able to reach fair terms for continued carriage. We assure our customers that we are committed to working toward a fair agreement that reflects the value of the channel."
As for the media blitz, which will also manifest at the club's home at Citi Field, SNY has purchased schedules in locales where Dish has significant penetration. In addition to the New York DMA, those areas extend to Syracuse, Utica, Binghamton and Rochester, N.Y. - the RSN, which is also home to the Big East conference and Syracuse Orange - Newark, N.J. (Rutgers) and Hartford (the 2011 NCAA basketball champion Connecticut and Huskies football).
To those ends, SNY bought ads in five newspapers, the New York Daily News, Hartford Courant, Rochester Democrat & Chronicle, Syracuse Post-Standard and Binghamton Press and Sun Bulletin.
The ad's headline in the Daily News notes that "Dish Network Has Raised Rates And Dropped SNY!" The copy reads: "Dish Network continues to abandon New York sports fan, now dropping SNY and denying your coverage of 125 Mets games. Mets season has started, so take action now and drop Dish!. To switch to a new provider, go to www.KEEPSNY.com or call 1-888-9-KEEPSNY."
It also has digital positions on nydailynews.com, nypost.com, newsday.com, nj.com and mets.com.
In the Big Apple environs, SNY has radio spots running on WFAN, 1050 ESPN Radio, WPAT, WXNY and WQBU. Elsewhere, it has bought time on WTIC and ESPN in Hartford; WSYR, WTLA and WSKO in Syracuse; WTLB in Utica; WENE in Binghamton; and WACK, WHTK and WHAM.
The RSN declined to discuss what it is spending on the campaign.
According to some observers, price is not at the center of the disconnect. Rather, some maintain that Dish wants to retreat from the RSN game in the New York DMA. The DBS provider has never reached an agreement with YES Network, which faces its own contractual problems with DirecTV, and has not offered MSG Network and MSG Plus since their contracts expired last October. Dish officials say that is not the case.
SNL Kagan estimates SNY's monthly subscriber license fees at $2.20.