The distribution match between Tennis Channel and Cablevision has gone to the operator.
Tennis Channel, which for years had been negotiating for better positioning with the predominant cable operator in the New York DMA, issued a statement this afternoon indicating that it will make the service available to Cablevision's sports tier.
The move ends a carriage stalemate that cost the operator's subscribers a chance to see Tennis' comprehensive coverage of the U.S. Open tennis championships.
On Aug. 26, Cablevision, which became a member of the National Cable Television Cooperative, declared it was opting for the co-op's contract with the network to position Tennis on its sports tier, the iO Sports Pak, which houses 15 networks and retails for 5.95 per month.
The network said it had legal issues with Cablevision's unilaterally putting out a press release about its wont to launch the service and that it wasn't given a 30-day notification period to do. As such, it elected not to authorize its signal and none of its 240 hours of coverage from its inaugural presentation of the U.S. Open was available to Cablevision subscribers.
For its part, NCTC said it was "unaware of any previous launch request where Tennis Channel delayed authorization for 30 days."
This afternoon, the network issued this statement: "Effective September 24, 2009, Tennis Channel has elected for now to grant signal access to Cablevision pursuant to its request under Tennis Channel's agreement with the National Cable Television Cooperative. We remain deeply concerned about Cablevision's tactic of using our agreement with NCTC to undermine the parties' longstanding negotiations and to carry Tennis Channel on terms that do not serve the interests of its customers. Cablevision's actions are particularly alarming in light of the recent change in NCTC, which has transformed itself from a small-operator buying cooperative into an entity that reaches 26.7 million cable subscribers. That is more than the number reached by the largest cable provider in the United States. These actions have industry-wide ramifications and should be addressed by the appropriate regulatory authorities."
For its part, Cablevision volleyed this reply: "We welcome the Tennis Channel to the iO Sports Pak. It is unfortunate that the leadership of the Tennis Channel decided to withhold its programming until now, denying our customers the ability to receive its U.S. Open coverage, but we look forward to now making it available to any Cablevision customer who wants to receive it."
Tennis officials weren't available at press time for comment about when it would authorize the signal.
Cablevision has set aside channel 399 in standard-definition and 795 in high-definition for the network.